We couldn’t afford private either. I was just lucky to win a scholarship. [I had to write a couple of essays in 8th grade and be interviewed]
I graduated with 12 kids in my class, and the school was Kindergarten to 12th grade. It was a neat place. Board of trustees were scam artists though, and they shut the 120 yr old school down a year after I graduated. But it probably saved my sanity. Public school was a madhouse.
But I still would’ve done better had I been homeschooled with the Internet at my disposal (not the early 80s Internet… that was still military and very few Unversities at that time – I mean today’s ‘net]. Still, I’ve been making up for lost opportunities the moment I got on and never stopped learning since.