Parenting & Family

Private Schools - Would you send your kid if you had the money?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 8th, 2018 4:47 pm
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Jan 17, 2002
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Toronto
BlueSolstice wrote:
Oct 31st, 2018 2:59 pm
Sounds like you still need to keep an eye on quality of school. A change of admin at the school due to retirement/job hopping can easily lead to kids from low income areas coming into the school, if the new admin is not diligent in weeding out the fakes.
What's wrong with some low income family kids at a school?
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Nov 13, 2013
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OTTAWA
frogger wrote:
Oct 31st, 2018 9:13 pm
What's wrong with some low income family kids at a school?
Yeah I agree. The low income parents who go out of the way to get their kids into a better school usually have kids that frankly I would rather have my kid associate than the typical upper middle class kid. Not at all the same as the default school next to a bad area.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
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Toronto
BlueSolstice wrote:
Oct 31st, 2018 2:59 pm
Sounds like you still need to keep an eye on quality of school. A change of admin at the school due to retirement/job hopping can easily lead to kids from low income areas coming into the school, if the new admin is not diligent in weeding out the fakes.
We will keep our eyes open for sure, but I don’t think that’s actually a major issue. Apparently, enforcing the school district eligibility is something these schools pay a lot of attention to these days. Sometimes they are slacker on the rules, but that is intentional, such as when there are specific circumstances like low enrolment.
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Jun 23, 2017
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I am a new immigrant so I might offer some outsider perspective here.

One important advantage of private schools(good ones) is that they have a more rigorous academic training style. It is more like old-fashioned Prussian education system. Most Asian countries are still using this system. And former USSR used to use it as well. Some of British's private school is still using them in a more extreme manner comparing to their North American counterparts. It is no doubt that such a system put more burdens on young kids. However, it can also benefit in certain ways if the kids are not overly pushed.

Most Public schools in GTA seems to lack the rigorous academic schedule. I took a look on our girl's elementary's math curriculum(she is in grade 2). It looks well-rounded and progressive. However, the problem is there is virtually no practice chances for kids to really understand those stuff. As they go to higher grades, the things they need to learn will become significantly harder and more complicated. When they go to middle school without enough practice, they will soon feel every question seems challenging because they lack the necessary basic skills. If kids didn't have enough practice before the learning curve becoming too deep, it would be too late for them to catch up.

I know a lot of people in North America thinks learning too much maths at a young age is not necessary since you will eventually let kids use calculators or excels when they grow up. However, there is a difference between trained and untrained mind, especially in maths/science/engineering field.

It's like a Lego game. You have to build foundations before you make upper floors. For example, If you want to manually calculate 35X46 correctly, you have to understand well how to do 5X6 or 3x6 or 4x5 or 3x4, then kids have to realize that 5x6 means five of six or six of five, which is basic addition concept. If one has trouble with adding six 5 altogether, how can he be expected to do mutiply fast and accurate?

The problems with Canadian public school is that they ask kids to go higher without providing them with enough practices to build a solid foundation. I don't think it's fair for those parents who trust the Canadian public education system. When their kids go to high school or apply for college, they will eventually find out that they are somehow disadvantaged in certain academic fields because the elementary and middle school didn't let them practice enough.

Another adavantge of Private school is that they offer a lot of Extra-curriculum opportunities. It is crucial if you have high expectation for your kids. If one applies for prestigious universities in the States, saving elephant in Nambia usually attracts more attention from admission committees than taking a tour in some grand-house in downtown Toronto. I know it sounds ridiculous but it is how top-tier US universities look at applicants. I feel it is a way to favour applicants from middle and upper classes families since they are more likely to afford privates schools which provides so many EC programs.

Even if you feel there is little chances that your kids go to oversea for study, private schools' EC still might benefit them in a longer term. Say your kid finish college in Canada and after a few years work he suddenly decides to apply for Medical school or Law school. What will happen is that those professional degree faculties will still ask applicants about Extra-Curriculums, community involvement, personal interests, etc. And aside from that, the most important thing is a perfect college GPA. Almost all Canadian law schools and medical schools look at exclusively at cGPA. The higher the better. Which gets back to what I said before, a solid academic foundation will help your kid a lot in his future college study. It never hurts to have a higher grade in undergraduate. And if one messed up in his undergraduate, he is almost saying goodbye to any decent professional degrees Canada offers.

If you are those parents who don't know much about the education system and don't like to analyze, research or overthink about it, private schools might suit you because you could rely on school more and give yourself a piece of mind. Especially if you have a rather high expectation for your kids, or if you want your kids to be able to go to top-tier universities in the States, or goes study and work in Europe, Singapore, HK, etc.

If you are those who spend a lot of time on the education system, and who have time to help kids with homework, or who have the luxury to search different activities for your kids, who knows what a public school cannot offer and how to compensate, then I think public school is cost-efficient for you. As long as you can make up the practice problem and let your kid have a lot of activities, I think it's ok to stay in a public school.

For me, I think most Toronto's public school looks fine. I lived in the States for some time and public school there can be a disaster if you end up in a low-income neighbourhood. But the Canadian counterparts looks much better. Maybe kids in some neighbourhood don't go to tutors or oversea camps, but at least most of them have good manners and seems to enjoy life. I am confident that I can tutor my kids with most of the academic problems until they go to high school, at least I can build a solid foundation for them. And we are always discussing about what kind of activities our kids can participate. Sports, camps, or just some parties, or travelling to other countries in vacations. I feel my money is well spent on those trips or camps compared to a private school's tuition.

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