How to Choose the "Best School" for Your Child

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

Choosing a new home is exciting and challenging enough without adding to the mix the decision of where to send your children (even future children) for school.  My daughter and her fiancé just bought a condo in the Boston area and we went through the discussion of how to consider schools in that process.  She doesn't have children but she needed to be mindful of the impact that schools have on house values. (The first home she considered was across the street from an elementary school with a ranking of 2 on   If she had children then she would be trying to match the school to her children.  That conversation about buying a home and considering the best school for your children reminded me of some tips for choosing a school (and a home.) 

Research the School Districts: Start by researching the school districts in the areas where you're considering buying a home. Look for information on their academic performance, extracurricular activities, teacher qualifications, and any awards or recognition they have received. School district websites, online reviews, and local education departments can provide valuable insights.  While I tell clients that you choose a neighborhood first and then a home, perhaps the more important advice is to choose a school district, then a neighborhood and finally the home. 

Consider Your Child's Needs: Every child is unique, so consider your child's specific needs and interests. Look for schools that offer programs or resources aligned with their interests, such as arts, sports, STEM, or special education services. Consider the school's approach to teaching, discipline, and extracurricular activities, ensuring they align with your child's learning style and values.  If you don't have children yet but are planning on them, then make sure that the schools are aligned with your values and that they are flexible enough to offer the programs and resources that you might want for your future children.  For instance, if a strong foreign language program is important to you, then identify which schools offer that.  If your child is interested in foreign languages, you won't have to go looking for that opportunity. 

Visit the Schools: Schedule visits to the schools you're interested in. Observe the campus, classrooms, and facilities. Pay attention to the overall atmosphere, student-teacher interactions, and the school's commitment to safety. Talk to the principal, teachers, and current parents to gather firsthand information about the school community and educational philosophy.  This is where you child will be spending many hours each week.  Make sure that you are comfortable with the environment.

Consider Proximity: Evaluate the proximity of the schools to your potential home. Think about the commuting time for both you and your child. Keep in mind that a shorter commute can provide more time for your child to engage in extracurricular activities and family time.  Imagine how much fun it is to walk your child to school.  Imagine how much easier it is to arrange play dates and study sessions. 

Seek Recommendations: Talk to neighbors, friends, and coworkers who live in the area and have children attending local schools. Ask for their feedback and experiences to get a better understanding of the schools' reputation and community involvement.  The best source of information about local schools is frequently neighbors, friends and coworkers - but take it with a grain of salt in case you run into that Grumpy Gail. 

Explore Extracurricular Activities: Look beyond academics and consider the extracurricular activities offered by the schools. Check if they have a variety of clubs, sports teams, music programs, or other activities that align with your child's interests. A well-rounded education includes opportunities outside of the classroom.  

Consider Future Education: If you have long-term plans or concerns about your child's education beyond elementary or middle school, research the feeder schools for the district you are considering. Ensure that the schools in the area can provide a seamless transition to higher grades or secondary education institutions.  While you can certainly move to a different high school district, it is convenient to already be there if possible so that your children can grow up with their future high school classmates.  My daughter's maid of honor for her upcoming wedding is someone she has known since fourth grade.   Their shared memories dating back to grade school are very special. 

Evaluate Resources and Support: Assess the resources available in the schools, such as libraries, technology, and specialized programs. Additionally, consider the level of support provided for students with different learning abilities, including gifted and talented programs, special education services, or English language learner support.

Review Test Scores and Rankings: While test scores and rankings shouldn't be the sole determining factor, they can offer insights into a school's academic performance. Research the standardized test scores, graduation rates, and rankings of the schools to get a general idea of their quality.  A good starting point is always but even that is not a fail proof resource. 

Trust Your Instincts: After considering all the above factors, trust your instincts and make a decision based on what you believe will be the best fit for your child and family. Your understanding of your child's personality, needs, and aspirations is invaluable in choosing the right school.

Remember, the "best" school is subjective and can vary depending on your child's unique requirements and your family's values.  Prioritize finding a school that aligns with your child's educational goals, provides a supportive environment, and offers opportunities for growth and development.  Then you can choose the neighborhood and then the home!  And enjoy the journey! 

Comments (17)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

Thank you for sharing the information. Wishing you continued

success. Have a wonderful day and sell a house. bill

Jun 07, 2023 04:46 AM
faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

Growing up, my parents always chose places to live with great schools. As an adult, with no children, I did the same. I did it for resale value of the home.

Jun 07, 2023 05:05 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Lise... a truly comprehensive post on how to select a school for one's kids. Well done.

Jun 07, 2023 05:27 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Lise,

What a wonderful list on when making a home purchase you incorporate school districts. Often the "best" school is subjective and can vary depending on your child's unique requirements and your family's values. With the issues schools are facing in today's world I'm seeing more looking at private, charter schools and home schooling.

Jun 07, 2023 05:32 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Lise. Great points! Here in Chicago the process is beyond common sense. We have lotteries for several tiers, the tiers are selected based on income, ethnic make-up, neighborhoods another factors. So the choices are made by someone else regardless of your research. And, except for illegal immigrants, you have to test in person to get into this mess. Here in Chicago, the selection process is at best a CRAP Shoot!

Enjoy your day. 

Jun 07, 2023 05:35 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Education is so important and I always harp on it a bit when I see my nephews since they don't really get the motivation they need from their mom.

Jun 07, 2023 05:52 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Very well expressed, not every school is right for every child. Not every child needs a four year college degree, going to a local training center and learning a trade may be much more suitable and provide income for life without massive student loans. It all begins with the right school making that child happy to be independent and self confident.

Jun 07, 2023 07:22 AM
Kathy Streib

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I couldn't agree more!!!!

Jun 07, 2023 07:09 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

This is an excellent and informative piece Lise Howe .  To me the most important point is "Visit the school" and I might add visit with the teachers. 

Jun 07, 2023 08:20 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Lise and schools are so important for the children and you need to do some research on them for the best for the child.  Make it a great day!

Jun 07, 2023 09:02 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Lise- even though Larry and I never had school-aged children living with us, we always took into consideration the school district the home was in. You've listed some excellent points. It's important to speak with parents who have children in the school besides visiting the school. 

Jun 07, 2023 07:14 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good information to share.

I hope all is going well for you this week.

Jun 08, 2023 07:10 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lise, there have been times a buyer has already chosen the charter school, and now needs a home nearby!

Jun 10, 2023 11:37 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lise:

This is excellent advice for parents and would-be parents, and not an easy decision-making process. Parents need to be mindful of the school boundaries in their home search if a particular school is important to them.


Jun 10, 2023 02:27 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Lise Howe thank you for sharing very valuable report with us. Have a wonderful week!

Jun 11, 2023 08:23 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Loved this post, clearly not every school is the right fit for every child, my parents wanted me to go to a Catholic Grammar School that had a Hungarian Nun who thought me how to read and write English.... so I get it, Endre

Jun 14, 2023 10:05 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Jun 15, 2023 06:29 AM
Allie Dacknem
Amica - North Evans, NY
Home owner in NY

Thank you for the helpful perspective. I faced the same thing when our eldest son had to go to college. My husband and I decided to move closer and I can confirm everything you have described in the article. It is very stressful for children to study in a new place, so they often need help. Luckily my husband works at and is always willing to help with his homework, but not everyone has that opportunity. It is important not only to look after yourself and your own needs but also to listen to your child. 

Jul 29, 2023 03:38 PM