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Is Private School Right for Your Child?

Children who are intelligent and ambitious often do not thrive as much as they could in an environment more condusive than the average public school. Boarding schools and private schools often offer great alternatives. While boarding schools come with their own risks and benefits, so do private schools.

One of the biggest differences in these two is their price: while boarding school can run over $50,000 a year on average, private schools, depending on location, are a little lower, in the $5,000 to $20,000 range. There is also a wide range of lower-cost private schools to be found through religious establishments. Waldorf schools, known for their hands-on approach to learning, and Montessori schools, geared toward developing problem-solvers and independent thinkers, are also more cost-effective for the concerned parent on a budget. Scholarships are often available as well, but these can be hard to come by in a school full of high-achievers.

Here are some things you need to consider when deciding whether or not private school is right for your child:

Differences Between Private School and Public School

That aspect in itself makes private schools different from public schools. The classes are smaller, so each students gets more attention from teachers. In turn, the students are given more opportunities to excel, because the additional time teachers can take for each child means problems and difficulties can be rooted out more easily. Although private school teachers are not subject to the same qualifications as public school teachers, they are still held to a very high standard due to private schools’ desire for high regard. Furthermore, the increased funding provided by attendance payments results in better programs, better technology to learn with, and improved facilities. Like boarding schools (and unlike public schools), most students are concentrated on performing well, which means that smart kids won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Private School Standards

The higher standard set by private schools for academics can result in more competent students. Each private school is different, which means that not all are created equally. Some put a higher standard on specific conduct, and enforce morality to a degree public school simply cannot compete with. Others may place more emphasis on public service or college preparation and all-around excellence. Additionally, curriculum varies from private school to private school because they can create their own, being under less government restrictions. However, not all kids are created equally, and just because a local private school gets great reviews doesn’t mean your child will thrive there.

Discipline and Safety

Discipline is much stricter at private schools than at public schools, largely due to the focus on strong academic values and focus. The students at these schools are expected to be a cut above the rest. This means class disruptions are minimized to enhance learning, and overall safety can be less of a concern as well, especially compared to very large public schools in disreputable areas.

Goals and Values

Parent, child, and school should have matching goals and values. This doesn’t mean that a kid from a Baptist family won’t thrive in a Catholic school, but it does mean the family needs to be prepared for the difference in what is effectively a culture. Researching individual schools is an important part of finding a place that suits your child.

Last Updated: June 08, 2015