private schoolers: do people give you a hard time about paying for school? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-13-2004, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(this is the 5th time i've tried to post this! if there are duplicates out there that i haven't seen, i'm truly sorry.)

ds has been going to a montessori school for a year and a half, but this is the first time he'll be going when he could go to pre-k in public school.

this is our only big expense. our neighbors are all college students (family student housing) and are understandably trying to get by financially, for the most part. we're lucky, we have family help, a lot saved and a decent income. when people ask us about where he goes to school, i just say he goes somewhere else for now, and if they ask more and i answer they sometimes get defensive, or think we're careless with money for doing this.

it doesn't bother me too much, but i was wondering if these reactions have more to do with our environment or if this is typical.
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:59 AM
 
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well, Im sorry but I dont get any reactions of the sort. just "looks" and "Oh"- followed by more "looks"
basically I think they are thinking something negative but just cant say it. And frankly i dont really care.
Laura
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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maybe i'm misreading the "tone" of your post, but did my post offend you?
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:52 AM
 
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This is just my take from what you posted, but it comes across like maybe you answer a bit evasively when people inquire about where he goes to school, and that in itself is what puts people off? I guess I just can't imagine why anyone would be judgmental over a child attending a Montessori program. It's not like it's Exeter or something, you know? If it were me I would just answer matter of factly with the name of his school and leave it at that. Or are they specifically asking you why he goes there instead of the local public? You could just say he had such a good pre-school experience there you wanted to keep him in that environment for now, and that he loves the teachers and his friends there, whatever. It just sounds a little to me like you are being pre-emptively defensive about something other folks probably don't think twice about until they pick up on your vibe about it. I could be wrong though, I don't mean to invalidate your feelings!
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:02 PM
 
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yes, both of our kids are in a private Christian school, and people ALWAYS look at us like we are crazy for "paying" for school when they could be going to public school for "free." and, all the time people are asking us how much we are paying for them to go there!!??!! oh well, I know we are doing what is best for our family in this area and in this situation, so I try to let it just roll off my back..
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:06 PM
 
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Mamaley: hey, no- not at all. What i meant about not caring was that I just dont care about their opinions. It's not their children therefore not their opinion. I do state plainly where my child goes but can always tell when I get that vibe that I think you are experiencing- judgemental- and so I just chalk it up to nonacceptance of something different. so, basically it's typical.
Laura
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
You could just say he had such a good pre-school experience there you wanted to keep him in that environment for now, and that he loves the teachers and his friends there, whatever
i should have been more specific. this is actually what i have always done, and told them the name of his school, until last week when i got tired of the questions, comments and looks. i got asked all kinds of questions and comments: "well, WE like our school" (when i don't say anything about the school at all), "why pay all that money, don't you know ps is free?" or a sarcastic sounding "Ohhh" with a smirk on their face, things like that. so i thought that maybe if i started to just say "he goes somewhere else" (i usually add that it's the same place he went to preschool and he likes it) then i might start getting different reactions...

Quote:
I guess I just can't imagine why anyone would be judgmental over a child attending a Montessori program. It's not like it's Exeter or something, you know?
because we live in a low-income area, and it's considered weird to pay for school.

i'm not saying this is a problem, i really was just curious about if others get these these comments, questions, etc too.
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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lauress--ok, cool
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaley
because we live in a low-income area, and it's considered weird to pay for school.
Okay, I get it...I guess all you can do is work the "he really thrives there" angle. Those people sound like rude jerks anyway.
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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T
wakeupmama, i like your sig
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Old 08-14-2004, 03:27 PM
 
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Thanks...it's my reminder to myself to not be a rude jerk...which unfortunately comes far too easily to me
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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:LOL
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Old 08-15-2004, 11:05 AM
 
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I think it has gotten worse, but it is not a new problem. Twenty years ago when my daughter was in 2nd (?) grade one of our neighbors invited her to an open house at the local public school in an attempt to get me to consider something other than waldorf. Besides having to pay tuition I had to drive her up there! My goodness.

My daughter happily went to the open house and came home somewhat horrified. Her comment: "They have machines to teach them." This was before computers but they had some sort of teaching machines. She had tried one out and hadn't liked it much. She stayed at the waldorf school through 7th grade and then we moved to Missouri where she did 1/2 year of public school and then decided that home schooling would be better. Eventually she went to high school at the waldorf school in Toronto (her choice). I don't know what local folks would have said about her going away to a private school...I didn't tell anyone but my close friends.

It is amazing the way people feel the right not only to judge your choices in child raising but to interfere!

Nana
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:46 PM
 
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People have asked us why we don't go to public schools when they are free. I tell them that none of the public schools offer a Waldorf education. Until they do, we will stick to private. If they ask more, then I tell them why we chose Waldorf. Most people accept this even if Waldorf doesn't sound appealing to them. I think once they know it isn't a snooty, classist thing, they are accepting.
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Old 08-15-2004, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hey, that's a great answer!
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:03 PM
 
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I get that, and my kids don't even go to private school (they would if we could afford it). Mine go to a very good charter school- not the local public school. Everytime I mention it I get looks and questions. It's a great school- multi-age classrooms, excellent teachers, very small. The staff knows the parents by name

When I took our foster daughter to the psychologist, he asked why we chose that school instead of the local public school. Um, because it's a good school?

Ugh, I don't get it, either.

Kristi

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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Old 09-04-2004, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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today dh got these comments from co-workers, 2 of the 3 make way more money than him, and are in debt from spending it on things. they told us that we are "throwing away our money" and got really defensive about the public school system.
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Old 09-04-2004, 02:14 AM
 
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Yes, I do get that question a lot. Dd just started a Montessori school and almost daily someone tells me that they couldn'lt afford it, it's so expensive, or a luxury, or snooty, or whatnot, but the general impression they want to leave with me (it seems) is that it's a lot of money to spend.

My answer is an easy one for now. I work and she needs to be in daycare somewhere for 25-30 hrs/week right now. Typical daycare/preschool costs $620/month for that amt of time in my town, but Montessori is only $459/month. So Montessori is actually about the cheapest game in my town. In my case, there is no free public school for her at 3 yrs old, so I pay either way.

I think they're just being defensive. They tink you're saying that public school is not good enough for your kid, but if they send their kid to public school.... I can see where they are coming from.
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Old 09-04-2004, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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but why does it have to be about good enough? i just really like montessori education. why can't they just assume ps isn't montessori enough?
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Old 09-04-2004, 12:18 PM
 
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Yes. Our oldest DD went to private school for preschool and kindergarten. Last year she went to public for first grade and was very bored because she had done the work in kindergarten. So this year we have both going to the same private school for preschool and 2nd grade. When people give me a hard time about it I tell them that the classes are half the size of public school and that to us early education is just as important as college.I want my girls to love school and being in over crowded classes just doesn't cut it.
We also live in low income housing and get plently of comments from neighbors. At first I tried to justify our decision now I just ignore them.
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Old 09-04-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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Just tell them that you can't find what you want in a public school. They choose to spend their money on toys, you choose to spend your money on your kids education. We would gladly send our kids to a Waldorf charter school but they don't exist in WA state so we pay for a private school. I would glady save our money for retirement, a cabin in the moutains or at the ocean, or a nice vacation but we choose to spend our money on our children's education. Most of our neighbors around us that go to public schools have about the same income as us and this is what they spend their money on. It is their choice.

I think it is like when you don't let your kids watch TV and other people become very defensive about letting their own kids watch TV. They feel like you are saying to them that they don't care about their kids as much as you care about your own kids. They need to get over it. Every family has different priorities. Ours is a Waldorf education.
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Old 09-04-2004, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well said, rhonwyn!
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Old 09-04-2004, 06:51 PM
 
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We don't have Montessori or Waldorf here unless we move to a bigger city which isn't going to happen.

I do belong to a few boards where some kids go to Montessori and others disagree with sending kids there(the one in particular is a p.s. teacher, go figure). The reason most of them disagree with it is they feel that the parents who send their kids to a M school think that PS is lower class and second rate. It's not a problem with the people sending their kids to a different school but it's a problem on those who disagree with anything that isn't norm(whether it's school, child rearing, sahm/wahm, etc)
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:01 AM
 
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My 2 1/2 year old abviously needs something beyond activities him at home/ playgroup/ music class. I made some montessori materials and bought some practicle life-things for him to do, and that seems to fufill his craving for order ect, but wanted him to have the clasroom experience. He has plenty of socialization, in music class and playgroup co-op.

People in our area and the hovering in-laws ( 4th grade teacher& college professor controlling know-it-alls) don't get it.

I can't decide if preschool is right for him or not, you should see the resulting breakouts... the worst of my life!!!
We tried a week of summer camp, ( three hours a day) I hated hated the idea of handing him off to the guide/ teacher ( he has a high-need temperment and we never used a baby sitter, but he did attend playgroup twice a week for one with neighbors and was fine.) IT was going against my instincts and my parenting so far, but I really thought he would like the classroom. He cried for about two min maybe five, but stopped when he got to the classroom ( i stayed in the hall to make ssure) Towards the end of the week he did not want to get out of his car seat, and would not want to leave home in the morning, I felt like a terrible, pushy parent! But now, during the three-week break before school starts, and a week after the end of summer camp, he dosen't even want to leave the house to go to the park, he says he wants to stay at home Pf course he is happy when we get to the park.

Bottom line: I have a strong feeling that he will live the montessori materials, and especially watching/ interacting with the older children, However, I also am concerned that he will be adversely effected by forcing a seperation from me if he is not ready.

We are enrolled, which invilves a contract, but do not want to push him!!!! I wich wich wich I could be a teacher there!!!! But I have to finish my own schooling first!!!!! I am kicking myself for not applying when there was an assistant position open!!!!!!!!!!!!(finally, only four classes to go!)

I thought about buying some of the materials for him to use at home, but he would learn so much more by being with the other children.

I thought about starting my own preschool , purchasing montessori materials for children to use, but it would have to be in my apartment, who would want to do that!
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Old 09-07-2004, 06:17 PM
 
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It's funny, because out of the comments I get, the majority of them are from people who are PS teachers themselves. My good friend's mom is a teacher and she constantly wonders why...

That said, I went to private school my whole life and in college I was obviously in with both private school and public school kids. I can tell you that there was often a LARGE difference between myself and my classmates. So much so that I had several teachers over the years straigh out ask me where I went to school because of my performance in their class. So it was obvious to me and to them. (And I am not overly smart by any means - trust me.)

Now would I say this to a mom asking me why we pay? No, of course not. I wouldn't want to make anyone feel defensive nor feel like they are being put down. But I also couldn't, in good conscience, send my kids somewhere that I found in my own life to be sub-par. We are, however, hoping to send our kids to a local charter school - which is free! - that has a 3 year wait list. I got them on it in time, I hope. My youngest was on it before birth. This is an excellent school and it also happens to be free.

So when people ask us why, I usually just say that I have had experience with both public and private schools and I prefer that my children attend their current private school for various reasons. And I also mention that not every school will work for every child, and our decision is based solely on our children. People still wonder, but they don't know what they are missing!
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Old 09-07-2004, 10:41 PM
 
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Lauira, I would agree with your POV. I noticed in college that some of my private-schooled classmates had study/organizational techniques and writing skills that they had been "trained" in while attending private schools that I definitely had not been exposed to in the public school system.

The only exception I know of is that when my nephew was attending the public school in Chapel Hill, NC, it was very clear that they really don't leave any child behind. He had been in rural school districts before that and always written off as ADD and allowed to do the absolute minimum, but in Chapel Hill, when he consistently failed to turn in homework and complete assignments he was placed in an afterschool program where they made sure he did his assignments and then provided him a "late bus" to get home. That blew me away...he was really not going to be allowed to fail in that school district. But I know that is the exception.
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