The educational choice between public school vs private school is a very personal and sometimes difficult choice for many parents. There are many factors that one has to take into account. Our family has home schooled, and I have a daughter that graduated from public school. As a parent I understand the many options, the barriers, and the challenge of trying to make the best decision for each child.
Public School vs Private School: Middle School Concerns
In public school my son had some amazing teachers, he was very active in band, and he had many, many friends. Since we live in a small community, when he transitioned to middle school, everyone already knew him. He excelled in his classes and was academically ahead of his peers, but that quickly led to boredom. Large class size, disinterested faculty members, and lack of acceptance from some peers made his first year of middle school a nightmare. He changed PE classes three times due to bullying before we decided to take a PE waiver. While his bus ride home was less than 5 miles, he was removed from the bus on more than one occasion for various reasons, typically laughing and talking.
After much consideration, tears, and worry, I decided to transfer him to San Marcos Academy during the Spring semester of 2016. Originally he was concerned about leaving his large group of friends, several teachers that he especially admired, and leaving band. Change is difficult for anyone, but especially a middle school aged child.
Public School vs Private School: Personal Attention
The advantages of being at SMA overshadowed the few things he left behind almost immediately. My son’s whole demeanor and attitude toward school changed instantly. He woke up every day looking forward to getting to school; and when I say woke up, I mean he got up at 4:30 a.m. His classes were small and allowed personal attention. When he didn’t understand a concept, he was encouraged to ask for help and received the help he needed. He was no longer bored in class but challenged. As a parent, the communication from faculty and administration at SMA is unparalleled.
My son’s personal growth, desire to learn, and his desire to be involved have changed dramatically since being at SMA. In public school my son never attempted any school sports because he was horribly picked on. He had low self-esteem and even stopped wearing shorts because he was teased. Who doesn’t wear shorts in Texas?!
Public School vs Private School: Trying New Things
When I would arrive to pick him up during the first two weeks at SMA, he was difficult to find on campus. Every day he was trying a new sport. Basketball with other students one day, throwing the football the next, soccer and weightlifting the next. He also loved hanging out in the rec center playing pool and table tennis, things that were completely new to him. When considering if he would play sports this year he responded, “I’m going to try them all. I might be good or I might be bad but I’m going to try. And, everyone will help teach me the things I don’t know.” This year he is on the middle school football team. One of his favorite teachers and his favorite class is now PE. That would have never happened in public school.
SMA staff and students have embraced us from day one. The decision to transfer to SMA has been one of the best decisions as a parent I’ve ever made. The best way to sum up how my son feels at SMA was revealed on the second day of school this year. As I was dropping him off I told him to have a good day. His response, “Mom, there are no bad days at SMA. That was the other school. Everyone loves each other here and everyone is accepted for who they are.”
–By Elizabeth Guidry, proud SMA mom from Kyle, Texas