Probably both, with a couple of fairly strict parents thrown in, I'm guessing.
stinkerbell, first off, let me say I don't envy your having to raise all girls! (or do you have sons as well?) I'm sure it isn't an easy decision but it sounds like you want the best for them. I only have one, a boy, and he's in college. We couldn't afford private school but I wished I had been able to. We did move during his highschool years to a different school district and instead of uprooting him, we used a relatives address and let him stay at the same school. Once he started driving it made it even easier because I didn't have to drive him across town and then go to work. It would only have been trading one public school for another and so I felt it was better to do what I could to keep him where he was. He graduated third in his class and is almost a junior in college.
prhoshay brought up a good point about the difference in academics in private and public schools. Even with good grades, your daughter may find herself behind some of the other kids when she enters 9th grade. I'm sure she'll be able to catch up but it might cause her more stress on top of the idea of changing schools. Maybe you can find out the curriculum in advance and see if there's anything you can do to help her if you do decide to send her to private school.
Most public highschools these days do have college prep classes (ours are called Advanced Placement or AP classes) so getting a public education doesn't necessarily hinder a student when they enter college. I think math and science are the two major areas where students could have trouble keeping up in college if they didn't receive good instruction in highschool.
As someone else said, maybe she can get to know some of the other girls in advance and also do a tour of the school, meet the teachers, and other things to get her excited about it. Are their brochures outlining the school's curriculum and extra curricular activities or maybe a website? If presented to her as a new learning challenge and with some excitement, she might be more into it instead of feeling forced. I went to catholic school until we moved to another state, spent 5th grade in public school, and then did horribly the next year in catholic school because the public school was that far behind. And I found most of the girls to be stuck-up, families had money (mine didn't), and I struggled to keep my grades up. I only lasted a year and went back to public school.
It's hard to assimilate into an environment where all the kids know each other, live near each other, parents know each other, and most of them have money. I don't remember how much religion was taught but I imagine your church and it's youth activities could provide much of the same guidance regarding that aspect if that's your main reason for sending her.
In the end, parents should be the deciding factor but just know that it may or may not work out for her. Just keep an eye out for depression, eating disorders, etc. that many teen girls succumb to when placed in an environment they hate. But on the other hand, she may love it. Will you have a back-up plan allowing her to go back to public school (she doesn't have to know it's an option but maybe you and your husband and FIL if he's paying can come to an agreement of what to do if it turns out to be disastrous). And will FIL have a fund set-up for the other girls for when it comes time for them to go? If he only plans to pay for the oldest, it could cause resentment from the others. I'd find out from him if he pays for one, will he be paying for them all (or by then would you be able to pay for the others?). And many private schools don't offer transporation or if they do, it's at a cost. Will you be able to get her to and from school?
Like you said, there's much to talk about and figure out before making a final decision. Good luck!
ACF, those are all really good points to consider. I hadn't thought of the transportation thing, but that would surely be a consideration, especially if both parents work.
I only went up to 8th grade and then public highschool. I must say looking back I did get a great education, small classes, good teachers, but I wouldn't move a kid at this point. I started school there and so it wasn't a big deal, but I wanted to go to the public highschool and pitched one until I got there.
I was actually ahead when I got to highschool and was put in classes with juniors and seniors when I was a freshman because my scores were so much higher than the public school kids my age, so its not always true that the private schools don't have the academics that public schools do. A lot of the time its the other way around.
I hated wearing uniforms, but now as a parent, I think they are a GREAT idea.
But I'd go with your gut and what your kids say. At 8th grade, they will probably not want to go. So why didn't FIL step in 8 years ago with this offer????
Archiecomicfan: thanks for all of your ideas. Yes, I have 3 girls, no sons. The school we are considering is probably 30 minutes away, and I doubt she will know anyone there. But, she still has another year at her public school, so if we choose that, we have time to get acclimated and to meet new kids.
If FIL pays for one, he is most likely thinking of all of them. He just said my oldest since her time will be coming up first. He wouldn't do that to them as he has never shown favoritism towards one or the others.
Wow- a lot to think about.
Igotalife: I'm so terribly sorry to hear of your lovely boating getting waterlogged and ruined. I hope your insurance company will help you restore her so she is not only seaworthy once again, but a joy that continues in your lives :cheek
stinkerbell: I'm not a parent, nor am I Catholic, so I really can't give you any advice except that I feel you are great MOM to your 3 girls! You seem to have their best interest at heart no matter what you decide to do and the fact that you are very proud of who they are is wonderful! I come from a family of 3 girls too :)
My trouble today is that my water bottle accidentally spilled in my purse and got water on my digital camera :( It was closed and I dried it off (along with everything else :mmm). But when I hit the power button.....nothing. So I took out the memory chip and dired it off and tried it again....nothing. So I decided to put it on it's power stand....nothing. Then I heard a static-ky noise. It didn't sound good. So I took it off the stand. The indicator light is on red now and makes that static-ky sound again. Then I checked my user guide and it says NOT to open it or turn it off and on. I really need it for this weekend! I'm going to have to take it in to London Drugs or somewhere to check it out. My sweetie gave it to me for Xmas and I'll be very sad if it's ruined. :crying