Jump to content

Menu

Private elementary vs save for college


Recommended Posts

This year we went the opposite direction of everyone else and I went back to work after 14+ years as a SAHM and the kids went to public school for the first time- 9th, 6th, 5th, and 3rd. I think the schools are really good and overall I have been happy with them. They can all walk/bike to school so that is nice. 
 

I would really like to send my youngest to a private school here. I am not a huge fan of how public schools operate for younger kids-sitting at desks all day, etc. The private school has smaller classes, has lots of outdoor time, flexible seating, and some student directed learning. I think it would be a much better fit for my youngest. And TBH, I feel a little guilty that my other kids got to be home longer. 
 

The main issue is the cost. With me working, we can afford it. But I am wondering if we will regret it in a few years when my kids are in college. Does elementary school even matter and would we rather we put the money aside for college? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

How will you pay for college otherwise? Would you be done with private elementary school before the 9th grader enters college...? And is your income enough to pay in-state college tuition (most offer payment plans) as you go, so that if you paid private school tuition now for the next 2-3 yrs, you'd be already used to paying that same amount towards the college each year after that? (and is that enough?) 

Will you also be adding young drivers to your auto insurance, cell phone users to your cell phone plan, etc. during that time, and will those impact your budget? What about increases in property taxes, etc.? School activities? 

Is the private elementary mainly a guilt-driven decision, or has your 3rd grader not done well in that setting? 

Do you have the job security to *not* put the money aside for college now and count on your income being the same when your kids get to college age?

Not asking for these answers "out loud" just for you to think through this. 

  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

For me and mine, saving for college would be more important. We fall into that vast chasm of not making enough to pay full freight (or even close to that) and not qualifying for need based aid. With one in college, one graduating high school this year, one a sophomore this year, and one rising freshman, and college costs being what they are, we would opt for saving what we could and encouraging our high schoolers to study hard in the hopes of getting enough merit aid to help defray some costs. (My kids won’t qualify for full rides.)

Edited by brehon
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it feasible to aim for community college first, to save money, and expecting the kids to get the grades to get a merit based transfer award for the last two years of college?  This worked for my youngest.  Was what I did back in the stone age, too. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We paid for private elementary school before homeschooling but the local elementary options sucked. In retrospect, I would love to have that added expense in their college funds. We have enough but the extra would have given them both some extra options.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We did consider private elementary but my kids are a year apart so that would cost at least $30k per year for both at the cheapest we found. We end up using that amount to pay down mortgage. 
In my area, parents are more worried about the public middle school (bullying) and more likely to pay for private high school. Parents who pay for private elementary usually pay for private all the way to 12th grade unless they move to another school district. 
 

If both my kids go to a state university that we can’t commute to, we would be paying at least $70k for consecutive three years. Our EFC is higher than $80k. When your youngest three kids are in college simultaneously, that would likely be the highest college cost year. 
 

I don’t know how affordable your private elementary school is nor how high your EFC is. I also don’t know where your 9th grader would like to go for college. It’s something that you have to calculate for yourself. 
 

EFC calculator paper version https://fsapartners.ed.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/2020-08/2122EFCFormulaGuide.pdf

CollegeBoard online version (no login required) https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Build the strongest educational foundation you can. I’d spend money on elementary education if it meant it was the best opportunity for my child. You can’t get these years back or have a do-over.

I think that money/time/effort spent at the youngest ages is more important than saving for a future college education (with so many unknowns)

of course, if you can do both, do both. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

College hands down. You are facing a world in the US in the future like my country of origin where you cannot get any white collar job without an undergraduate degree if you ask me.

Private school is expensive. You do not know your financial future, so I would recommending saving for college. If your kid does not go to college they can use it in other ways to get training for a job, a down payment, something that will help their future as an adult

I work PT now, my one kid goes to PS, the other is Homeschooled (she is 5 in a bit).  We have a really good PS and we bought our house based on that. But even if the PS was bad I would supplement, not spend that kind of money for an elementary education. The scenario you describe seems more philosophical than the PS education being bad. While I respect what you say, I do not see the benefits of paying so much more for an elementary education if the PS education is good especially if it will impact college finances.

I literally work so my kids can have a college education we can pay for right up to post graduation and for DH's early retirement. We can live on DH's salary 

Edited by Dreamergal
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, pinball said:

Build the strongest educational foundation you can. I’d spend money on elementary education if it meant it was the best opportunity for my child. You can’t get these years back or have a do-over.

I think that money/time/effort spent at the youngest ages is more important than saving for a future college education (with so many unknowns)

For elementary school level, the 3Rs can be competently afterschooled in 2hrs daily. My oldest was in public school until end of 4th grade. 

29 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

. But even if the PS was bad I would supplement, not spend that kind of money for an elementary education.

I agree. There is always afterschooling and OP has already homeschool for many years so it is not like she is going to afterschool from scratch.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, pinball said:

Build the strongest educational foundation you can. I’d spend money on elementary education if it meant it was the best opportunity for my child. Y

The educational value of elementary school is vastly overrated. A reasonably intelligent kid can learn the material in a fraction of the time. Coming from an education rich home pretty is much more valuable than the particulars of the elementary school.

  • Like 16
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, regentrude said:

The educational value of elementary school is vastly overrated. A reasonably intelligent kid can learn the material in a fraction of the time. Coming from an education rich home pretty is much more valuable than the particulars of the elementary school.

 I think a big part of this decision is how the child currently feels about the public school. If the kid is miserable and hates school, that attitude can be very difficult to turn around in later years, so in that case,  I think the money would be well spent on a private school if the private school experience will give the kid a love of learning and a positive attitude toward school.

If the child is already doing fine in public school and seems to like it, I definitely agree that there’s probably no need for a change. 

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

For elementary school level, the 3Rs can be competently afterschooled in 2hrs daily. My oldest was in public school until end of 4th grade. 

I agree. There is always afterschooling and OP has already homeschool for many years so it is not like she is going to afterschool from scratch.

 I think it depends on how amenable the child is to afterschooling, after having already spent a full day in public school. Some kids do great with that, but others may just grow to hate school as a result, because they feel like their school day never ends.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you plan to keep the child there past Elem?   I think it would be hard to change schools if you don't have to, you know....make friends who will stay at the private school but you need to go back to a school where you don't yet have friends, etc...

What does your child say about it?   Is  your child ok staying where he/she is?   

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think a better start has long lasting benefits.  Of course there are all kinds of ways to ensure a better start, some less expensive than others.

Would you consider an in-between option such as parochial school, which is relatively affordable in the early years (especially if you can use public school vouchers)?

I don't know that a "private school" would mean less seat work etc, though you may be able to confirm that by visiting the school you have in mind.  From what I've seen, the expensive private schools accelerate academics more than public schools, but maybe you've found one that is more developmentally appropriate.

I also think that it's not so much the school as the school population that boosts private school results.  If most everyone in the school is from a highly educated, financially successful family, that is going to be reflected in how the kids approach school, how much support they get at home, and so on.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, SKL said:

I do think a better start has long lasting benefits.  Of course there are all kinds of ways to ensure a better start, some less expensive than others.

Would you consider an in-between option such as parochial school, which is relatively affordable in the early years (especially if you can use public school vouchers)?

That is not true here at all.   Parochial schools are about the same as private schools and you def. cannot use any vouchers.

Are there areas where you can use PS vouchers?   I have never lived anywhere that did, so I am curious.

15 minutes ago, SKL said:

I don't know that a "private school" would mean less seat work etc, though you may be able to confirm that by visiting the school you have in mind.  From what I've seen, the expensive private schools accelerate academics more than public schools, but maybe you've found one that is more developmentally appropriate.

I also think that it's not so much the school as the school population that boosts private school results.  If most everyone in the school is from a highly educated, financially successful family, that is going to be reflected in how the kids approach school, how much support they get at home, and so on.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you need to put your child in the school that is most  appropriate for your child at this time. In my limited, non-professional experience it  educational environment  in elementary school sets the tone for the rest of the school experience. Some kids (my brother and my son included) have less than desirable early elementary years don't easily recover, if at all.  Without a positive, enriching elementary experience to set the tone, your child could get a negative attitude toward learning all together. At that point, finishing high school may become a struggle and college may not even factor into the equation.

I also  think it's way too early to think about college for this particular child.  As far as paying for college, it's too early to even imagine what that will look like by the time even your ninth grader reaches that point in a few years. If you have saved responsibly up to this point & intend to keep doing so, "whatever will be, will be." Don't overthink this as far as the ramifications for the college years go.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Arcadia said:

For elementary school level, the 3Rs can be competently afterschooled in 2hrs daily. My oldest was in public school until end of 4th grade. 

I agree. There is always afterschooling and OP has already homeschool for many years so it is not like she is going to afterschool from scratch.

I respect people who engage in afterschooling, everyone makes their own choices and know what is best for their children. However, in this scenario, academics don't seem to be as much of an issue as the educational environment. An excessive amount of seat work while in school is brutal on children. I would not recommend that a family follow up a restrictive environment like that with afterschooling. The child will have homework to do and the child needs to have time to play, spend with family, eat and have downtime.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can understand the sentiment as I'm not a fan of traditional schooling for the younger ones. However, if the kid was doing fine in school I'd leave them be. I'd not change them just based on my own bias without good reason. I think the money is better spent saving for college

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, pinball said:

Build the strongest educational foundation you can. I’d spend money on elementary education if it meant it was the best opportunity for my child. You can’t get these years back or have a do-over.

I think that money/time/effort spent at the youngest ages is more important than saving for a future college education (with so many unknowns)

of course, if you can do both, do both. 

It is much easier to catch up academically for the typically developing child than it is to recover from a developmentally inappropriate environment. The impact that teachers and other students have on the social and emotional development of a child shouldn't be underestimated. A child can learn information and be successful academically yet hate going to school and develop a negative attitude toward learning that is difficult to overcome.

Edited by TechWife
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, lovinmyboys said:

I would really like to send my youngest to a private school here. I am not a huge fan of how public schools operate for younger kids-sitting at desks all day, etc. The private school has smaller classes, has lots of outdoor time, flexible seating, and some student directed learning. I think it would be a much better fit for my youngest. And TBH, I feel a little guilty that my other kids got to be home longer. 

 

4 minutes ago, TechWife said:

. An excessive amount of seat work while in school is brutal on children. I would not recommend that a family follow up a restrictive environment like that with afterschooling. The child will have homework to do and the child needs to have time to play, spend with family, eat and have downtime.

I am not getting that vibe from the OP. I am interpreting as the private school would be more ideal and OP can afford the expense since she is now working. My school district had a no homework policy for elementary. We have no idea how the child in question feels about his public school environment so I was just answering based on the financial aspect since OP said the main issue is cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Arcadia said:

 

I am not getting that vibe from the OP. I am interpreting as the private school would be more ideal and OP can afford the expense since she is now working. My school district had a no homework policy for elementary. We have no idea how the child in question feels about his public school environment so I was just answering based on the financial aspect since OP said the main issue is cost.

Wow! A no-homework policy for elementary! That is so nice! So basically, all the kids have to do at home is study for tests? What about things like writing reports? Is that stuff all done during school hours, as well?

What happens in middle school? I hope the teachers add the homework gradually so the kids don’t get overwhelmed.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Arcadia said:

 

I am not getting that vibe from the OP. I am interpreting as the private school would be more ideal and OP can afford the expense since she is now working. My school district had a no homework policy for elementary. We have no idea how the child in question feels about his public school environment so I was just answering based on the financial aspect since OP said the main issue is cost.

Yes, I realize that. Educational content doesn't seem to be the issue, though and  no amount of afterschooling will impact the overall educational environment at the school and could, instead, overload the child from a developmental standpoint and be detrimental in that regard. A decision to provide afterschooling is separate from the financial question and does not impact the in-school environment.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Catwoman said:

Wow! A no-homework policy for elementary! That is so nice! So basically, all the kids have to do at home is study for tests? What about things like writing reports? Is that stuff all done during school hours, as well?

No tests either other than the state standardized tests for English and Math from 3rd grade, Science in 5th grade. Stuff are done in school. When DS16 had incomplete class work, it was up to me as the parent whether he completes them at home. He does not need to complete and hand in. 
Middle school does have homework, mainly for Math and English. My friends with kids who went through the district’s middle school said the homework load is light. High school was when homework load ramp up significantly. The high school encourages 1 AP in 10th, 4 AP each in 11th & 12th to make 9APs in high school. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

No tests either other than the state standardized tests for English and Math from 3rd grade, Science in 5th grade. Stuff are done in school. When DS16 had incomplete class work, it was up to me as the parent whether he completes them at home. He does not need to complete and hand in. 
Middle school does have homework, mainly for Math and English. My friends with kids who went through the district’s middle school said the homework load is light. High school was when homework load ramp up significantly. The high school encourages 1 AP in 10th, 4 AP each in 11th & 12th to make 9APs in high school. 

I’m not sure about the “no tests” thing. It would seem that, unless the teachers are exceptionally astute, many kids could fall between the cracks and not really be learning everything they need to learn. Also, kids have to take tests in high school and college, so I would think having them take some tests and quizzes in elementary school would be wise. I’m also not against the idea of kids having some deadlines for completing their work, because learning how to be organized and to complete assignments by a particular date is an important skill to have. I know kids can learn these things in high school, but isn’t it often better to learn good study habits early on? 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Catwoman said:

I’m not sure about the “no tests” thing. It would seem that, unless the teachers are exceptionally astute, many kids could fall between the cracks and not really be learning everything they need to learn. 

They have the annual state standardized tests starting from 3rd grade. Do you mean from K to 2nd grade?

Parents requested for the no homework policy for elementary and the school agreed to that request.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Arcadia said:

They have the annual state standardized tests starting from 3rd grade. Do you mean from K to 2nd grade?

Parents requested for the no homework policy for elementary and the school agreed to that request.

No — sorry if I wasn’t clear. I meant “normal” tests, like a weekly spelling test or a math quiz.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

No — sorry if I wasn’t clear. I meant “normal” tests, like a weekly spelling test or a math quiz.

The elementary school runs on a trimester system and kids do get evaluated and parents get a record card every trimester. It is one on one and a substitute teacher runs the class while the homeroom teacher does the evaluations. Weekly spelling tests and math quizzes are all up to the respective teachers. 
 

If my kid was falling behind, the teacher would have told me at pickup time or call the parent. My kids are asynchronous and quirky, their teachers have thick portfolios on them. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Arcadia said:

The elementary school runs on a trimester system and kids do get evaluated and parents get a record card every trimester. It is one on one and a substitute teacher runs the class while the homeroom teacher does the evaluations. Weekly spelling tests and math quizzes are all up to the respective teachers. 
 

If my kid was falling behind, the teacher would have told me at pickup time or call the parent. My kids are asynchronous and quirky, their teachers have thick portfolios on them. 

Oh! Thanks for explaining. That sounds fine, then! 

I really love the idea of no homework. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We paid for private kindergarten rather than sending our kids to public kindergarten.  The kindergarten was relatively inexpensive and the environment was vastly different.  Private kindergarten started at 8:45 (public at 7:45)--private kindergarten was basically 1/2 day; some public schools in our area had no recess for whole day kindergarten; private school had lots of outdoor play, art, music, Spanish and a much lower student/teacher ratio.  (On many measures the private kindergarten was not as academic as the public kindergarten--but what we thought was much more age appropriate).  

We then sent our kids to public elementary school.  There were not a lot of options that were affordable and still within the spirit of what we would like.  Many of the private schools were much more seat work and pressure than the public schools (which we were already too much for young children).  They would all also require a much longer commute time which I wasn't wanting for young kids.  So, it was much more a decision on "style" rather than purely measurable academics. 

I would never borrow to afford private elementary education (I do know some people who have done that), but if it is affordable now, I would not personally have a problem on spending money with an attitude that college will work itself out--especially if I knew that there were some reasonably price public university options which (although it may not be my kid's dream) would be sufficient and that I could pay for without a huge sacrifice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, DawnM said:

That is not true here at all.   Parochial schools are about the same as private schools and you def. cannot use any vouchers.

Are there areas where you can use PS vouchers?   I have never lived anywhere that did, so I am curious.

 

Where I live, parochial schools are much cheaper (at least some of them are), and yes, you can use vouchers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We paid for my DD to attend Catholic school from k-3rd. At the time, we went from paying for daycare to paying for the school, so it was already in our budget. The public school would have been fine for her, but at the time we wanted the Catholic school.

In hindsight It would have been a much better financial decision to take the money that school cost (not just tuition) and put it toward saving for college. On the other hand, we probably would not have actually save the money back then. We waited much too long to start saving for her college expenses, and we are still dealing with that many years later.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, after schooling after a full day of enforced sitting at desks would be a nonstarter.  It would take life from hard to torturous.  I wouldn’t even consider that particular public school combined with after schooling if I had a choice.

I tend to prioritize college spending over private school, but when DD was high school aged it was pretty clear to us that the best high school for her would be private/parochial.  I bit my nails over the costs and had to reduce saving for college significantly, but as it turned out, the specific high school experience that she had prepared her to get significant merit scholarships for the private liberal arts college that she wanted to attend, another budget stretch that we had not planned on.  I would say that it all worked out, and I’m very glad that we made the best decision year by year rather than trading off what was clearly going to be a poor experience for the hazy future.

Now, we did have a back up—here in CA public community college was almost free, and the state university in our county is pretty good, so there was no question that there would be SOMETHING decent and affordable for college, albeit suboptimal.    So the high school decision was not as hard as it would have been in an area where we did not have those back up choices available.  

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, and if I were you I would get him into a better placement for his development now, and try to continue saving a bit for college.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Save for college. Those years will be upon you way sooner than you can imagine and the sticker shock is real.  I think a great college savings plan would be to put an equal amount into that account every time you pay for a kid activity.  Can't afford travel soccer AND that same amount in a college fund? Choose college.  Can't pay for private school and put away the same amount for college? Choose college.  Can't match summer camp tuition with college savings?  Choose college.  It happens so fast and you really won't get significantly richer in the meantime.  Dh and I were planning to refill our coffers after getting our daughter successfully graduated from college last year, but we did not see this pandemic coming.  We are so broke right now.  She won't get an elaborate wedding, but she won't be haunted by student loans for the next few decades and that will make her life better for years to come.

 

ETA:  If I tried the public school and my child was not thriving there, I'd make different decisions, but I'd give it a go first to see how he does.  He might love it.

Edited by KungFuPanda
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Now, we did have a back up—here in CA public community college was almost free, and the state university in our county is pretty good, so there was no question that there would be SOMETHING decent and affordable for college, albeit suboptimal.    So the high school decision was not as hard as it would have been in an area where we did not have those back up choices available.  

The community college my kids go to covers tuition and textbooks for first time college students under the college promise. So it is totally free with a cap at two years. Getting an AA/S-T is possible in two years. The very affordable state university is why we are staying put in this area, besides the short job commute. My kids would rather commute and have the dorm fees savings be gifted to them in the future. It really depends on the kids personality and wishes and OP has four kids. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You couldn't pay me to put my kids in the local private schools here. They are far more traditional than the PS. No help for special needs. The one is very fundamental and I'd not trust them to teach history or science accurately. I'm sure some people put kids in there because they think they are more moral or get a better education, I think they are deluded.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...