In a few short days, my oldest child will be off to her first day of Kindergarten. She is a bright child…Excited about her new adventure and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. While I am finally at ease now, there was a time where I was completely stressed about what school my daughter would attend. There were so many choices. Should I do our district school? Apply for an out of area public school? Maybe a private school? There was so much to think about and factors to weigh. After a lot of thought and consideration though, we landed on the perfect school for her. A non-religious private school in our area. Maybe you are struggling with your choice of school for your children.. If so, maybe seeing why we chose a non-religious private school can help make your own decision a bit easier.
Choosing The Perfect Learning Environment
From the start, I was pretty much sure that I did not want to send my daughter to our zoned school. It may sound petty, but the school we are zoned for is known to be about the worst in our county! I have heard terrible stories from people I know, so to me, this just wasn’t an option. You see, my daughter is somewhat of a difficult child. She is sweet and bright, almost too bright though. Feedback I have received from her VPK teachers and former daycare teachers all seems to point to one thing…She is extremely intelligent but gets bored easily when not challenged…. To me, this sounded all too familiar.
Like Mother Like Daughter
According to my mother, I had a tendency to be a somewhat difficult child when I was young. I would do great in school, but got bored often… It got to the point where I was disruptive and my mom had to have a parent teacher conference. It was at this point that my mom told the teacher I was just bored and needed to be challenged more. While initially the teacher was not convinced and told my mother I obviously needed to be medicated… She relented and gave me more challenging work.. Miraculously this seemed to solve the problem.
I know my daughter is just like I was. She is bored easy, extremely strong-willed, and smart as all get out. From seeing these patterns in her already, I knew she needed to be somewhere that would challenge her, and our local zoned public school public school would not be able to do that.
Out of Zone School Choice
My initial thought was to try for an out of zone school choice. The issue here is that these are all selected by lottery. Nothing is guaranteed and it is basically a crap shoot. We have some really good magnet schools in our area, but they are on the lotto system and we ended up not being selected. I wasn’t too upset though, you see these schools were the top in our area because the children used to have to take placement tests in order to attend. Recently this changed, and they moved to random selection and test scores have been expected to drop significantly because of it. At the end of the day, even in a different area, she would still be in a public school which due to large class sizes and other issues I don’t believe would good for my daughter.
Religious Private School
The other option would be to check out the religion based private schools in the area. This was a touchy area for me personally. I myself attended a private school here in my area when I was young. From 1st grade until 7th grade I went to a very strict Southern Baptist school… My experiences there were pretty awful to say the least. I could honestly write an entire book on this place, and I have thought about doing it. It was very fire and brimstone, telling children we would burn in hell, misogynistic… I was actually almost expelled in about 4th grade because it was uncovered that I had Harry Potter books at my home… This could go on and on but we don’t have that kind of time right now.
Anyways, I know that my experience was for one specific school, and not all church schools act in the same way. Even so, I couldn’t bring myself to send my daughter to one. It just wasn’t for me and I know it isn’t for her.
Non-Religious Private School
When it came down to it, a non-religious private school seemed to be our best option. We are very lucky to have an amazing school in our area that completely fit the bill with everything we were looking for. Small class size, personalized attention, teaching to the whole child, and advanced STEM learning. My daughter has been obsessed with the idea of building robots lately, and this school we went with offers a robotics club starting as young as Pre-K. Once I went on a tour, met with teachers, and spoke to administration.. I just knew that this would be the perfect place for my daughter.
The Cost of Private Education
The one thing that scared me was the cost of private education. No matter if you are looking into a religious or non-religious private school, the tuition costs can seem staggering! Honestly, I thought there was no way we would be able to afford it, but happily, I was wrong. I was made aware of scholarship opportunities that could potentially help me out. Now, I would consider my family middle-class, and in my heart I knew there was no way we would qualify for any assistance based on our income. Surprisingly though, every private school scholarship I found had rather high income levels!
Depending on your state, there are so many opportunities out there that I feel like a lot of moms don’t know about. Here in Florida, we have Step Up For Students, which has multiple different ways you can potentially receive assistance. I was also able to find other private organizations that offer tuition assistance, as well as through the actual school itself.
So if you are on the fence about private school because of the cost, seriously do some digging into scholarships because what you find may surprise you. But know that you need to apply early! The funds can drain quickly and you want to make sure you are at the top of the list!
Choose What Is Right For Your Child
You know your child better than anyone, and you need to be their advocate. I highly recommend that you take the time research all of your available options. It is insane how many people don’t realize that they have options. There are so many scholarships available out there for private education, you just need to take the time and look.
Personally, I chose what feels right for my daughter, and this will be different for every person. Just make sure you do your research, know your options, and be an advocate for your child!