Secular vs Faith based schools

So, as I consider potential other schools for my daughter to attend (just in case), I struggle with a few things. Faith based schools are typically less expensive. Right now my daughter goes to a faith based school. We pay about $750 a month (that’s for generally 7:30am-4pm care) plus a $300 yearly registration fee. They provide snacks and lunch. It’s a baptist school, which is fine. I mean, right now my daughter is so young that being in a super high faith environment is probably not extremely impactful.

Non faith based schools in our area typically cost about $1,100+ per month. That’s half my take home salary. At that point it just doesn’t even seem to make sense. There is one a couple blocks from my house that is pretty bad ass. You know, all the bells and whistles and such. But I just don’t know if we want to be paying that much every single month.

So, I go back to faith based schools. Tuition in the area seems to range from $800-950 for full time. So, the school we go to right now is currently one of the least expensive options. It’s comparable to the daycare that is semi-associated with my work (which is a secular daycare). My coworker pays $725 for that but they don’t provide meals and there are a lot of other downsides to that daycare. If I switched jobs in the next year that would mean moving my daughter because I work 30 minutes+ away from where I live.

Why would I worry that a religion be too impactful? My husband is definitely not religious. I would consider him an intellectual and spiritual… someone who has read many philosophical and spiritual texts. He was raised Baptist and his mother is hard-core evangelistic. He has a pretty intense negative reaction when it comes to religion, especially Christianity.

I went to a Methodist pre-school, a public elementary school but attended a Methodist church for some of my childhood. My parents were never super religious though or ever pushed religion down my throat. I went to a baptist middle school and an Episcopal high school but never really felt connected to Christianity.

I honestly don’t know where I stand with what I believe in. That’s an uncomfortable space for me to be in a times.Sometimes I felt like going to those schools made me dislike religion even more. I know that I only attended those schools because of the education. My parents weren’t sending me there for spiritual purposes.

So, back to my daughter. I wonder, if we have no religious affiliation, and she goes to some Catholic pre-school or Lutheran pre-school, or heck, even stays at her current Baptist pre-school, will that be weird for her? Will she be getting all this teaching and information (some of the schools require weekly church attendance by the kids during school hours) that doesn’t match up at home? Some of these schools may even hold and/or teach beliefs that are extremely contrary to our own personal values, such as perhaps LGBT issues. I suppose I would have to ask those questions to the school, for the values that are important to me.

Or maybe the whole thing would just be a wash. I mean I went to a methodist pre-school right? Well, I only went 2 days a week and as my mom says it, Methodists are kind of in the realm of all beliefs are welcome here….that’s why she likes it really.  Okay, that’s just her opinion (not trying to offend anyone here).

Just throwing things around in my head right now.

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7 thoughts on “Secular vs Faith based schools

  1. I am so sorry you are dealing with what you are dealing with school wise. What anxiety and stress that would cause me – I hate anything dealing with the potential safety of my daughter!

    We steer clear from religious based schools, my husband is agnostic almost atheist and I’m Wiccan myself (self practitioner). I grew up catholic and don’t want my daughter influenced by authority figures like teachers at such an influential age if I can avoid it. We are lucky in this area that we can afford a non-faith based school especially since Alex is now going to be in preschool and they would be ‘teaching’ her more. Although I decided to go part time to help afford it more easily (especially the cost of the newborn added in -yikes)!

    • Thanks! Yes I would prefer a secular school and I am currently contacting schools to find out more about them. I am struggling right now with working full time (both literally the TIME committment of that- I am out of the home 7am-5pm) and I am missing my kid, but if I went part time, costs increase significantly in other ways.
      I don’t know what I’m trying to say, just that my brain is a big ole mess of goo. You know, you work harder to have more money to pay for your kid to spend more time at school and ………. ahhhhh

  2. I’ve looked into a few christian preschools (most are baptist in my neck of the woods), and I honestly can’t even stand to read their “about” section on their websites. I am also not a religious person, and I have trouble even thinking about trying to have a discussion with E about why mommy doesn’t believe something that her teacher and friends do. I want her to go to school to learn and socialize, not learn about a religion that is regarded as fact and the only possible answer to life.
    I hope you find one you love and trust for Lamb. She deserves a loving place to grow and learn!

  3. I think this stuff is hard to figure out and balance. We are choosing faith based schools but last year had the choice between two different kinds of Jewish schools and we chose the cheaper one that isn’t 100% in line with our practice and values because of the tuition. It was fine. The kids only remember the surface level stuff anyway (they learned the songs we would have taught them, for example) and the deeper philosophical differences did not seem to make a difference. We are looking more carefully at schools for when they are 4 and older, since that is when I think it probably matters more. This age, just make sure it is a nurturing, comfortable environment (for you AND Lamb), somewhere you are happy to leave her during the day because you know she is safe and well cared for. Worry about philosophy later, I think.

    • (Then again, like I said, we are purposefully choosing religious schools because we want our kids to have a religious education, but coming from a different perspective I can see how it would be harder to decide… too many variables!)

  4. Are there any co-op preschools? That is something I was looking at for when we move. I’m Buddhist but was raised Lutheran. I was forced to go to church, Sunday school, communion, and confirmation. Because of my own beliefs I don’t like the idea of religious based schools. I absolutely won’t be putting Wallace in a religious preschool but I see your dilemma. What about the nanny share idea?

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