Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Money Pit

Every once in a while, I hear parents complaining about the cost of sending their kids to school. Nothing is provided any more. I remember when I was a kid, we were given notebooks, pencils, pens (blue and red!), erasers, all our text books were handed to us, and we got shiny new boxes of pencil crayons, sharpeners, and a case to hold it all. It was like Christmas in September for a kid from a big family used to the leftovers from more than half a dozen older siblings. It was AWESOME!!!!!

And a week later, it was embarrassing  because all the other kids in the class had the expensive 24 box of coloured pencils while I was stuck with the eight the school offered. They had flashy clicky pens with purple and green ink, and I had the clear plain Bic pens. I would rant at my parents for not providing me with the flare and glitter my classmates enjoyed with their ulta-cool high top basketball shoes and miss completely the fact my parents had somehow managed to cover the feet of six or seven kids in gym shoes, outdoor shoes and winter boots.

Let's face it. Kids are all about Me, Me,Me. And I was no exception.

Enter into my adult life and listen to the rantings of the parents these days about how expensive it is to outfit a kid for school and I secretly crow over how easy I have it, since homeschooling doesn't put the same pressure on me or my kids to conform. We can all dip into the communal crayon bucket and no one is worried if they're pretty. Only that they work.

shoes
And then I get to thinking about how much I actually spend on my kids' education and...

dance outfits
I think....

lessons
really...?

Doesn't matter how you navigate the universe of parenthood, kids are, as so succinctly stated by another author friend, the black hole of money. The real money pit. The green goes in, and never comes out. Well. Unless you count the savings in your social life as a parent, because instead of the bars and the movies and the romantic dinners, you get to spend your social time in waiting rooms and leaning against the dojo walls chatting with other parents about your kids. You get to attend recitals and concerts and watch the beauty unfold as all those lessons pay off. Hopefully.... and you reward all their hard work with a post-recital run to Dairy Queen to celebrate, because let's face it, if the coinage left in your pocket stretches as far as a few Peanut Buster parfaits, you're doing pretty damn good!

Or is this just my experience? Does the care and feeding of children always cost this much?

12 comments:

Faith said...

I'm in the States and when I was in grade school and high school we had to buy our own school supplies. Nothing was given to us by the school 'cept for the textbooks. Nowadays, tho, my kids seldom get those; the schools prefer the online version, taking it for granted that everyone has access to Internet or a car to drive to a library where there's net access. I find the online texts books a major pita.

Anthology Authors said...

It sure does. It's a money pit either way. At least, we don't have to bother with the politics and other crap that are in the school system, Jaime.

Valerie Mann said...

I don't recall getting anything other than textbooks and pencils in school as a kid. My parents always had to buy my notebooks, crayons, etc. Having said that, that's about ALL they had to buy me. Crap on a cracker, nowadays, the list my kids bring home is enough to put me in the poorhouse! Pens, pencils, Kleenex, dry-erase markers, stickers, glue sticks, wite-out, you name it. And when we lived in Illinois, we had to PAY to send our kids to school. Because gee whiz, the school taxes I paid every month with my mortgage just didn't cover everything? Plus the required supply list. I dreaded August every year. Kitting out five kids was horrifying. One year I refused to pay the fees and behold, they forgave them. It wasn't mandatory!

Faith said...

We got slapped with school fees this year. Never had to pay them before. $80 a year for two kids, and if you don't pay the fees, they refuse to give you their report cards and diplomas.

Jaime Samms said...

So much for the public school system, huh, Faith and Val. I had no idea that there were fees on top of the rest. And homeschooling doesn't exempt me from paying a portion of property taxes to the school board, Val. Happily, Marci, my kids get a full heaping of social interaction with disrespectful snotty kids at the YMCA. I truly want to smack some of those monsters some days. And to be fair, my kid was the one in need of a slap last night!

Anthology Authors said...

When I was in school, they provided textbooks, paper, pencils, erasers, etc while in grammar school. However, we did have to provide folders, I believe. (And if we didn't, most of us wanted to bring in Pee Chee folders anyway. LOL

In high school, they only provided textbooks. However, I don't remember the schools asking for money the way they do now. I think there was a lot less waste.

Anthology Authors said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valerie Mann said...

I've homeschooled...and paid my taxes to send other people's kids to school at the same time. I'm all for vouchers. And yes, homeschooling does not exempt any kid from snottiness. They all have their moments, as do their parents, LOL

Anthology Authors said...

Oh, yesterday, there was a kerfuffle between the girls and boys at the ball class. It culminated with Lily kicking one of the boys and the mother demanding that I require Lily to apologize. I debated on that because I know her. You have to really antagonize her to get her to hit you. And the boys were antagonizing the girls. They stalked them, chased them around, were pretending to shoot pretend guns at them, and one of the boys kicked her first. (Her back was to the boy when he kicked her.) And last week, the boys were trying to get the girls to fight them. (They refused.)

While I disagree with her kicking him, I doesn't surprise me. The boys were bullying the girls, not letting them play the way they wanted without pestering them, saying that boys were stronger than girls, girls aren't as good as boys, etc. The mother didn't think that was inflammatory. I do. I know I would have probably reacted the same as a little girl. And, at that age, boys are not stronger than girls. That happens at puberty.

This same boy was pretending to stab a baby. o.O They were instigating trouble.

Girls can, and do, do this, too, but not this time around. I will be talking to the mother whose child kicked mine and the mother who demanded Lily apologize to have her son apologize and take responsibility for his antagonizing actions.

The other mother said she was surprised that her son hadn't turned around and popped Lily for kicking him, but he was laughing that he got her to react that way. He'd wanted it all along, little prick.

So, yes, homeschooling kids can be just as bad at times.

Jaime Samms said...

Marci, I see all kinds of bad behavior from kids whose parents don't think anything about their behavior warrants discipline. There are some boys in the boy-o's Judo class who wouldn't know respect if it slapped them across the face, and I get the feeling some days, sensi (no idea how to spell that) would really like to be allowed to do the slapping. The talking while he's explaining things, the inappropriate aggressiveness, laughing at other students who are less agile. It's eye-opening for sure.

As for the girl vs. boy thing, my daughter and the oldest boy in the class, who happens to be one of the Sensi's sons, have an unofficial rivalry/flirtation going on and you can just see they're dying to spar with each other because it's truly a toss up as to who's stronger and who would get thrown. Sensi wisely keeps them on opposite ends of the mat and they satisfy their competitive rivalry with him showing off and her pretending she doesn't notice, then tossing every other opponent she gets to spar with on their ass and seeing if he's watching. They are at the age, though, where there's no telling if hearts or bones are going to get broken. lol!

Anthology Authors said...

I know. I see it too. Lily is taking this wonderful ancient pathways class, but there are some boys who are so disruptive and their parents do very little to stop them. Lily knows that if she is to continue taking this class, she must be respectful of the instructor and those around her. She is, for the most part, well-behaved. So, if she hits someone in anger, there's something going on. She doesn't do that very often.

It's sensei, Jaime. ;)

Jaime Samms said...

Sensei. I wasn't that far off. I figured there were enough editors and publisher floatin' around here to set me straight *grin*