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Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My son will be going into kindergarten this year. I've already registered him in the local school system, but my mother-in-law has been pressuring me to homeschool my son or to send him to a private Montessori school. How do I know I'm making the right decision for my son?

A: Do some homework on the schools in your area so that you can meet your mother-in-law's arguments with facts. Visit the elementary school your son will attend and ask for any brochures that describe its test scores. The school system's central office should be able to furnish you with test scores of all the schools so that you can compare your son's school with others. Visit the kindergarten classrooms and talk with the teachers so that you can tell your mother-in-law about the resources and opportunities available to him there.

Visit the Montessori school in your area as well. Ask about the success that its students have experienced when they have moved on to other schools. Visit the classrooms, ask for any printed information about the Montessori approach, and find out about the resources and opportunities your son will find there.

Many people believe strongly in homeschooling, and there may be a homeschool group in your community for parents who participate. The most successful homeschools are the ones that follow a curriculum on a regular and consistent basis. The biggest drawback to homeschools is the lack of socialization available for the children; a community group for homeschooling parents can help address that issue so that the children have opportunities to get together for joint projects.

If you feel sure that your decision is the right one for your son, stick with it. You may find it easier to convince your mother-in-law, however, if she sees that you have listened to her and investigated all of the possibilities available for your son.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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