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Old 02-23-2008, 11:36 AM
 
Location: NJ
11,642 posts, read 20,825,680 times
Reputation: 4429
Quote:
Originally Posted by apvbguy View Post
did I say every? is there a comprehension problem here?

their is the operative word,
now, remember, i didn't go to a fancy private school, so forgive me that I didn't realize "peer" and "acquaintances or friends" were synonymous.
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Old 02-24-2008, 07:43 PM
bfl
 
31 posts, read 89,247 times
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Let me throw a wrench into this discussion; what about the good public school in those towns with no diversity. As an A-American, I'd love to send my kid to one of those public schools but she'd be one of maybe 5 a-americans in the whole "excellent school". That wreaks havoc on kids' self -confidence ( I know, I went to a boarding school in England) and then there are teachers who have low expectations of them and so don't push them like they would other kids.
What to do? Look for private schools where diversity is becoming important; those schools are recruiting diverse faculty, admitting multi-cultural students, providing scholarships for kids with less means as well as incorporating diversity into the curriculum. This results in better educated kids who graduate and go to excellent colleges and are ready to tackle a world becoming more diverse on a daily basis.
So while I live in a town in Jersey where the schools are excellent and pay high taxes, I choose to look into those private schools that are working on providing a welcoming environment for children of all creeds, economic backgrounds, races and family structures.
Heaven knows where we'll get the annual $44k needed for both our girls but what better to sacrifice for...............
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:07 PM
 
1,914 posts, read 2,038,843 times
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I'm a fan of private schools for two reasons: I went to one and the town I currently live in has terrible public schools.

I don't discount public schools at all. I'd love to live in an area where the public schools were good, I swear. I would love to not have to spend so much money for my kids to get a decent education but I do see (my kids are still in elementary school) a big difference between what is expected of mine (in school conduct, homework, etc.) than my friends kids who do live in a supposed "excellent public school" area.

My husband went to a public school and he's smart as a whip. His siblings went to the same schools and one is a dermatologist and the other is working on her PhD in something I can't pronounce. My husband did great in college...but his frosh year he did have to take a remedial writing and Eng. class. I placed out of Eng. for dummies, baby bio and my entire language requirement (4 semesters?) due to the curriculum at my school...which gave me more time to do pretty much nothing. Good? Not for me!

I believe that if you have a decent school system and a child who will apply themselves (and parents who care) you won't have any issues. I do think that private schools demand a lot more from their students when it comes to academia and the focus is usually all on academia. I do think that an A in a private school AP class is harder to come by than an A in a public school "college prep" class...but it does not mean that a public school child who does well in their classes isn't capable of competing with or surpassing a private school kid if given the same learning material. It's all about the kid.

The snootyness of it all....maybe for some. But it's also a safe place for a lot of kids who don't "fit in" and have miserable times in public school. My OB/GYN took her child out of public (said she mortgaged her house to do so...) and sent him to my alma mater...he was a little artsy-fartsy and was struggling with being tormented every day by a certain "element" in his public school. Once she got him in private his eccentricities were appreciated and encouraged (other than dress....strict dress code). Private schools can get away with enforcing a stricter no- tolerance code when it comes to student behavior than public schools can.

Sorry if this made no sense...I've got a 5 week old at home and sleep depravation makes me loopy.
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:00 PM
 
197 posts, read 520,452 times
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Thanks for the input...

When we moved here (Atlanta), DH and I had a strong bias TOWARDS public. We were raised in NJ and N. DH wet Ivy and I went to Rutgers. Still, we ended up with kids in private school (sort of --kids are actually not yet in Kindergarden!) because we were exposed to one sort of by accident....

The backstory is that the time, they offered a great alternative to preschool. We spent $18K/a year (which we can afford) for both our twins to go to preschool M-F. Our initial intent was for them to experience socialization and the environment seemed so nurturing and positive. I said it felt like Sesame Street. Had they had fun playing with sand and playdoh, I would have been thrilled. We figured we'd spend the $$ for a year or two and then transition to public kindergarden in Sept 08. Instead, we are moving to NJ and our intent is for them to go to PS.

Problem is I fell in love with the school and am now wondering if public school will be enough for us!

The school my children attend is an independent school. It's PreK3-12. Their focus is on teaching creatively. To give you an example: The kids spend some time "studying" a subject area--say China. My son (now just 5 and in PreK4) and his class "went to China" last week and they have "been there since". They "flew" on a plane (bunch of chairs) with a pilot and a meal service. In flight they watched a movie about China. Since visiting China they have measured the "great wall of China" using shoes. They have graphed using chop sticks, have made rice and eaten wonton soup, which today I was informed means cloud. They used chop sticks to pick up stuff, which improves their finger coordination for holding pencils. They have worked on drawing Chinese numbers, have read and studied all about Pandas. This is just an example. On top of all that--both twins are reading 3 & 4 letter words, practicing phonics, play sudoko. They have Spanish every week and music and art and PE. The school rocks and best of all, my kids think they are playing and they skip to school every day.

As for me, well, the school is not all that diverse (economically not at all--racially slightly) but I have still found a wonderful community of parents who just want the best nurturing environment for their kids. No snootyness in the least--instead, a bunch of truly educated parents who just want to cultivate a spirit of learning in their kids and are willing to pay for it.

If we were not moving, we'd stay for several more years and then transfer to yet another private school we hear is even better. Since we are moving, my DH is REALLY excited about not spending tuition and I can understand why... However, my heart does break a bit about the missed opportunity this school offers. I just wonder if even the famed NJ public schools can live up to what we have experienced! I guess I just want to make sure that we don't move somewhere expecting to go public only to end up in private again because the gap is just to wide between what they did preK3 and prek4 and kindegarden....

Please keep your comments coming and by all means, no need to bash.... There are two sides to every story.... Certainly we live in a time that the American public school system has fallen behind worldwide and while NJ may be exempt from that trend, it still is good to inspect what you expect out of our schools...

Thanks,
Lola
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:50 AM
bfl
 
31 posts, read 89,247 times
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When it was time for my older one to go to Kindergaten, I too felt the public school program was fine but come summer, I spoke to a neighbor whose daughter goes to the local catholic school. She chose this route despite excellent public school 'cos Kindg program was only 2.5 hours daily and her child was already used to longer hours at her preschool. I had same issue so we went catholic school route.


My daughter is UNDER challenged and comes home bored. I spoke to the school about giving her extra work but while there are resources to help the child lagging behind, most schools' resources are too stretched to help the under challenged child. I am not just a parent saying I have a bright child (most parents do think so right!), my child has taken different exams for the private schools (Pingry, Kent Place, Montclair Kimberley) and scored 99%, 98% so we are hoping in Sept 08, she can gain admission into a private school where she will be challenged and look forward to going to school and learning. Her least favorite subject is spelling 'cos its too easy!!!) Admission process is for another thread!!!!! Nightmare

The same neighbor in para 1 above has 2 kids and had to withdraw younger one from private school and send her to public school 'cos the kid complained the workload was too much. Neighbor says work load in public school is so light and inadequate but her kid is not academic so .......... Her older one finished in the private school and is now on her way to an IVy.

Having said all of this, there are 3 kids in my immediate neighborhood now in Princeton and they all went to the local public high school.

I guess for MY family, I need a system that recognizes that there is no cookie cutter approach; each child is different - whether lagging behind or under challenged. Private schools have more flexibility (I think) to tailor programs to suit different children, unlike the public schools where laws, resources etc prevent this.
I am interested in my kids being knowledgeable (not just so they get into Ivy league schools; though I'd like that!), honorable and confident young ladies and I don't know that the excellent public schools offer a broad enough curriculum. Diversity of students and faculty is also a HUGE issue for me.
If it was not an issue, I would probably go the excellent public school route and supplement school instruction with after school programs, travel, visits to museums etc.

Look at the towns with excellent public schools. Yes, housing there is pricier but maybe getting a smaller house in these towns might be the way to go.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:50 AM
 
9,125 posts, read 23,184,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lolamom View Post

The school my children attend is an independent school. It's PreK3-12. Their focus is on teaching creatively. To give you an example: The kids spend some time "studying" a subject area--say China. My son (now just 5 and in PreK4) and his class "went to China" last week and they have "been there since". They "flew" on a plane (bunch of chairs) with a pilot and a meal service. In flight they watched a movie about China. Since visiting China they have measured the "great wall of China" using shoes. They have graphed using chop sticks, have made rice and eaten wonton soup, which today I was informed means cloud. They used chop sticks to pick up stuff, which improves their finger coordination for holding pencils. They have worked on drawing Chinese numbers, have read and studied all about Pandas. This is just an example. On top of all that--both twins are reading 3 & 4 letter words, practicing phonics, play sudoko. They have Spanish every week and music and art and PE. The school rocks and best of all, my kids think they are playing and they skip to school every day.
Well, I don't think you're going to find that kind of a program in any public school in NJ- even the best- you're going to find a traditional curriculum that teaches to the state's standards. Even in private schools you're likely to find more traditional programs. The school you're describing sounds like some sort of independent program like Montesouri, so you're most likely going to have to hunt down another private school in NJ with a similar curriculum (and pay the buku $$ that comes with it).
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:27 PM
bfl
 
31 posts, read 89,247 times
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My 4 year old too is in a great preschool where she is reading basic chapter books like Curious George and does computer classes, math addition and subtraction and spanish. At her age, I definitely was not doing half of what she does now. You will definitely NOT get that in public school kinderg as the premise there is the kids are coming into K and will be taught to read, fine motor skills etc. That's fine since public Kindg caters to all 5 year olds including those without the means to fund preschool since there are few if any, state funded preschoolsand assumption is that Kindg is their first exposure to formal instruction. But I worry about my 4 year old having to relearn reading. She will be bored and the curriculum cannot be tailored to suit just her - not even suggesting it should be, where would the funds come from?

So I will be sending her to a private school (and paying the $$$ ) where the curriculum is a guide and NOT the gospel - kids come in all "shapes" and learn at different paces.


I say, if you can afford it, private school is the way to go but you'd be paying $44k for both kids per annum. (Parish) Catholic schools are much cheaper at about $8k per child per annum. Great education and they truly are not the old catholic school caricatures you hear of. These are different from INDEPENDENT catholic schools which are pricer and range from $20k -$22k for elementary school.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:22 PM
rtt
 
227 posts, read 493,387 times
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It really depends on the town. Chatham has a good school system, as does Basking Ridge in that area. The schools in Millburn/Short Hills are also tops. You could start with a town that has a good public school system and if you didn't like it, apply to the private ones. There are tons in those areas like Pingry, Delbarton, Morristown Beard, etc. Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:02 AM
 
197 posts, read 520,452 times
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RTT_thanks! What do you know about Pingry, Delbarton, MoBeard etc? I remember Delbarton when I was young but not much else. I went to Morris Catholic for two years and then transferred to Parsippany Hills. For me, Morris Catholic was a joke relative to Par-Hills which was EXCELLENT--much bigger, much more academic and many more ammentities. Of course, these days it's a different environment, isn't it?
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Central Jersey
1,723 posts, read 2,027,935 times
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What about homeschooling as an alternative? More and more parents are taking their child's education into their own hands. Does anyone have experience with this?
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