Arguments for sending your child to a Catholic school

Hi there. I’m new to the forum. My two children are 11 and 9 and while I know I have a few years to worry about this, I really want to send my kids to a Catholic High school.

My husband says no way. We live in a high tax area and he feels were paying for a very good public school system. My problem is that the public school is very big, and has very little opportunity in various sports because there are so many kids. I also am terrified at the thought of the immorality at the public school. The Catholic High School is 5K per kid!

I just feel that my heart is telling me my kids need to have more protection, more positive influence, etc. But I can’t convince my hubby.

So… 1) please pray for a change in his heart. 2) please ask God to give me the right words when speaking about this to my husband. Sometime has to give…

My question would be - is the Catholic School REALLY Catholic? Are the teachers practicing Catholics? Is Faith central to the school life?

Some are just expensive private schools with Catholic in the name, a crucifix on the wall…

Can you talk to some of the kids who have come through that school and ask about the foundation they came out with?

I concur. My girls are attending grade school and WILL NOT be attending the local Catholic HS. We will be going the internet route and it is paid for by taxpayer $ here in WA state.

Your kids are still a little ways from high school so you have time… have the two of you visited all the schools in question, plus your parish religious education? Not all Catholic schools are truly Catholic, but public schools are anything but “neutral”. I don’t know why either one of you would rule anything out just yet. Now if he won’t even consider it, that’s a problem.

Oh and 5K isn’t too bad for a Catholic high school…

There is always homeschooling. There are set Catholic curriculums to use that make homeschooling the high school student very doable. I went through 12 years of Catholic schooling and got into plenty of trouble. Our culture is so toxic that putting your children in any high school could be detrimental to their souls. I am currently homeschooling 3 kids in high school and 3 in elementary. My oldest is graduating with a rotc scholarship to a major university. Many colleges have recognized the asset that homeschoolers are to their campuses. Just thought that I would throw out this option for you to think about.

Not all Catholic HS’s are bad… my dd goes to a very good one. Some of the things I looked at… student/teacher ratio-classroom size, male teacher ratio (I was a single mom with boys at the time and hurting for male role models) public school had a lower male teacher ratio. Academics… much higher at Catholic school AND dd’s school helps kids find colleges and financial aid/scholarships. Other things I looked at… accountability!!! Would my kids be able to skip school without me getting a call… private school is much better at communication. Not only about attendance but about grades and problems. My ds1’s first year at Catholic HS a girl was all over him, offering him sexual favors… as soon as I called and alerted them they arranged meetings with her guardians.

Without knowing your financial situation, I can’t say whether or not the $10K/yr it costs to send both children through catholic HS would be too excessive. However, I would look seriously at how Catholic these HSs are. I graduated from a local catholic high school 3 years ago, and i ould have been jsut a well off going to public school. If you are sending them to catholic school solely for the catholic identity then be sure it is truly catholic. My school had mass every couple weeks (not every week) and had a relaxed and fairly liberal stance on religion classes. I’m so blessed to be at a Catholic college where professors actually believe and explain church teachings.

Also, I’d be less worried about Athletics (unless your children have a serious chance for scholarships in college). Academics matter ten times more. There is such a big jump academically between HS and college, so i’d focus on that rather than athletics…

good luck

Besides, the big schools tend to have more other opportunities, including intramural sports. OTOH, some of them are such that a parent who realized what the school was really like would not let their teen ever see the inside of it on a regular basis.

If the Catholic school is really Catholic and if the state of your domestic church is such that this would actually make a difference, try to get your husband to come around. If either the school is only nominally Catholic or your family’s observance is such that the outside influence would be minimal–so lax that the school would be a band-aid or so fully on top of things that nothing outside will add to it–it might not make that much difference.

You’re doing well to start thinking about this so soon.

I am a retired college counselor. My advise is to save your money for college for your kids. Forget the private schools. They can attend Catholic activities after school.

My adult son paid thousands of dollars for his two kids to attend a Catholic high school. The kids are grads from high school and now have to work part-time to help pay for their college tuition.
It will take them a long time before they graduate from college because they are going at a slow pace. Then… to top it off… they don’t attend church on Sundays. My son is super disapointed in them. He expected them to become good Catholics. Well… this is my family story and it doesn’t mean that happens to other families. Every family is different.

Maybe you can get a job to pay for the kids private schooling. It is a lot of money.

good point. if money is the issue, its MUCH better spent on college than on high school when you already pay taxes for that :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t be afraid of public school. I was nervous thinking about it as well, but I had to as I could not afford $7K for our Catholic HS. While looking into scholarships, I also looked into the public school. I found the academics in our public HS to be as good if not better (they offer more variety and opportuinities) than the Catholic hs. I also found by talking to parents, teachers, and kids that the religious education left a lot to be desired. I couldn’t trust the religion teacher to teach a pro-life Catholic message when he and his wife were not open to any more than 3 kids (I know the two personally, and have had many conversations with them). They were very nice people, loved the saints and many parts of our faith, but still clung to a contraceptive mentality.

In the end, if my son was going to have to defend his faith, I woud prefer him to defend it at a public school rather than at a “Catholic” school. H.S. is no place for mixed messages to be sent, and I’m afraid that’s what he would have received at the Catholic HS.

For now, focus on strengthening your children’s faith. Teach them the catechism and apologetics. Let them know they will face opposition to their beliefs and supply them with answers, or teach them how to find TRUE answers. Once you do this, you’ll be able to send them on to ANY high school, (public or Catholic).

Most of all, pray for guidance and the Lord’s will. He’ll guide you to the right choice. :slight_smile:

My son attends a wonderful Catholic HS - cost about the same as yours. It is worth every single penny. Great teachers, wonderful Catholic families - a very close-nit community feel. Many current parents are allumni. Plus it’s small - only 200 kids per grade vs. approx 500 in our local public school. They are very scrict and according to a friend who formally taught in the public school but now teaches at the Catholic HS - there are FAR FAR FAR less drugs, no gangs, and ZERO tolerance for public displays of affection. She said our local public school is a grope fest in the highwalls.

Regarding spending the $ now, vs. college. Many of the students who graduate from the Catholic School receive scholarships. It is a college prep school & the students score well on the ACT.

Every school is different - some Catholic schools stink - some public schools are fantastic. Prayerfully consider what is best for your family. :slight_smile:

Based on your post I assume you are looking to hear reasoning from other people as to why they send their kids to Catholic Schools. Here is my reasoning. By the way, I pay $12K+/yr each for kids in High School and 4K+/yr each for kids in grade school. This is not an easy expense for my family.

Our local public schools are very good and I have no problem with them at all. The high school is so close I can see lights and hear the football games from my front porch. Almost all of our close friends send their kids to the local public high schools and we participate in many activities (like attend the football games). I mention this to point out that I am not sending my kids to Catholic schools because I am against the public schools.

I have two primary reasons for sending my kids to Catholic Schools.

It is my firm belief that education cannot be perfectly compartmentalized. Math, Science, History, Language, Philosophy, etc are all intermingled in real life and thus you need an education where teachers have the freedom to mingle them when necessary. Each of these things is better understood when they are put into context with all of the other things. Public schools are forced to compartmentalize and specifically work to keep Religion out of the mix.

With more freedom Catholic schools have the opportunity to teach a broader spectrum of things. By attending Catholic Schools I know I learned more and understand other religions better than kids from public schools. Catholic Schools offer a richer educational experience because almost every discipline (in particular history) is influenced by religious belief and thought.

Secondly, everyone has a belief system/philisophy and it influences how they present things. What world view philosophy is driving the presentation of materials in public schools? The answer is everything and nothing. Even if the curriculum is strictly controlled the teacher still has biases and an underlying philisophy that influences their teaching. At a Catholic School there is more opportunity to understand and control that driving philosophy.

Than is not to say that Catholic schools can only give a single perspective. The difference is that it can be explicitly known - not pefectly, but to a better degree than in public schools. The high schools (related all boys and all girls schools) my children attend do not shy away from different world views and religions. They specifically teach them and even have people who advocate different philosophies involved. The difference is that it is all out in the open and can be analyzed, understood, and put into perspective.

And please don’t misunderstand, these are not schools that play loose with Catholic beliefs. They are very orthodox. It is exactly that firm commitment to the Catholic Church that gives them the freedom to explore the world from many different angles.

It is my belief that a Catholic School based education is the broadest educational experience available, even for non-Catholics.

My children attended both public and Catholic high schools (based upon the individual needs of the child). Please know that there is nothing going on in the public schools that is not going on in the Catholic schools – and sometimes to an even greater extent because of the money available to some of the students in the private school.

I don’t say this to frighten you. Just know that where ever your children are, a parent must be attentive to what is going on and not assume the problems of society at large are not equally present in their school or community. You are your child’s protection and you are their positive influence – but there is a minefield out there they have to navigate.

Prayers for all our youngsters . . .

Here’s one argument for sending children to private Catholic schools: if fewer parents sent their children to public schools, taxes would be lower and private schools would be more affordable for everyone.

It’s a circular problem. Taxes are high and most people can’t afford both high taxes and private schools. Because most every child attends the public schools, people vote for even higher taxes. They keep increasing taxes, so fewer and fewer can afford to pay both the taxes and for the private schools. Because they have lots of tax money, the public schools may have newer buildings and materials than private schools. Tax payers are heavily financially invested in public school–beyond paying taxes, the quality of the public schools affect home property value. People may not quickly admit to problems in the public schools because bad public schools affect property value. Besides, if they admited the schools were bad, it would be difficult to continue sending their children there and they can’t afford private school. People want good public schools, (especially since they can’t afford private schools) so they vote for most any tax increase if the public schools ask. Because the taxes are high, few people can afford private schools…

We fell for the above. We moved to an area where everyone said the public schools were good and sent our children there. We pay very high property taxes. There are very few private school because everyone thinks the public schools are good. After having experienced an affordable private Christian school (in an area known for bad public schools) we missed God in the public schools. We also recognized some serious problems that I tried to ignore for two years. We couldn’t find any private school here so we began homeschooling. We eventually found an expensive private high school for our high school age children. I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford that school for all of our children, but I don’t know how we afford our local public schools either–and I don’t think my children’s souls can afford the risk of going to public schools. Public schools in America don’t openly teach about God, and God is the source of goodness.

I like the way the Diocese of Wichita handles Catholic schools. They encourage tithing–voluntarily helping to cover the costs of educating the community’s children. I don’t know what the property taxes are in Kansas, but I’m willing to bet that they are lower than in areas where most every child attends public school.

A lot of it depends on your kids. What are their needs? What do they like to do? Do they have, even at young ages, a decided bent or inclination? Are they academically gifted? Any special needs? It is important that you notice what they might like to do, or where they might go with a career, even if they are young.

Example: My youngest likes comedy. She likes standing up in front of people and delivering comedy. She is a very good reader, likes to learn Spanish (pretends she is a Telemundo news announcer:rolleyes: ), but when work comes calling for math, suddenly her hands “hurt” and it becomes time for a a bathroom break. Now, she is in first grade in a Catholic school with a very small student:teacher ratio, that has a fine arts program including music lessons, acting lessons, art appreciation and hands-on art. Even at this young age, she notices boys, sometimes getting giddy around them, and sometimes punching them.

If she were to suddenly shoot up tomorrow and be in ninth grade, I would either send her to our local Catholic all-girls’ high school or move to get her into one of the Chicago magnet schools that provides arts’ training, esp. International Charter. Why? Both the all-girls’ school and International Charter have speaking opportunities and fine arts programs not offered by the co-ed Catholic high school in our suburb, or for that matter, the two public high schools. The foreign language opportunities are also better for her in those two schools, and there is an IB program.

Her sister is a bit of a dreamer, very good at building things, tends to have to have control over the situation, very good reader, into Science, can accurately draw and sketch objects. She can be bossy and demanding of other children. Her best friends are boys. If she grew suddenly to ninth grade age, I would enroll her in a dual high school-college program at a charter or magnet school, or send her to the co-ed Catholic high school, with an emphasis on architectural work or machine fabrication (yes, they offer that at the co-ed Catholic high school and a charter school, but not at the local suburban high school).

If it was me- and I have two older kids, so I’ve done this-save a spreadsheet. On the first page of the workbook, put kid #1’s strengths and weaknesses, and any little inclinations he or she has. Do the same on a second page for kid #2.

Go see the high schools in your area. Ask a lot of questions.

What does the public school offer in terms of extracurriculars, foreign languages, student:teacher ratios, foreign exchange opportunties, etc. Do they have an IB program? AP? What are their average SAT or ACT scores? Are there any fees? If so, what? Yes, some public schools have fees,and sometimes they run into almost as much as Catholic school tuition.

Now, make the same comparison to the Catholic school. Also ask about Mass (how often), religion classes, etc. And how much does not only tuition cost, but the uniforms, lunches, books, lab fees, computer fee, counseling fee, graduation fee? Are you expected to contibute so much money for the upkeep of the school in the form of raffle tickets, ads in the yearbook, chocolate money, pizza sales money, etc.? And ask administrators, teachers and students what makes the school Catholic! Ask about financial aid in detail. The school might offer some, the parish some, and the diocese some, even the order that runs the place (if there is an order) might offer grants.

Also, go to your local parish.Ask what they do for kids over 14 and under 18, beyond confirmation formation. If you don’t like what you hear- like nothing- you may want to look at other parishes in the area that do offer something. This could also be a good reason to choose a Catholic high school, if the parishes offer nothing for big kids, but the high school does.

Update your file from time to time. You will need to have things ready to rock for the 11 year old when he or she turns 14 and leaves eighth grade. But you will have enough information to make an informed decision with your husband.

And start setting aside some money now!!! If this is something that rests on your heart, you need to pray, but you also need to do your part. Even if you can only set aside $50-$100 a month right now, work into at least $250 a month. Even if your kids go to public school, there is always something a teenager needs!

I find it more important to send my children to Catholic elementary and middle school than to a Catholic high school, of course, our local “Catholic” HS has become a very expensive private school and not very Catholic at all. Our catholic grade schools and middle schools are pretty good and faithful. Anyway, we feel a strong base in Catholic grade and middle school is important. By the time they are in High school, they have developed more critical thinking skills, have a strong knowlege base and are able to defend the faith as needed. Also, NO form of schooling is a guarantee that your children will remain Catholic–that Free Will thing can always get in the way :wink: You do the best you can, pray and leave the rest to God.

I don’t think public education is even an option for my family anymore, it is too infused with political correctness and aweful agenda’s

Thank you all so much for your input. Let me answer some questions first.

  1. our public school has about 700 grads this year, the Catholic school has 150.

  2. I went to this particular Catholic school myself. Very entrenched with religion, values, morals, etc.

  3. I also feel that the Catholic schools wouldn’t put up with as much as the public school. I’ve been hearing horror stories about some of these kids… not to say that the kids at the Catholic school are better, but they won’t put up with as much.

  4. Regarding sports… here’s the thing, we are not counting on a sports scholarship… at all. What I would like though, is for my kids to be able to play because they love to play. There are too many kids trying out at the public school for them to even have a chance. I like that kids are involved in sport activities. I think it develops character, friendships and keeps them out of trouble. If my kids don’t make the team at the public school, I’m afraid they’ll try to find other things to do because they’re bored.

Then you need to start looking at ways to finance it, and gathering your information to make an affirmative case. The best way is to set aside $$ now. If you set aside $50 starting tomorrow, you would have at least $1800 by the time your 11 year old is 14 (this does not include the little dribble of compound interest in a savings account). If you put $50 a month in a savings account, and $200 a month in a well-known, good no-load mutual fund with a 12% rate of gross return, you would have the first year’s tuition in three years. Even if you just chuck it in a lock box under your bed, $250 times 36 months equals $9000.

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