Education – where do I begin?

There are so many differing opinions in regards to how we should educate our kids. As parents – it falls on us to decide what’s best for our little whippersnappers. I grew up in Northern Ireland and went to good old public schools and Lisa did the same in Canada. We feel like we got a pretty rounded education and don’t have a feeling that we got short changed academically. However, we work at a private school here in New Zealand so we get to see it from a whole new perspective. I feel that private schools have much better resources. Yes the teachers were trained the same as the public school teachers, but the resources seem to make the difference. 

Now .. we are told so many different things on what we should do with Finn. “Put him in private school education once he reaches high school as it’s a waste of money in primary school.” “It’s all about what school you went to in Christchurch, so pick carefully.” “Put him in private school for primary school and not high school as it instills good habits and academic skills from an earlier stage before they become teens.” 

The list goes on. But to be honest – there are so many factors we have to consider. Firstly of course is the financial commitment – private school is a little more expensive than a public school, actually a lot more. But can you really put a price on excellent education for your child? Next there’s the Finn factor. Where does he want to go to school? That has to be a huge deciding factor on where we enrol him. For primary he won’t have much inkling as to where he will want to go but for high school he will feel much more strongly about where he sees himself fitting in. We absolutely love the school we work at and think that Finn would LOVE it but I guess at the end of the day it will be up to him and what he wants for his life. 

The Happiest Kids in the World book reminds me that I shouldn’t put pressure on Finn to be successful at everything he does – it’s ok to not be the best at everything. And honestly, I see first hand, some students whose parents openly put pressure on them to be the best at everything they do. All too often these are the same kids who, in their teens, suffer from mental health issues, anxiety and some even rebel against their families. I’m a rookie at this Dad business, but I feel that teaching kids for 11 years has given me plenty of knowledge in terms of what not to do as a parent. The pushy, helicopter parent is not what I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I want Finn to live a full life with lots of rich experiences but not at the cost of his happiness or our relationship. 

I’d be keen to hear from you parents and educators out there!


2 thoughts on “Education – where do I begin?

  1. Hi James I just want to give you advice from my personal experience on schooling. Both my kids went to public school throughout primary school. However when it came time for secondary education we wanted to give them the best we could and sent them to private school. And to be 100% honest it was the best decision we have ever made, apart from actually becoming parents 😊
    You are right about the training the teachers receive it’s all the same but it is the resources available that make all the difference. Smaller class sizes, 15 pupils maximum compared to more than 30!!
    If the teachers feel that their class should ha e a certain book or any type of learning material then it will be made available without having to jump through hoops only to be told “sorry it’s not in the budget”
    Nothing is too much trouble, teachers will do everything they can to help regardless if it is to do with education or not. The happiness of the child is first and foremost the teachers main priority. My oldest daughter had sat her National 5 exams last year (same as GCSE’s) and ended up with 7 A’s and 1 B. Friends that she has at public schools could not believe this and it was as they said amazing to get these results. Yes she put the work in to gain these results but part of the reason was because she wanted to do well for her teachers who had helped her so much out with the class times, break times, lunch times and after school. She could email a teacher at 9pm at night if she had a problem and would be guaranteed a reply within the hour. I could honestly go on and on about the benefits it hopefully you get my meaning. So obviously my opinion is that private schools are amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. I went to the same school as you and at the time it was the only option available to my mum and dad. But thankfully there seem to be more options open to parents today.
    Obviously you and Lisa need to make the choice that is right for Finn. Good luck with this massive decision when the time comes and whatever you choose will be right for you family xx


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