You want the best possible education for your child. The local school district is reasonably good but is facing some drastic budget cuts next year and, as far as you can tell, probably for many years after that. You don't want to sacrifice your child's educational opportunities neither do you want to spend money needlessly on other options, such as private school
Private school makes sense on so many levels because everything's there. The facilities, the staff, the activities, the academics - the lot. Homeschooling is certainly doable, but the onus is on you to track everything and make sure all the paperwork is completed and submitted and approved.
So, what about some of those rumors you have heard about private school? Well, those rumors are indeed true.
They are not just for rich kids any more. Decades ago you might have been able to make a case that some - but certainly not all - private schools were just for the children of privileged, wealthy families. Interestingly enough, most of the top American private schools started with very altruistic motives and aspirations. They were committed to creating a better society populated with skilled citizens who could think and reason.
In the 21st century the pendulum has swung
back to those idealistic roots. There's hardly a private school out there which doesn't have diversity as one of its top priorities. That means school now proactively seek out applicants from every quarter of society. Not just the kids who folks have a country club membership.
They offer all kinds of educational philosophies. Public schools are required to teach a state-mandated curriculum. Furthermore they are required to test their students at various points using state-approved tests. As a result, a large part of the teaching is focused on preparing for those tests. And there are certain subjects which may not be taught, depending on the local jurisdiction's philosophy and politics.
Private schools, on the other hand, can teach anything they want
, any way they want. So, for example, if you want a religious component to your child's education, you will be able to have that in a private school. Each private school is unique with only a couple of exceptions. The Cristo Rey
and the Carden
schools, for example, will offer pretty much the same curriculum and teaching approach across all their schools. Otherwise, private schools are unique and individual in their approaches to curriculum and how they teach it. That uniqueness is just part of private schools' DNA.
Private school academic courses cover a lot of ground.
Guilty as charged. Of course, it's not quite that simple. But essentially private schools, because they have fewer students per class
, can move through the academic material much more quickly than is possible when you have a class size of 25-30 children. Very little valuable teaching time is spent dealing with discipline or bureaucracy. Private school teachers get to teach. And the students they are teaching want to learn. As a result, you can cover a lot of academic ground under those circumstances.
As you begin to explore and evaluate private schools, you will have to decide which approach and which academic curriculum works best for your child. There are a host of variables to sift through. The end result is that you should with any luck be able to find a school which satisfies most of your requirements and gives your child that educational foundation she so richly deserves.
Sports programs and extracurricular activities don't get cut. 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 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 varisty team sharpens young people. Same thing with singing in a chorus or being in a play. These are formative experiences which your child you look back on with great affection and gratitude.
Private schools offer generous financial aid. 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.
The financial aid programs vary widely, so you will have to ask for particulars. If a school has an income-blind financial aid program
, as many do, they will advertise that fact where everybody can see it on their splash pages. You will have to submit tax returns and other financial data. But even that is done discreetly through a special organization which handles private school financial aid requests for hundreds of schools.
Now that you see that the rumors are true, why not do a bit of exploring and see if private school isn't the right option for your child? Good luck!