By Gina Abuyuan

Traditional or progressive schools—what’s best for your child?

I am obviously an advocate of the more “progressive” route. Some parents even call it “un-schooling.” My teen goes to a high school that focuses on junior entrepreneurship; my twins attend a blended schooling program that puts together the experience of classroom, online, and homeschooling. I don’t believe that rote memorization or rules to conform will make my children achieve their best potential.

However, progressive schools aren’t for all; depending on what you envision your child to be in the future, among others, he or she may just fit in a traditional school.


  • Your child’s personality. Many counselors, educators, and human resource experts usually refer to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment to determine what tasks or duties best fit individuals (it’s also got a version for pre-teens). Your child can be an extravert, intravert, sensing, intuitive, thinking, feeling, judging, or perceiving type. Extraverts like to talk and thrive in groups, which may make them shine better in bigger classes; intuitive types do well in environments that encourage original ways to solve problems (which is offered by non-trad schools). Kids who are “feeling” like to relate to other people and dislike teachers who are distant; judging types are organized who have no problem with defined tasks, which is clearly apparent in traditional environments.
  • What matters to you? Traditional schools offer standardized tests to know your child’s educational standing. Kids are grouped by age and academic standing. Since traditional schools’ names are already established, they offer the appeal of more job opportunities later on. If you and your husband are of the type to value social connections, or acknowledge what “the old boy network” can offer, then traditional schools may just be for you.
  • Your time. Progressive schools call for a lot of parent involvement. As I said in my previous post, I’m quite hands-on and take my kids out on self-imposed field trips to give them the experience that the classroom is beyond the four walls of whatever school building or institution. But I can do this because I work from home and my schedule is flexible. When I was working fulltime, I let the teachers do the teaching. Even when my daughter was going to a progressive school, I seldom sat down with her to discuss her lessons. I did go to school activities, but that was it.
  • Your child’s cues. If you can see your child enjoying going to a traditional school, if he isn’t dragging his feet and complaining and making excuses not to go, then that means he’s happy and content. But, if he displays any extreme behavior—“ cannot cope in his current classroom setup…a highly populated school or one with conventional rules and regulations; is having academic performance difficulties; is disruptive or disorderly…; shows signs of emotional maladjustment such as anxiety, loss of sleep or loss of interest,” according to an article written by Karisma Kasilag for HIPP Magazine—it’s time to switch.

Good luck!

Photo by Andy Falconer on Unsplash