Saturday Emma and I went shopping for her school supplies. During the afternoon, she was telling me about a friend of hers who is transferring to a private school this year. She couldn't understand why, since her friend is a popular, well-liked girl at their school. I explained that sometimes it's about more than popularity; she may want a better academic school (not that their school is bad).
A little while later, Emma said she would probably have a better chance of getting into a good college if she went to a private school. She told me that she knew it was super expensive, but if she worked really hard this year maybe she could get a scholarship? She was so intent on concentrating on her grades this year in hopes of a scholarship that I just had to look at schools here to see what they were like.
I found one school that was not a religious school. I am not at all against religious schools, I even went to a private religious college, but I really want a school that focuses on academics for her. I found one that sounded wonderful, read through all the information, then looked at the scary page: tuition.
For the high school levels, tuition is merely $15,000 per year. Every year. Then there are the extras: uniforms, books, lunch, required iPad, other miscellaneous fees. So a rough estimate is just over $16,000 each year, or $64,000 for all four years of high school.
That made me sad. I would LOVE to be able to give Emma every academic advantage possible. But realistically, there is no way short of a winning lottery ticket we'd ever be able to send her to private school. And I worry about her chances for a scholarship. The school I looked at does offer scholarships, but the process is lengthy. While she has the grades, she does not have the extra curricular activities or community service.
I know that it is just as possible to get into a good college from a public high school, but I know what public high school is like. I love the offerings at the private school, all the many sports, clubs, experiments - so many opportunities for hands-on learning!
But, I just have to accept the truth. And do my very best to help her get the education she deserves from what we have to work with - there is no reason to limit ourselves to what is taught in school. We have museums, libraries, the internet - plenty of supplemental material to work with.
But I can still wish for a better opportunity for her.