When is private (elementary) school worth it?

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financial.freedom
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When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

I live in an affluent area with a public school that has great ratings (10/10 on greater school website etc.). My son is in first grade, and I noticed that he was pretty bright before starting kindergarten. A lot of kids were learning the alphabet and reading very basic books, and our son was already reading chapter books. We debated last year about whether or not to put him in a private school that would challenge him more and decided to keep him in the public school. His kindergarten teacher noticed that he finished work early, so she would give him more challenging work and then have him go around the room helping other students with their work.

Now that he's in first grade, he keeps asking me for more challenging work -- it's every week now. We've brought it up to his teacher and she keeps telling us that she's "working on it." Today, I volunteered in class and she asked the kids to write the number 30 in more than one way, and try to find at least two ways. All kids wrote the number "30" and some wrote one or two other ways such as hash marks of five or a chart of three columns of ten. My son wrote 30, did hash marks, number columns, then he started breaking down ways to make 30 such as multiplication (he wrote 2 x 15 = 30) and division (he wrote 60 division symbol 2 = 30). Then teacher ended the exercise and asked the kids how many ways they could write it. The first kid said they wrote the number 30, the second showed their hash marks for counting, then she called on my son and he said "120 divided by 4 is 30." She asked him how he figured that out, and he said "because there are two 60s in 120 and two 30s in 60." None of the other kids even knew what he was talking about, and the teacher just shook her head saying "I wanna know what goes on in that mind of yours."

After that exercise she broke them into small groups and did math with each group at a separate table while the rest worked on an art project. When it was my son's group I noticed that she was helping the other kids. My son did the 4 pages of "easy math" on his own then she told him to go play with a puzzle. At the end of my time volunteering I asked her again about how he tells me every week he wants "trickier work" in school. She told me that he loves puzzles. So it sounds like he is doing work quickly and then being released to go play puzzles by himself in the corner every day.

My concern is that now it's been 30 days of school and my son has asked for more challenging work every single week without receiving it at school. When he finished his work early every day he plays puzzles. It's very basic work that he already knows, such as simple addition. Sometimes he gets bored of playing puzzles every day and then he starts talking to friends in class. Last week he got in trouble twice, then I become concerned that not only is his learning being stifled but he's also developing problems behaving and listening in class. I also noticed that the teacher spent about half of the day reprimanding kids who weren't listening and working with kids who seemed way behind.

All of this is leading me to look for a better solution for my son. Here are my questions for the Bogleheads:

1. Is my son even bright? All parents brag about how smart their kids are, so maybe I am just like the rest. Should I have him tested and see if it's even valid and worth challenging him more in school? If so, what test for 6 year old and where should I have him tested?

2. One of the reasons I like public school (besides the "free" tuition) is that my son has a sense of community. Most of the kids in our neighborhood go to the same school and he is developing long term friendships with them. There's even a girl next door that he has conversations with over the fence and she's in the same grade. At a private school, the kids are from all over, some from cities 30 minutes away and it's just not the same sense of community. When he's older, the public school is closer and he can walk or ride his bike. The closest private school is still too far to walk, he has to be driven and dropped off every day.

3. The best private school near us told me their teacher to student ratio is 1:10 or less. But when I asked further, there were 20 kids per class with one teacher and one "associate" teacher. This is a pretty similar size to his current class of 23. Do you think the class size would make a difference in this case? Is there any guarantee that he would be challenged more?

4. Are there other options besides private school? Should I ask to schedule a meeting and come up with a better plan? Any suggestions?

5. Last factor is the cost. We have a high income, but private school is 20-30k per year in our area. Honestly, this is the last factor I'm considering (even though for many it'd be the first) because it's not a big hit for us. But I don't want to pay that money if it's not going to make much of a difference in the long run. It'd probably be better to save it for college etc.

Thank you in advance!
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by 123 »

Lots of prior threads on the public school versus private debate. To find some of them type "private public school" (without quotes) in the search box which is normally in the upper right corner of your desktop screen.

From my own experience some kids mature at different rates, things even out over time. By the time people are 50 it's often hard to figure out who the dumb ones were and who the smart ones in school were. One thing I notice with my own children is that their age makes a big difference. In kindergarten some kids can be 11 months older than other kids, makes a big difference at age 5.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by craiggsean »

It sounds like a potentially gifted child. Private or public - neither may have teachers/programs who know how to deal with them. Look for schools that have a program for the gifted and take a test. Not all gifted programs are good either. Also if you have the time and resources, you can homeschool too. Which state are you in?
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Request an IEP.

We worked with the school system until we had enough. Even the pull out program couldn't challenge him. He ended up skipping 6th grade. Still was never challenged until Masters in Engineering.

Private school may yield little advantage.
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stoptothink
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by stoptothink »

craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:16 pm It sounds like a potentially gifted child. Private or public - neither may have teachers/programs who know how to deal with them. Look for schools that have a program for the gifted and take a test. Not all gifted programs are good either. Also if you have the time and resources, you can homeschool too. Which state are you in?
This. Doesn't have anything to do with the school being public or private, the best public schools in my area have better gifted/honors programs than the top private in the entire state.
FI4LIFE
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by FI4LIFE »

I can't help you decide about public vs. private but maybe he could move up a grade?

Compared to my kids, he sounds as though he is very gifted at math. Several years ahead of your average child. It may be up to you to challenge him at home or pay for extra tutelage outside of school if private school doesn't pan out.
craiggsean
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by craiggsean »

Usually, "good" public school admins/systems don't allow skipping grades (for many reasons...). Anticipate an uphill battle with little progress and much frustration. Also, the child may already have social circles that he/she bonded with, etc.

New private schools that advertise "individualized progress" are just using uncertified young adults and rely heavily on iPad app which the startup is testing out on the kids so they can sell the "system" to other gullible parents. It's usually an overpriced homeschooling group funded by rich and busy parents.

If you can't find a school which fits the child's need, the usual route is just to stick with the public school and invest in afterschool programs. Kids will usually make the best of recess, physical education, or arts, etc. at that elementary level. They'll also find friends who are interested in common topics.

Also, it really boils down to the teacher. Some years, kids will get a great teacher who knows how to teach and challenge while other years, it will be just busywork, etc. It's all part of life experience.

Also remind yourself that accelerating in math is just a small part of the whole child education...
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by stoptothink »

craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:37 pm Usually, "good" public school admins/systems don't allow skipping grades (for many reasons...). Anticipate an uphill battle with little progress and much frustration. Also, the child may already have social circles that he/she bonded with, etc.

Interesting. I skipped a grade in elementary school as did one of my sisters, so did my best friend and both of his sisters. 4 of the 5 of us had zero issues (my sister has had totally non-education related struggles as an adult). I guess you could make the argument that our school wasn't "good". There are all kinds of considerations when deciding to skip a child, but social circles for a 1st grader?

We'll likely be dealing with this in a year. My 4yr old isn't exactly doing long division in his head, but he's about on par in reading/math with my 2nd grader, who has had issues with boredom since kindergarten because the work is too easy. My wife and I are kind of leaning towards having him test out of kindergarten and go straight into 1st grade next year. What we aren't considering is private school; for many reasons, only one of which is that the private schools are behind our local publics in this regard.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by DoubleBogey1 »

I was a late bloomer, wouldn’t consider myself good with academics in elementary or high school. Needed time to figure things out/live life, decided I liked science, then became a doctor. At least half of my fellow medical students/residents/physicians were non-traditional. It really depends on the individual student, push a certain student too hard too early and they burn out, don’t stimulate enough and they never gain their potential.
Personally, a parent needs to provide the environment for the child to explore their interests, be safe and with a good group (limit potential for bad behavior/drugs).
We all know individuals growing up who were extremely gifted, but fizzled our for what ever reason.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by forgeblast »

Teacher here, While in public school ask for a giep evaluation (gifted individualized educational plan) otherwise your paying out of pocket to get one done. Then once you have that, you can have input on what his strengths are and how to best grow them. The eval will also see if there is any Masking. This is when one ability is really strong and another is weaker. Many Gifted students have issues in one area and strengths in another. Once you have your eval then you can possibly move him up to a higher grades math, etc. It opens more options, plus if you have that in hand if you go private you can ask for those accommodations.
You would ask the special education director, or school psychologist. Put it in writing :)
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by sergeant »

School deemed me gifted in 2nd grade and wanted to move me up a grade. My dad refused as he thought it would harm me in athletic competition. I'm happy with the results. I think I was advanced but most of the other kids ended up catching (passing) me eventually.

In my area public schools are superior to private schools in academic testing. Sounds like your guy is gifted.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by bgf »

did your child figure these things out himself or did you teach them?
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:16 pm It sounds like a potentially gifted child. Private or public - neither may have teachers/programs who know how to deal with them. Look for schools that have a program for the gifted and take a test. Not all gifted programs are good either. Also if you have the time and resources, you can homeschool too. Which state are you in?
Thank you for the reply. We're in SoCal and they have GATE program, but doesn't start until 4th grade. I can look into other programs. I think you're right, private school may not necessarily mean the work is more challenging.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

RickBoglehead wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:22 pm Request an IEP.

We worked with the school system until we had enough. Even the pull out program couldn't challenge him. He ended up skipping 6th grade. Still was never challenged until Masters in Engineering.

Private school may yield little advantage.
Thank you, I had no idea that existed or that we could request one.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:04 pm
craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:16 pm It sounds like a potentially gifted child. Private or public - neither may have teachers/programs who know how to deal with them. Look for schools that have a program for the gifted and take a test. Not all gifted programs are good either. Also if you have the time and resources, you can homeschool too. Which state are you in?
This. Doesn't have anything to do with the school being public or private, the best public schools in my area have better gifted/honors programs than the top private in the entire state.
I get a sense of this too. I don't know which is better locally, but his public school is much larger and has more programs and offers more extracurricular classes than the best private school here. Thank you for the reply!
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

How will you know if a private school will be better? We've had our kids in private, public and parochial schools. Each one had a huge downside. Only after they've been in the school and then out of it for a while will you really, really know.

Now that we're completely out of the schools and in colleges, my thoughts are to leave them in the public schools unless a school has a specific reputation and the nick name "the black hole" like our middle school has. We were able to confirm this by looking and speaking with administration. Even then, there were downsides to the "best fit" parochial school we found. Our son came out an excellent keyboard warrior (easily 120 words per minute) in 3 years of middle school. But he finished a full year behind in math by the time he came back to public high school.

IEPs are not JUST placing your kid in appropriate challenging classes. It's about funding. We've had kids on IEPs and one year, completely denied. The next year (with lots of funding now available), of course he should have an IEP. Even then, you have to completely program manage because these days, that classroom of 28 kids might have 10 on IEPs and another 8 on 504's (lower level than IEP). If the teacher can keep track, they deserve a medal. If the school has required laptops.....well, a degree in youtube is deserved by most students. And if a school doesn't have a program that fits, they'll say that something they have will indeed fit. We have run into all of this.
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financial.freedom
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

FI4LIFE wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:12 pm I can't help you decide about public vs. private but maybe he could move up a grade?

Compared to my kids, he sounds as though he is very gifted at math. Several years ahead of your average child. It may be up to you to challenge him at home or pay for extra tutelage outside of school if private school doesn't pan out.
We thought about that, but he's already younger than at least half his class. When I look at the 2nd graders, it just seems too much of a jump socially for my 6 year old. Outside school/tutors is something we initiated, but that doesn't address the problem of getting bored in class and trying to talk/distract others when he finishes assignments early.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:37 pm Usually, "good" public school admins/systems don't allow skipping grades (for many reasons...). Anticipate an uphill battle with little progress and much frustration. Also, the child may already have social circles that he/she bonded with, etc.

New private schools that advertise "individualized progress" are just using uncertified young adults and rely heavily on iPad app which the startup is testing out on the kids so they can sell the "system" to other gullible parents. It's usually an overpriced homeschooling group funded by rich and busy parents.

If you can't find a school which fits the child's need, the usual route is just to stick with the public school and invest in afterschool programs. Kids will usually make the best of recess, physical education, or arts, etc. at that elementary level. They'll also find friends who are interested in common topics.

Also, it really boils down to the teacher. Some years, kids will get a great teacher who knows how to teach and challenge while other years, it will be just busywork, etc. It's all part of life experience.

Also remind yourself that accelerating in math is just a small part of the whole child education...
Very helpful reply and great insight, thank you. I just listed math as an example. He was reading chapter books in kindergarten on his own and when I search the reading level it's subjective, but 2nd to 5th grade reading level for those books. Now he's in first grade and wants to be challenged more. So it's more than math. Socially, he seems the same level as any 6 year old -- so I agree that skipping a grade is not a good idea as far as I can tell.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:50 pm
craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:37 pm Usually, "good" public school admins/systems don't allow skipping grades (for many reasons...). Anticipate an uphill battle with little progress and much frustration. Also, the child may already have social circles that he/she bonded with, etc.

Interesting. I skipped a grade in elementary school as did one of my sisters, so did my best friend and both of his sisters. 4 of the 5 of us had zero issues (my sister has had totally non-education related struggles as an adult). I guess you could make the argument that our school wasn't "good". There are all kinds of considerations when deciding to skip a child, but social circles for a 1st grader?

We'll likely be dealing with this in a year. My 4yr old isn't exactly doing long division in his head, but he's about on par in reading/math with my 2nd grader, who has had issues with boredom since kindergarten because the work is too easy. My wife and I are kind of leaning towards having him test out of kindergarten and go straight into 1st grade next year. What we aren't considering is private school; for many reasons, only one of which is that the private schools are behind our local publics in this regard.
Thank you for the reply. I have a parent who skipped a grade and did just fine. But my son just doesn't seem ready socially, maybe I'm wrong.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

forgeblast wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:46 pm Teacher here, While in public school ask for a giep evaluation (gifted individualized educational plan) otherwise your paying out of pocket to get one done. Then once you have that, you can have input on what his strengths are and how to best grow them. The eval will also see if there is any Masking. This is when one ability is really strong and another is weaker. Many Gifted students have issues in one area and strengths in another. Once you have your eval then you can possibly move him up to a higher grades math, etc. It opens more options, plus if you have that in hand if you go private you can ask for those accommodations.
You would ask the special education director, or school psychologist. Put it in writing :)
This reply is perfect, thank you so much. I wish the teacher had suggested this. Thank you!
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

bgf wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:05 pm did your child figure these things out himself or did you teach them?
I never taught that to him. I didn't even know he knew anything about division. They've only taught basic addition so far in 1st grade.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by financial.freedom »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:41 pm How will you know if a private school will be better? We've had our kids in private, public and parochial schools. Each one had a huge downside. Only after they've been in the school and then out of it for a while will you really, really know.

Now that we're completely out of the schools and in colleges, my thoughts are to leave them in the public schools unless a school has a specific reputation and the nick name "the black hole" like our middle school has. We were able to confirm this by looking and speaking with administration. Even then, there were downsides to the "best fit" parochial school we found. Our son came out an excellent keyboard warrior (easily 120 words per minute) in 3 years of middle school. But he finished a full year behind in math by the time he came back to public high school.

IEPs are not JUST placing your kid in appropriate challenging classes. It's about funding. We've had kids on IEPs and one year, completely denied. The next year (with lots of funding now available), of course he should have an IEP. Even then, you have to completely program manage because these days, that classroom of 28 kids might have 10 on IEPs and another 8 on 504's (lower level than IEP). If the teacher can keep track, they deserve a medal. If the school has required laptops.....well, a degree in youtube is deserved by most students. And if a school doesn't have a program that fits, they'll say that something they have will indeed fit. We have run into all of this.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by jabberwockOG »

We were in a school district that had very large population schools. Kids were evaluated for T&G status pretty early and if qualified pulled out for specific subjects and then later tracked into specific classrooms/teachers that were just T&G students. As such they experienced a very different learning environment, different teachers, and a significantly different school experience than non T&G kids. My wife worked part-time as a sub in the schools and she was shocked at the difference between T&G classes and regular classes which she thought were to some extant a baby sitting operation with less than ideal learning going on. As such our local public schools were a better place for T&G students than the local private schools which were predominantly faith based and had at best similar or lower performance scores.

My wife skipped a grade in elementary school and to hear her tell it, she was miserable as a result. Not a good plan especially in grade 1-8.

We had friends in another town whose kids were very bright and they ended up sending them to Montessori schools with good results.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

I struggle to see how this is ever "worth it". But I am a product of rural public schools with both parents having been teachers, and I have no children, so I guess I'm not well-positioned to judge. I never felt at any competitive disadvantage all the way through university and the corporate world. If you are a supportive parent and take an interest in your child's education, it seems easy enough to bridge any gaps between public and private education -- particularly at the elementary level. Or you can be one of those annoying people who complains to their coworkers about the unbearable cost of voluntary private school.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by PavlovsCat »

California credentialed school psych here. Depending on your district, check for dual language immersion schools in your area. Our daughter was reading late elementary chapter books prior to the start of kindergarten, and even with both of us working in education we pondered what to do for quite some time. She is now in a dual language immersion (currently 100% taught in Spanish, and we are a monolingual English home).

The other option is to push grade promotion. I don’t love it, personally, but the research does support it. Or, ask to have your kid attend a first grade class for certain subjects, even if not enrolled in that grade.

Don’t bother asking for an IEP in California, they’re for kids with disabilities here. Your school should have a Student Study Team (SST) or similar process, request that.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Thegame14 »

can they have him test to skip a grade? when I was in first grade my brother was in 3rd grade, and he had trouble doing things, so my mom tried to teach him and I picked up on it and was learning/doing things on his level, they offered to skip me up a grade or two, but my mom didnt want to embarass my brother or have me picked on for being younger. Maybe he can skip a grade and be more challenged and stay where he is.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by harrychan »

We were exactly in your shoes 5 years ago and decided to go the private route. Our son was already reading and writing full sentences in kindergarten. In 1st grade, he was bored. The teacher didn't bother doing anything as a teacher with 30 students in her class. Her priorities were to ensure the bottom of the class was ready for 2nd grade. Why spend time on our son who was already 2nd grade ready? The difference is our private school is only 15 min away and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. We also got a scholarship so we were only paying what families in public schools were paying for after school care. Sometimes less. What tipped us over was when my son came home and asked why his teacher threw away their homework in the trash after turning it in. I was livid. We confronted the teacher and she felt bad that the students saw it. She didn't even bother putting some stamp on it and returning it. I'm sure there are better teachers out there but they are a rarity.

What private school did was tailor our son to move advanced reading and math curriculum. His new classmates had 2-3 others who were advanced and the teachers were able to customize his learnings. This would not have happened in public schools.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Katietsu »

As a temporary solution, can you get him material/workbooks that he could keep in his desk at school? He could work on this material during some of that “puzzle time” or whoever he finishes his regular work early. While you should discuss this with the teacher, it sounds like she might welcome it.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Tatupu »

Whether it is worth it seems entirely dependent on what you want for your child. Based on your description, your child certainly appears to be gifted or highly intelligent. Do you want the most academically challenging environment? Do you want a classroom that is diverse with kids from many different backgrounds? Do you want your kid to be in a supportive, close-knit environment where there is great sense of community? Is your priority that he is a top academic achiever who attends top universities? Is your priority that the school fosters empathy and has a great sense of community? Is your top priority that he is happy and emotionally grounded, or that he is challenged academically? (Not that any of those things are mutually exclusive.) My point is, in my humble opinion, those priorities should drive your choice of schools.

By virtue of my career, my kid who is in middle school has attended several different schools, public and private, domestically and overseas. One smaller school he attended with meager resources was a wonderfully supportive environment full of love and respect. Academically, it didn't have as much to offer but it had a big impact on him for the better. He's currently at an expensive, top-notch private internationally recognized school where folks pay a lot of money and take education very seriously. It's a great school and academically it offers way more than other schools he has attended. That said, I don't necessarily think it's better for his personal development and future happiness than that other little school.

Good luck.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by bgf »

financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:02 pm
bgf wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:05 pm did your child figure these things out himself or did you teach them?
I never taught that to him. I didn't even know he knew anything about division. They've only taught basic addition so far in 1st grade.
wow, well i dont know the answer, but im sure you're very proud of him. i hope you find the right fit/plan.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Beowulfto »

financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:42 pm
FI4LIFE wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:12 pm I can't help you decide about public vs. private but maybe he could move up a grade?

Compared to my kids, he sounds as though he is very gifted at math. Several years ahead of your average child. It may be up to you to challenge him at home or pay for extra tutelage outside of school if private school doesn't pan out.
We thought about that, but he's already younger than at least half his class. When I look at the 2nd graders, it just seems too much of a jump socially for my 6 year old. Outside school/tutors is something we initiated, but that doesn't address the problem of getting bored in class and trying to talk/distract others when he finishes assignments early.
I was in a similar situation years ago, finishing my assignments early and class being easy. I was a reader, so my nose went into the book of the day. Or the encyclopedia. Or the dictionary. I taught myself quite a bit during those early years. Old friends still say I was the only person they every knew who got in trouble for reading! Now I also have a daughter who excels in early classes, so I have a different perspective. There has already been some great advice given in other responses. Get your son tested so you have a better idea of his strengths and weaknesses and have data to help guide your decisions. Determine what you want for him (support and guide his potential, or push him to excel). A good teacher in a poor school beats a poor teacher in a good school every day of the week (and your teacher changes every year)! There is a lot of social learning and growth that occurs in K-1-2 (how to operate in a structured environment with other people). In my opinion, any discussion of grade skipping needs to be done when academics becomes a larger focus. Our route has been to support and enrich our daughter's opportunities. Encourage areas of interest, provide opportunities to explore and excel with experiences. Give your son something to keep his attention and extend his interest when he finishes early (books and projects the interest him). As parents we make the best choice we can. As long as it is informed and thoughtfully made in the best interest of our child, it isn't a bad choice. Our children will grow up despite our best efforts. I take great comfort in that. Best of Luck!
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ClevrChico
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by ClevrChico »

During parent teacher conferences ask the teacher's thoughts about skipping a grade next year. That's what we did, and it was the right decision for us. (I personally think the public schools are better here.)
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StevieG72
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by StevieG72 »

Sounds like your son is a smart kid!

You definitely should look at other options for him that are more challenging. It is possible to have him move up a grade I believe, but that can also have its disadvantages since he will be younger than his peers.

Don't blame it on the school! Teachers are overworked and underpaid.

Private school sounds EXPENSIVE in your area! My daughter has always attended private school and her tuition is about 1/4 of what you mentioned, however salaries / income in your area are probably much greater as well, so it is all relative.

I have found private school to be a SAFE, nurturing environment for my daughter. I think every penny spent is well worth it. I am not sure she would be the same person she is today if I had sent her to public school. While she is a smart kid, and is challenged at school, the biggest benefit is the development of her personality & character traits. Kids spend a LOT of time at school and the reinforcement of positive character traits everyday, month, & year has helped her become the delightful young lady she is today.
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Carl53
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Carl53 »

Wish we had done more for our first born. Changed school districts in mid-first grade. Ok at first, with teachers continuing to challenge him. In second grade, he began getting into trouble. Conference with teacher, who stated that she taught to the lowest level of student. Ugh! Can't believe that we chalked it up to things will be better next year. Pretty much ruined his incentive to learn until age 24, a few years after losing a full ride scholarship, with near failing grades and just taking a few community college classes, a light came on when he saw old friends all getting on with their lives. Begged his way back into his former program and finished well getting his final GPA into the high 2s. Today, he has a decent, non-technical job and is married, but I can't help but wonder if we had pulled him out and home schooled or had him in private school (closest nearly an hour away).
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by alex_686 »

forgeblast wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:46 pm Teacher here, While in public school ask for a giep evaluation (gifted individualized educational plan) otherwise your paying out of pocket to get one done. Then once you have that, you can have input on what his strengths are and how to best grow them. The eval will also see if there is any Masking.
I would advise this and then add caution. I was classified as slow, so they put me in special ed, and struggled. I was tested, found to have a high IQ and put into a gifted self-directed program, and struggled. Much latter it was determined that I had a high IQ, dyslexia, and a borderline of ADD. It took basically until high school until we found a program that worked for me.

And by program I mean building a IEP and figuring out how to get the myself, my parents, and my teacher on board. I grew up in a small town so public schooling was the only option. Anyway, I doubt the "private" in private school is going to be the answer. Figure out the best type of school and then find the best school that matches your kid.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by stoptothink »

financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:50 pm
stoptothink wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:50 pm
craiggsean wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:37 pm Usually, "good" public school admins/systems don't allow skipping grades (for many reasons...). Anticipate an uphill battle with little progress and much frustration. Also, the child may already have social circles that he/she bonded with, etc.

Interesting. I skipped a grade in elementary school as did one of my sisters, so did my best friend and both of his sisters. 4 of the 5 of us had zero issues (my sister has had totally non-education related struggles as an adult). I guess you could make the argument that our school wasn't "good". There are all kinds of considerations when deciding to skip a child, but social circles for a 1st grader?

We'll likely be dealing with this in a year. My 4yr old isn't exactly doing long division in his head, but he's about on par in reading/math with my 2nd grader, who has had issues with boredom since kindergarten because the work is too easy. My wife and I are kind of leaning towards having him test out of kindergarten and go straight into 1st grade next year. What we aren't considering is private school; for many reasons, only one of which is that the private schools are behind our local publics in this regard.
Thank you for the reply. I have a parent who skipped a grade and did just fine. But my son just doesn't seem ready socially, maybe I'm wrong.
FWIW, I actually have Asperger's Syndrome and never had issues socially. Kids are amazingly resilient. I do suggest if this is a consideration, that you do it earlier than later.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

Can't speak directly to public vs. private, but my first grader is in the magnet gifted program for the district and it seems to be a good fit with respect to boredom. They do all the work for the curriculum in three days per week and get extra science and foreign language training.

Kiddo is still bored, so we're doing extra math at home. It did take his teacher about a month after testing to adapt his reading level (started sending him home with weekly chapter books instead of basic books.). They have to make their own evaluation, and kids are often bored because it's not summer and there's not enough recess.

It's very hard to tell gifted from precocious at this age. Is the kid, bright, or just accelerated due to parental education and resources? Your kid likely hasn't figured out division on his own, but probably didn't need much encouragement. Get him tested and see what it shows. And good luck! This is kind of a nice problem to have.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

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financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:56 pm4. Are there other options besides private school? Should I ask to schedule a meeting and come up with a better plan? Any suggestions?
Rather than a private school, how about a private tutor (in addition to the public school)? 2-3 hours per week should do it. With tutors you get what you pay for so don't scrimp. Will still be vastly cheaper than a full-on private school. Some tutors will come to your home for one-on-one tutoring and others will want to tutor a very small cadre in their own facility.

Few gifted children (or people in general) are gifted across all spectrums, so when the gift is specifically identified, finding the right tutor oughtn't be too problematic.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by shell921 »

I'm a retired elementary school teacher. I taught mostly 3rd & 4th grades but i also taught 2nd grade for 4 years.
When I was teaching, the 2nd grade teachers, or parents of
2nd grade students ,could request a screening for GATE- "gifted and talented education". Gate programs began in 3rd grade.
They were pull out programs.....meaning a GATE teacher would pull students from classrooms for enrichment.

I'm in California and did all my teaching in public schools. Here, public school teachers must be credentialed or working towards a credential.
Private school teachers are not required to be credentialed. I never had children of my own but if I had had them i would not have put them in private school unless there were lots of behavior problems in the local public school.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

Oh, on the talking/distraction point: my kid is the same way and we're considering it to be an early life lesson. Sometimes things are boring and we need to learn to deal with that.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by shell921 »

getthatmarshmallow wrote: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:58 am Oh, on the talking/distraction point: my kid is the same way and we're considering it to be an early life lesson. Sometimes things are boring and we need to learn to deal with that.
Yes ! Agree ! And even geniuses at the ball game have to wait in line for their hot dogs - along side the average IQ people.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by CurlyDave »

jabberwockOG wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:10 pm
...We had friends in another town whose kids were very bright and they ended up sending them to Montessori schools with good results.
+1 on Montessori.

DW and I pay to send our grandchildren to Montessori schools.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by harrychan »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:53 am
financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:56 pm4. Are there other options besides private school? Should I ask to schedule a meeting and come up with a better plan? Any suggestions?
Rather than a private school, how about a private tutor (in addition to the public school)? 2-3 hours per week should do it. With tutors you get what you pay for so don't scrimp. Will still be vastly cheaper than a full-on private school. Some tutors will come to your home for one-on-one tutoring and others will want to tutor a very small cadre in their own facility.

Few gifted children (or people in general) are gifted across all spectrums, so when the gift is specifically identified, finding the right tutor oughtn't be too problematic.
This is a good option too. We did this in the summer and had a certified teacher come 2 hours along with neighboring kid.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by harrychan »

BolderBoy wrote: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:53 am
financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:56 pm4. Are there other options besides private school? Should I ask to schedule a meeting and come up with a better plan? Any suggestions?
Rather than a private school, how about a private tutor (in addition to the public school)? 2-3 hours per week should do it. With tutors you get what you pay for so don't scrimp. Will still be vastly cheaper than a full-on private school. Some tutors will come to your home for one-on-one tutoring and others will want to tutor a very small cadre in their own facility.

Few gifted children (or people in general) are gifted across all spectrums, so when the gift is specifically identified, finding the right tutor oughtn't be too problematic.
This is a good option too. We did this in the summer and had a certified teacher come 2 hours along with neighboring kid.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
Morford
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Morford »

We decided on a similarly costly private school for our three (9,7,7) and have been pleased. Will never know if it’s “worth” it, but we figured there is nowhere else we’d want to invest our excess money more than into our kids education. I was primarily worried about the social dynamics you referenced, but our kids still have a great group of friends in the neighborhood as we’ll as at school.
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StormShadow
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by StormShadow »

TLDR.

My thoughts... if the kiddo is delayed then private school is worth it.

If your neighborhood sucks and the local public school is bad, then private school is with it.

Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.

Private high school is a different story since it could help with getting into selective colleges.
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Random Musings
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by Random Musings »

If the school is 10/10 in affluent area, they must have gifted and cohort programs. Also, if excels at math, perhaps move up a grade or two just for that class? How are the social aspects in school? All items to weigh in on.

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JBTX
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by JBTX »

I cant imagine that private schools are worth the extra money in most instances. I honestly don't believe it makes that much difference. So are you going to put them in 12 years of private school?

IMHO it would be far more advantageous to take the money and invest in supplemental tutoring.
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leeks
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by leeks »

You will find useful info at https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

I hate facebook but it is worth joining the Hoagie's Gifted Discussion Group there (you have to send a request to join) as it is a really helpful resource/support group about raising and educating gifted children. https://www.facebook.com/groups/HoagiesGifted/
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Re: When is private (elementary) school worth it?

Post by lthenderson »

financial.freedom wrote: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:56 pm 1. Is my son even bright?

2. One of the reasons I like public school (besides the "free" tuition) is that my son has a sense of community.

3. Do you think the class size would make a difference in this case? Is there any guarantee that he would be challenged more?

4. Are there other options besides private school? Should I ask to schedule a meeting and come up with a better plan? Any suggestions?

5. Last factor is the cost.
I'm on the school board of a small private elementary school and I've seen a lot of kids come and go through it including my own. Some thoughts from my experiences.

1. Yes it sounds like your kid is above average but definitely not to the point of being rare. Just about every kindergarten class has one kid reading chapter books or one kid that is further ahead in math than the rest. Our teachers try to identify these kids and group them with other accelerated kids to keep them challenged. As they progress through school, they will be eligible for other challenges like Talented and Gifted programs.

2. There is a very strong sense of community in our private school even though all our students are "scattered" around. Socially for elementary children, they tend to spend evenings at home with their parents and so being geographically close to their classmates after school isn't necessary. All events and extra curricular activities however are with their peers so they see them often. I can't speak for others, but when my children have made the transition from private elementary to public middle/high school, they haven't been bothered socially. They still are close to their private school classmates but easily make new friends among those that attended public elementary schools.

3. I think class size makes a difference if your student is shy or has motivational issues. Some students can and do work well without much direction and in that case class size isn't really a factor. I wouldn't discount a class ratio of 10 to 1 just because one of the teachers in the room is an associate. In our school, the associates often get tasked with helping the slower students which frees up the teacher to challenge those that are more accelerated.

4. Rather than asking if private or public schools are a better option, you should be looking at the standardized test scores for both options in your area. Our private school in consistently in the top 5% of schools in the nation and about 75% of the students place in accelerated (talented and gifted) classes when they join the public middle school. But I know other private schools that don't have nearly as good of test scores.

5. For us, the cost has been worth it. For others, it might not be. It really depends on the school options in your area and what might be worth it for me doesn't automatically make it worth it for you.
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