Choosing a high school for your child is a major decision. After all, it is essentially the launch pad for their future and you are entrusting that institution with your child’s intellectual and emotional wellbeing for six years of crucial development.
With this in mind, it’s interesting to note that once a school has been selected for the first child, many families then continue to send other children in the family to the same place. Logistically and economically this makes sense, however is it the best way to meet the individual needs of your children?
Other parents choose to send their children to different schools for this very reason. There can even be different combinations of schooling in the same family. With so many education options these days and because every child has individual needs, it makes sense that they attend a school that is the right “fit” for them.
One child may have a particular talent or career aspiration that a particular institution caters for. Another child may want to go to the school that their friendship group are going to. Conversely, a family may choose to avoid a particular school because of the peer group or behaviour management policies. And of course, if a family selects single sex private schools, boy and girl siblings obviously cannot attend the same school.
Mum of three, Jo has all of her children at different high schools. “I really believe passionately in the need for different kids to explore different schools to find the one that suits them best. Schools teach differently and have different expectations. Similarly with adults not everyone is able to work in the same style of workplace. I’ve now had my kids in 5 different schools in the last 13 years, because I keep going until I find the right school for each kid.”
Louise was the eldest in a family that also held this belief. She changed schools in year nine and went to an all girls school as a full-time boarder, her sister was a weekly boarder at a different school and her brother went to the local state high school. “We were all individuals and never had to be ‘so and so’s little sister’. Our achievements and failures were ours and ours alone.”
Apart from feeling that an older sibling may have prevented some of the bullying she experienced at school, for mum of three Lou, going to a different school from her older brother won’t deter her from offering her children the same opportunity. “There are several high schools in the area and I’ll probably let my three choose where they go. Each school is different and focuses more on different things like sport or art, etc.”
Obviously, having children at different schools has its challenges. Transport, extra curricular activities, fees and uniform costs are all considerations. However, most families deal with these logistical issues with multiple children of varying ages anyhow. It is not unusual for a family to have children in both primary and secondary school, as well as one in day care or maybe even university.
“You need to be organised,” says Jo. “I run the calendar on my computer. Fill in, return and pay everything immediately and all excursion notes, etc. are on the fridge on a clip in date order.”
School Mums sending their children to different high schools also reported the downside of not being able to reuse resources like uniforms, however this relatively minor inconvenience seems to far outweigh the benefits in the minds of these parents.
Do you send your children to different high schools? Tell us about how you make it work.