We have decided NOT to pay for private elementary school. Instead we are saving our money for private school for high school. Also we did some research and number crunching. I don't believe St. James is $6000/year better than Monte Vista. It might be $1000 better, but not $6000 better. Instead we can spend that $6000 (times 4 kids) on educating our children ourselves by introducing them to new experiences. Research has shown that one of the major differences between the really smart kids and average kids is that the smart kids are exposed to more so then can put the things they learn into context. This year alone we took the kids to Phoenix, AZ and talked all about desert climate, Hawaii and talked about tropical climate, saw a real live sea turtle, walked on lava walks and talked about how islands are formed from volcanoes, and we went to the USS Midway last week so the kids could be on a real live aircraft carrier and learn about war and the Navy and boats. We are planing a HUGE trip for next summer to do ALL of CA; Alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, Sacramento, Redwood forest, Yosemite, Angel Island (the Ellis Island of SF), etc. We are planning on spending 3 weeks in our van just driving and touring all over the state. Those experiences will be priceless and there is just no way that spending money on school tuition at Catholic School could ever compete with that. Does that make sense?
UPDATE: Instead of touring CA this summer we have gone to Florida to see a Space Shuttle launch, we went to Disneyworld and stuck to the educational parks like Animal Kingdon and Epcot. We also went to Oregon and visited the OMSI museum and toured a retired submarine.