We are helping DC pick a middle school and the two top choices are very different. One of the things we are considering is whether to pick a school that has philosophy that is fairly similar to our family values, interests and etc. and one that is very dissimilar to our home life.
I see benefits to both choices. One would just be more comfortable but the other could offer DC a good balance to what we already offer at home.
What kinds of choices have you made when it comes to this issue?
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Not that we have any school choice around here, but we have faced it with music education...
I would never choose a school/program that was significantly at odds with our family's basic values. Especially not at the middle school level, where a child's values are not yet fully internalized and solidified and are highly susceptible to peer group modelling. High school, certainly, I think some tension between family values and school values can be accepted if the child is secure and confident and well grounded. But not before then.
That's not to say that differences in approach, structure, content and emphasis can't be helpful at that age. And that's not to say that I don't want my kids to be exposed to different values. Just that I want to be sure that the values I hold dear for my kids are predominant in their lives and robustly supported at that age. I think perhaps your indecision pertains not only to values, but also to interests and style, but I'm answering with respect to your stated question about family values.
By values I mean fundamental values like respect: for diversity of viewpoints, learning style, for the learner's perspective and uniqueness. Values like honesty, integrity, compassion, community, generosity, empathy and so on. If I felt a school was putting values like competitiveness, obedience, prosperity, endurance and achievement ahead of those other things, I wouldn't want any part of it.
With my elder dd we turned down several otherwise excellent opportunities and invitations in the realm of classical music training in favour of goodness, honesty and integrity. She's now a newly-fledged adult and is happy and thriving both personally and educationally/professionally.
Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups
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