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HSmomof2

WWYD—Christian private school worth the cost?

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This willWe’re trying to figure out if sending dd to a private Christian high school is worth the cost? Dd(14) has been primarily homeschooled and has a good group of friends she saw 1-2 times per week in a co-op and just hanging out. For a variety of reasons, the co-op has fallen apart and won’t be an option next year. All her friends are doing different things—public school, private school, a different co-op in another city, moving, etc. DD is upset with her social group crumbling right before high school and is adamantly saying she does not want to be homeschooled for high school now and be alone. So, we’re considering options. Our local public school is a last resort. It’s overcrowded, has a significant drug and bullying problem, and just isn’t a good school overall. We’ve visited three private schools, with two being possibilities. However, the downside there is the cost (both cost the same) and distance (the one she likes is about 45 min each way), in the opposite direction of dh’s work, so he couldn’t help with transportation. One school is close (15 min) but has mixed reviews of the behavior of some students and some bullying reported but is known for good academics. The other one that’s 45 minutes away is smaller, has a good reputation, but less class options and activities, but still adequate, They do offer transportation for an additional cost. I work part-time but would have to return to full-time and even then am not sure it would be enough extra. I guess my question is private school worth the extra cost? Is it that much better with college costs looming in the near future? The only other option would be to continue to homeschool and do dual enrollment for jr/sr years. But, I don’t want her to spend 2 years alone (and there really aren’t many other high school age homeschoolers in our area, just went through this with older ds who will start dual enrollment at CC in the fall and has been incredibly lonely for the last 2 years). I just don’t know what to do? Is it even worth it to apply and ask for financial aid? Is the 45-minute away one really feasible every day?? I’m also hesitant to try to homeschool a teen that doesn’t want to be homeschooled.

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Do you have other options?  How soon could she be driving so she could transport herself?  With after school activities it is likely that she would still need rides several days a week even if you do pay for transportation.  Also look into how early that bus/van would come each morning as their loop might be quite wide and her ride could be 90 minutes each way.  That is a significant amount of time a day.

I agree that being alone is not a great option.  The closer school might be a great option.  NO school (or even larger homeschool group) is free of problems.  I went to a very highly regarded Christian school and we had a high rate of alcohol use in my class, high number of teen pregnancies, other issues, etc.

Have you visited the public school?  Talked with parents and teens in the school currently?  Some schools are really rough and not a good fit but other public schools can do very very well with motivated students.  Is there a college prep track at the school that would give her great teachers/opportunities and a friend group?  many public schools in our area offer dual enrollment, early college, etc. and that can save significant amounts on college tuition in the future.

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My kids went to a private Christian school for about 3.5 years before we started homeschooling.  I did work at the school the last year we were there.  I got paid plus a small tuition break and although I never saw my kids we were there together.  It made the drive worthwhile.   If I couldn't work at the school and had to do 45 min both ways every day and that doesn't include sitting in carpool that might be hard unless using the school transport. I might choose the closer private school.

I would worry about her being lonely too.  We did get lonely about the middle of 10th and dd and ds1 went to a 2 day  hybrid the very next year.  It has been totally worth it, but it is nowhere near the price of a full time private school.

Some public schools have great AP and Honors classes even in the midst of an otherwise rough school.   Then could do DE the last 2 years the same as your ds and still have the options of the clubs and music/sports at the the public school.

Wish you the best luck on this decision!

 

 

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I would not do 3 hours in the car each day for a 6 hour day of school.    I am reading that right, correct?  45 each way twice per day.......1.5 hours in the am and 1.5 in the pm.

That will get old really fast, and then you will need to do it for 4 solid years.  And it isn't just about the cost of the school, but transportation, gas, wear and tear on the car, and then all the extra things......Christian school means Saturday volunteer opportunities, events up closer to school (evening drama performances that the English teacher assigns to go watch and write about) any activities she wants to be involved in......and then her friends will all be up that way.  Friday slumber party starts at 7pm?  She gets out at 3pm?  What does she do?  Do you want to add another 1.5 hours for that day?

That wears me out just thinking about it!  (can you tell?)

Can I ask how you know about the local PS?  I can tell you that I have heard our school has a drug "problem."  It doesn't.  Are there some kids on drugs?  Yes, mostly pot, but it isn't a huge issue, unless you are the parent of the kid doing it......then your glasses are colored to think it is "everyone."    I personally would go meet with the counselor, the AP, or someone, get a tour, sit down and ask some questions, share concerns, etc.....before I would just assume it is all like that. 

I would do the same (tour, meet with) the school that is 15 min. away.  

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34 minutes ago, DawnM said:

I would not do 3 hours in the car each day for a 6 hour day of school.    I am reading that right, correct?  45 each way twice per day.......1.5 hours in the am and 1.5 in the pm.

That will get old really fast, and then you will need to do it for 4 solid years.  And it isn't just about the cost of the school, but transportation, gas, wear and tear on the car, and then all the extra things......Christian school means Saturday volunteer opportunities, events up closer to school (evening drama performances that the English teacher assigns to go watch and write about) any activities she wants to be involved in......and then her friends will all be up that way.  Friday slumber party starts at 7pm?  She gets out at 3pm?  What does she do?  Do you want to add another 1.5 hours for that day?

That wears me out just thinking about it!  (can you tell?)

Can I ask how you know about the local PS?  I can tell you that I have heard our school has a drug "problem."  It doesn't.  Are there some kids on drugs?  Yes, mostly pot, but it isn't a huge issue, unless you are the parent of the kid doing it......then your glasses are colored to think it is "everyone."    I personally would go meet with the counselor, the AP, or someone, get a tour, sit down and ask some questions, share concerns, etc.....before I would just assume it is all like that. 

I would do the same (tour, meet with) the school that is 15 min. away.  

These are my exact concerns with the 45-min away school. We have visited both private schools. While we both liked the far away school, there was nothing actually wrong that I saw at the closer school. As for the public school, the things I’ve heard are from friends whose kids attend there and from friends who are teachers there. They don’t offer tours, I asked. But we could meet with the guidance counselor if we want to. They do have a number of AP courses, the neighboring school has IB program that may be possible to waiver into.  However, dd is an above average student, but I don’t know that IB would be best for her, AP’s may be better. Dd is very quiet and really quite shaky in her faith at this point in her life, so I am concerned about that aspect as well, since we don’t live in a very Christian-friendly area. 

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10 minutes ago, HSmomof2 said:

These are my exact concerns with the 45-min away school. We have visited both private schools. While we both liked the far away school, there was nothing actually wrong that I saw at the closer school. As for the public school, the things I’ve heard are from friends whose kids attend there and from friends who are teachers there. They don’t offer tours, I asked. But we could meet with the guidance counselor if we want to. They do have a number of AP courses, the neighboring school has IB program that may be possible to waiver into.  However, dd is an above average student, but I don’t know that IB would be best for her, AP’s may be better. Dd is very quiet and really quite shaky in her faith at this point in her life, so I am concerned about that aspect as well, since we don’t live in a very Christian-friendly area. 

 

Gotcha.  Is the one 15 min away a Christian school?

Are there any charter schools near you?   We have one that was actually started by former homeschoolers.  It was a good transition for my middle son.

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8 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Gotcha.  Is the one 15 min away a Christian school?

Are there any charter schools near you?   We have one that was actually started by former homeschoolers.  It was a good transition for my middle son.

Yes, the 15-min away school is a Christian school. We don’t have charter schools in our state. There are online public schools but that has the same loneliness problem as homeschool. 

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Does your district have a magnet school or one that is open admission? Our district has both and either one would have been a better choice for my dds, especially the artistic one. They ended up trying the local PS and hating it and then finishing up the last two years at home. 

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Can she homeschool and still attend some classes at PS and/or participate in some of the clubs/sports?  Here mine can take 2 classes at the high school, but can’t participate in anything else.

 

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1 minute ago, KidsHappen said:

Does your district have a magnet school or one that is open admission? Our district has both and either one would have been a better choice for my dds, especially the artistic one. They ended up trying the local PS and hating it and then finishing up the last two years at home. 

No, I wish we did though. Dd is also a very artsy person, and those classes are important to her. The ps does have a good art program. Both private schools do as well. Homeschool art opportunities for the high school level don’t really exist here. 

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2 minutes ago, mlktwins said:

Can she homeschool and still attend some classes at PS and/or participate in some of the clubs/sports?  Here mine can take 2 classes at the high school, but can’t participate in anything else.

 

She could take up to 3 classes at ps, which I’ve suggested. She’s opposed to it saying she’d feel ‘weird’ only being there part of the day. The ps is a big school (2000 students), I doubt anyone would notice.

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She has her heart set on the far away school. I wish we hadn’t visited🙄. I understand why it’s her favorite, it’s mine as well. But, the distance really is a big consideration.

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In short, yes, I think the money for a Christian education is worth it. It is very important to me. All schools have problems. All schools have students with problem behaviors.

If the public school is an viable option, call and talk to the police department and ask them what problems they have seen at the school - are there significant issues with drugs or violence? You will get a more straightforward answer from them than from the school or other parents. Then balance what they tell you with the fact that they certainly aren't going to know everything that goes on there - good or bad.

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41 minutes ago, HSmomof2 said:

She could take up to 3 classes at ps, which I’ve suggested. She’s opposed to it saying she’d feel ‘weird’ only being there part of the day. The ps is a big school (2000 students), I doubt anyone would notice.

This might be a great option if you could convince her. It would allow her a social life and the ability to take AP classes in say math and science without being overwhelmed. Then she would have time left for a job or volunteer work which will allow an entirely different social circle plus skills and opportunities to carry forward after school. Many seniors do exactly this because they only have a few classes left to take so it wouldn't be that unusual. 

Edited by KidsHappen
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We recently made a similar decision. Our oldest was homeschooled for 4th-7th grades and opted to go back to public school in 8th grade. We have been very unimpressed in both the academics and the general atmosphere. We’ve seen him make some very unwise and uncharacteristic choices and feel that he needs to be around Christian teachers who share our beliefs and will get to know him well and push him to do his best. He does not want to be homeschooled. He will be going to a private Christian high school that is about 15 minutes away in good traffic and 25 minutes away in rush hour. It’s a decent school with a close-knit community, although it is smaller and less competitive in sports than DS would like. 

We also considered another school which is more highly rated academically and athletically and is in fact my husband’s alma mater. The commute there would be unmanageable in our case, having 3 other children who all have various activities and different schooling/co-op situations. The closer school is the best option in our case, all things considered. Public is not an option given what we’ve seen in DS’ middle school experience this past year. 

Edited by Gobblygook
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Would she be more on board with homeschooling if you offered to pay for art classes/opportunities?  The amount of money that you would spend on tuition would pay for quite a few art lessons.

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There is no way I would send my kid to a school 45 minutes from home. Only possible exception is if a parent was employed within very close range of the school.  Especially if it were financially difficult with college looming.

If you really wanted to try school, I would try the public or the closer private school (although maybe cost is also an issue here?) and just let your daughter know if it doesn't work well you may need to rethink strategy.  Or I'd be looking around for other co-op, volunteer, extracurricular options and and other social groups for homeschooling teens.  Most of the things my homeschool teens participate in are after school hours with kids that mostly attend traditional school (music, theater, art, volunteer youth counsel, etc).   My senior has dual enrolled the last couple years and that has worked well.

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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1 hour ago, HSmomof2 said:

These are my exact concerns with the 45-min away school. We have visited both private schools. While we both liked the far away school, there was nothing actually wrong that I saw at the closer school. As for the public school, the things I’ve heard are from friends whose kids attend there and from friends who are teachers there. They don’t offer tours, I asked. But we could meet with the guidance counselor if we want to. They do have a number of AP courses, the neighboring school has IB program that may be possible to waiver into.  However, dd is an above average student, but I don’t know that IB would be best for her, AP’s may be better. Dd is very quiet and really quite shaky in her faith at this point in her life, so I am concerned about that aspect as well, since we don’t live in a very Christian-friendly area. 

 

I think with these concerns then yes I would pay for the Christian school, but I would really try and talk about going to the closer one.  If not I would look for a job at the other school.  

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I would not homeschool given that she does not want or need to be homeschooled.

Not knowing the cost of the Christian school, I'm going to assume it is not as high as fancy private school tuition (which would make it an extremely hard sell for me).  Have you looked at financial aid options at the school?  Is the cost a "tighten our belts" cost or a "we can't afford this" cost?

I would look into transportation options and try to make it work, assuming the cost is not extreme.  Public transport, car pools, hired college student / retired grandma, public school bus arrangement - be flexible and it can probably be done without you driving hours every day.

Another thought is to have her go to the Christian school for 2 years and then, if you decide not to continue there, switch to PS or home school with dual enrollment at college.  Though, if she makes a lot of friends at school, this may not remain a realistic option.

 

My kids are hoping to go to the Lutheran high school in my area, because they believe that is where most of their friends are going.  The social stuff is pretty important for them.  I have not quite decided yet.  The cost is one thing, the logistics are another.  I know my kids will do sports after school, and I'll have to arrange a ride.  I am thinking it's time to teach them how to use the county bus service.

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All schools have some of the problems you mention- drugs and bullying.  No way could I commit to the transportation burden that the 45 minute away school presents. Because I promise you, it will be a burden. The closer private school is larger, and that means she has a larger pool to find ‘her people’.  

The public school might be ok if you can get her into honors or AP classes. Yes, some of those kids will still be jerks, but maybe fewer.  Part time enrollment would be ideal. Three classes at the public school and a few done at home. If you could convince her, it would be worth a trial. 

I usually side with the better education but I can’t get on board w the travel time when there are other options nearby. Hope you find a good fit. 

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I would meet with the guidance counselor at the public school.  If she get get into the honors/AP track, especially if she can open enroll just into the classes she wants to take and skip out of the ridiculous ones she might LIKE that option.  And she might find a great group of Christian friends.

After the meeting I would choose between the close private school and the public one.

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I guess my opinion differs, but we're actually choosing a school that is 45 minutes away for next year, so yes, obviously I think there are some schools that are worth it.

For us, there is a morning shuttle and we're only 20? minutes away from the shuttle drop off. We'll also only be doing the drive for 1 year. After that, my son will have his driver's license prior to the next school year, we'll get him a cheap reliable car, and he can drive himself for the last three years. Another factor for us is that we live in a major metro area and many people, both students and adults, have significant commutes. It's just a fact of life. The better opportunities often require a drive across part or all of the city.

Edited by FairProspects

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Thanks for all the replies so far. It’s helping me think this through. The closer private school is better academically than both the ps and farther away private school. We would apply for and hope to get at least some financial aid from either private school. Neither is ridiculously expensive, but will still be a stretch of our budget and require me increasing my work hours. Another piece of the puzzle is ds who is taking dual credit classes at the CC next year. He just has his permit now and won’t have a license for at least 6 months, and we don’t have a third car at this point anyway. So, I will also be driving him to school (in the complete opposite direction of the farther away school for dd). As much as we like it, I think the farther away school needs to be off the options list. 

I have spent the last couple years searching high and low for opportunities for my ds who homeschooled 9th/10th grades. We did a couple co-ops, but there were only a few high school aged kids. He’s thrilled to be going to college in the fall. Dd is involved in dance and would like to do cheer at the private school. Another strike against the farther school. Practices, games, etc. would mean even more commuting. As for work, I’m not sure I could work at the farther school. I’m not a certificated teacher, and there’s only a couple admin people there. (School is only about 150 students K-12). I currently work remotely, so do have a lot of flexibility with my hours. 

We’re in a suburban area with literally no public transportation available. Dh and ds will be in the city north of where we live for work and CC, and the farther school is in the city south of where we live. 

Edited by HSmomof2
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Perhaps consider moving much closer to the private school that she likes? The hassle of uprooting and selling/buying may really pay-off if you can get within 10 minutes of the school -- possibly walking distance! -- and save gas/time/wear & tear for commuting, since there would additional activities to attend there.

Perhaps you could switch part-time jobs and work at the private school, which also usually provides a tuition break for students whose parents work for the school.

Another thought: perhaps sit down with DD and show her the family finances vs. the cost of the school, and as a family, try brainstorming ideas. Not just how you all might work to make the private school happen, but also discuss what is really important to her (you mentioned social/friendships and art classes), and see if there are community teen organizations, after school clubs, and other ways of making that happen. (And that might even lead to DD deciding that homeschooling high school might better help her more easily pursue her overall goals and dreams.)

That's a tough spot, and wishing you all some productive conversations and research to find the BEST solution for you all. Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Another issue with 45 minutes away, even if you were able to use its bus so you personally didn’t have to do the drive :  teens tend to need morning sleep and with 45 min commute she’d probably Need to be up very early.  Also can make after school activities and friend visiting harder

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34 minutes ago, Pen said:

Another issue with 45 minutes away, even if you were able to use its bus so you personally didn’t have to do the drive :  teens tend to need morning sleep and with 45 min commute she’d probably Need to be up very early.  Also can make after school activities and friend visiting harder

This is also something to seriously consider. She struggles with insomnia and migraines and needs 9+ hours of sleep.

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8 hours ago, HSmomof2 said:

Thanks for all the replies so far. It’s helping me think this through. The closer private school is better academically than both the ps and farther away private school. We would apply for and hope to get at least some financial aid from either private school. Neither is ridiculously expensive, but will still be a stretch of our budget and require me increasing my work hours. Another piece of the puzzle is ds who is taking dual credit classes at the CC next year. He just has his permit now and won’t have a license for at least 6 months, and we don’t have a third car at this point anyway. So, I will also be driving him to school (in the complete opposite direction of the farther away school for dd). As much as we like it, I think the farther away school needs to be off the options list. 

I have spent the last couple years searching high and low for opportunities for my ds who homeschooled 9th/10th grades. We did a couple co-ops, but there were only a few high school aged kids. He’s thrilled to be going to college in the fall. Dd is involved in dance and would like to do cheer at the private school. Another strike against the farther school. Practices, games, etc. would mean even more commuting. As for work, I’m not sure I could work at the farther school. I’m not a certificated teacher, and there’s only a couple admin people there. (School is only about 150 students K-12). I currently work remotely, so do have a lot of flexibility with my hours. 

We’re in a suburban area with literally no public transportation available. Dh and ds will be in the city north of where we live for work and CC, and the farther school is in the city south of where we live. 

 

Is there a Christian school near where your DH works and your DS will go to CC?   If it is a larger city, they should have one????

Personally I still would rather stick closer to home.  We did the charter school for one year and it was about an hour to 1.5 every am and every pm for a year (depending on traffic) and I was so DONE by the end of the year.  I ended up putting him our local PS, something I said I would never do, and it ended up being a fantastic place for him.  Had I known before, I would have started him there.  We too have the "drugs, bullying, entitled rich kids" type of comments about our local school and I was worried.   (In fact, I was at a training yesterday and a woman who works in our district as a nurse said she would never put her kids where my kids go because girls have held other kids down and looked at their tags on their clothes to see if they are designer or not.....thankfully the other nurse at our table's kids had also gone there and we assured her it was nothing like that.) .  We have ended up liking the school so much we put our 3rd one in at 7th grade.  He is currently 9th and thriving.

The above is not meant to get you to put her in PS, that may not be the best place for her, I am just saying, don't believe all the reviews or the personal experience of a few in any of the scenarios.

 

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Really push on her that since what she is looking for is social opportunities, the closer school gives her a better chance of making friends that live near her, that she can hang out with on the weekend, go to their house after school to study, etc. The further away school that won't be nearly as much of an option and she risks being left out of a lot of stuff. I think if you explain it that way she's more likely to be okay with the closer school. 

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I would insist on homeschooling her. If you use an online public school they have a lot of opportunities for enrichment and social activities.  You could join their Facebook group right now and look through to see what sort of things they have been doing.  

Naturally she feels like her world is ending since her social group is split up.  But that happens all through life.  I wouldn't make major, life and income altering decisions based on that.  And I certainly would not give up SAHM to fund a private school in this situation.  You not being home will really impact your family life--more than you probably think.  I think you might have to work to find her things to do....and one thing is she could look for some sort of work that would help keep her busy part of the time.

My son was fairly bored for his freshman and sophmore years.  Then he started DE and working his junior year and he has been busy and happy since then.  

 

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14 hours ago, Katy said:

I would meet with the guidance counselor at the public school.  If she get get into the honors/AP track, especially if she can open enroll just into the classes she wants to take and skip out of the ridiculous ones she might LIKE that option.  And she might find a great group of Christian friends.

After the meeting I would choose between the close private school and the public one.

 

This is what I was thinking.  Honestly, the problems kids face in high school today is in ALL the schools- regardless of public/private/Christian.  On the surface private looks like a better option- the kids are all dressed in uniforms so you don't visually see the distinct groups/separation into cliques and social groups in a casual visit.  But from watching kids we know, it's the exact opposite.  It's also really hard to break into the friendships that have been there since those kids were together in their private elementary school.    We've watched several times as kids we knew made the switch to one of the private schools in the area and very quickly became completely different (and not good) kids in an attempt to fit in and make friends.  At least for those we know who switched to public school, the student body seems more welcoming and less exclusive.

 

1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Really push on her that since what she is looking for is social opportunities, the closer school gives her a better chance of making friends that live near her, that she can hang out with on the weekend, go to their house after school to study, etc. The further away school that won't be nearly as much of an option and she risks being left out of a lot of stuff. I think if you explain it that way she's more likely to be okay with the closer school. 

This resonated with me as well.   I definitely remember my own high school days and always wanting to go hang out with friends and the general response was "if you can find a ride..."   In those days teenagers could pick each other up and it wasn't an issue.   I think most parents today aren't going to want their teen driving 45 miles through suburbia to pick up a classmate. 

This is a tough decision for sure!  I think I would make that visit with the guidance counselor at the public school and at least give it a look.  If they don't offer tours of the school, maybe you can arrange a meeting with the head of the art department and you can take a tour of that space? 

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See if she can do a shadow (full) day at the public school.  We had to apply for specialty programs in our area in February so I applied to give us options.  My boys were accepted into the IB program, which also happens to be located at their base school.  Long story short, one of mine never wants to go to public or private school and the other was a bit curious.  I put them in a full pre-IB shadow day so they at least know what they were missing - LOL.  The one that never wants to go to public or private school (but is very excited for college -- LOL) left school that day and said NEVER.  The other one came out of the school and said, "It would be easier on me school-wise to go to school, but I want to stay home."  They did not like the long day, the busy work, having to stay in a class until a certain time even if their work was done, etc.  The kids were all on their phones, etc.  The only thing they will miss is swimming for the high school team, but we are moving to a more competitive year round team to up their game.

I guess we have an advantage in that they are twins and mostly get along so there is always someone to talk/play with.  We also have a lot of homeschool opportunities for high school, which it doesn't seem like you have.  But...maybe try a shadow day at PS and maybe even those 2 Christian schools.  Wouldn't hurt.

 

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9 hours ago, HSmomof2 said:

This is also something to seriously consider. She struggles with insomnia and migraines and needs 9+ hours of sleep.

 

In that case imo choice needs to be between the nearby schools and homeschooling.  

I suggest that ASAP you have her spend a week at the local Christian school, and a week at the local public school (possibly split as 2 days with an 8th grade she’d be in now, and 3 to see the high school) before they close for summer. Let her get a feel for them.   (And if possible you should tour and see them as much as you can too.  Look at what’s on walls and boards.  Graffiti? Signs of drugs in bathrooms? )

 Obviously if bullying is so much a thing that she runs into it on day 2, stop right there.  But the PS problems may be overrated or not apply to many groups of kids she could join.  

At each of the local schools also find out if homeschoolers could join any classes or activities. 

Then spend a week with her exploring what homeschooling high school might be like, what social options there could be.

 

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Just another thought - increasing your work hours may not be such a bad thing.  It might be helpful as a bridge toward the additional income you may want/need once your kids are in college.

I agree that the 45-minute-away school should probably drop off the table.  Maybe tell her you made a mistake thinking it would be possible.  Sounds like there are many good things about the closer private school.  The access to social stuff (extracurriculars and friends) is really important IMO.  Also her sleep needs are going to be an issue with homework and social stuff.  She'll need every free minute she can get.

 

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2 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I would insist on homeschooling her. If you use an online public school they have a lot of opportunities for enrichment and social activities.  You could join their Facebook group right now and look through to see what sort of things they have been doing.  

 

This may or may not be true, depending on where she is. Many public virtual schools do NOT have those kinds of activities. 

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In past years, I have had my four kids enrolled in three different private schools (with no busing) during the same year. I did A LOT of driving. Hours every day. There were good reasons that we had each child in each school, but the amount of driving was insane.

DD17's school was the furthest away at 25-30 minutes from our house. She was both a dancer and a cheerleader. That, in particular, about drove me mad, because of how crazy it made our schedule. That year, she was either missing dance for cheer, or missing cheer for dance, and DH and I were driving many extra hours to get her from one to the other. She had to stay after school for cheer daily; in your case, that may mean that your daughter would miss the bus. In our case, it meant we were rushing from cheer to dance during rush hour in city driving, while she did her hair and changed into her leotard in the car. And then later we would have to drive back to dance to get her. Also, her school had basketball games twice a week, and we had to drive her to those, whether they were home or away.

I hated the cheer plus dance thing and regretted letting her do it. Her sophomore year, she did not cheer, because her dance schedule would not allow it. This year, as a junior, she is cheering and gave up dance.

I agree with what others have said about social opportunities. Most or all of DD's school friends lived near the school. So when she was invited to a party, we had to drive her 30 minutes to the party, 30 minutes back home, 30 minutes to fetch her at the end, and 30 minutes back home. Two hours of driving for us for her to spend a couple of hours with her friends. There were times when we said no, and then that made me feel bad and disappointed her. We especially couldn't do any last minute social things for her; if it wasn't planned in advance, we couldn't manage the driving for it.

This year, we live 10 minutes from her school instead of 25-30 (we moved, not due to her school, but due to choosing a certain public school for her siblings). It has made a tremendous difference to be closer. Also, she is driving now, and we feel much more comfortable with her driving the 10 minutes to school than we would have felt having her drive half an hour as a new driver. She is able to spend a lot more time with her friends, which is important to her.

I understand the loneliness of homeschooling -- it's the reason that DD17 switched from homeschooling to the private school in 9th grade. I would not insist on continuing to homeschool a reluctant teen. DD has benefited from the interactions with peers in the classroom tremendously, compared to just interacting with me at home. She is much happier. Some people might say that's not important, but when you are looking at four years of loneliness, I would argue that it's a priority to consider.

So, I would cross the 45 minute school off of the list and choose either the closer Christian school or the public school, after you do more research and as much visiting as you can. When we did our visits, DD thought she wanted the public school, and we picked the private school for her instead, because we thought it was best for her. She loves her school and agrees now that it was a good decision. If you don't all agree, it's okay for parents to make the choice.

 

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Remind her how left out she will feel if her school friends decide on the spur of the moment to do something together, even just hang out at someone's house, and don't bother to invite her because she's too far away. Seriously, it will be too hard to maintain friendships that far away, and if friendships are her main reason for going to a brick and mortar school it makes no sense to go to a school that will make friendships harder. 

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And to answer your title question -- yes, we have found Christian school to be worth the cost.

I was extremely hesitant to put our kids in private school after homeschooling, because tuition times four is a huge amount, and I balked at paying it. But when we reached a point where we would no longer be homeschooling, we decided the Christian school for my younger three was the best choice (that year, DD17 was still homeschooling for 8th grade).

I won't go into the pros and cons of our decision, because they are specific to our family and our school choices. But we did visit the public school and two Christian schools (and called to ask questions of several others) before deciding. In our case, at that time, we did pick a school that was the farther away choice, because it was a better fit. But the travel time was a choice between 10 minutes or 20 minutes of driving. And for the 20 minute drive, we had a neighbor to carpool with.

So DD17 will graduate from her Christian high school next year (her high school is different than the Christian school the others attended, because that one only was K-8). And now my younger three have switched from private schools to the public school in middle school and will graduate from the public school.

I have sadness that they will not get to experience the close community and spiritual emphasis of DD's high school. But IEPs are involved for my younger kids, and the public school offers what they need academically, so it's the choice we had to make for them. If that were not the case, I would gladly pay the tuition at the private school for my younger three, because we have loved it for their older sister.

I will just also add that we have found that teens have the same problems, whether they are in a Christian school or the public school. DD17 has had to deal with several things that we wouldn't have predicted would happen. Not all of her classmates are living in a Christian manner. And we are certain that if she were in public school, she could find friends who shared her faith. The Christian school has not been the kind of sheltering experience some think that it will be. But having Christian teachers and having faith woven through all of her classes has been a priceless experience for her. I regret that my younger children will miss that.

DD17's school is small. Her class started with 20 people freshman year and now has 16 in her junior year. The size of the school effects the dynamic. DD had no trouble with being accepted or being excluded by cliques. Her class is like a family. But not all schools are like that, so figuring out the culture is important.

Edited by Storygirl
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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I will just also add that we have found that teens have the same problems, whether they are in a Christian school or the public school. DD17 has had to deal with several things that we wouldn't have predicted would happen.

This is a good point.  

If going to public, it might also be important to explore feelings about friendships with non Christian students, that is nice children, not bullies, not with drug problems, but not of your same faith.   If it would upset  your family  if dd were to make a best friend (or later find a boyfriend) who were non-Christian, that could be a reason to avoid the public school so as to avoid pain for your dd and any potential non Christian friend.  

 

2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

DD17's school is small. Her class started with 20 people freshman year and now has 16 in her junior year. The size of the school effects the dynamic. DD had no trouble with being accepted or being excluded by cliques. Her class is like a family. But not all schools are like that, so figuring out the culture is important.

 

This can be different by class, not just school.  Especially in very small schools an individual class can have its own social dynamic very different than the class above or below it.

My son’s tiny school tends to have classes who are eager for more kids to join, but it’s not universal.  Some small schools can be more cliqueish. 

Ths is part of why I recommended visiting both the 2 close proximity potential high schools and also schools with 8th grade that would feed in to the new 9th grades she might join. 

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OT a bit.  Would a non-Christian be able to go to a Christian school?  When I was a Christian, I seem to remember that anyone could go to the fundamentalist Baptist school affiliated with the church I attended, but I'm not a non-Christian would want to go. But I can imagine there would be parents who would like their unchurched kid in such a school as a kind of insurance against having "bad" friends.  I know in some non-inclusive Christian HS groups no non-Christians are allowed.  Can one assume that people going to a Christian school are truly Christian in word and deed?

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These are all really good points to consider. I’m trying to discuss the issues of attending the far away school. Especially the social problems that will come up living so far away. I’m not certain why she is so opposed to the closer private school, and she can’t seem to give a reasonable answer either. She gets her mind set on something, and it’s very hard to convince her otherwise. No, ultimately, it’s not her decision, but since she is a teen, we will definitely take her feelings into account. Ds went to one of the public middle schools that feeds into the high school for a year. It’s not a good school. I’m sure it’s not the worst ever, but it’s definitely not a good school by any means. For both private Christian schools, there are students attending that are not Christians. I’m not super concerned about that. We are more interested in sending her to a Christian school that the teachers/staff share and teach our faith/values, and have and follow through on their behavior expectations for students than sheltering her. I know students in every school and even homeschoolers will have problems and face difficult issues. But I would like her to be somewhere her faith is nurtured and encouraged and be not mocked for it or made to feel like an outsider. 

I did also hear about a co-op in the area I didn’t know about and contacted them. They are offering some nice classes for high school next year (including 2 art courses). She doesn’t want to, but we are visiting next week just to check it out.

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, SKL said:

I would not homeschool given that she does not want or need to be homeschooled.

Not knowing the cost of the Christian school, I'm going to assume it is not as high as fancy private school tuition (which would make it an extremely hard sell for me).  Have you looked at financial aid options at the school?  Is the cost a "tighten our belts" cost or a "we can't afford this" cost?

I would look into transportation options and try to make it work, assuming the cost is not extreme.  Public transport, car pools, hired college student / retired grandma, public school bus arrangement - be flexible and it can probably be done without you driving hours every day.

Another thought is to have her go to the Christian school for 2 years and then, if you decide not to continue there, switch to PS or home school with dual enrollment at college.  Though, if she makes a lot of friends at school, this may not remain a realistic option.

 

My kids are hoping to go to the Lutheran high school in my area, because they believe that is where most of their friends are going.  The social stuff is pretty important for them.  I have not quite decided yet.  The cost is one thing, the logistics are another.  I know my kids will do sports after school, and I'll have to arrange a ride.  I am thinking it's time to teach them how to use the county bus service.

I wonder if the school has info about other students in your area that might be interested in carpooling?  I wouldn’t be okay with driving for 3 hours a day, but would probably be willing to do an hour and a half. 

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Could she live with another family who is near the farther away school during the week instead of commuting every day?  Or Does she like it enough to want to get a summer job to pay for the transportation that school offers? 

Has she spent enough time shadowing there to legitimately decide she likes it , even if she can’t explain why?

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5 minutes ago, Pen said:

Could she live with another family who is near the farther away school during the week instead of commuting every day?  Or Does she like it enough to want to get a summer job to pay for the transportation that school offers? 

Has she spent enough time shadowing there to legitimately decide she likes it , even if she can’t explain why?

We don’t know any of the kids attending currently. No, she thinks she likes it based on our 1.5 hour visit. Same for the closer school. She says she likes the farther school because it’s smaller and felt like a co-op more than school. The larger, closer school (still not large—200 students) felt too much like a school.....well, it IS a school.🙄🙄

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Maybe apply to both the Christian school options and apply for financial aid at both, while also seeing if she can get a summer job to help cover the transportation (because, no, I don’t think a 45 minute drive several times per day is likely to be okay for you on top of increased work and financial burden).  

Are any friends from the group that ended going to be at any of these schools where she might have at least one known person to start?

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1 minute ago, HSmomof2 said:

We don’t know any of the kids attending currently. No, she thinks she likes it based on our 1.5 hour visit. Same for the closer school. She says she likes the farther school because it’s smaller and felt like a co-op more than school. The larger, closer school (still not large—200 students) felt too much like a school.....well, it IS a school.🙄🙄

 

I Suggest longer visits.  Even better, doing it full day for a few days will give a better picture of the commute — though perhaps not what it will be like to get up when still dark in winter if you’re far enough north for that

a comfortable feelin size coming out of homeschooling may seem too small by 10th grade

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42 minutes ago, Pen said:

Maybe apply to both the Christian school options and apply for financial aid at both, while also seeing if she can get a summer job to help cover the transportation (because, no, I don’t think a 45 minute drive several times per day is likely to be okay for you on top of increased work and financial burden).  

Are any friends from the group that ended going to be at any of these schools where she might have at least one known person to start?

She doesn’t know anyone going to either school from her former group. It’s over $300 application fee for each of the private schools, so I only want to apply to the one we are fairly certain to attend. 

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47 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I Suggest longer visits.  Even better, doing it full day for a few days will give a better picture of the commute — though perhaps not what it will be like to get up when still dark in winter if you’re far enough north for that

a comfortable feelin size coming out of homeschooling may seem too small by 10th grade

I agree. And we’re north enough that it will be dark both going to school and coming home in the winter....even at the closer school. I told her we needed to take a break discussing it for a day or two. At this point we just end up in an argument.

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2 minutes ago, HSmomof2 said:

She doesn’t know anyone going to either school from her former group. It’s over $300 application fee for each of the private schools, so I only want to apply to the one we are fairly certain to attend. 

 

Oh!

$300– Yikes!  

Visit more extensively.  Talk it over with her.

 

I personally think that homeschooling a child who doesn’t want to homeschool is not feasible, and would not go that route unless she decides she’d want to.  And I think loneliness would be a real problem.

I’ve also btdt in driving and think that would be untenable for you so only would go that route if you can swing it financially including the transportation cost  as available from the school 

 

 

Ask about other fees too.  With application fee like that I would not be surprised if there aren’t a bunch more fees for this and that along the way.

Even public school now has fees IME — art class supply fee, band shirt fee, sports fees ...  though still very low as compared to private school or even homeschooling.  

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Another aspect to consider with a school that is far away... so you are 45 minutes in one direction - what if her best friend  is 45 minutes in the other direction? 

(By the way this happened to us all. the. time. I finally told my dd before she made a friend to ask the potential friend what her zip code was! - kidding - kind of  - we live in Atlanta so 45 minutes can be 2 hours in traffic)

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Discussed all the options with dh this evening. He agrees the further school should be off the table. Dd can do a full shadow day at the closer school. (She doesn’t want to because she says she hated it when we visited). Dh said that’s fine, then her options are 1. to visit the co-op on Monday and plan to continue to homeschool for 9th/10th grade then do dual enrollment at CC. He agreed she can take an additional dance class if she’s homeschooled, which she wants to do but wouldn’t have time if she goes to school. 2. We visit the guidance counselor at the ps and discuss options at the school, but she will have to be on the college-prep, AP track for him to even consider her going there. 

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