Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thoughts on Money and Schooling

I never let my schooling get in the way of my education. -Mark
Twain
This is the time of year I begin pining over the right decisions concerning the next school year for each child. I get a know in my stomach the size of a cantalope and it stays there until my husband and I settle on a plan together. I examine public, private, co-op, and curriculum options for my children. Pooh Bear officially starts kindergarten next year, so it's going to cost more of a boatload of money than it already does to register and purchase for homeschool next fall. Saturday, I looked a three day a week core curriculum k-12 co-op which would cost $6,000 for all my children to attend. While one who doesn't homeschool four children wouldn't know- that's an all out bargain. The three day a week classical co-op I'd really like to put my children in (if money were no obstacle-and it is) would cost around $18,000 a year with financial aide. The attraction of these co-ops are that my children would have another teacher besides me three of five school days. There are plenty of one day a week co-ops, but those cost somewhere around $300 a month if all my children were to take classes. I'm also looking at an excellent homeschool curriculum which cost $1,000 per child and I'll still have the honor of teaching all four grades five days a week. Nuts, huh? With me here? Education costs.
The educator I know of who says, "All you need for homeschooling is a library
card" did not have four average children. I'm thinking of switching my
address to Lake Wobeggone, so my chidlren would magically become above
average, but I'm not altogether sure that is a real place. And it's probably far
too cold for my bones.
These basic co-ops and curriculums above do not include things like the $400 for swim team sign ups for four children with an additional $120 for team suits. Guitar lessons, art classes, ballet, Boy Scout camp and uniforms, soccor sign ups all add up. And basketball was on the cheap this year for under $200. I'm probably on the bad side of the youth director at our church because I gripe about over $100 per child weekend retreat and sundry other event costs for my oldest son. You may be horrified to know that I make my son pay part of his way to these kind outings. With real boys, I find sports are essential to keep all that testosterone energy focused. Then there's the necessary cost attached to training children towards their natural bent and talents.
Some homeschooling families have their education choices much more planned than
I do and don't feel the need to re-evaluate each year. But that's not me. I
have
to switch things up for my own sanity and to meet the needs of my
children
discovered along the way.
But maybe all the choices I explore annually simply drag my sanity around like a proud cat with a mouse in its mouth. You'd think I'd put all my children on a bus next year, and let someone else do it all for free. Not to criticize, but my oldest went to kindergarten and first grade at a public school in an academically acclerated magnet program, and I found I did most of his core teaching at home. I taught him to read and his math facts afterschool, because the teachers, who were excellent, didn't have enough time to exclusively devote to one of twenty children. In a month or two I'll be fairly sure of what next fall will look like for each of my children. I have only two years left to prepare one son for high school which scares the pants off me. A study skills class is a must for that boy.
How do you decide education for yourself or your children? Are
you satisfied with public schools today? How do you choose programs
and curriculum if you homeschool? Do you get neurotic about it all like I do in March?

3 comments:

tonia/sparrow said...

I just blogged about homeschooling! I'm actually feeling pretty good right now...but that doesn't mean I won't start panicking sometime soon!

I have spent thousands of dollars on curriculum...I don't know how people do it cheaply. I guess they are more creative than me.

Kate said...

Actually this time of year I start to feel burned out. Could be spring fever. Could be that I just need a break. But this past school year (since Aug.) I decided to give year round school a try. So, I am needing to order cirric. again by May and start the next grade. I am too chicken, undisciplined, and insecure to teach them everything on my own. So my older two are using the A Beka DVD and it has fit like a glove for their learning styles. My younger two I can tell already, are going to need something different. So this is where I get nervous. Thankfully they are young and will be starting K so I think I should be able to successfully teach them to read and write. But more then anything I want them all to love learning.
I'm rambling.... sorry!

truevyne said...

Sparrow, I loved that entry.

Kate, I get nervous too. And K first grade are my favorite grades to teach. Are you going with Abeka again? I'm looking at William Bennett's k-12 curric- intergrated and laid out for the mom. Expensive though.