Private School just for Elementary is it worth it?

Magaly - posted on 08/10/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hi, we are planning to place my daughter in a private christian school but I'm still not sure what to do, as my husband doesn't want our kids to be in private school for high school. He says he just want them to get the love for education and great foundation in elementary years and perhaps in middle, but then place them in a good public high school. So my question is it worth paying all those years in private if they are going to end up in a public school? I have seen many private schools that are only till 8th grade and probably there is a reason why, that I would love to know what those parents do after school ends? Any help would be great! Thanks

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Chet - posted on 08/10/2013

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Keep in mind that the number one predictor of academic success is not amount of money spent, it's level of parental involvement in your education. Private schools, to a large extent, are a self fulfilling prophecy. Typically, you are very committed to your child's education if you're prepared to fork out $20,000 a year on private school. A huge part of that love of learning and strong foundation that you're looking for actually comes from home (not school).

A_m_b_hall - posted on 08/11/2013

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It's not uncommon. I teach in the public schools and we see many former private school students enter at 6th grade or 9th grade. Where I live the public high schools are pretty decent and most of them offer more opportunities in AP or IB than the private schools can. Also, the public schools tend to offer more extracurriculars. I know that many parents hope that the elementary and middle school years spent in a private school will instill discipline and values. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn't. I've seen former private school kids flunk because they couldn't figure out how to survive in classes with 36 students and a looser disciplinary environment. Some slacked off or ran wild. Others withdrew and just stopped doing work.
If you feel confident in the caliber of your local high schools, what you have planned may work for you. Continue to monitor the situation though. High schools can change dramatically with the influx of a particularly challenging group of freshman or a change of principal.
I will add that my 7 year old daughter goes to private school. In part, it is because she is able to take art, music, AND foreign language there. Our neighborhood public school is struggling to keep art and music classes in rotation (students can take one but not the other).

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Chet - posted on 08/10/2013

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After private elementary school I think most kids go to private high school. In our city, there are many more private high school spots than private elementary school spots. Forty percent of students here go to private high school (it's not this high in most cities) and at least half of those kids went to public elementary schools. People tend to go public for the lower grades and switch to private in grade 7. I'm not a big believer in private school. I would consider it only if public school and home schooling weren't going to work. However, I would be much more likely to go private for high school than elementary school. At the elementary level I don't see much difference between public school and private school unless you're looking for a specialized curriculum (like a religious school).

Chet - posted on 08/10/2013

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This is really a very personal choice. It depends so much on your particular child, your public school options, your private school options, etc. Honestly, in the lowest grades (like kindergarten to grade 2) your child just needs to like school. Find a school where your child feels secure and happy and loves his teacher. It's hard to learn and form positive associations with education if you're unhappy.

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