Why Send a Child to a Private, Christian School?

Updated on April 22, 2010
H.O. asks from Cedar Park, TX
15 answers

We are thinking of sending our children to a Christian school. I would love to hear other parents' thoughts about this and their experiences. What can be gained? Etc.


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answers from Houston on

As with everything else in life, there are good private schools and there are bad ones and there are good public schools and bad ones. You'll have to compare those schools that are available to you.

The one thing that does bother me when I speak to SOME parents who send their kids to private schools is that they seem to think all the problems that kids face today seem to stop at the private school door and they don't have to deal with them. I actually had a parent say to me "I'm so glad my child goes to private school so we don't have to worry about drugs and teen pregnancy!" I was shocked. She didn't think these things could possibly touch her children because of the school she sent them to. If a private school is the best educational setting for your child, great but don't assume that you don't have to still deal with educating your children about these issues because they do still exist and private schools actually tend to do a lot less talking about these issues then public schools so the burden is even more so on the parents to educate the kids about these things.

Good luck,

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Really and truly, it's according to the school itself. Christian school means two things - private where people have to be able to afford to send their kids, so there aren't a lot of lower economic families there, and the school can say no to any kids who don't meet their criteria - ie behavior problems or learning issues. The second is religious - the type of religion that the school pushes, which can be liberal all the way to evangelical conservative - so if your personal beliefs are really different than the way the school leans, it can be hard on your child. And between all this, there is usually not a lot of diversity.

Now, that said, it can be much easier for you to navigate a smaller school where there aren't a lot of or any at-risk kids, so the teachers are focused on teaching rather than disciplining.

Here's the other side of it. If your child has any learning or behavior difficulties, the private school can say goodbye to you and your child, because they either don't want to or don't have the ability to work with special needs. A public school that is worth its salt will put together an IEP for a special needs child and get them extra help to keep the child on track. It can be a godsend for your child, IF you have a committed teacher and staff - but even with the best IEP, if the teacher doesn't follow it, it isn't worth much.

Regarding the religious aspect, just because the school is Christian doesn't mean that it is a good school. My mom was a public school first grade teacher for over 20 years and loved teaching. (She is also a devout Christian.) She taught in a low school in the bad part of town because she felt those at-risk kids needed someone who would love them and challenge them - I respect her so much for that. We didn't attend the school where she taught, but at one point she decided to put my younger sister in a Christian school because people talked so highly of it. Just months into the first semester, she knew she had made a mistake. My sister wasn't learning anything - the teacher sent home assignments and notes with poor grammar, misspellings, work that was far too easy for the grade level, etc. My sister lost a year, so to speak. My mom thankfully understood what was happening, since she was an educator. She moved my sister back to the public school and got extra help for a while to get her caught up.

So really do your homework before making a decision. I was overseas for 6 years and had my children in a private Catholic international school whose academics were very rigorous. I loved that school, and still do. But we were lucky. Coming back to the US, I have put my kids in a public school, and they are doing well.

All my best,

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

IMHO it depends on the child, the schools in your area, and your family. There are a number of variables in that equation.

That being said, with my own children I've come to realize that kids spend a great deal of time either at school, or doing school activities. Therefore, their characters will be greatly influenced by their environments and peers. So, the choice of school is important and does not solely pertain to education (though ideally it would).

We have always been in private school and now we homeschool. However, I would consider public school, too, given certain opportunities that are available there (i.e. great band or theater dept., science & technology specialties, etc.).

If I had it to do over again I would stay more flexible and realize that if we made the wrong educational decision we could do something differently without agonizing over it.

Good luck in your decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Here's what we did.

In VA, where they have very good public schools, we sent our girls to the private Christian school. My son stayed in the public high school.
My reason were truly selfish, my kindergartner was in a class of 27 with no teahcer's aide. Plus mom's were not welcome into the school and when they wanted to help the teacher, had to use the workroom, and go newhere near the class. My daughter developed severe school anxiety at 5 so we put her in the private school.
My other daughter was in 4th and didn't need to go to the Chritian school but we put her in as her sister was accepted. She was bored. She made good friends and loved the atmosphere 100% more than that of the public school but they would not budge and let her take the higher math and language.
Here in NC we started all 4 in public school. Right now we can't afford nor do I want ot drive to the Christian school, so I homeschool my youngest two.
My daughter who was in 5th and 6th in the Christain school learned some very good study skills and is a very strong Christian, big plusses, but in the high school she attends now she has been able to take Advanced AP classes as a freshman. Classes that aren't even offered at some private schools.
I will continue to homeschool my now 6th grader through 8th grade then put her in the public high schoool, even though this summer we are moving back to the same community we left three years ago. I will put my son in the public middle school. As much as I love the privater school's ideals the level of education was not as high as the public schools.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

I have this debate with my friends everyday it seems. I chose to send my kids to a private christian school whereas most my friends send their kids to public school. It's not that I hate public school, but we can afford to send them to private school. We have a set amount of money that we have always paid out in daycare and we chose to continue using that money for education.
My #1 reason for sending my kids to private school is that they will get education on Our lord and savior. That will not happen at public school! I am not a pastor, nor am I well versed in the bible and I want my children to get as much education on Christian life as possible. If they grow up and choose not to use that knowledge thats up to them, but I want to make sure that I give that gift to them.
My #2 reason for sending my kids to private school is sheer class size. The "best" public elementry school (the one that everyone wants to get in) lost a teaching position last year and now has 30+ kindergartners in one class!!! My daughter could not succeed in a class that large. She would be too overwelmed.
I personally feel like private school is more structured than public school and that is something that my daughter needs to be healthy and happy. She is very smart and extremely creative, but she has a difficult time dealing with chaos (like her momma). :) I just want to give her every opportunity to be the best that she can be. As long as we can afford to have our kids in private school we will.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I didn't read the other answers, but thought I would throw in my husband's experience. He spent his first 3 years of school at a private, Christian school, then the rest of his years in public school. He says that those first 3 years might have been the only thing that kept him grounded in his faith. He says the only goodness he has he feels he got while he was in Christian school. I didnt' have a lot of time to write, but thought I'd toss that in. We're homeschooling our 3 (4th on the way) kids. If we ever decide we need to put them in school, we're hoping we can afford Christian school.

Good luck in your decision. Just spend a lot of time in prayer!!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would first check out the standardized test scores for the private and public schools and compare. You can do that at www.greatschools.net. If both were comparable, I would choose the private school if they had daily Bible study or religious classes. The private school would put more emphasis on behavior, attitude, hard work, ethics... as they relate to Christian principles. If they have that moral compass, they will better be prepared for life as adults. Of course, you can supplement if they go to public school but it will be more of an uphill battle. If I had the funds and the education is good, I would put my kids in private school!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

we live in an area where the public school system is horrible (so bad that they almost lost their accreditation). Not only is their a problem with the academic aspect...but the disciplinary aspect seemed horrible as well (students fighting alot). We have opted for private schools for these reasons: better education, smaller classroom sizes, safer encironment, and while we're not super religious...we do like the idea of her learning Christian values and principles.
That said...if we lived in another area where the public school system was acceptable and provided her with a valuable education...we would send her to public school. I went to public school my whole education (except one year in a private Christian school) and the only difference I noticed was at the private school my classrooms were smaller, we had a Bible study class, and we had to go to chapel once a week. Other than that...it seemed pretty much the same (but I also lived in an area where the public schools were top notch).
Good luck in your decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tallahassee on

Hi there, I grew up in a very small christian school. It was a great experiance overall. You get more of the loving nurturing one on one that you don't get a public school. The only downside is that my school was so small that it was a hugh stock when I did go to a public school.

Hope that helps a little.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is a personal decision that should be based on what you are looking for.

We have a 15 yr old in Plano TX public schools. We thought long and hard about private vs public. We are not opposed to private schools and we are were very willing to pay the price for them. We opted for public schools for many reasons. What is right for us does not mean it is right for you.

Dawn B. is very correct with her response so I won't repeat any of that.

We opted for public because the Plano schools (our feeder schools) are good schools. We wanted the diversity for our daughter to study and be social with all types of people. We felt it would be better for her during k-12 vs going away to college and seeing "the real world". I am NOT saying private schooled students are all sheltered and don't understand the real world...however, the classes are smaller most of the time and they don't have some of the issues that come along with everyday public school.

No matter what you choose as far as education for your child, one thing which is priority at our house is open communication and a lot of it. We talk a LOT and I truly believe it benefits our daughter to know she can talk about ANYTHING to us and we are here to listen, support and communicate with her.

Good luck with your choice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Casper on

We are planning on sending our son to one for kindergarten. It's the only private school in town. We have been told he can still get services like other children in our district such as speech therapy. The teacher told me that they have a bus and go on lots of field trips, and that last year they went to a bee barn here in town. She said the children learned how bees are threatened and that every day after, when they said their prayer in the morning, they would pray for the bees. I am certainly expecting a high level of education for my child. I have been teaching him to add and subtract, and I plan to let them know that so they can continue his education rather than piling on busywork. Overall I just have a good feeling about going that route. We have thought about homeschooling and public school as well, but when the teacher there talked to me about enrolling my son, I just felt really happy and calm.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My children go to public school. In our area the public school had more extra curricular activities. At the highschool level my daughter will have a choice in what science etc...not just what they tell her to take. Also she has already taken her first year of language in 8th grade. I have to admit that i am a little biased. My parents took me out of public school and into private in 9th grade. I had taken classes that they had not gotten to, many of the kids were pregnant, the afterschool activites were not as good....

I understand that this is not the case everywhere...but in our area i see a huge difference.

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answers from Washington DC on

i sent my older son to one for a year (i'm not christian but he was at the time.) while the classes were small and they were very good to him, i was rather surprised to discover that his grades were improving so much because the curriculum was incredibly dumbed down (and of course the science was completely off.) since i wanted him to be better educated, not just have better letter grades, i pulled him out after a year and homeschooled him, which worked out far better.
on the other hand, i attended a fairly large private christian school for most of my childhood and loved it. but it was under the british school system so the educational standard was very high (and it was very strict, which i also loved). in america the standards are almost non-existent for private christian schools, so check yours out very carefully. i expected my son's experience to be like my own, and it wasn't even close.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Private schools pick and choose who they allow in, and if once you're in they don't like you, they kick you out. Basically it's discrimantory. If your child were to be special needs, he would not have a place at that private school. The public school is a good indicator of the real world. In the real world there are good and bad situations. It is our jobs as parents to teach our kids our faith and moral and ethics. Some public schools score better than others on standardized testing, but ultimately it is what you make of it. I pay over $8,000 in property taxes that help fund our schools and I am going to demand a quality education for my children at the school my tax dollars fund!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I taught at a private Christian school and still do, technically, since we home school and are considered a private school by the state of Texas (and we're Christian.) Just one thing: Christ in all things. You aren't giving public schools the first opportunity to teach from the world's perspective. Children learn about how to live for Christ from Christians, and how good a school is at doing this, would help me decide where to send my children.

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