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Old 03-26-2013, 09:08 PM   #1
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talk to me about small christian schools

My church is starting a school for next year, and depending on $, I'm considering putting my son, who will be in k, there next year. They will be using My Father's World with Singapore and Saxon math for k-8.... what can you tell me about these curriculums?

my ds is pretty smart. He tested beyond all the end of year pre-k assessments at the beginning of the year, and he's well on his way to reading independently. he missed the kinder cut off this year by a month, but I think the extra year was good for him maturity wise. He is very wiggly, his dad and I both have adhd, so it wouldnt surprise me if that was brought up later on in school.

I havent talked to anyone at church about this yet (i knew it was being considered, but they moved on it very quickly). I'm hoping that if the classes are small enough, or mixed, it shouldnt be as much of an issue if he need some more advanced work than the other kindergarteners. I will admit that I'm worried about academics though. I was in the g/t programs all through school, and dad probably should have been, so I worry about a small school being able to provide that extra if it turns out he needs it later on. He's got some bad influences at daycare, and 2 of the worst boys (and his "best friends" of course ) are zoned for the same school as him. I know that there will be bad influences even in a Christian school, but I hope theyd be a little less.

so have your kids been in a small Christian school? what did you love and/or hate? pros and cons? are they still there, or did you pull them out?

tell me everything I'm really hoping I'd be able to put him there, but realistically, unless they have some sort of financial aid, I wont be able to afford to

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:20 AM   #2
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I was going to say avoid the PACE system at all costs, but I see they don't have that. Not familiar with that one personally.

I went to a christian academy for a period of time as a child. I'll be totally honest, if you're not familiar with the teachers, get familiar with them. For example, I had one that did the morning bible session and she was just a flat out liar. Not just twisting passages to suit her opinions, but straight out LYING about some things. So I would find out where the teachers stand on their subjects, the lesson plans, etc. Not that they /would/ be improper like this woman was, but obviously it can happen. I assumed the teachers followed the preacher's teaching, and that wasn't always the case.

I would also assess the openness of the environment. Where I went was not very question friendly. They didn't care to have to explain things about the bible that I didn't understand. It was more of a, this is what it is and accept it because we said so, type of deal. Which (and this is why I say this) made me very hesitant to ever ask academic questions. I felt very stifled and restricted, and always on edge about offending someone with innocent curiosity or elaboration.

Beyond that I'm not much of a help I guess. We did our morning bible group, our work books, self-checked (which I can't stand as a grading system), had gym (which consisted usually of volleyball after a change to culottes, or ping pong in the game room if it was raining), we were never allowed to play with the boys (which made for really awkward interaction and social ability), more work books, and other random things pitched in.

But then again, I got asked not to come back because I confronted the lying woman publicly in group about it and argued with her, became labeled as 'corrupt' (yes, really) and all those that associated with me were labeled as 'tainted' by me and asked not to come back next year either. So... I don't think my experience was typical.

And I'm also apparently the devil. So take it with a grain of salt LOL

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Old 03-27-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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Re: talk to me about small christian schools

I haven't used the others, but I really enjoyed the Saxon math program. It uses a lot of manipulatives in the early grades, almost "tricks" them into learning math through playing instead of sitting down and doing worksheets early on.

Will the school be accredited in anyway? That would be my #1 concern. I wouldn't send my kids to a school that didn't meet state standards unless I personally knew the teachers and staff and exactly what they would be dong.

You'll have bad teachers anywhere, but at least if they are all licensed and meeting state standards there is a better chance that they SHOULD know what they are doing.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Re: talk to me about small christian schools

I went to one.

Positives:

Academically, I think they did a great job of meeting kids where they were at, both for those who were ahead and those who were behind. I remember our class of about 20 was split into several different reading groups, and I was actually sent with a couple other kids to a reading group in the class ahead of us. In particular, I got a lot of practice writing, and was comfortable with writing research papers (with footnotes, bibilography, etc.) by the time I started public high school. I was surprised how many kids in high school had little to no exposure to structured writing.

Edited to add: recently I got curious and googled the names of some of the people I went to school with. They've done well. A few lawyers, other impressive-sounding titles. Made me a little embarrassed at how mediocre I turned out. So I think academically the school did pretty good by us.

Cons:

1) With any private school, always keep in mind that any communication you get from the administration has a bit of a sales pitch in it. They need parents to believe that everything they are doing is fabulous compared to the public school, in order to keep tuition money coming in. So they have an incentive to downplay any problems and exaggerate the positives.
2) Small is not necessarily good for a school. If you are in a class of 20 kids, and some come & go over the years but a lot stay, you can wind up with a very rigid social environment and pecking order. A large school has the advantage that, no matter how goofy you are, you have a good chance of making a friend who shares your goofy interests.
3) Bad influences -- we had a couple kids join our class in 8th grade, who were being sent to our school to straighten them out. It did not work that way. So on top of the already rigid pecking order and everyday cruelty that already existed, now there were a couple new kids with more aggressive, destructive behaviors. They introduced things like swirlies to the rest of us. They were immediately the coolest kids in the class -- the kids at the top of the pecking order wanted to be just like them. So then together they ganged up on the kids on the bottom. Awesome.

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Old 03-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #5
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Re: talk to me about small christian schools

PP is right about the sales pitch. I could detect the slant even sitting in P/T conferences.

I don't think we have enough experience in a private school setting to be able to offer any advice. Most of mine would be anecdotal....

DD goes to a christian PreK and will go to kindy at the same school next year. I walked in, it felt like home, it felt like a family, every single kid I've encountered is super friendly and helpful and POLITE, so we ran with it. A year in, we don't regret it one bit. The class sizes top out at about 20, with most being anywhere from 8-15. I can see that working to a smart kid's advantage. I would have loved that kind of one on one time as a kid....
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:26 PM   #6
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Re: talk to me about small christian schools

I don't have experience though my sister did attend one for a year and hated it. For myself, it'd be important that the "teachers" are trained teachers and not just parents. I support homeschooling and plan to myself, but I wouldn't trust another parent who wasn't trained to teach my child. Yes, there are bad teachers and parents who teach amazing, but I just feel that that training is important in dealing with behavior problems, different learning styles, identifying learning problems, etc... when it comes to a classroom setting.
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