I'm going to be very honest and tell you we didn't initially set out to put the kids in a private school. Much the opposite. We began looking for houses in the spring of 2008 and also began researching preschools for A around the same time. After purchasing our house, we continued looking for preschools, but on a much smaller scale.
The city our home is in has quite a large school system. Many of the schools are great, a few are not. Location of our home didn't seem to decide which of the schools our kids would attend. Sadly, our kids were assigned to one of the "not so great" schools in our district. Neither hubs nor myself were very thrilled with this news. So, we started looking at our options.
In Ohio, there is something called Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment basically means that a school district allows children who live outside of the district to attend their school. These placements though, are based on space and class size. This was an option, and still is actually.
The other option was a parochial school. There are several right around our neighborhood. While we are not Catholic, I looked up the local Catholic school and found they had terrific recommendations (trust me I did my homework for all the private schools in our area). We called and ask for a tour. Stepping into the school a sense of calm came over me. Sort of like and "aha, we found it" feeling. A was more than thrilled with the school. We were too.
Now, fast forward to today. A is almost finished with her first year at "her" school. She loves it. We love it. Ren is looking forward to attending there next year!
Why do we all adore this school? For a number of reasons. I'm going to be a dork and list them. Mainly because it's easier, but I kind of have a thing for lists too ;)
- A sense of community. Everyone is helpful, kind, they ACTUALLY KNOW YOUR NAME! They also know your kids names (even the ones NOT in school!)
- The teachers are fabulous!! How many others can say their child was taught in preschool by a certified teacher with a Master's degree?
- The way they teach. I know, that sounds silly. Yes, they are held to the standards of the state, just like any other school. Yet, how many public schools allow their children to pray before eating? Or integrate Bible stories into everyday learning? Ours does. They even start learning a foreign language in Kindergarten there!
- This one is a more personal one, but it allows A to understand the Catholic faith more in-depth. Like I said, we are not Catholic, but hubs family is. I cannot tell you how thrilled his family was when we told them where the kids were attending school.
- The size of the school was a huge plus. The building houses Pre-K through 8th grade. There are loads of siblings!
- Uniforms. I know some people aren't into them, but we are! I think it helps kids learn when they are all dressed alike. That's just my opinion though.
- Lastly, parental involvement! They live it, preach it, ask for it and love it! They even encourage parents to bring smaller siblings to school when they help. Just to reinforce the sense of family.
I know this sounds like an endorsement for parochial school or private school in general. Let me just reiterate that this is OUR families perspective on school. There are many great things about public school. Lots of fabulous public school systems out there. For us though, Catholic school works. We are very family focused in our house and the school we chose reflects that focus. We love it!