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.
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Updated   November 24, 2017 |
Which Schools Did Our First Presidents Attend? Part 1 - Washington to Lincoln
A fascinating look at where our first Presidents went to school.

Not many schools existed in colonial times in our young nation. The dearth of schools makes you wonder what forces shaped the philosophies and thinking of the men who became our first sixteen presidents. In the 18th and early 19th-centuries, formal education usually took place in a small, intimate setting in the home of a minister. Lessons included what we now call core subjects, i.e., reading, writing, and mathematics. Teachers also taught the Scriptures and classical languages.

In pre-Revolution days, occasionally young men were sent off to England to study in boarding or public schools there. Many of these early presidents matriculated to colleges such as William and Mary, Harvard, Princeton and the University of North Carolina, back in the days when these institutions were just becoming established. Politics, agriculture, law, and the armed services figure prominently in the career paths of these distinguished men.

Washington

 

1 - George Washington 

President from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797. No party affiliation.
Born: February 22, 1732, Westmoreland County, Virginia, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia

Our first President, George Washington, was homeschooled and self-taught. His formal education consisted of lessons in mathematics, reading, and writing.  Scholars seem to think that George attended classes with Reverend James Marye, Rector of Saint George's Parish. Such classes in a private teacher's home are considered the precursors of our modern private schools.

When in his teens, Washington's father died. So,

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Updated   January 08, 2016 |
A Baker's Dozen of 'Must Have' Sites
Here are my picks for 'must have' web sites when it comes to finding out about private K-12 schools.

As you research private schools you will find yourself coming back to a handful of web sites again and again. Why? Because they are informative, useful and easy to use. Here are my picks for 'must have' web sites when it comes to finding out about private K-12 schools.

The Association of Boarding Schools
http://www.boardingschools.com/

The Association of Boarding Schools site is dynamic and clean. I want to find information quickly with as few clicks as possible. The TABS site is one of those well-designed sites which allows you to do just that. You can drill down to member boarding schools, learn about recruiting fairs, financing, boarding school life and just about anything to do with boarding schools. This site is a 'must have' for parents living outside the United States who are thinking about sending their children to American boarding schools.

Google Maps
maps.google.com 

I included maps.google.com on this list of 'must have' web sites because it allows me to zoom in and look at the street view. That is not important for schools and locations I know. But when I am researching a school in another state, Google Maps allows me to get the lay of the land quickly and efficiently. Also, because it is available as an app, I can plug the address in on my smartphone and get directions to the campuses of the schools which I am visiting.

SSAT
www.ssat.org/

Standardized admissions testing is an important component of your

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Updated   November 06, 2016 |
Why Would I Want to....
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. We explore this and several more related subjects.
Which path should I choose?

Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. Similarly many teachers flirt with the idea of teaching in a private school without delving into the matter deeply. Supporting your alma mater financially is another concept many alumni figure is somebody else's job. Of course, it isn't.

 

Send my child to private school?

 

You would want to send your child to private school for several reasons. The public schools in your area may not offer all the academic programs you want your child to have as she prepares for college a couple of years from now. The local public schools may have had to cut extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. You want your child to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Sports programs may have been cut as well. Many school districts are struggling with their budgets and that impacts academics, extracurricular activities and athletic programs across the board. Those kinds of fiscal pressures make the extras problemmatic at best. Who wouldn't want their child to be in academic surroundings where anything is possible as this short video suggests. Making the decision to send your child to private school requires some serious analysis and discussion of your aims and objectives. When we were having that discussion, we had two concerns: 1) stretching out children academically as well as providing a range of extracurricular activities and sports and 2) providing adequate supervision after school and

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Updated   May 26, 2016 |
Occupying the special niche which they do, private schools often seem to mystify parents largely because so much misinformation exists. Hopefully this list of facts about private schools will help clear the air.
Late Night Show host David Letterman retires at the end of May 2015. With his famous Top Ten lists in mind, here is my list of Top Ten Facts About Private Schools.
 
10. There are schools for just about every need you can imagine.
 
Perhaps this should be number one on the list. In any case it is true. There are private schools for just about any need or requirement you can think of. Private schools come in all shapes and sizes. There are primary schools, K-8 schools, junior boarding schools, Roman Catholic schools, military schools, schools which offer programs for students with learning differences, schools in urban areas, schools out in the country, large schools, small schools, schools with instruction in languages other than English and on and on. With approximately 29,000 private schools in the United States the chances of your finding what you are looking for are pretty good.
 
9. Private schools are more affordable than you think.
 
Private school is an extra expense as well as being a substantial sacrifice for many families. On the other most private schools offer needs-based financial aid. The amount of aid is determined by the individual schools. Some schools even offer a tuition free education if your family financial situation is below a specific threshold.
 
8. Everybody participates in sports in private school.
 
Private schools like to say that they educate the whole child. Requiring everybody to participate in sports is one way to accomplish that goal. In most schools there is a set weekday
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Updated   April 05, 2016 |
Private School Quiz
Test your knowledge of private school facts and trivia with these twenty-one questions and answers.
Test your knowledge of private school facts and trivia with these twenty-one questions and answers.

The Questions
 
1. How many private schools are there in the U.S.A.?
2. How many boarding schools are there?
3. Which private school offers the most Advanced Placement courses?
4. Which private school is the most expensive?
5. Which private school did Bill Gates graduate from?
6. How many Montessori schools are there in the U.S.A?
7. Where did Reggio-Emilia schools get there name?
8. Who founded the movement which spawned the modern Waldorf schools?
9. Which is the oldest school in the U.S.A.?
10. What was Maria Montessori's degree in?
11. Who was the founder of what we now call the progressive schools movement?
12. What percentage of American students attend private school?
13. What is the name of the schools established by the last Hawaiian princess?
14. Which New England family founded Exeter and Andover?
15. Which Roman Catholic order established a network of prestigious high schools?
16. What grade does Fifth Form refer to?
17. How many Jewish schools are there in Brooklyn, New York?
18. What does the term crew refer to?
19. What is the oldest private school athletic league?
20. What is the name of the independent school association based in Washington, DC?
21. Which private school has the largest endowment?
 
The Answers:
 
1. How many private schools are there in the U.S.A.?
 
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) does a survey of private schools every two years. Their most recent data from the 2011-2012 survey shows 30,861 schools, 4,494,845 students and 466,467 students in schools which are members
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