Saturday, 5 February 2011

Private Girls Schools

Private Girls Schools
As my eldest daughter completes her final year at boarding school and my younger children move into senior school, I thought it relevant to reflect on the experiences and benefits of my children and myself over the past five years. Should I be sending my kids to boarding school? A question that will probably have crossed your mind once or twice if your living in a rural area with no close available secondary education centers. However if you are living in a rural area there are many pros and cons as to boarding school for your child/children.
My experiences personally during my time involved in my children’s schooling were always positive. The soul purpose of a private, boarding school is to educate and inspire, to push the students in their specialized areas, academics, community service, sporting, and arts. I witnessed my children strive and be supported when they fell.

- Your child may get homesick, and tell you they hate school, you, and generally everything.
- Generally the costs of boarding school are very high.
- Your child learns independence and many life long skills.
- Your child will form friendships and relationships with peers and staff at a very close level.
- There are many opportunities and experiences that your child can be involved in, which are unimaginable at any other school
- You and your children will meet people from all over the state
- The education received at a private school is of an extremely high standard. As the mother of three children in boarding school, I have never regretted the decision to send my kids to boarding school.
Canterbury School is an independent co-ed private day school in Fort Myers, Florida, that claims the distinction of sending 100 percent of its graduates on to colleges or universities.  The school spans 32 acres, comprising four divisions:  Lower (grades K-3), Intermediate (grades 4-6) Middle (grades 7-8) and Upper (grades 9-12). The Lower and Intermediate schools have dedicated art and music classrooms, science laboratories and computer labs and classrooms with a shared library.  The Middle and Upper schools share a library, music and art classrooms but have separate science laboratories, computer labs, classrooms and commons areas. The entire school shares the dining hall, a gymnasium and a sports center, an outdoor marine biology touch tank and classroom and a Performing Arts Center.
Canterbury’s strong academic performance in part stems from low student/teacher ratios of 10:1 and average class sizes of 17.  Another of Canterbury’s secrets is one that many prep schools share.  Guidance counselors at Canterbury have developed strong relationships with a number of colleges and universities.  Over time, Canterbury has earned its reputation for graduates who excel at academics as well as leadership. In fact, every year Canterbury students take top honors in local, regional, state and national academic, athletic and arts competitions.  These traditions, coupled with the strong ties between guidance counselors and college admissions officers, pave the way for exceptionally high admissions percentages.
Canterbury starts the college selection process early as students enter their “upper years,” or the equivalent of grade 9.  Students work with counselors to select appropriate target schools based on academic strengths and specialties, as well as the size of the school.  Students at Canterbury, however, are not focused solely on academics.  The school believes that athletic competition and serving on a team are integral to the educational experience in building character and leadership.  According to a recent press release, 85% of all Middle and Upper school students participate in athletics and can choose from soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, golf, cross-country, cheerleading, track & field, softball and lacrosse.  Canterbury’s top female golfer, Michelle Shin, placed second in state championships.
While a Canterbury education is not cheap, the school actively seeks a diverse student body and offers a range of financial aid options.  As an example, in the 2008-2009 school year, Canterbury provided over $1,100,000 of financial assistance to 18% of the student body, with awards that ranged from 20%-95% of tuition.
Students gush in online reviews that, “As an alumni, this school prepared me endlessly for success in the future. Small class sizes and great teachers make this a great fit for every child.”
At our graduation ceremony last year, the guest speaker challenged the graduates by contrasting two people.
After a few moments, our speaker poses the following question to the graduates: “Who should you identify with?” Was our speaker crazy? No one wants Kevin’s life. No one wants to grow up in a dysfunctional family or be around dysfunctional family members. The speaker was addressing the graduating class of the Christian high school he was years before expelled from. I loved reading about it. The speaker was Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham.
The primary purpose of home schooling in my mind is helping our children participate in a vital relationship with Jesus Christ. Our kids came to Christ in Sunday school, or Awana, or we led them to the Lord ourselves. Jesus got bumped, and the above things, good as they might be, became ultimate things and took center stage in our home-schooling efforts.
Thanks for reading!
Curt Bumcrot, MRE


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