Investing in Family: Our Decision To Go Private (School, That Is)

We’ve passed the midway mark for the school year, and while students are starting to gear up for final exams, many parents are starting to face the question of where their children will be going to school in the fall. For private schools, re-enrollment forms are going out and open houses are planned, and parents must decide now whether to go public or private.

My Personal Schooling Story

When I grew up, it all seemed so simple. I was born and raised on the outskirts of a small farming community in northwest Missouri, and going to school meant going into town at the local, public school. There was one elementary school, one middle school and one high school. The whole high school had somewhere under four hundred students; I believe my graduating class was around eighty-five students.

Now, though, I’m a parent raising my children in the suburbs of a much larger city. There are two elementary schools within five miles of my house, not to mention a host of private schools nearby. Had you asked me a decade ago before having kids where my future kids would go to school, I probably would’ve given you a strange look. Why would they go anywhere but the local, public elementary school?

Turns out, that decision was not so simple for me and the hubby.

Connecting to the Private School Decision

Is there anything wrong with a public school education? No. Both my husband and I (among many, many others) have received one. In fact, when I first really started thinking about my gals’ schooling, anything other than public seemed foreign to me.

So why go private? Why spend money now on education? For us, there were a few major pluses private schooling offered that just could not be had in the public sector. First, we wanted to include God in our girls’ education. Not just religion, but the Big Guy himself. We strive daily to keep Him in our home and having that supported during the school day was and still is at the heart of choosing private over public.

Next, private school offered smaller class sizes which, in turn, translates into more attention from the teacher for each student. My girls’ class has eight students in it, and I often find myself wondering how classes with twenty, twenty-five or thirty students manage to get things done, especially with each student’s very individual needs and makeup.

All in all, as this first year of our girls’ school journey hurtles towards the finish line, I have to say I’m really pleased with our decision to go private – so pleased that we’ve already enrolled them in the same school for first grade in the fall.

What about you, MomVesting reader? How did you decide on public school or a private school? Or even home schooling?

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Anonymous's picture

grumpyrumblings wrote:

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:21 Comment #: 1

We went private because our son needed to be accelerated for social and academic reasons. Public schools here won't do that for K. He's had an amazing year and we do not regret the choice. Smaller classes really do allow for a lot more differentiation. We had been planning on switching him to public at 2nd grade, but we're taking it year by year.

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Melissa wrote:

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 14:24 Comment #: 2

I went to public school, too, and I imagine I'd send my kids there too, once I have them, but I guess it'll all depend on the state of public schools once that day comes. I keep seeing so many budget cuts that it's really distressing. I'd hate to do it, but I think I probably would try to come up with the money to send my kids to private school if the public schools class sizes ballooned, or they cut classes like art and music and phys ed. I guess it'll depend!

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter wrote:

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 19:26 Comment #: 3

Thanks so much for this article. We don't have kids yet but this is something that we have discussed a lot: whether or not to send the kids to private school. We are trying to plan financially ahead of time. I am for it but my husband is resisting. Thanks for the helpful points. We will definitely use this in our discussions.

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femmefrugality wrote:

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 16:41 Comment #: 4

Public. That being said, we had to consider a move in our decision. Geography plays a huge role in the quality of education.

Anonymous's picture

John | Married (with Debt) wrote:

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 16:59 Comment #: 5

My wife teaches at a private school after 6 years in public, and we like private better. The environment is more like a family. I will say that our private school is better than the public school I attended, and I think it is worth the cost.