In an advice column in The Jackson Hole Star Tribune, Dr. Yvonne Fournier responds to a parent who is concerned about the homework overload her child gets at a “good” school. Dr. Fournier notes,
In many cases, the “good” schools have given students and their families a one-size-fits-all definition that makes “good education” synonymous with “more education.” Consequently, students at the “good” schools are given more homework, more tests and, often, more stress.
She goes on to suggest:
As you define “good education,” make two lists: one of everything a school should be and one of everything a school should not be. Consider what values you want for your child and what impression of learning you would like to instill. Here is a sample list:
I want a school that:
Teaches my child to love learning and teaches what he is ready to learn.
Offers structure with flexibility.
Praises my child for his work and effort.
Believes my child needs time with his family each evening.
Helps my child find his own special strengths.
I do not want a school that:
Treats my child as an adult.
Expects me to be my child’s math and spelling teacher.
Uses an accelerated curriculum to raise scores on standardized tests.
Next, you will need a list of questions to ask as you search for your own “good” school. For each point on your lists, you can create questions to determine if a school meets your criteria.
Finding a “good” school is like baking a cake. Decide which ingredients will make the very best cake, and then combine the right ingredients in the proper amounts. Do not fall for schools that offer the frosting and forget the cake.