The letters are in the mail. The emails are ready to be sent. Moms and dads all over the L.A. area are about to hear if their soon to be Kindergartner has been accepted to the private school of their dreams. But there is a cost and it’s a hefty one. While parents are waiting, hoping and frankly, drinking in anticipation of the acceptance notification, the reality is the commitment to actually pay for it is even more blistering. I write this for all the parents who are trying to figure it all out. I know how you feel. I can empathize. I know your anxiety and your excitement. But know this, it’s all going to be over very soon and all will be settled… sort of.
I liken it to college rush. I remember the day it happened for us, only a year ago. We applied to four schools. That’s about average when it comes to applications per family. We were on the tee-ball field when the first email came into my inbox. The first acceptance was in the form of an email congratulating our son and welcoming our family. It was our first choice! A sigh of relief. On the other side of the field, I saw my husband, a big smile on his face as he had just read the email as well. Then, in only a matter of minutes, the text messages from friends. “Where did you get in?” “I’m still waiting.” “What do you know?” “We’re on the wait-list.” It was CRAZY! I was trying to process what was going on and what it really meant as far as a commitment to our children’s education. We still didn’t know if we could swing it. We knew the school of our dreams for our sons was the perfect fit and that both our boys would thrive in that particular environment. It was a no-brainer when it came to the quality of education, but it wasn’t a done deal when it came to the cost. Twenty-five thousand dollars a year, per kid and knowing it would go up, was not to be taken lightly. This meant an adjustment in our lifestyle and we knew the stress of it could be difficult on any marriage. And what about college? We have been saving since the boys were born, so we thought we were going to be ‘okay’ for college, but now we had to deal with Kindergarten.
I am happy to report that we made the decision to send our son to our first choice school and he is thriving and happy! But I must admit, while he did get into two other schools and declined by one, we would never have sent him to any of the others. The reason… we could not reconcile spending that amount of money anywhere else. The simple fact is that we knew our number one choice was the right choice. The other schools were and are wonderful, but not the right fit for our son or for us.
So my advice to you, moms and dads, stressing over all of this: you have every reason to feel stressed, unsure and confused. Give yourselves a break. This is a HUGE commitment. And understand that if your son or daughter doesn’t get into a certain school, take it in stride. There are so many reasons why children are not selected. There are simply more students applying than there are spots and when administrators are looking at building classes, there are so many factors involved. Do not be crushed. Things will be as they are supposed to be. There is a plan.
Remember this too, you are your child’s first teacher. You can supplement your child in ways a school environment could never even attempt to.
One final thought and I know it’s easier said than done, and I’m saying this having already experienced it all, but put everything into PERSPECTIVE. While sending your child to a private school in Los Angeles is a gift to your child, it is not the ONLY way to a quality education.