Why Private School

A comprehensive look at private schools and why they might be right for your child. Explore the history of private school education, weigh the pros and cons of public vs. private school, and get valuable advice on making the best choice for your child. Learn more about the various types of private schools from military to progressive and review directories from a variety of resources including private school associations and offline publications.
View the most popular articles in Why Private School:
It's a big step sending your darling off to private school. She will probably survive the transition just fine. But how about you? How will you restrain yourself and avoid being an over-protective or helicopter parent? Let's look at how to cope with private school at four grade levels.

Preschool
When you send your baby off to preschool or nursery school, you will go through all kinds of angst. Especially if she's your first child. Or only child. You can offset much of the worry by selecting your preschool or nursery school carefully. The best schools will be hard to get into. Places will be limited. But once she's accepted, then determine how you can be helpful without getting in the way. Most schools will welcome assistance with everything from class activities to fund raising. The key is to stay involved as a team player rather than as the leader which you are probably accustomed to being.

Elementary School
This is where things begin to get interesting from a parenting perspective. Why? Because the elementary years are the time when most children learn those core skills which cast the die for a lifetime of learning. If you have been serious about parenting, you taught your child to read ages ago. Probably when she was two or three years old. You limited her television watching and video games so that she developed her imagination and ability to experience situations vicariously. That worked well in your home. But now . . .read more
Is your grandchild going away to private school? Perhaps you are wondering how you can fit into his new life away from home. You have always enjoyed watching him grow up. You've gone on trips and vacations together. Just because he's away at school doesn't mean that you can't be close. After all this is the 21st century when it's easy to stay connected.
 
Let's look at some of the special things a grandparent can do to stay connected with a beloved grandchild who's off at school.
 

Email
 

It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.
 
 
Just be careful to read your missives carefully before you hit the send button. Remember: you are not there to explain what you mean. So don't be cryptic. He's got plenty to do without wondering what's going on back home. It's . . .read more
Are you thinking about something other than the usual public school experience for your toddler or primary school age child? If you are, then the next question you are most likely asking is exactly what kind of alternatives are out there anyway? How expensive are they? Are there schools in my area? How will the foundation these schools provide serve my child's future learning in grade school, high school and beyond? Let's take a look at each of these questions and offer some answers.
 
Early Education Options
 
Traditional teacher-led education? A follow the child approach as championed by Maria Montessori? The Steiner approach? Reggio Emilia inspired? Those are your broad choices.
 
Traditional teacher-led education remains popular. Most of us are familiar with this approach to teaching primary age school children because we ourselves are products of those classes. The public school system which I attended in Westmount, Montreal back in the '50s used that traditional approach. Indeed we all had desks lined up in rows. Looking back it seems rather quaint and not a little bit militaristic. But that's the way we were taught back then. We had homework. We were given grades. We are rapped on the knuckles if we misbehaved.
 
In the 21st century traditional teacher-led education is the norm in many schools both public and private. There are an infinite number of variations on this approach. Some retain the regimentation and strictness which we and our parents remember. Most, however, tend to have been softened with a deeper understanding of . . .read more
Extracurricular activities are exactly that, extras, right? Unfortunately, in these tough economic times that is very often the case in public schools. Faced with declining tax revenues, public schools have had to make some very heavy cuts in their budgets. It's difficult to justify cutting teachers and course offerings. So, the 'extras' have to be cut. Extras in the public school world include extracurricular activities such as a band or orchestra as well as clubs and other activities.
 
In private schools extracurricular activities are an integral part of the school's offerings. Solid academics, a variety of athletic programs and an assortment of extracurricular activities are considered essential to the way a private school works.

Put another way, you cannot educate a child solely by teaching her academic subjects such as math and science. There's more to education than that. That's where sports and extracurricular activities come in. They allow your child to grow. They allow her to be stimulated by new ideas and ways of thinking. They give her a sense of accomplishment and encourage team spirit. These are all excellent lessons she needs to learn in order to be a successful adult.

Let's look at a couple of schools to get an idea of the rich array of choices your child will encounter at private school. Incidentally, it doesn't matter too much whether the private school you are considering is a day school or a boarding school. Either type of private school will offer more extracurricular activities . . .read more
It is a humbling moment for parents when they realize that their child is gifted. If we accept the definition of gifted as being something along these lines:

"A gifted person is someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression." ....National Association of Gifted Children

then it becomes obvious we have a huge responsibility on our hands. Because you have enriched your child's learning since birth, you understandably are anxious about placing him in a school setting where his giftedness will be misunderstood by both teachers and his peers. You want him to blossom and flourish in a formal school setting. You don't want limits placed on how fast he advances in a particular subject. You also want him to socialize in as normal a manner as possible. What then, besides home schooling, are your options?

The reality is that your choices for educating your gifted child may be limited by where you live and the programs available in your local public and private schools. Private schools for gifted children are highly specialized schools with well-qualified faculty who understand how to teach gifted children. Admission is generally based on several criteria one of which is an IQ test with a minimum of 125-140 the norm. The schools will also want to interview you and your child in order to see if there is a good match between your needs and requirements . . .read more
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Why Private School

About Private Schools

An in depth look at private schools, including history, a comparison to public education, and a glimpse of what's being taught. Learn about the benefits of attending private school, to both students and parents. Explore private schools options when living abroad, and debunk many of the myths regarding private school education.

Kinds of Schools

Private schools are just as varied as public schools. From Catholic to progressive, military to special needs, private schools offer a lot of options. Take a comprehensive look into the many types of private schools, weigh the pros and cons of each, and get helpful tips on choosing one that works best for your child.

School Life

Get a glimpse of private school life. Here you'll find a survival guide for parents, brush up on terms and jargon, and learn why extracurricular activities are so important.

Directories

We offer several directories to aid in your choice of a private school. Included are quick links to national, regional and state associations, a list of offline resources to aid in our decision, and local school directories for several metropolitan areas.