With so many school choices nowadays, it can be hard to decide where to send your kids to school. Do you Choice them into a school that’s 20 minutes away but it has a really great STEM program or a better school rating? Charter Schools are a great option that focus on certain themes or values. Do you homeschool them so you can spend more time connecting with them and teaching them what’s important to you? Private schools are also an option if you can afford them and think they’re a better educational match for your family.
But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sending them to your local assigned school down the street. So you may want to just save yourself the time and energy it takes to research every little thing about every other school option, and just send them down the road like we all did growing up. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to attending your neighborhood school.
It’s easy to get to a school that’s just 5 minutes away, heck you may even be able to walk to it and avoid the school drop-off and pick up lines or parking 3 blocks away. If you’re not feeling well or have to rush off to an appointment or work, then dropping your kids off at the local school is way more convenient than driving 15-20 minutes out of your way to get them there.
Do you have multiple kids attending different grade levels? The likelihood of their schools (elementary, middle or high schools), being closer together is definitely more convenient.
And you’ll know for sure that all of your kids will get in. However, if you choice your older child into a school, there’s no guarantee that siblings will get into the same school! They do get sibling priority and most parents I've talked to said they haven't heard of siblings being denied, but there's no guarantee...
There’s a bigger sense of community to attending your local school. Your kids can see and play with the kids in your neighborhood more often and you’ll likely run into them and their families at church, the grocery store, the post office, etc.
You can walk to school with your neighbors and really get to know them better.
You’re more likely to attend birthday parties and have impromptu play dates after school since you won’t have to drive across town to get there.
You’ll be more likely to attend school events if you live closer to it. Most schools have after hours events or fundraisers, so if you live just down the street you can attend them more often.
This will show your kids that you value the importance of being involved with their school, and hopefully they’ll internalize those values and feel more important and connected with you and with their school.
You’re more likely to walk or ride bikes with your kids to school, so you’ll both get in more daily exercise than driving to a school that's further away.
You’ll be contributing to your local economy more often since you’ll already be there.
And you’ll be getting to know the “people in your neighborhood” (as Sesame Street likes to encourage). Whether that means going to your local gas station, corner coffee shop, gym or flower shop that might be on your way to or from your local school.
You’ll save money from the cost of gas for not having to drive your kids to attend a different school that’s further away.
Consider how many trips you’ll be making to that school. At least 2 per day for drop-off and pick-up. What if they forget their homework or lunch? What if they need a change of clothes brought to them? That could mean a total of 4 trips to and from school in one day.
Sometimes schools have evening events like movie nights, PTA meetings, or weekend fundraiser events. The amount of time spent driving to and from school will be more than twice a day and that mileage on your car and gas tank will add up over the course of 13 school years.