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12Oaks's avatar

Aside from home schooling, which I already do, what are other ways to save money raising a kid all the while not being neglectful or stifling in any way?

Asked by 12Oaks (4051points) February 13th, 2011

Is pretty straight forward. Looking for ways to save money raising a kid while assuring they get the best possible without sacrafice on their part.

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56 Answers

crisw's avatar

Out of curiosity, how does home schooling save money? I would think it costs money- not only does it remove someone from the workforce, you have to pay for textbooks, etc.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You’re homeschooling young goats? :-)

Are you part of a homeschool cooperative? What exactly are you trying to save money on? Perhaps the question is, what I can do without so my children can have the best educational opportunities possible?

12Oaks's avatar

Yes, some of us parents on my block all home school as a collective. I do extra with my kid. She is 5, reads at a second grade level and is also ahead in math. She is also learning to speak two languages. It doesn’t take anyone away from work, as school could be done in afternoon and weekend hours as well as morning weekdays. My kid is having the best educational opportunities possible, because she is being taught by those who really care about her education and future, not just some union and paycheck. I just wish I didn’t have to pay school taxes as part of property tax, because I just don’t use the system. Would be saving more if that were the case, but not paying any extra to the local school system is a winner right there. Our aim is for her education to be done by age 16 so she could join the workforce quicker, thus again making more, not losing. It’s a classic win, win, win, win, win situation for all, except for maybe those who work in the public school system, of course.

Aethelwine's avatar

To help save money in the future, I would look into prepaid college tuition plans that lock in the current rates. I wish I had done this with my sons.

12Oaks's avatar

@jonsblond Just curious. With those plans, what happens if the kid you’re saving for decide not to go to college? Is it lost, do you get paid back with interest, or what? After seeing what happened with the Bright Start in Illinois and a little weary about that kind of thing.

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s nice that you want to home school your kids, but does it have to come with offending underpaid, overworked, caring public school teachers? My wife spends so much time, energy and money on her students that she often neglects her own needs. How dare you.

Aethelwine's avatar

@12Oaks I believe there are penalties, but you can change the beneficiary to another qualified family member at any time to keep the account going.

Nullo's avatar

@crisw if the OP moved from private schools to home schooling, it would indeed end up costing less money. Our public schools are a mess, so I can see the reluctance.

Remember that money=work. This means that work=money. Look for things that you can make/do yourself.
Keep an eye peeled for good second-hand stores, even if it’s just for play/yardwork clothes.
It’s good that you’ve got a support network; there might be ways to provide low-cost recreation. I had a friend whose parents gave him leeway to build onto a play structure in his backyard; we had endless fun with that.
Clip coupons, shop the day-old bread store, and see about making dinner from bulk – if you don’t already.
And for future reference, it’s ‘wary,’ not ‘weary,’ which means ‘fatigued.’

@psychocandy Your wife, I fear, is more the exception than the rule.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Nullo There is no way you can know that’s true. Of the hundreds of teachers my wife has met and worked with she has only come across a few that truly do not care about their students.

Response moderated
Aethelwine's avatar

@Nullo I agree with @psychocandy. Having put 2 sons through high school and now a 7 year old in grade school, I haven’t met one teacher that wasn’t dedicated to their students.

Nullo's avatar

@jonsblond @psychocandy And yet, on my way through k-12 – in two different states, no less – I, personally, have had two or three. And these were good schools. I shudder to think of what the kids in the city have. Heck, St. Louis was giving positions to anybody with a Bachelor’s Degree.

tinyfaery's avatar

The interpretations of students regarding their teachers is an extremely biased opinion. I’m sure many of my wife’s students think she doesn’t care about them.

12Oaks's avatar

This was a question about ways to save, not the educational system, but since it turned to that….. In my not quite 10 years in the public school system, the two strikes and one walk-out that the union demanded was surely telling about where the students, and their education, really stood with the faculty and system at large.

Nullo's avatar

@psychocandy I would agree with you, except that a teacher who screams at her students is kinda hard to misinterpret. Plus, I’ve got the folks backing me up on this.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yeah, thought about weighing in here, but it’s devolved too far from the original question to bother.

12Oaks's avatar

I can’t decide if my personal one-on-one time with a teacher was when one said I was too stupid to learn and is wasting her time; when one jammed my leg with a pen because I didn’t know some Shakespear quote; or the one who gave me a failing grade because, as they said, “I just don’t like you.” Maybe I’m just trying to be a good parent by not subjecting my daughter to those kind of teaching tools.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I don’t mean a neighborhood collective, but a larger community collective. The communities that I have lived in have formal resource centers for homeschoolers, field trips, tutoring resources, curriculums, science equipment, cottage school programs.

12Oaks's avatar

@barnacleBill Well, we do have libraries, parks, arboretums, museums, and all sorts of resources free (well, taxpayer paid, and I am a taxpayer) to use. I’m out to see my kid gets the best education, and who better than the people who truly care about her future the most? Besides, I have another personal rule—never, EVER pay anyone for something you could do yourself.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I don’t think anyone goes into teaching without loving the idea of teaching. What happens is that the institutional side of education – class size, lack of classroom supplies, repeated changes in mandated curriculum, disagreement about mandated curriculum, requiring teachers to teach to test metrics that are at odds with the mandated curriculum, kids coming to school without having eaten, without lunches or lunch money, kids coming to school stressed out about abuse or divorce, parents coming to school demanding that Junior be given an “A” or his future or sports career will be ruined, kids coming to school with weapons… all of this takes a toll on teacher performance over time, and all of this is outside the control of the teacher him/herself.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@12Oaks You could learn how to make your own clothes to help save money. Depending on where you live, you can also grow your own produce. If you are a hunter (or have friends that are), hunting for your meat (if you eat meat) can also save money. Also, doing little things to help save money on your electric bill can add up as well (such as when you use your washer/dryer/oven, turning off lights, using natural light when you can, hanging your clothes to dry,ets).

BarnacleBill's avatar

But back to your question. I think there are a lot of good projects on instructibles.com that would be a great way to supplement a home schooling curriculum without adding a lot of expense. The aspect of reading and following directions is critical to lifelong learning, and easily taught. Having the outcome be something practical is a wonderful life skill.

Make use of the public library whenever possible, used books, and download books from public domain sites. Organize a community craft/recyclable “shop” where people and businesses can donate materials that can be used for craft and science projects, like ReArt. Having a place to donate paper, fabric, yarn scraps, etc. would be a positive addition to any community. You know how many hoarders there are out there.

Join Freecycle if you haven’t already done so.

Likeradar's avatar

@psychocandy THANK YOU!!! The future teachers in my teacher ed program and the teachers I’m working with currently are all so passionate about what they’re doing. The vast majority ogf teachers aren’t in it for the $ (and if they are, they’re stupid), we are in it to make a difference and do good in the world.

But to answer the question… cook meals at home, rent movies instead of going to the theater, get rid of cable, use the library instead of the bookstore, shop outlet or secondhand.

tinyfaery's avatar

Strikes and a walk out? Oh, so teachers do not deserve a decent wage and benefits? I see.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Try to talk museums and other organizations like that who offer free/reduced costs for schools to extend that to your collective.

Also, make friends with wilderness and primitive skills instructors who have a soft spot for homeschooling and encouraging holistic culture. wink wink

12Oaks's avatar

@psychocandy Teachers around here make an average of $42.00 an hour plus full benefits for a part-time seasonal job. If they do have labor disputes because, well, $42.00 an hour plus a truckload of perks isn’t enough, they have all summer long to iron things out. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it when they decided not to do their jobs. All that time off during the school year just wasn’t enough. I’d never do anything like that, but we’re al different. At least I know my kid will never be used as a pawn in some union/management dispute.

Likeradar's avatar

@12Oaks Do you know what most teachers do during that summer break? They plan. They conference. They go to trainings. They worry. They spend their own money on classroom resources. They plan some more.
Try being a teacher for a week. A really good, really with it, really prepared teacher. That involves teaching, re-teaching, differentiating, nursing, parenting, celebrating, conferencing, planning, worrying, entertaining, and re-teaching again for 20–30 young people. And while you’re at it, notice the students as individuals, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and know their DRA scores so when mom and dad ask you at pick up, you can tell them without blinking an eye. And yes, you have to do all those things for the incredibly advanced child, the non-English speaker, the Autistic child, and the ones who are really struggling, not to mention the ones who come to school hungry and tired and the ones with parents who want to micromanage your classroom. Then tell me $42 an hour is reasonable.
Are there shitty teachers who have no business being in a classroom? Absolutely. Your comments and attitude are disgusting and insulting toward the many, many people who do this incredibly difficult job with passion and enthusiasm.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Sorry, right now $42 an hour seems extravagant. I get paid a third of that to teach and get no benefits, and I also have to regularly administer first aid and sometimes help cook food. Then again, I get to play in the woods and build forts.

12Oaks's avatar

@likeradar That part where you say that teachers think that it is their job to do “parenting” is EXACTLY why I home school. I am the parent, they are the teacher. I raise, they educate. Oh, and I have been a teacher for over 5 years, as I started educating my daughter the day she was born. I’m even teaching her a second language, one that was never taught to me but I learned on my own, and she’s coming along just fine. Oh, and I try not to be “disgusting and insulting,” just honest towards those who have taken swings at me (and I get in trouble for nailing him back) or accusing me of things they know I never have done. I want better for my daughter, and I never knew that was a crime.

Likeradar's avatar

@12Oaks Wanting better for your child is wonderful. Bashing teachers is not. When you have 27 children under your care for more than 7 hours a day, then tell me that there aren’t parts of parenting that cross into it. Teaching is not an emotionless job. When the kids are sad, crying, elated, misbehaving, bullying, excited, hurt, etc at school, tell me how to remove the parenting part from that, will ya?

Also, the parents who do a great job at home with their children’s education are very appreciated by most teachers. This doesn’t have to be us v them as you seem to want it to be.

BarnacleBill's avatar

The teachers at my sister’s school get paid $42 an hour—for 7 hours of “classroom time” a day for 9 months. That’s about $53,000 a year. The job requires a master’s degree which usually means student loans and the workload with prep time and grading papers is closer to a 10 hour day minimum, which makes the real hourly wage closer to $29 an hour. And the teachers often have to purchase their own classroom supplies, fund school lunch for kids who forget to bring money.

And, they’re taxpayers, too.

12Oaks's avatar

@Likeradar I’m not the one who woke one morning and said “I want to be a teacher.” And if I did, I sure wouldn’t think part of my job was physical and emotional abuse. And I suppose you remove parenting from the job by continually reminding yourself “I am here to educate. The are to be aised by parents. That line can NOT be crossed.” Repeat that over and over, the same way they teach you definitions to words, making you write the defnition over and over until you remember it.

12Oaks's avatar

@BarnacleBill No, they don’t have to pay for kids lunches. If they choose to, that good for them. Still, $29.00 is a pretty good wage, especially when you don’t have to pay into Social Security and are protected by tenure.

Likeradar's avatar

@12Oaks I’ll tell myself your mantra when one of my 1st graders comes to school hungry or punches another kid or cries because grandma died. I will sit them down and have them do math because I am there to educate. That’s sure to be appreciated by all. ~

Where are you getting this physical and emotional abuse bit?

12Oaks's avatar

@likeradar Let’s see, all through my 10 years of school, teacher have called me stupid, even said I was the stupidest student they ever had. Some took swings at me. I was jammed in the leg from a pen for not know something about Shakespear. Was told I wasn’t smart enough to graduate (I dropped out). One teacher, in 6th grade, got upset when I didn’t want to meet another student who wanted to meet me during a lunch recess. He then thought it was his job to spend the whole rest of the day doing some pop-psych exercises that I had no interest in participating in, and was threatened by the teacher to go soo a psychiatrist for not “fitting in,” something that is not a teacher’s business. I could go on, trust me. And some wondered why, on my 16th birthday, I went to school, cleaned out my locker, yelled some swears to any faculty member who would listen, and left never to return. Life’s bee GREAT ever since.

Likeradar's avatar

@12Oaks It sounds like you had some incredibly bad teachers. That’s a real shame and pretty upsetting. Those teachers had no business whatsoever being in a classroom or around children at all. There are flaws with the tenure system, and I haven’t met a good teacher yet who doesn’t agree with me about that.
While your experiences make your animosity toward teachers more understandable, it still sounds like you don’t have a good grasp on what good teachers, which make up the vast majority that I’ve met, do, how passionate they are, and how hard they try do do right by their students every single day. It’s understandable that you use your schema in forming an idea of a teacher’s worth and responsibilities, but that doesn’t make you right in the majority of the anti-teacher sentiments you’ve expressed here.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Dear @12Oaks,

I’d just like to say that I’m very pleased to see you have judged an entire profession based on a tiny percentage of its practitioners. Because really, how could it be possible that your experience is not representative? I plan on following your example and judging groups based on their worst members from now on. I’m sure I won’t miss anything important.

12Oaks's avatar

@likeradar Just to be clear, I am not anti-teacher. I am, however, anti-public education, NEA, DE, and all that other stuff. Education, like most other things, should be privatized.

@SaviorFaire The only teachers I have ever known was one who were my teachers of mine one time or another. I guess a problem is I never was never taught how to judge an experience I have never had. Was probably suspended that day. The laugh’s on them, though.

Nullo's avatar

@12Oaks Was that all within the same district?

12Oaks's avatar

@Nullo My whole education took place in the same city, same district, three different schools, not sure how many different teachers, all under the same banner.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@12Oaks It’s called research. You can look into the experiences of others and get a more objective picture. I’m beginning to think, however, that you started this conversation for political reasons, and not for the reasons you stated. The point remains, though, that I doubt you’d like me to judge homeschooling based entirely on my past experiences with it. I imagine you’d say things like “it isn’t always like that” or “you just came across some bad examples.” Is it so much to ask that you consider your own experiences in a similar light?

12Oaks's avatar

@SavoirFaire If you consider wanting to save a few bucks in an economical drought as “political,” than guilty. If wanting to save a few bucks by homeschooling is “political” than I must be guilty of that too. The only reason I mentioned that in my question was to not get 25 “You could try homeschooling” answers—the most obvious way—as that is already in progress. There have been many good suggestions here that I do plan to adopt as my own that I haven’t considered in the past. I’m nearing retirement here, and don’t want to waste a single penny. If that is “political,” than I happily plead guilty to that as well.

Likeradar's avatar

@12Oaks Back to your original question, how does home schooling (which I know can be the best option in some situations) save money?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@12Oaks Perhaps purely rhetorical arguments have served you well in the past, but I will ask you not to misrepresent what I said. I said neither that trying to save money nor homeschooling is political. Nor did I say it was your original posing of the question that was political. It is where you have taken it that seems political rather than on topic, and that leads to some questions about your original intent.

You might try paying attention to my actual point, however: what would you say to my judging those who homeschool entirely on the basis of my past experiences (which are uniformly bad)?

12Oaks's avatar

@SavoirFaire Go ahead. Life experiences is all we have. I never been to England, never plan to be, so I could hardly judge what life is like there. You think my homeschooling is uniformly bad? You are certainly entitled to your opinion based on your past experiences. You are certainly allowed to express your opinions based on past experiences. You’re allowed to think what you like. You think I’m a bad parent for home schooling? You are certainly allowed that opinion. Now, do you have any other ways I could try to save a buck or two until the economy turns around? Opinions based on past experiences of bad economical times are certainly welcome.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@12Oaks More rhetoric. Saying I’m entitled to my opinion is different from saying that opinion is any good. Are you unconcerned with whether or not your decisions are good ones?

12Oaks's avatar

@SavoirFaire What should I say? I support the home schooling way, you don’t. We both have valid reasons. I believe I have made the best decisions for myself and family, and I hope you also have done what is best for yourself and family. Our opinions obviously vary on what is best for our family. My decisions are good ones, the best ones that could be made in a same or similiar circumstance. Not “rhetoric,” just fact. I’m still waiting for some penny pinching ideas in an economy where every penny counts.

Nullo's avatar

It is important (and miserably off-topic, but whatevs) to keep in mind, @SavoirFaire, that there is no way to guarantee, or even predict, a good educational experience.

YARNLADY's avatar

I found home schooling to be cheaper because they are much more likely to be satisfied with fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks, rather than expensive bags of chips, and home flavored water rather than expensive sodas. We avoided expensive, packaged products as much as possible, and the curriculum included finding the best per unit prices. We grew much of our own food. We learned to ask neighbors for excess fruit and vegetables in exchange for helping with the yard work and household chores.

We made and sold our own baked goods in the neighborhood, and child care was part of the curriculum which also earned money. We also sold plants and homemade crafts.

We learned to make our own paper and made and sold greeting cards from home made paper. We learned to make our own clothes, and mend the used clothes. The boys I home schooled were willing to wear the most inexpensive sneakers, and weren’t subject to peer pressure to buy the expensive, popular brand names.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@12Oaks No, you’ve missed the point. I’m not against homeschooling. That’s because I realize the four people I know who were homeschooled are not representative of the practice. The point is that I’m not so foolish as to think my limited experiences give me strong enough evidence to make such sweeping generalizations. You, however, are quite willing to reason in fallacious ways like this. That makes me wonder how committed you really are to your decisions being good ones.

@Nullo Have I implied otherwise?

Aethelwine's avatar

@YARNLADY My sons went/are going to public school and were never pressured to wear expensive clothes or shoes and have no problem wearing clothes that aren’t name brand. (just a thought) I think that has more to do with parenting than it does where they go to school.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jonsblond To raise a child who is not subject to peer pressure is good parenting indeed, we had mixed results in our family, my brother and I are immune, but my sister is another story.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

There are nut jobs in the school system and in the homeschooling field. If I had a proper background, I’d homeschool my kids but it wouldn’t be any kind of a jab at some teachers out there – they’re working against plenty of barriers and are having a difficult time doing a job they love with all the screwed up testing constraints and what have you. The education system is ailing, I help it whenever I can, but when it comes to my own children…sometimes I’m at a loss, I wish I can send them to school in Russia (I know that’s idealized, but education was so much more challenging there that it is here)...I wish our entire educational system was restructured, more money was put in and teachers valued and held accountable as well. Teachers need to be more educated, across the board, better paid and under less pressure to serve up numbers rather than motivated learners.

To the OP: it’s hard to navigate all of this, I commend you on caring about your children…many parents send theirs off into schools and never once check in and then blame the teachers or whatever…with your situation, you can blame yourself and praise yourself…there are free events for kids all the time that you can save money on.

Nullo's avatar

@SavoirFaire You have not. I am simply reminding you that @12Oaks isn’t that badly off for working from his (?) experiences.

jca's avatar

@12Oaks: My question for you with the stabbing with the pen and the comments about being stupid is: Did you tell your parents? I would think if you did, that would have led to a parent-teacher conference or a conference with the principal. I would say if the parents knew and they did not bring the subject up with school officials, that would be a problem. Or if you did not inform your parents, how was anybody supposed to help?

@YARNLADY: Many schools do not allow soda now, and “bags of expensive chips” are not part of the lunch program, that I know of.

To all: Re: Homeschooling: Homeschooling is not always a nirvana either. If a child is abused in any way, and is not seen by the community (in other words, by teachers or school system) then the abuse could continue. If parents are religious zealots and want to instill religious dogma into the child day in and day out, the child gets no break from that. Just something to think about.

Also, I know several teachers and their work day does not end when the school bell rings. They have to grade papers, tests, do lesson plans, pay for some materials themselves, pay for things in classroom such as tissues (that all children need but are not part of school budget), and part of their vacation consists of setting up the classroom for the new school year. They must have a Master’s Degree, which, like someone said, means incurring massive student loans.

12Oaks's avatar

@ica I told my parents, who didn’t believe me. I went to my school counselor, who was more interested trying to psychoevaluate me and look for something beyond the real facts. I went to the Principal, why also accused me or fabricating a truth. It was kind of like going to the coach of the opposing team to argue bad calls—you always protect those who are on the same team. About parent-teacher conferences, you don’t think that a teacher would ever admit to such a thing, do you? And because I wasn’t as good at math, I was labeled a “bad student” and, thus, a troublemaker and one not to be listened to. I suppose the good news is after I left school, I went ahead and started a “self-educating program” and ended up doing better than the “bum on the street,” which I was predicted to be for not being able to summarize some irrelevent story in the 6th grade. I still can’t balance a chek book, but that’s a dying art, anyway, so no real loss. I don’t have a checking account anyway, so that turned into a moot point and wasted lesson plan.

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