There’s a lot of advice in the world, more so these days than ever. A legion of experts awaits ready to pounce at every turn. But while the world is ever more complicated and (over)stimulating, most of us have simple needs that stand the test of time: good health, safety, stable and rewarding relationships, financial security, work fulfillment — whether paid, volunteer or at home — and so on.
So why are we ready to throw yet another log onto the raging fire of expertise and advice awaiting parents? In short, because the things we and our children simply need are not always simple to attain. Indeed, as the world grows more complex, our children will need capabilities that exceed our own just to meet the simple needs in life. Yet in our work (described in the Picky Parent Guide Preface and author bios), we have found wide, painful gaps between what many schools offer and what individual children need. We have heard so many parents say that their children’s schools are “just great,” but then go on to describe how their individual children’s needs aren’t really being met academically, socially or otherwise. (“My child is just unusual in XYZ way” or “My child is just going through something, but I don’t know what.”)
Even well-intended, well-educated parents fall into the same trap, time after time. Why? Simply put, most parents have not had access to the knowledge or tools to match children and families to schools from the start, to understand and resolve problems as they arise rather than years later. Now, at last, you do.
Your child’s education is a partnership between parent and school. So we don’t stop at helping you choose schools. We also help you play a strong role in your child’s education at home and in non-school activities. Research has shown time after time that school counts, but parents also play an enormous role in children’s lifelong learning.
On a personal note, we love being parents. One of our siblings coined the term “parenthusiast” to describe us, and it’s true. We love being with our children and also enjoy their friends and cousins immensely. But even as parenthusiasts, we know too well those competitive twins Certainty and Uncertainty: certainty that things could be better for your child and uncertainty when you just can’t put your finger on what to do about it — what school to choose, what changes to seek at school, what after-school activities are worthy of our children’s time, how to craft home life. Mustering courage to get help or even — gasp! — changes from hardworking adults to whom you entrust your children during a long day can be tough. But our children, and your children, are worth it.
We believe in the academic and personal potential of every child. So, we won’t stop until we believe that parents, schools and communities have done all we can do together to ensure that every child has the critical experiences that make for healthy, loving, achieving, contributing adults. That includes your child. We are ever ready to keep offering you more until every parent has what’s needed to reach that goal.
The best place for you to start is to get your hands on your own personal copy of Picky Parent Guide now and sign up for our free E-Newsletter, which will remind you to take all the right steps at the right times to choose and improve your child’s school. Please give us feedback about how else we can help you and your child (e.g., more detail about your specific needs). Meanwhile, we will keep delivering expert advice (based on the best research) and tools to help you make great choices anchored by your own values.