Perhaps you are considering homeschooling. While homeschooling is doable, the onus is on you to track everything and make sure all the paperwork is completed and submitted and approved by local and state authorities. It's a lot of work. Indeed it is a full-time job. Now contrast that with the kind of life and activities which your child can have at private school:
Here are the facts. You decide.
Privilege and wealth were rarely factors in establishing those early schools as you will see in this short history of The Milton Hershey School. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, The Milton Hershey School was founded in 1909 with a few students from poor families. It now serves over 1,800 students. The School is funded by a trust established by Milton S. Hershey and his wife Catherine.
2. Private schools offer all kinds of educational philosophies.
You will be able to choose from several approaches to early childhood education including Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia and traditional PK-6. Montessori is a very popular approach for teaching preschool and primary age children. The movement was started in Rome by a visionary medical doctor by the name of Maria Montessori. She worked with the poorest children in the ghettos of Rome because she believed that they could be educated and shown how to build a successful life with that education. Dr. Montessori's philosophy was to "Follow the child". She believed that children should be allowed to figure things out with a minimum of guidance and interference from a teacher. Developing a child's imagination, creativity and self-reliance were important objectives for Dr. Montessori.
The problem with public school budgets is that the so-called extras or non-essential programs are the first to be deleted from the budget. Unfortunately sports and extracurricular activities fall into the broad category of non-essential programs. Private schools consider sports to be an integral, indispensable part of their educational offerings. Sports are generally compulsory for all students. Everybody participates in some athletic activity. It may not be at the varsity level but it will be an athletic activity nonetheless.
Private schools take the view that sports, extracurriculars and academics are essential to developing a balanced approach to education. Playing on an intramural team or even a varsity team sharpens young people. Same thing with singing in a chorus or being in a play. Extracurricular activities allow your child to explore things which appeal to her. They develop poise, confidence, leadership and teamwork skills.
I have saved the best rumor for the last. Over the past decade in particular one school after another has stepped up to the plate and put substantial amounts of money on the line for financial aid. They want a diverse student body. They know that if they just leave the doors open to only those who can afford, then their applicant pool will be limited.
Some people can write a check for a year's tuition and never miss it. But with private school tuitions in the $20,000 to $30,000 range for day school and more than $50,000 for boarding school, the rest of us have to be creative.
You have several options available to you.
- Ask about financial aid. Each school has its own financial aid program. Don't assume that the programs are similar.
- Find out whether your child is eligible for a scholarship because of a company or affinity group you belong to.
- Structure your payments to fit your budget by using a tuition payment plan.
- Borrow the funds.
- Consider sending your child to a free school.
Now that you see that most of the rumors are true, why not do a bit of exploring and see if private school isn't a great option for your child? Good luck in finding the right school for you and your child!