The Page About Private School Applications, Tough Choice, and Being Good Parents


Being a parent is an impossible ask. Doesn’t it feel sometimes that no matter what you do you can’t win? 

As parents, more than anything in the world we want to do what is best for our children. And yet, we constantly doubt ourselves, our abilities, and our decisions.

I wish there was an easy way to solve this problem, but I haven’t found one yet.

Tune in to learn the solution I have found so far.

Today’s page of the Breverie Handbook is really about reminding all of you parents out there that you are doing amazing. And that you are not alone.

Tune in on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or continue reading.

We were never really planning to send our daughter to a private school. 

In LA, we purposefully rented a house in a neighborhood zoned to a very good public school. When we moved to Houston and bought our house, we did similar research and made sure she would be able to attend one of the top public schools in the city.

But our daughter is in 5th grade now, and so last fall it was time to start thinking about middle school. 

The middle school we are zoned to is not great, so that was out of consideration pretty quickly. 

Another option, and the main option we were considering at the time, was participating in a lottery for magnet school programs – we have a few in the neighborhood. But it is a lottery, so who knows what might happen. No guarantee.

One day my husband suggested that we consider private schools. He had just spoken with a couple colleagues who send their kids to private schools, and they had only good things to say about their experience. So he suggested that we give it a shot.

We started looking, and quickly we became very impressed by the profiles of these schools.

It was clear that they have a much more personalized and much more holistic approach to education. With a smaller teacher-to-student ratio, all the additional resources they have, and their independently curated curriculum, they really provide a much more elevated environment in comparison to public schools.. 

Of course, every parent thinks their child is special – and we are no exception. 

We do believe that Dasha has very unique qualities and talents, and we as parents are keen to do anything we can to help her develop those talents. 

We also know that COVID had a huge impact on children’s ability to develop their social skills, and overcrowded classrooms in public schools where teachers can barely keep up with what’s going on does not seem like the best environment to develop those skills.

So the idea of a private school was definitely becoming more and more exciting.

But as we were quickly becoming excited about this opportunity, we were becoming overwhelmed by the whole application process.

Let me tell you – it is NO joke.

First, it’s VERY competitive. For some schools, the acceptance rate is as little as 15%!

Second, the list of required paperwork is enormous. 

You need to obtain all these recommendations (from current teachers, from extra curriculum teachers, from the principal), plus kids need to complete their own forms and write essays about themselves and their interests, and they want you to submit grades for the last 2-3 years…

But, if that wasn’t enough already, they also want you to take an independent private school admission test – a very advanced test that takes 2.5 hours and that goes way beyond the standard school curriculum.

We did our due diligence, went to a bunch of open houses and selected 4 schools that we wanted to apply to.

And now it was time to start the actual process.

We wanted Dasha to do good with that independent test, so we decided to hire a tutor for her. She would have lessons 2 times a week after school.

And very quickly we realized that, with everything that she already had on her plate, including school, homework, afterschool, it was just too much for her — she started to crash.

The smallest things would cause her mood, that was already very sensitive and fragile, to break. She would have these huge meltdowns out of nowhere, and it would happen almost every day.

The only time I went through something similar with her was back in 2017 after we just moved to the US. She was only 4.5 back then and she never expressed any complaints or concerns about the move, but it was clearly an enormous stress for her – she would throw tantrums randomly, at home and in public places, and often those tantrums were so bad that I wanted to pull my hair out – I simply didn’t know what to do…

And now it was happening again – almost 7 years later.

Listen to the full story on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Until next time,

Olena xx

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