As you evaluate schools, take time to explore fully what the schools which you are looking at teach.
This article is a companion article to How Do They Teach? which discusses what goes on in private school classrooms. This article explores the academics and other material which schools actually teach.
When we parents first start thinking about sending our children to private school, one of the first questions which comes to mind is the teaching content. What exactly will the schools you are looking at teach? Obviously with thousands of private schools I cannot address all the permutations and variations which exist. So I thought it might make sense for us to look at several educational approaches and methods and see what they teach. That will at least give you a starting point for some in depth exploration of what they are teaching at schools you might be interested in.
The wee ones won't be at school for very long on a daily basis. Apart from that the teachers will create a rich environment to peak a child's interests. Development of fine and gross motor skills are a focus as are language and speech skills.
Most prekindergarten programs focus on preparing their students for kindergarten. Look for the development of motor skills and teaching children how to socialize. Also look for play-based lessons and an emphasis on collaboration and teamwork and listening. Building on the excitement of discovery is another component in the prekindergarten teacher's portfolio of skills. Children learn by doing. Your child should have lots to do balanced of course with snacks and quiet times. Here. . .read more
Here are some more answers and resources to help you deal with tough questions such as "What do I do when my child doesn't test well?"
I wrote Part 1 of What Do I Do When...? a few years ago. It contained eight questions and my answers. Here are another ten questions. If you think of any other questions which you would like answered, all you have to do is to tweet them to me @privateschl I will give them my best shot.
So, here goes Part 2 of What Do I Do When....?
What do I do when....
I can't decide whether to send my child to private school for the early years or for the high school years? Which is more important?
There are two schools of thought on this subject. Some parents feel that the early years give their children that solid educational foundation and love of learning which is so desirable. Other parents feel that an intense three or four years of high school college preparation is what their children need. Still others send their children right through from prekindergarten through to twelfth grade.
I want my child to have a religious education?
Our faith means so much to us. We have raised our children to be observant and to practice our religion. I hear you and in this situation your best option will probably be a private religious school. The biggest obstacle which you will face has to do with the available options in your area. Private schools exist in just about any faith you can think of. They also exist in various levels of orthodoxy within those faiths. Most religious schools will be. . .read more
Don't assume you cannot afford private school. Don't assume that you make too much money to be eligible for financial aid. Ask. Always ask.
I am always sad to hear parents rule out sending their children to private school because it is too expensive. The conversation usually begins with one of these facts as the reason for considering private school:
1. Their child is gifted.
2. Class sizes in the local public school are way too large.
3. Their child has a learning disability.
Any one of these reasons is a valid reason for considering private school. But, unfortunately, that is as far as considering a private school gets in most cases. Why? Because either the parents assume that they cannot afford private school or they looked at the page on a school's web site showing tuition and fees and panicked.
Considering sending your child is a major decision. As with any major decision, it makes sense to do your due diligence before ruling anything out. When you take time to do a thorough investigation of the facts, as opposed to your assumptions, you just might be pleasantly surprised at what you discover. That applies equally to paying for private school.
Here then are six ways you can pay for a private school education. One just might prove to be the answer you are looking for.
1. Write a check.
Some people can afford to write a check for their children's private school tuition. If you are in a position in life where you can do this, don't forget to ask about a cash discount. Most schools will be thrilled to get their money up front. The usual practice is to. . .read more
The Cristo Rey Network of schools currently comprises some 26 schools in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Truth is they are just getting started.
Cristo Rey schools are unabashedly Roman Catholic. Through and through. They teach Catholic values and religious beliefs. But they do something more which is both unusual and significant. Cristo Rey schools serve students from low income families in urban areas who could not otherwise afford a private school education. The way the Cristo Rey schools do this is to combine a work study program with the academics, sports and extracurricular activities the schools offer. Simply put, the Cristo Rey schools offer a quality education with a work study component.
The Cristo Rey schools got their start back in the 90's in Chicago. The Catholic academic scene was a familiar though depressing one. The diocesan high schools were facing serious financial challenges. Those schools had always been the ray of hope for struggling lower income families who dreamed of an education for their children. The Catholic schools run by the various orders were in good shape because they attracted a clientele which could afford the substantially higher tuition which those schools charged. The Jesuits met with parishioners in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago and asked what they needed most. "A good high school" was the unequivocal response. This short video clip shows what the Jesuits did.
As noted above Cristo Rey schools have a work study program which is an integral part of the life and rhythm of each school. Students work the equivalent of 5 days a month. The school arranges the students' work. . .read more
What do you do when you are dissatisfied with your local public schools? Homeschool your children? Send them to private school? Let's look at your options.
Dissatisfied with your local public schools? When parents are faced with under-performing public schools in their area, what alternatives do they have? In most cases just three options are available: they can keep their children at home and homeschool them. They can also consider sending their children to private school. Or they could relocate to an area with good schools. Let's leave out the last option which is a real stretch for most families. Selling a home and finding a new one is not a project for the faint-hearted.
Fact: Approximately 2 million children were homeschooled in the United States in academic year 2011-2012. Source: Parent and Family Involvement in Education, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012.
Fact: Approximately 4.5 million students attend private school. Source: Private School Universe Survey.
The mothers in this video explain why they are thinking about homeschooling their children.
The other underlying condition which we have to appreciate is that we are talking about average middle class families. Typically these hard-working folks bring in less than $100,000 a year. In many cases much less than that. I feel that this is a very important factor to deal with up front. Why? Because in most cases parents in this income bracket simply feel that they cannot afford private school. So they don't even bother exploring private school options. They are convinced that private schools are for rich kids. In their minds a private school education for. . .read more