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Old 08-26-2008, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
959 posts, read 1,672,891 times
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how far away do you live from their school? If you live far, does it bother your child to not have school friends around? We are considering a private school but it is not going to be very near to our home so I wanted to get other's thoughts.

Kristine
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:23 AM
 
28,900 posts, read 48,683,325 times
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We're parents who went from private school to public school. Here are my thoughts.

Don't get me wrong. If you feel a public education doesn't align with your spiritual values, then private school is definitely the way to go. However, I think if there is a very good public school system in your area, you're better off enrolling your child there.

The higher achievement scores in private school have less to do with the quality of instruction, and more with the commitment of the parents. When a parent is writing a tuition check for $2000 every month, you better believe that the homework is getting done every night. However, having experienced both a top-notch private school and a top-notch public school, I've found that the quality of instruction at that level isn't very different at all. You're just paying a lot less for it.

Limited curriculum. Yes, if the only educational goal is the three Rs, then you'll find everything you need in private school. However, I would offer that if you have a kid with musical or artistic talent, those programs tend to suffer in private schools. Yet those are equally important aspects of the educational experience. Now, somebody will read this and say, "Well, at my kid's private school, we have a great art teacher." And that may be valid. But as a general rule, most private schools simply do not have the breadth and depth of offerings that public schools enjoy.

The social aspect. One thing we did not realize about private schools? That the kids come from everywhere. So if your child makes a friend, the chances are that he will live 15-20 miles away, rather than down the block. Then you wind up constantly driving your kids places on the weekend simply to have playtime with friends.

The homework fetish. I think private schools, because they are typically underfunded, make it up with busywork, particularly in the realm of homework. At our former private school, the class size was 25 students. In our public school, the class size is 15. This allows much more personalized instruction, rather than forcing the teacher to fling a sheaf of worksheets at kids and expect them to turn it in the next morning. At a public school, the teacher seems to have more time to work on an individual basis. My children typically had 3 hours of homework a night. Now, it's half that. Yet, we're finding that we're actually ahead in the curriculum than students at the former school.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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The private schools in my area give NO homework whatsoever, so I guess it depends.

As far as friends, not all friends come from school. There are neighborhood friends, friends from outside activities, etc. If a child makes a very good friend from school, there are always ways to arrange for them to spend time together outside of school.
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Old 08-26-2008, 10:05 AM
 
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We homeschool, not private school, but I can add to the "socialization" aspect of your question. We have several homeschool activities that we participate in, and of course the neighborhood children don't. They all go to the elementary school down the street (maybe a few go to Catholic school, I don't know), and my kids do'nt. They have no problem playing together, though. We have our "homeschool group" friends, our "Bible Study" friends, and our neighborhood friends.

As long as your children have friends and get to see kids (even if they are different kids) outside of school, your kids will be fine! It's nice to see them interact with different groups, as well, as opposed to having the same cliques and dynamics in the neighborhood as in school/other activities.

Cpg, it's great that you have a good public school near you... many, many public schools have eliminated or greatly reduced art/music/enrichment, though, and many of them simply teach to a standardized test, and send the kids home with tons of core curriculum homework. When we lived in Florida, I do'nt think I could have found a private school that was not far better than the public schools if I tried (not that I did try, I'm just saying). So while in some areas the public schools might be comparable to good private schools, in many areas, it's simply not even a comparison.
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:09 AM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
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I agree with tamitrail. My kids went to a public magnet school, so a lot of the students came from all over the city. Private school students don't all usually come from the same neighborhood either. (Maybe the school could tell you if there are other students from your neighborhood attending?)

It's a little harder for the kids if their best buddy lives ten miles away rather than just down the block, but there are always ways to get the kids together. It may be a little harder to form very close friendships because of this.
My kids too made friends with kids in the neighborhood, kids in scouting, tae kwon do, etc. Lots of opportunities out there.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:34 PM
 
516 posts, read 1,767,292 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Don't get me wrong. If you feel a public education doesn't align with your spiritual values, then private school is definitely the way to go.
Spiritual or religious reasons are not the only reasons to choose a private school. You are aware that there are a lot of secular private schools, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
However, I think if there is a very good public school system in your area, you're better off enrolling your child there.
Not necessarily. We have good public schools where we live, but my son would be served terribly by them. In private school, at age 6, he is now doing 5th grade spelling, multiplication and division, for example. He has pretty much completed the 4th grade curriculum that the school has. A public school simply would not be able to accommodate him, even in a Gifted program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
The higher achievement scores in private school have less to do with the quality of instruction, and more with the commitment of the parents. When a parent is writing a tuition check for $2000 every month, you better believe that the homework is getting done every night.
You're mostly right there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
However, having experienced both a top-notch private school and a top-notch public school, I've found that the quality of instruction at that level isn't very different at all. You're just paying a lot less for it.
But with a public school, you have more bureaucracy and less flexibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Limited curriculum. Yes, if the only educational goal is the three Rs, then you'll find everything you need in private school. However, I would offer that if you have a kid with musical or artistic talent, those programs tend to suffer in private schools.
Based on what? Just about every private school I have seen has all sorts of music and art programs. But in CA, at least, we're looking at potential loss of funding for those programs in public schools. They've pretty much been eliminated from elementary schools in my area already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Yet those are equally important aspects of the educational experience. Now, somebody will read this and say, "Well, at my kid's private school, we have a great art teacher." And that may be valid. But as a general rule, most private schools simply do not have the breadth and depth of offerings that public schools enjoy.
Again, I ask where you get that information from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
The social aspect. One thing we did not realize about private schools? That the kids come from everywhere. So if your child makes a friend, the chances are that he will live 15-20 miles away, rather than down the block. Then you wind up constantly driving your kids places on the weekend simply to have playtime with friends.
Oh, god forbid that you have to drive somewhere for your child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
The homework fetish. I think private schools, because they are typically underfunded, make it up with busywork, particularly in the realm of homework.
Based on what?

My son got a homework packet every week, specifically tailored to where he was.

Or is your complaint that they DO give homework?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
At our former private school, the class size was 25 students. In our public school, the class size is 15. This allows much more personalized instruction, rather than forcing the teacher to fling a sheaf of worksheets at kids and expect them to turn it in the next morning. At a public school, the teacher seems to have more time to work on an individual basis.
Not all public schools are fortunate enough to have that good of a ratio, and many private schools are. My son's had about 12:1.

It seems to me that you are comparing a mediocre private school to a good public school, based only on your on personal experience. Having brought one child through the public school system, I can tell you that I am definitely NOT sending my son to public schools.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
427 posts, read 1,290,920 times
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I'm not a parent but I thought an opinion of someone who went to publice and private might help. I went to public school until 8th grade, and then went to a catholic high school, I'm not catholic, so religion is not the only reason.

My school was about 15-20 mins from my house, and I had friends that did live kinda far away, but it was not bad. We would get together outside of school occasionally. Plus I would absolutly reccomend signing up for after school activities. You get to socialize with friends that do live to far away to see often outside of school.

As far as classes, it all depends on the school, and the atmosphere. Some schools offer more. My high school offered a lot of options for classes as well as different levels. I loved and am so glad I did not go to the public school. You I would suggest looking into a few different private schools, and then ask if your child can visit for the day, they always say yes. You learn a lot after spending even a day.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:20 PM
 
13,779 posts, read 24,391,748 times
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All of my schoolage children are in private school and always have been.

We just moved about a year and a half ago and we are much closer to their schools. I have 2 sons that are 5 minutes away (in traffic and me speeding!!), another son 5 minutes the other direction and my daughters school is about 15 minutes away.

In our former neighborhood our children did not have many neighborhood friends because they did not go to school with the other kids. It was not easy. We now live in the neighborhood where many of the other kids live who go to school with them and it is much better.

The kids have many more opportunities than they would have in public schools here. Their schools are all very old and established so there is a very strong alumni base in which to call during campaigns. The kids are offered piano, violin, orchestra, every sport imaginable, several overseas trips every year are offered to the upper schoolers, AP and honors classes, etc.

I am not sure what your schools situation is but ask them about their endowment. Their numbers reflect their alum and parents fiscal participation.

Good luck to you!
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:50 PM
 
2,185 posts, read 3,357,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
When a parent is writing a tuition check for $2000 every month, you better believe that the homework is getting done every night.
Most of the rest of your post I either agree with or have noticed other posters respond to sufficiently.

To the last, I can tell you that there are plenty of underachievers in the private schools, as well - and just as many completely flummoxed teachers and counselors and parents (on a percentage basis) trying to resolve the problem (and/or pointing fingers all around, to assign blame).
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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At our school, kids come from all of the city which definitely adds to the diversity that we value.
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