Private schooling

Lessons from Private School

While I have loved homeschooling, it began to be problematic with one of my children. As an extrovert, my daughter gains energy from being around other people. She thrives with rigid structure. As she got older, homeschooling became a battleground. We both started to realize that, for the sake of our relationship, I needed to be her mom, and she needed a new teacher.

I prayed about it, and we talked about public school, but we just didn’t have peace about it. I hadn’t heard many positive things about our local middle school, and we didn’t think it would be a good fit for her. So we decided to visit a private Christian school, and that school turned out to be an answer to prayer.

The Good About Private School

  • The teachers at our private school are loving, kind, and responsive to my daughter’s needs. It feels like they are her second family.
  • Smaller class sizes allow for more individual attention from the teacher and fewer distractions for her.
  • I love that the teachers and administration feel that this is their calling: to provide this Christian environment in which to educate children. It is evident in all that they do.
  • My daughter has thrived academically as she feels positive peer pressure to complete her assignments and study. She wants to do well, which wasn’t always the case when she was homeschooled.
  • The person who first thought of school uniforms was a GENIUS!
  • For the most part, parents who send their kids to this school seem to be like-minded in teaching their children the value of kindness, respect, and hard work.
  • Her particular school is, unusually, very diverse for a small, private, Christian school.
  • Each day when my daughter goes to school, she gets a little taste of reality. She has to follow the rules just like everyone else. She cannot use her strong-willed persistence to negotiate due dates or work requirements. And just like in the real world, life at school is not always fair.

The Bad About Private School

  • The money. Yes, it’s certainly an investment and not one to be taken lightly. It’s hard to justify making the decision to send your child to a private school when there are free or lower-cost alternatives. The good news is that there are 12-month payment plan options. That does make it easier to budget and plan.
  • No matter what the environment, when middle school girls are put together for long periods of time, there will be some problems. A Christian school is no exception. We have experienced some “mean girls” and some bullying. But, the administration has taken quick, decisive action whenever we have talked to them about it, and we have been happy with the way they handle it.
  • While she has experienced some positive peer pressure, there has been negative as well. She feels different and out of place because she actually enjoys school and takes it seriously. There is pressure to conform to what “everyone” else is doing.

The Ugly About Private School

  • As with any other traditional school, there is no escaping the cycle of “teach, study, test, dump”. Lessons are taught, quizzes and tests are performed, and then most of the students proceed to forget what they have crammed into short-term memory. This is so common that our culture has become used to it and accepts it as the only possibility. My education was the same, even in college. This is my one of my biggest issues with the traditional school model.

Why We Made Different Choices for Our Different Kids

Because each of my children is different and their needs are different, we have chosen different educational paths for them. My son is still happily homeschooling and thriving. My daughter needs more structure and social interaction, so it is likely that she will stay in her current school through high school.

The best part of my daughter going off to school each day is that I can come along side her and encourage, sympathize, and offer advice when she needs it. I am not the one giving the assignments, so I can more easily help her navigate when it gets difficult.

Why I Am the Homeschool Quitter

When we first moved my daughter from homeschooling into private school, I felt like a quitter. The homeschooling community is generally kind and understanding, but I felt the pressure to stick with it, to stay the course, and to “homeschool through high school”. I felt like I was giving up and giving in. No one made me feel this way; I put this pressure on myself. We do this all the time, holding ourselves to standards that we wouldn’t expect others to keep.

But I was not and am not a quitter. I made the best choice for each of my children. Each child is unique. The more we recognize that, the easier life is for everyone involved.

Whether you decide to put your children in public school, private school, or homeschool, choosing an educational path is a very personal decision that each family must make for themselves, sometimes every year. As we pray and consider their individual needs, we can give our children a wonderful gift that will continue to bless them their whole lives.

Why have you made the educational choices that you have for your kids? Did I miss some advantages or disadvantages? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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