How to choose the best school for your child

Where your child goes to school is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Given how their education can impact their future, you might be tempted to take control and decide for them. However, you might be doing more damage than helping them in the long run. 

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Your job as parents is to support them throughout the process so they can choose their path and find an educational institution that will not only make them happy, but also bring out the best in them as they prepare for real life. Here are helpful ways you can help determine the best school for your child without going overboard:

  1. Create a list of school options with your child. If your child doesn’t have a particular dream school, you should help them gauge their choices by brainstorming with them. It’s vital that you take time to listen and understand what your child needs and wants. 

For instance, if your child is an independent learner who learns best at his own pace, he might do better in a Montessori school. If your child responds better in a structured teaching style, then a traditional school might be best for him. Keep an open mind and decide on what will give your child what he needs.

  1. Visit school campuses with your child. Some academic institutions have impressive websites with carefully curated photos, but in reality, the school leaves much to be desired. Instead of relying on brochures and the internet, take time to visit school campuses with your kid. 

Schools are open to tours. You just need to schedule your visit in advance unless you’re an alumnus of that institution and have access to the grounds. You and your child can get a feel of the campus atmosphere to determine if it’s the right fit. 

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  1. Provide guidance and support. While your child should have a say on where they will study, you should give them guidance based on pros and cons, and what you know about the school options. Choosing a school is a big decision and might cause anxiety for your child, so it’s best to be there for them. 

The best way to provide emotional support is by actively listening to them. You should make your child feel comfortable about discussing their options and fears. Listen to understand where they’re coming from so you can help them make the right choice. 

  1. Prepare financially as soon as possible. Tuition fees are very expensive, especially with rising inflation so you need to prepare and be ready to provide for your child’s education. This way, you will be able to provide the best education for them. 

Once you have made your choice for your child’s primary education, it is time to think ahead and prepare for the next big educational expense: college. You can save up on your own, or you can get AIA Philippines’ Future Scholar, an insurance product that gives guaranteed cash payouts that can help pay for your child’s tertiary education. Whatever happens, you’re confident your child will be able to get the college education that you envisioned. 

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Future Scholar doesn’t just help you afford costly school expenses. Aside from guaranteed savings, Future Scholar has an investment component so you can look out for your child financially even after they graduate from college. Moreover, you can choose to build your child’s education funds in five years or until the child reaches the age of 17. Should you decide not to use the funds for educational expenses, it can also be used for other big expenses in the future like buying a car or post graduate studies abroad.

In addition, Future Scholar gives you peace of mind. Whatever happens, your child will have money set aside for his future needs. Aside from that, your child or your chosen beneficiary can also be entitled to an additional lump-sum cash benefit should anything untoward happen to you.

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“We know that the pandemic and the volatile economy has made everyone insecure about their savings. As a parent myself, I understand every parent’s desire to ensure that there are guaranteed benefits intended for their child’s future,” said Tennyson Paras, AIA Philippines’ Head of Products. “And this is what we had in mind when our Products Team designed AIA Future Scholar. We wanted to make sure that no matter what happens, a healthier, longer and better life awaits our children.”

If you want to know more about AIA Future Scholar and how it can help you guarantee savings for your child’s future needs, click here.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

What we need in dealing with a child with special needs

Being a mom of a child with special needs, I sometimes balk at the enormity of the added responsibility. I feel guilty at times for thinking that while parenting is hard enough, it is sometimes made harder by having to contend with the all the extra support, attention and understanding required by a special needs child.

The reality is that, as with all life, there are good times as well as bad; and some days are better or worse than others. I’m grateful that, for the most part, the good times far outweigh the bad.

My son is in the autism spectrum which means that he has difficulties with communication and social interaction. He has overcome a lot of his previous difficulties in managing himself in social situations at home and in school. In fact, far from the stereotype of kids with autism who have difficulty looking people in the eye, he has grown gregarious and friendly, waving and saying hi to strangers in restaurants and malls (which present a new set of problems).

Still, he struggles with schoolwork. For instance, while he is already included in mainstream classes, his reading level is not at the proper level for his age. His difficulties at school prompt those little nagging doubts in my head about his future and how he will need to cope with more and more challenges as he grows older.

These doubts lead me to thinking on what I need to provide to help him deal with what he needs to face, in the present and future.

Fortunately, in a recent seminar held at his school, assistant chief of DepEd’s SPED Unit Dr. Elvira Rocal effectively sums up these points in her talk “3 C’s in Educating Learners with Special Needs in the 21st Century.” You would think that these C’s would involve technology but they are pretty much basic and common-sense.

Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) would benefit from:

  • Connection. Being wired differently from their peers and even their own family can feel very isolating. They need to feel like they’re still a part of our group, that they belong. We need to build emotional connections with them to motivate them to learn and to minimize their feelings of isolation. Since my son is a budding foodie, I try to interest him in learning how to prepare simple meals and how he can add his own touch to his food. I am proud to say that he can prepare his own bowl of cereal every morning (a simple task for most but a significant feat for us) and has incorporated his own variations such as using his Milo as a substitute for milk to suit his taste.
  • Collaboration. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It is even more so when it comes to raising a special needs child. You would need to rely on the expertise and help of developmental pediatricians, therapists, teachers and school personnel in assessing and providing for the requirements of special needs kids. At home, I have come to rely on my daughter, #ExhibitA, in helping my son with his homework and projects. My son also has a network of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and family friends who treat him as just another ordinary kid while also on the lookout for opportunities to help him with his special needs.
  • Compassion. I have come to accept that there will be things that my son will always have difficulty with. In many ways, he will never be like other kids his age. However, he has his own point of view and opinions that he wants to express and his own wants and dreams that he wants to achieve. My role as his mom is not to regret what he cannot do, but to encourage and celebrate what he can.

Raising and educating a special needs child is already a huge challenge and responsibility. If you are a parent dealing with this situation, do reach out to professionals who can help you and to your family and community as well.

Click here to see Smart Parenting’s list of developmental pediatricians in Metro Manila.

Click here to know more about the Special Education Unit of the Department of Education (DepEd).

Read this post about my initial struggles with my son’s condition.

For more information on supporting the learning efforts of kids with special needs, check out these books on Amazon.com:


Parents and Families of Students With Special Needs: Collaborating Across the Age Span 


How the Special Needs Brain Learns Third Edition


Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs, Fourth Edition 4th Edition

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