Back-to-School: The Hidden Financial Bonus for Parents

I'm headed toward one of those parental milestones to which many of you with multiple children either remember fondly or look forward to with something like desperation: all of my boys will be in public school as of next Monday. September 10th is my independence day.

I'm of mixed feelings about this coming date. I, rare among work-from-home moms, love summer and having my kids around all the time, but it is true that managing my new magazine and my literary writing life will be so much easier with all my boys out of the house six hours a day.

And then there's the financial windfall.

Having three kids in school will save me a few hundred dollars a month in supplies and PTA dues and activity fees. But this is tiny, really; most of my child care expenses are in the evenings. I'm a rare case.

Some parents save $1,000 a month or more in child care in September as compared to August.

They'll save up all year to pay for the cost of summer care, which, depending on the family, could include “camps” each week often costing $300 per child, or nannies that make $12 or more an hour.

  • Ben, an editor, and his wife, an adjunct professor, are looking so forward to the school year; they both have somewhat flexible jobs, and will only pay for a nanny two afternoons a week after school. They'll save $1,200 a month in child care. After costs for lunches and school supplies and fundraisers, they'll save about $900 a month.
  • Andrea, an executive director of a political action committee, and her engineer husband pay so much each summer that they've created flexible jobs. They each take off one day a week and that saves them as much as $2,000. Still, and even with help from one of their kids' grandmothers to pick up after camp ends each day, they spent over $3,000 total for the summer. Thanks to those flexible jobs, they pay nothing for after-school care during the rest of the year.
  • Cheryl and her husband are both self-employed artists — she's a writer, he's a filmmaker. They haven't done the math, but thanks to her ultra-successful books (meaning she was traveling a lot on tour over the summer) they paid “thousands” to care for their two children. Once school starts, it's a few hundred dollars a month for after-school care.
  • The few friends who weren't experiencing the September windfall were those who had created creative child care situations, with trades and bartering, or took flexible freelance jobs that allowed for work after bedtimes and in early mornings (exactly how I'm writing this post right now). These are the families who have created some sort of “having it all” work/life balance. They're not looking forward to September as much as the rest!

Summer is not a vacation for working parents

One friend wouldn't even discuss her situation; she began a persuasive and foot-stomping post about year-round school. While I am not a fighter for this solution (the “we are not an agricultural society” argument makes me sad and has me wondering if, in the quest for more perfect post-industrialization society, we're leaving behind the “society”, not to mention the “life” part of the equation), I admit I can see the argument.

Providing for elementary-aged children's care during the summer is a messy, expensive business for which many people I know build complex spreadsheets of camps (with early sign-up deadlines and deposit fees and limit-seeking equations built in) and others beg grandparents to come in for the summer. Summer is not relaxing for the two-income family. It's an endless juggle of lunch-packing and sunscreen-stocking and transitions and lots and lots of driving.

Thank you, Federal government, for your public schools

While I was writing this post, I was half-listening to an NPR piece on why we might be thankful for government. One of the really obvious things government does for us: it educates our citizenry. Without this, we'd be in an even more disparate social structure than we are now, with only the wealthy able to educate their children. Worst of all, the lower classes wouldn't even be able to afford child care to work. Whatever are your feelings about “entitlements” like education, many families would be single-income by necessity if public schools weren't in the picture.

We're getting a big gift from the government; not only are they teaching our children in a way that will hopefully increase their earning power down the road, they're also relieving us from what would be crippling (and, in most cases, mom's-career-ending) child care costs.

Using the windfall wisely

I'll be using my “windfall” of time to focus more on my writing, setting daily goals for the book project I think I can sell most easily, and working to increase the public image of the magazine so that our income will be enough to pay salaries for myself and the other editors. The money I'll save won't be enough to do anything other than pay a bit of debt; my big impact is just on alone time, and I'll cherish it.

My guess (our conversation didn't get this far) is that most of my friends will start saving for next summer with their reduced expenses, or take up again on retirement and college savings that were suspended due to the high cost of summer.

How do you make this work?

I'm curious, because there doesn't really seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution to the nine-month school year. For parents of preschoolers and high schoolers, there is very little to complain about. Most preschools now run through the summer; high schoolers can take advantage of time off to get their own jobs and contribute to family finances. So elementary students and their parents are stuck in a co-dependent, dysfunctional financial system that benefits no one but the companies that run summer camps.

I'd love to hear about families who used barter to pay for summer camps (a thought I've certainly had), or who set up frugal budgets forged in summer for the rest of the year. If I was to advise a two-income couple with elementary school-aged children on what to do, it would be to budget annually based on the costs of living in the summer. Getting by with that ultra-high cost of care would mean lots left over to add to savings the rest of the year.

Is the school year a windfall for the expense side of your family budget? What do you do with this extra cash?

More about...Education

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Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Well… we do private school, so no windfall for us.

However, living frugally in general allows us to have paying for school be a priority. It also allows us to do the fun and exciting museum daycamp in the summer rather than a less expensive and much less interesting daycamp while still hitting our other financial goals.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago

Both of our kids are in daycare and it is expensive. I do look forward to the day when they are in school and don’t have daycare costs. However, I am not ready for them to grow up quite yet!

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

My sister in law used to work until they found out it was more expensive to work than to stay home with the kids. As long as you can handle your money properly, a single income really isn’t that bad because two income families have to deal with all the problems mentioned above.

Karen
Karen
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I don’t doubt that it’s often true that staying home is cheaper than daycare, but there’s a hidden cost: that person’s career is now derailed, especially if there are multiple kids. Depending on what they do for a living, by the time they get back to work their knowledge and skills may be completely out of date with today’s rapidly changing labor needs. And that also leaves the person more vulnerable in a divorce or spousal death. I can’t imagine leaving myself open to that much financial risk, which is one of the (many) reasons I chose not to have… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Agreed with Karen– the finances issue is more complicated than just a single point-in-time analysis.

http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/the-wohsah-decision-finances/

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago
Reply to  Karen

I agree, from hard experience. When my son was born, I considered taking a break from work but instead shifted to a 3-day/week schedule. I was very grateful to have chosen that route that when my spouse died unexpectedly. During the incredibly stressful year that followed it was a relief to have a steady income, good healthcare benefits, and the ability to transition back to a full-time schedule when I was ready. Three years later, my career is pretty lucrative and allows me to comfortably take care of my son on a single income. You never think it will happen… Read more »

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Before I made the decision to stay home with the kids (and freelance on the side to keep my skills sharp while bringing in some extra cash), I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t actually have a career to derail. When you have a job that hasn’t gone anywhere in years, you really don’t feel that you’re losing out by staying home. And actually, I think my career has taken off since I quit my 9-5 gig; I’m doing more with my profession and learning new skills (and things about myself!) than I ever did in the seven… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

I have a neice who is a stay at home mom of about 6 kids….home schools them even. She is also a dental hygienist who gave up her job for the kids but she works one day a month at a dental office just to keep up with skills and what is happening in the work place.

Angie
Angie
8 years ago

In my state (Indiana), year-round school is the same 180 days as the conventional schedule, just spread out differently. I think it makes a lot of sense. There’s all this talk about summer brain drain, and year-round education would surely help with that.

Somewhat related: one of our local school district’s Winter Break is only a week and two days this year. I would much, much, much rather have a few days less vacation in the (seemingly endless) summer in order to have a full 2 weeks off in the winter. But what do I know? 😉

Another Kate
Another Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  Angie

I badly want school to close for a week in later January or February so I can get away with my kid to someplace warm. I’d gladly forego spring break for this.

Marcy
Marcy
8 years ago
Reply to  Angie

Year-round school, like you said, does make sense. I taught in a high poverty (85-90% poverty rate) for many years. Lots of kids lose some of what they’ve learned very quickly. Particulary, if there are not a lot of opportunities in the home.

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago

I live in an area that offers year-round school. Obviously you don’t go any more days than traditional calendars,but you go 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off. Our kids attended programs operated by the YMCA for after school (when they needed it) and “track out camp” when they were off. It was very affordable and you could draft monthly for the total of what you’d enrolled your child for. Or you could do a la carte. Made budgeting pretty simple. I noticed you mention after “paying for lunches” a few times. Since your kids would be eating at home as… Read more »

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
8 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

I think a LOT of people actually think “year-round school” means more days in school. I would LOVE a year-round school system. I live where it is very hot in the summer so summer vacation generally means that kids stay indoors for much of the time based on heat advisories, etc. I would love to take them on vacation to other places without it being the hottest time of the year in those places.

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

A problem sometimes comes up if the kids are at different schools…eg: the high school is on a different calendar than the elementary. Then planning family vacations gets difficult. Here in Hawaii the summer vacation time has been cut down to about two months. The school teachers need to have enough time to go to summer educational training as well as have rest time.

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  stellamarina

I lived that. 1 kid in HS and one in a year round middle school. For 3 years. It wasn’t hard. Their summer breaks overlapped for 1 month and they had the same xmas break.

Marcy
Marcy
8 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

I taught in a traditional 9 months on-3 months off school. As you said, it is very frequently too hot to go on a nice vacation during the summer. Just this summer we (along with many others) had MANY days of 100+ days. Too hot for a nice trip! A year-round schedule of 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off would allow for vacations//time off during other seasons and times. Not only could families enjoy better weather, kids could also keep up with dental & medical appointments. There would also be a better learning retention rate.

Paularado
Paularado
8 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

The meal thing makes sense to me. My kids get breakfast, lunch, and snacks as part of their daycare tuition ($1300 month for two). It’s tempting for me to think that I will be saving $1300 month once they go to school; however, it is really $1300 month – (breakfast + lunch + snack).

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

Re: Eating costs associated with school. Some districts have restrictive rules regarding what kids can bring due to allergies and a host of other concerns. PB&J is – generally – a bit cheaper than lunch meat with the fixin’s. But if you have to use the more expensive stuff due to allergies, yes, you might actually save money with the kids being home.

SAP
SAP
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

Megan, I get that, but PB&J is a terrible lunch to serve to a child anyway. Did you know that a peanut butter and sugar sandwich is healthier than the traditional with jelly? Anyway, my point is that while money is always on the mind, some parents can’t wait to put their kids in crappy school with crappy food so they can get some alone time and save money. I pay a low $1300/mo on a nanny for my two toddlers. Imagining I’d save that if I put them in public school is a great idea. But my main focus… Read more »

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago

It’s very unfair to say that providing school is a big “gift” from the government. Because it’s not – as taxpayers in an industrialized society we have paid for the government to provide that service, and we pay for education our entire working lives, whether we have children in school or not.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

I guess whether or not it’s a gift depends on whether or not you’re in the group of people who pay more than they recieve or ‘the other group’. I would point out that it’s not a ‘gift’ from the governement but a by product of living in a society that values the whole over the individual. Yes, we can get into a whole ‘nother discussion about how much america values the individual but our current tax supported social programs bear out a value set of the wealthy supporting the needs (and yes in today’s world I think an educated… Read more »

Tom Murin
Tom Murin
8 years ago

“We’re getting a big gift from the government..” Gee, maybe we have to look up the meaning of “Gift.” We derive plenty of benefits from public education – but it certainly isn’t a gift.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

I’m afraid this is a poorly thought-out post. Public schools are NOT free and they are NOT a gift from the government. We all pay for them through our taxes. Our taxes are collected year-round, so you pay for this when the kids are in school and out of school. I don’t see how this can be considered a gift since taxes are compulsory, and “the government” doesn’t give us anything, at least in theory: we live in a democracy, so the government is us. Since I send my kids to private school, I pay for my kids’ schools and… Read more »

Jo@simplybeingmum
8 years ago

From tomorrow I too will have both children in (UK) state school. It is a very strange feeling! Financially we will not benefit massively as we chose a route of me working minimally (I’m freelance and took some extra time off) to cater for when I was required, and the state provide 15 hours of care FOC for children over 3 before they go to school anyway – so we managed with this.What will hit me is the windfall of time I will now get. So financially we should benefit in that income should increase rather than cost reducing. All… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica
8 years ago

This is one of the reasons I quit my job 1 year ago. I have a child who just started kindergarten, as well as a 2 year old and a baby on the way. Before/after school childcare would have been hard to come by in my community. Some schools have it onsite and it is $75 for either or $100=125 for both. A private babysitter would be about as expensive. Daycare would be $175 for my toddler (due to losing the sibling discount) and then when the baby comes, would be $200 for the baby (after sibling discount) each week.… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

I so want to highlight this comment – the problem is not so much the coverage for one person’s job – it’s the TOTAL lack of flexibility of employers. No one wants to hire the parent who schedule is more flexible – they all want ‘the daddy’ of the 1950’s who worked and had everything else at home taken care of by his stay at home wife. Add in the fact that most people don’t get heathcare benefits for dependants unless they are full time – and it’s become an all or nothing show. Yes, there are a ton of… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

Why is it your employer’s responsibility to ensure your hours are compatible with the family life you’ve chosen to construct for yourself?

Having children is a choice. You know employers want reliable employees who can put in a full day of work. So you choose which you value more. But don’t complain when life won’t hand you both with a smile.

Julie
Julie
8 years ago

Thank the government? You have got to be kidding! Who do you think is funding our oversized, bureaucratic government? Actually you should thank people like my sister. She is 52, never married, no kids, is a professional in the state of California and pays nearly half of her income in state and federal taxes, including property taxes.

imelda
imelda
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

And she, I suppose, gets nothing out of the bargain?

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  imelda

Spoken like someone who doesn’t know what it is like to pay A LOT of money in taxes.

For what she pays I would say that she receives very little in return comparatively speaking. She is most assuredly funding those with several children who pay little to no taxes comparatively speaking. Property taxes and state income taxes alone in California can add up to a shocking amount of money, especially for a single person with no dependents. Throw in the alternative minimum tax and you lose the deduction for your state taxes paid.

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

The cost to educate a child in the state of California was $8,323 for the 2010-2011 school year, and this money all came from taxpayers. Thanks, sister, for helping to foot the bill for my 3 kids. Note…the 2 years I had my kids in private school cost $6,000 per year. Perhaps the state isn’t the most efficient when it comes to educating our kids.

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Umm, it sounds like you are suggesting nobody should have kids because it increases your taxes and we’d all be better off if we are like your sister. What would that mean for the country when our current workers get older? Investing in the future is an important part of any longtime, successful company, and likewise is an important part of any successful country in the long term. As for her taxes, if she is paying half her salary in taxes, she really needs a better accountant, esp. after changes in certain tax areas. She’s investing in the completely wrong… Read more »

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  phoenix1920

That is a strange comment. How do you come to the conclusion that I am suggesting people don’t have kids? I have 3 myself. I merely stated that she is paying far more than her share related to the benefit she receives when compared to a married person with the same income sending 2.5 kids through public education for 13 years. And funnier yet, I am an accountant. When you add up social security, property tax, the loss of the deduction for both of these taxes due to the ALT Min tax, the fact that she is frugal and paid… Read more »

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

While she helps contribute to the country, that is in the short term. The long term future of any organization typically relies on the influx of new members as old ones go elsewhere or die off. Hence many organizations (government, corporate, religious) focus on providing energy, incentives, and breaks to those adding to the organizations percieved future. A single person can live very cheaply. Your sister doesn’t require a house with multiple rooms, multiple cars, many gadgets, etc. She may want them and can afford them, but she really doesn’t need them. She may contribute greatly to society, but her… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

“pays nearly half of her income in state and federal taxes, including property taxes.”

So she makes like >$300k a year and owns a $2M house? AND lives in one of the highest tax burden states in the nation?

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Try cutting the salary and house in half and you end up with a total tax paid of over 40% on her total income. She pays in excess of $20,000 and state income and property taxes each year, while the neighbors next door with a huge mortgage and a few kids might virtually nothing. Yet the cost of educating their 3 kids is $24,000 per year. As a poster mentioned later, the cost of education is spread over the entire population, with people like my sister paying far more than than those who use the system. To thank the government… Read more »

mitigateddisaster
mitigateddisaster
8 years ago

Summer doesn’t need to be endless lunch packing and driving. With 3 kids (in Vancouver, BC), it was far cheaper this summer to have them stay home with a childcare provider at $20/hour than to send them to camp.

and at that cost, it’s nowhere near a “hidden” financial bonus!

Abby
Abby
8 years ago

I don’t have kids, but I don’t understand how summer is a financial burden. I mean, when your kids are little they go to very expensive daycare 100% of the time (if both parents work). When they go to school, they only have to go 25% of the time. Seems like a big savings to me. Is that not the case? And nothing that the government does is a “gift”. It is paid for by the people, the taxpayers… probably you. At least I hope so. This is the reason why I think there should be a flat tax, so… Read more »

Daniel
Daniel
8 years ago

“We’re getting a big gift from the government…”

Time to stop writing about money and time to go back to school and learn civics.

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

It is also incorrect to say that parents don’t have to worry about high school age students. If your high school is not of driving age and/or employeable age, then unless you make other arrangements, you have teenagers sitting around bored all day. This is absolutely not a good situation. Even if they get a job, we live in the suburbs. If I worked all day, there would be almost no way for them to get to a job. Additionally, this is the time of year when they get in their community service hours and go to programs that enhance… Read more »

Megan
Megan
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

“The bottom line is that kids always need supervision, no matter what age and they always cost extra money.” This! ^^ I have thought long and hard about when I want to return to the workforce full-time (right now, my kids are 4 and 2). Do I return when the youngest is in first grade, then arrange afterschool care? Or do I actually wait until they’re mostly through high school and have jobs and after school activities to keep them occupied until after dinner time? As you mentioned, having teens on the loose without *anything* to do – no jobs,… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 years ago
Reply to  Megan

I’ve noticed people starting a post with the word This. What does that mean?

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

It means, “I agree totally with This.”

phoenix1920
phoenix1920
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

A good solution to this is to have your high schooler supervise at a day camp or at an overnight week-long camp (the camp counselor volunteer gig). I did this before I could drive and it was a blast. Kids now can earn a ton of volunteer hours for this and it keeps kids busy where they are able to learn things without any expense for the parents. (Of course, with kids, there are other expenses, like saving for college and insurance if they will soon be driving) For parents, it’s the same effort we’ve always done when we drive… Read more »

Marci
Marci
8 years ago

Not having youngins myself, I live in an area with large year round school population til HS. Kids still have the same # of days. This works out swimmingly for most of my friends. 9 weeks on/3 weeks off, they schedule trips like Disney in October or February when crowds aren’t so bad. All students still get 3 weeks off near July when the YR school starts. Kids always know that there is a break just around the corner.

Jen2
Jen2
8 years ago

I look forward to the day when my son starts public school or even private school. Even with before and after care, and even with tuition for private school, we would still be paying less than we are are for daycare. I have a toddler in daycare 3 days a week (my husband’s days off are different from mine) for $257 a week. That’s approximately $1100 a month. I have another on the way and if we are paying $2200 per month for two in daycare part-time you can bet that I would prefer to pay that expense for 3-4… Read more »

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen2

This!

LMoot
LMoot
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen2

Because not everyone has the same workdays/ hours. I think adults work too much as is and am working hard to get OUT of the 9-5/ 40 hour workweek.

The difference is many people have a CHOICE of how much to work, and I don’t think we should require our children to have the same hectic, workaholic schedule.

We never used to have to work this much before, is all I’m saying.

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

Yup. My Dad has a 30+ year career at a Big Oil company. Never worked OT. I can’t tell you the last time I worked a 40 hour week, and just finished a 60+ week. Since he retired early (as many did in the 80s in big oil), I’m convinced I’ve already worked more hours in my career thus far than he did in his entire working life. I work in IT and made a job change about 5 years to a large company that used off shore work to help shore up 24/7 coverage. It was going to allow… Read more »

Mom
Mom
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

Just a 40 hour week would seem like a vacation. I think that a 12 hour or more day used to be reserved for those “special” professions like medicine but they are becoming the norm for most/many. Yikes!

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

“We never used to have to work this much before, is all I’m saying.”

We also never had to compete with billions of people on the other side of the planet, willing to work for peanuts.

I wonder if there’s a connection …

lmoot
lmoot
8 years ago
Reply to  Kevin

We’ve never had to compete, period (at least not on this level). We’ve shifted from a manufacture culture to a consumer culture. Our culture supports high consumerism and we are paid well, yet a majority of us still feel financial pressure. We work more because we want and consume and “need” more. Yeah, we’re competing, with the Jones’. No longer do we work for what we need, and few pleasures; add to the fact that we are a turnover society that is accustomed to replacing expensive items like cars and homes and electronics well before their time in our attempts… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen2

I agree with this in theory, though if we employed teachers 8-5 year round we’d have to pay them significantly more. I am not sure where that money would come from.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Honey Smith

I think people forget that a lot of work happens outside of actual teaching time — like prep work, marking, supervision, dealing with disciplinary problems, working with parents, etc. (In Ontario, teachers also aren’t paid extra for extra-curricular activities).

It’s easy for parents to suggest increasing the school day, but I wonder how many people have thought through what that means?

cajh
cajh
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

This.

My mom is an elementary school teacher and she frequently works 12 hour days during the school year. It is incredible the amount of time that goes into lesson planning, grading papers, preparing materials, having teacher conferences, and trying to keep up with the ever changing state and federal standards.

She may get 2 months off in the summer (she ends the year right before Memorial Day in May and goes back mid-July), but she works much longer hours during the school year than many professionals that I know.

cajh
cajh
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I should clarify, I’m not making this comment for/against a longer school year/school day. I actually think evaluating the traditional school year and day is important for many of the reasons previously mentioned (brain drain over the summer, short days/long summers don’t work in modern society, the U.S. is increasingly behind other industrial nations, etc. etc.). I was just saying I think teachers are undervalued and many people think being a teacher means having a cushy life of leisure.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen2

I’m curious — does a longer school day and more days of school per year result in better performance or is that just a perception?

In Ontario, kids go to school from after Labour Day until almost the end of June, and elementary school days run roughly 9:00 am to 3:15 pm (depending on length of lunches and recesses.) Is this not the case in the U.S.?

We have a pretty good education system here. I’m wondering if the problem is quality, not quantity?

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

One problem is the main premise of this post, the fact that many in the US consider public schools to be “free” child care, and thus want the day to extend from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and for school to meet year round, regardless if studies have proven this is an excess amount of time away from the home and not in the best interest of the child. You are correct. It doesn’t take an 8 hour day on a year round basis to educate an elementary age child. There has also been a push for mandatory pre-school, which… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Interesting… In Ontario, there’s been a move towards all day kindergarten programs. The website lists all these benefits based on research, but some say it’s a mainly a move to appease parents who are calling for more affordable daycare options. When it comes to longer days and more days of school, I’m torn. As a taxpayer, I scratch my head at parents who want more and more “free” childcare. I also understand the need for safe places for kids to be with qualified staff to look after them. As a former teacher, I can’t imagine those extra instructional hours in… Read more »

Jen2
Jen2
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

I was not trying to imply that the education system is free childcare or that I want the government to raise my children. My point was that it will certainly seem like a financial windfall for us when my son is school aged, regardless of whether we are paying for private tuition because the costs of daycare (even part-time) are staggering. I have read that there are studies that show that children who are in school for more days per year and longer school days do better. As a French Studies major in college I know that in France children… Read more »

Ellen K.
Ellen K.
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

American high schools begin rather earlier than in Ontario. The (awesome) book “Nurtureshock” states that 85% of U.S. high schools begin by 8:15 and 35% begin by 7:30 am. This has nothing to do with the best hours for learning and everything to do with traffic, high school sports, and transportation costs. But these hours don’t match a 35- or 40-hour work week, even with flextime, unless both parents have complete flextime, which is rare indeed. Edited to add: U.S. elementary schools typically begin later than high schools, but usually before 8:30. At my daughters’ elementary school, the tardy bell… Read more »

Jen Guzman
Jen Guzman
8 years ago

My summer solution: I work as a Location Director at an Enrichment Camp (robotics, filmmaking, some academic courses) in the NoVA area. My kids came along all summer with me, free of cost. We were on our bikes and out the door by 6:30AM each morning. This is the first year they were eligible and it worked very well. I had some guilt that they had such a structured summer, but from a financial perspective, it was great! The last two weeks we took a vacation together. Definitely doing this again next year if we are still living in the… Read more »

LMoot
LMoot
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen Guzman

I love this! I think more people should be mindful about lifestyle choices when deciding where to work/ what career to have. There may be jobs that some may look over in search for the traditional schedules that could actually SAVE money in other areas of their life, or offer alternative benefits that they could never get from a traditional job/ schedule. A job doesn’t have to be just about how much a paycheck is. Look at the commute, look at what side access or benefits you could get from working there. If childcare is your largest expense, and you… Read more »

Yet Another Kate
Yet Another Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

Sometimes a job is more about the skills one has rather than the life benefits it can provide. Many of us chose our jobs because we could do a good job and get paid…so that we can live.

lmoot
lmoot
8 years ago

There are many 9-5 type jobs that don’t require special skills. But folks flock to them without thought because of the feeling of familiarity and expectation. That’s what I’m talking about being mindful that you should take the time to work towards a job or career that will fit in with your lifestyle instead of just looking at the pay and the traditional benefits. And don’t be afraid to change careers if yours no longer provides the same benefits. Many people change and go through careers. Not to say some people don’t like their jobs, and they might be very… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

I am more worried about how my kids are spending summer when they are in high school than I am now, while the are preteens. The cost of rehab for the drinking or drugging, or the cost of raising grandchildren, depending on which worst case scenario develops from having them minimally supervised 10 weeks a year plus after school the other 42 weeks… Way scarier than how I’m going to have two littler kids supervised during the 4-5 weeks of summer when there is no camp. I worked when my kids were babies in hopes that I can work part… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  Holly

I have a teen and a college aged kid. The older worked each summer so his time was taken up to some extent with that. My younger one started working this summer and between that and a few other responsibilities, he was also kept pretty busy. However, I am really surprised at how many 16/17 year olds did NOT work. Don’t know if it’s because they were not encouraged to do so or if they couldn’t find work. But I do know that it created a LOT of free time and empty houses for kids to congregate. I work from… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago

Summer camp is such a racket! We pay more per week to send them to camp than for their private school tuition. We tried having a grandparent watch them one summer, but that was a disaster due to differing ideas on discipline, junk food, you name it…

And, I agree w/ the others who have their kids in private school – we’re making the choice to pay tuition, on top of subsidizing other kids’ “free” education.

Stacy
Stacy
8 years ago

We are saving money. We pay about $165 a week for all day care in the summer, and $85 a week for after school care. Yay.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

I have a group of friends who all live in the same neighborhood on Overlook Drive. The 4 families combined their finances and hired a nanny to supervise all the kids at a different house each week. They called it Camp Overlook.

LMoot
LMoot
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

What a great idea. In my parents neighborhood there used to a neighbor who was actually like the neighborhood nanny, and many neighbors would drop the kids off there.

She was a retired schoolteacher, so she also did the whole daycare learning thing. Seemed like a good gig, cheaper for the parents, and the kids seemed to benefit too.

dave s
dave s
8 years ago

I do not have children, so I come at this from a different angle than most of the people who have commented. Having children is expensive, very well documented to be expensive and in most cases entirely preventable. If you cannot afford to provide for your children in the way you feel they should be, then don’t put part A into slot B. I mostly support taxes that provide basic education for children and am willing to expand that support to nutrition and healthcare as what a community supports is what the community will benefit from. But it is ultimately… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

dave s,

I always crack up when people suggest that the “solution” to the “kid problem” is simply not to have sex with one’s own spouse… LOL!

Some people engage in periodic abstinence as birth control (which works – most of the time), but I don’t know of anyone who lives a 100% sex-less lifestyle of a Shaker with their own spouse solely to avoid procreation.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

From what I’ve seen, people who want children don’t always get to choose the most financially-advantageous time for them to show up 😉

dave s
dave s
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

Cincy,

Sex is an amazing way to strengthen emotional bonds with your spouse to which there are many different flavors. Penetration is far from the only way to enjoy physical (and emotional) closeness with your spouse, though this is not an appropriate forum for any more detail than that! Please re-read my original post: I did not advocate not having sex with your spouse, only to avoid one specific activity if you are not able to provide for any potential spawn.

dave

Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

I think it would be more realistic to suggest that people use protection than that they abstain.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

Dave, when you are covering for co-workers who have to leave to take care of their children, you may find it more useful to view it as helping to support those people who will one day become your neighbors, employees at stores you frequent, the future doctor who may treat your ailments, the designer of computer software that helps you remain independent, and other members of the community with which you co-exist. While I am personally of the opinion that humans desperately need to practice zero population growth, at the same time, children are not worthless wasters of resources. They’re… Read more »

dave s
dave s
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Sure Laura, I am all for helping out the community. However, when I am not allowed to get time off for my own medical visits, vehicle maintenance, have service people come to the house or take the mutts to the vet without weeks of advanced planning but parents can come in that morning and say that they are taking the kid to the eye doctor for glasses that afternoon and are leaving early it is tough to maintain a good attitude. When I have talked to four different bosses in three different companies I have been told that they have… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

Wow – you’ve had terrible bosses. I’ve had 2 kids and worked very hard at NOT making it an inconvenience to my employers NOR my coworkers. In fact, my coworker with a pet and pest control (we had neither) used as much time as I ever did. I suppose I should be very thankful, even my current boss made sure to tell me not to miss anything in my youngest’s Sr year — completely unprompted. (Of course, everyone is working like dogs in my dept. so it’s not like I’m shorting them output.) Sounds like you needed to double check… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

dave s,

Sounds to me like you need a new job. There are plenty of kid-less people in my office, and they take time off for the cable guy, doc appts, etc, etc, just as much as anyone else who has kids does. It’s called Paid Time Off, and we all get the same amount of time based on years of service, not whether or not we have “spawn” (as you so eloquently put it…).

Cortney
Cortney
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

I don’t have kids either (yet), but I think you’re missing a few key points. These kids that you complain about are the same people who will one day be your doctor, nurse or caretaker when you’re old. They’ll be the ones working in the grocery store, the ones inventing new technologies, joining the military, etc, etc. If everyone decided to stop having kids, we’d all be (pardon the pun) screwed.

LMoot
LMoot
8 years ago
Reply to  dave s

As someone without children I don’t agree with most of Dave’s post, (and don’t have time to get into why), but one point I DO agree with is the idea of treating the decision to have children as just that, a decision, and preferably an informed one. I can’t believe how much more thought some people put into buying a house, a car, going to school, than they do about having children. It’s like they assume that it’s one of those things that will just “take care of itself” because children are a blessing. I don’t have kids, but the… Read more »

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

You may be young, but you certainly are not naive. You sound like someone that takes responsbility for your own choices and doesn’t expect the government to take care of you after the fact. I couldn’t agree with you more. People get married, get deep into debt, and then decide to have children, then wonder why their life becomes so difficult. We waited 7 years to have children and spent that time working VERY hard to get ourselves into a position where we had minimal debt and we would have the flexibility to have a parent with our kids when… Read more »

Jen2
Jen2
8 years ago
Reply to  LMoot

Does the fact that I did plan out the expenses and can technically afford it and still decided that it was worth it mean that I am not allowed to complain about it costing so much for daycare?

Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen2

You can complain about anything you want, but when you’ve knowingly made a choice that you’re now arguing that the taxpayer should help subsidise (in your previous post, which argues that schools should have longer hours for your convenience) don’t expect the rest of us to get on board. Edited to add: As someone who has no kids and never wants them, I don’t begrudge my tax dollars going to pay for education, which I think is a need for the kids. It’s a little much to ask that I also subsidize your childcare, which is a want in your… Read more »

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago

Summer is definitely a challenge for working parents, especially a solo one like myself. During the school year I pay $345/month for afterschool care, which is a relative bargain in my area. My son’s school offers a very high-quality summer camp which, at $190/week, is also a relative bargain, but certainly more on a monthly basis. The additional catch is that the summer camp starts in July and ends in mid-August, leaving 4.5 weeks of vacation uncovered. This year, I handled that by: 1) Grandparents watching him for a couple of days; 2) Two weeks of vacation and 3) Two… Read more »

Kathryn
Kathryn
8 years ago

I have four boys ages 9 to 19 and have been dealing with day care challenges since going back to work (at a university) full-time four years ago. Like a lot of other posters, I turned to low cost parks and rec, YMCA, sports and Scout camps during the summer. I also sent the kids to spend time with my parents and my husband’s – both live a day’s drive away. Planning required an excel spreadsheet and multiple calendars, but it usually worked until the dog days of August when camps dried up. At that point I had to take… Read more »

AmyP
AmyP
8 years ago

“Thank you, Federal government, for your public schools”

People have already mentioned that the public schools are not a “gift,” but even if they were, why would we thank the Feds for our local schools? The Federal Government contributes only about 9% of total public K-12 funding.

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-51

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Sarah, it’s not a distinction without a difference. For many, this is the turning point in the national debate about education (as funding is often tied to control).

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
8 years ago
Reply to  LeRainDrop

Thanks for your note back, Sarah! I’m sorry I misread your tone, and I don’t have a blog to link to. I appreciate your insight into the budgeting issues relating to how childcare interplays with school schedules. I don’t have any children yet, but have found this article and the comments very interesting — surely something to keep in mind down the road!

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

This will make GRS readers break out in hives, but we had/have the maximum amount taken out in taxes and use the large refund to pay for DS’s summer care. While just saving the $200/month or so (for a year – $2K-$3K for the summer) we’d need sounds easy, it wasn’t, and the system in place works so we’ve left it as is. Off the top of my head, family day care for DS ran about $200/day (this is a HCOL area); preschool was $1200/month and that was discounted from $1500. I was told I was the only non-salaried employee… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

“family day care for DS ran about $200/day”

Is that a typo? You’re spending ~$4000 a month on one kid?

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Argh. Yes, totally a typo. Thanks for keeping me honest. $50/day = $200/week (4 day week) = $800-$1000/roughly depending on how many Fridays were in that month. Sorry, I am wicked tired right now.

Dorothy
Dorothy
8 years ago

We are a 2-income family, and we both enjoy our jobs and have flexible schedules. We also make enough money that either of us quitting would be a big financial hit, even without having to pay for child care. (The cost for these desirable jobs was years of graduate school.) The school year is definitely a cost savings over the summer and we notice it. Our public school community is very tight-knit, however, and this summer one stay-at-home dad offered to take some kids into the “family camp” he created for his sons and their next-door neighbors–which involved hiking around… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy

You are very fortunate to live in a good public school district. Around my neck of the woods, the only decent (i.e. not on academic “watch” or “probabion”) are districts are also in extremely high COL areas (with the associated high property taxes). So, we chose to live in a lower COL area, and pay tuition for private school. My husband and I went to a great district when we were kids, and lived in lower income housing (there was only one district in our municipality – so the “rich” kids sat alongside the “rest of us” in class). That… Read more »

LeRainDrop
LeRainDrop
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

I think there have always been kids wanting to know “is this going to be on the exam?” 😉 However, point well taken that there is a big difference between whether the “exam” entails the federally-mandated NCLB subject matter versus periodic tests and quizes involving the subject matter embraced by the teacher/local board.

Dorothy
Dorothy
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

I get a lot of “you’re lucky to live in a good district” from people who don’t live here. Let me emphasize that this is an under-performing city district and the school itself is a Title I public school and on the state academic watch list. Yet like the other parents at our school, when we toured it we saw that it was much more than those designations. It is a place where all our children have thrived. The principal chose to deal with the district and state personally and leaves the teachers enormous freedom in the classroom. Yet since… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy

We actually live in a “good” school district with high test scores. They don’t feel like they have to work with parents because by the numbers they are doing well, so kids who are far enough away from the average are under-served. (Of course, they have the high test scores because only the rich who value education live there.) The next district over with lower test-scores does a better job of differentiation and working with parents. But we didn’t know that when we bought our house.

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy

Totally agree with you. It is up to the parents to instill good education ethics in the family and the child will make the most of what is available. Plus when it comes to college you will be surprised how good some of the scholarships offered at your public school are that your child will be all set to get.

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

“They say these kids are almost impossible to teach”

Don’t teachers always say that? 😉 Seriously though, this sounds more like a ‘kids these days’ whine to me and assigning blame to something arbitrarily.

If you asked college professors 50 years ago I’m sure they’d go on about how all the students are drug crazed hippies who are impossible to teach and how rock n roll is to blame.

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Gilbert

Someone I worked with years ago had a similar experience. The neighborhood where she lived had experienced ‘white flight’ and all the families with money left. The schools had no tax base, and by most standards were failing. The parents got involved; though most worked full time, enough found a few minutes to contribute to an educational opportunity or an after-school program to turn their school into the envy of those in ‘richer’ neighborhoods. I don’t remember the details, but I definitely remember the impact of a community coming together for its kids.

Rebecca
Rebecca
8 years ago

Even as a stay at home parent, having kids back in school is a savings since I will no longer feel compelled to take them to museums, cultural events, or the grocery store—which always ends up more expensive than I planned.

Ellen K.
Ellen K.
8 years ago

My daughters began preschool a couple of weeks ago. I’m a SAHM/WAHM, and our childcare expenses have been limited to a regular sitter one morning per week so that I can get some freelance work done. I’ve noticed there are a lot of incidental costs at the beginning of a school year, aside from school supplies. In the past two weeks, I have spent $190 on school pictures (not high-end “retouched” packages), sweatshirts (required for uniforms), and two school fundraisers. This doesn’t apply to my family yet, but fall sports and extracurricular fees are usually due at the beginning of… Read more »

Julie
Julie
8 years ago

My husband and I decided that if I went to work the cost of childcare would negate any benefit. He is able to thoroughly enjoy his work experience without having to worry about the children or the household and his career has taken off. We take parenting seriously and think our children need to be raised by us and not strangers. I know this way of thinking is “outdated” and for some it isn’t an option, but to me the whole point of family is to support eachother and have an enjoyable life experience. We also have made sure we… Read more »

Juli
Juli
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

I think it is great that you have been able to make it work to be a SAHM. If it were in any way possible, I would love to do the same. But I absolutely hate when people say “I don’t want strangers raising my kids.” My older son has been in the same daycare for 3 1/2 years now. We know the teachers there, and they love my kids. They are in no way “strangers”. Just because you didn’t know them before does not mean that they are strangers. When people say things like that, it makes it sound… Read more »

Meredith
Meredith
8 years ago
Reply to  Juli

100% agreed. Trust me, these are not strangers raising my kids when they are in school. In my personal experience, these are really stable wonderful trained adults who really love working with kids. My kids adore(d) their daycare teachers and the friends they made in their classrooms. As a parent, I even learned some better techniques in handling tantrums, discipline from them as well. Daycare becomes an addition to the family. I agree, the notion that we working parents who have our kids attend daycare are “letting strangers raise our kids” is very offensive. I am away from my kids… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Juli

What Juli said. My kids were not “raised by strangers”. The ladies who took care of them as infants & toddlers (in a dreaded “center”) were wonderful. Personally, I think they benefited from having been “raised” by women with decades of experience, and who have changed the diapers of literally 100s of kids. Not only that, but they both had instant siblings their own age to play with every single day. And, I agree that these caregivers had tons of great advice to share, and loved our kids to pieces. They still do! It’s been several years since my kids… Read more »

Ann
Ann
8 years ago

I live in a small town, where there aren’t any camps to send my elementary children to (other than occasional 9-noon educational activities). Our answer was to share a high school babysitter with a couple of other families. The kids had a great time “hanging out” together, and our house is within walking distance of a library, playground, swimming pool, etc. so they never lacked for things to do. It is a bigger financial burden than I anticipated–I thought childcare costs would disappear when my kids went to school. WRONG! I’m not actually saving money now that school started (almost… Read more »

Michelle
Michelle
8 years ago

My youngest starts public kindergarten this week. I’m saving $850/month on her childcare at a private pre-k program, although shifting a portion of it ($265/month) to afterschool care. What am I doing with the rest? Saving it — retirement accounts and otherwise. I own my own business, which gives me the flexibility I need (and that I wish so many other people had). Because the kids get out of school here at 2:10 p.m. What’s a working parent to do? I’m highly in favor of year-around schools, although I think we need more school days and longer school days as… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

I’m curious since we touched on the idea of longer school days above: What does a longer school day mean to you as a parent? (i.e. do you expect more lesson time, compulsory extra curricular activities, play time, help with home work, etc.)

I don’t mean that as a challenge — I’m genuinely curious. I’m guessing there’s more to it than wanting tax payers to cover the cost of before and after school care. (No judgment on that — even though I don’t have kids, I appreciate the need for safe, qualified, and affordable care.)

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

My son attends charter schools with 7-8 hour days. The extra time is used for art and music, both of which aren’t offered in the traditional public schools anymore (because they have to cram the basics into the 6-hour day and because funding was slashed), and for a structured study period each day where teachers assist students struggling with their homework. The study period was at the end of the day and was optional for students doing well and mandatory for failing students.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Cool! I could get behind that idea 😉 The problem is convincing tax payers to fund it — and to understand that courses like art, music and phys ed are important too.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

In our case, extended day after school is a pre-contracted, fee-for-service, and is a bargain (I think…) at $130 per month/kid. The kids get a healthy snack, plus two clubs per week + homework help. This quarter, the clubs are creative arts (writing, painting, sculpture) and also culture club (Spanish language, traditions, native dress, etc). The school day is usually 8:30 – 3:45 (around 7 hours), and extended day goes until 6:00, but parents can pick up any time after 5:15. The extra 45 minutes is in case of traffic since many families work downtown, and the school is every… Read more »

Panda
Panda
8 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

My child will start daycare next month and it will be several years until my kids are in public school. But your comment about saving the expense is exactly what I plan to do.

Daycare for my 3-mo old will run about ~$1000/month. I plan to have that $1000/month in my budget for the rest of the time she lives at home. As daycare expense drops (at 6 mos, 1 yr, starts pre-k, etc), the balance will go into her college savings account.

Carol
Carol
8 years ago

You’re not that rare. I, too, work from home and love having my kids around.

Sam
Sam
8 years ago

I think that the 9 mos. school year really no longer makes any sense for kids, for parents or for society. I don’t have kids myself but I am involved in a charity that provides private, high quality, preschool to working families so I am very familiar with how difficult it is, especially for the working poor, to both work and pay for quality child care. Our school provides preschool education on a sliding scale, based on how much our parents earn. Obviously we have a waiting list so long is disheartening. For the working poor child care is a… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Our local public school started offering breakfast & lunch during the summer for at-risk kids. I don’t remember a levy for it, so I think they must have received a grant. I would have voted for it either way…

Opus
Opus
8 years ago

I live in the Province of Quebec in Canada. Things are a bit different here.

Daycare is 7$ per child for everybody, regardless of income.

Same thing for school daycare. It covers the the time before school, lunchtime and after school hours. All for 7$ again.

Summer camps are more expensive though, usually 150$ a week for the community ones and way more for private ones.

We do pay an awful lot of taxes compared to the USA for all those services but we generally are happy with the way things are.

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Opus

There’s the rub, Opus. A lot of people in the US want to rob Peter to pay Paul for these services, instead of everyone paying their fair share of both fees AND taxes. I know I’m opening a huge can of political worms, but the Libertarian in me won’t keep quiet! Right now, 40% of our population pays no taxes, and the top 10% pay nearly 90% of the taxes. The 40% is the same population that gets most of these services for free, and wants the top 10% to pay even more. Of course, they’re the same group of… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/marginal-tax-rates-why-they-make-sense/ If you make 10K, paying 10% in taxes, thus taking home 9K, hurts a lot more than if you make 100K and would be taking home 90K. It’s almost as easy to live on 90K as on 100K. Going from 10K to 9K… that’s really tough. Adding to that, raising taxes on poverty level people– even if you take ALL their money, isn’t going to bring in much income. The Daily Show had a good clip with the numbers. But the bottom line is, you can’t get blood from a stone. Now, if everyone in the economy had a… Read more »

Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason
8 years ago
Reply to  CincyCat

“Right now, 40% of our population pays no taxes, and the top 10% pay nearly 90% of the taxes. The 40% is the same population that gets most of these services for free, and wants the top 10% to pay even more.” I believe the much-quoted figure is 47%, and it’s not true to say that they “pay no taxes”. That number refers to federal income tax. People who fall into that bracket all pay sales taxes, and may also pay some combination of state taxes and local taxes. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html Your 90% figure also seems inflated. Even what I’ve… Read more »

Laure
Laure
8 years ago

I agree with the benefit of public education, and understand the point of your article. I’d just like to point out that it isn’t “the government” doing us “a favor” in providing public education without additional out-of-pocket costs. All of us together comprise what we call “the government” and WE decided that we want public education — a wonderful thing — and WE pay for it, through taxes. Let’s continue to remember that we are government, and it’s our money, and we need to stay involved and speak up so that our money goes to great things like public education… Read more »

Sara
Sara
8 years ago

JD? Are you still there? I’ve been missing your meticulous editing lately.

BD
BD
8 years ago

This is totally NOT a helpful comment. But all I could think about when reading this article was that Staples commercial where the parents are zipping down the aisles in Staples pushing shopping carts full of school supplies with ecstatic looks on their faces while they sing “It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year!” and in the background, there are a couple of glum-looking kids who don’t want to go back to school. 😀

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  BD

I think the commercial is making a heartbreaking statement. Why are parents so happy to get away from their kids? Perhaps it could be due to the way so many kids are turning out these days…rude and disrespectful as they mimic the TV shows and behaviour of others kids. The vast majority of their their socialization and instruction on social skills is coming from someone other than their exhausted, stressed out parents. Raising enjoyable kids doesn’t just happen by accident, and some of the most pleasant, unselfish and well socialized kids I have met during my years of parenting have… Read more »

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

While I agree with most of your overall comment, I think the commercial isn’t really trying to make that point, nor do I think it automatically implies that kids are monsters. When my brother and I were kids, we lived in a remote desert area with no neighbors, nowhere to go, and nothing to do (this was before the Internet, or video games, and our TV had exactly 13 channels. Going outside meant playing in cactus, rocks and dirt). The entire summer was spent wandering around the house and telling our mom “We’re bored. There’s nothing to do! We’re BOOOOOOOORED.”… Read more »

Diana L
Diana L
8 years ago
Reply to  BD

Now I’m just curious is my family was an anomaly or if it was simply a custom of times gone by…
Growing up I, and all of my friends, very quickly learned that uttering “I’m bored” was a very dangerous thing to do within earshot of an adult. It guaranteed you would be given some undesirable chore or task to do.
Did anyone else have this experience?
I have to admit it was very effective – I always found a way to kill the boredom for fear of more unwanted chores . . .

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Interesting. I’m not sure grown adults are expected to enjoy spending every moment with people of a completely different peer group. Of course parents love their kids, but what’s the saying “familiarity breeds contempt”? Even kids look forward to getting back to school (whether they admit it or not). I love my kids and I loved being off with them in the summer, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get sick of bickering or “bored” kids. There’s a wonderful rhythm to a calendar year. The parents that are ready for kids to get back to school will be the same… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

I was raised in the 70’s and 80’s by a very earthy SAHM, and I guarantee you that by the end of August, we had driven her so crazy that I’m sure she would have cheerfully sold us to the nearest travelling carnival if the start of school hadn’t rescued us every year… 🙂

Meredith
Meredith
8 years ago

I am often times complaining (tongue in cheek) about how schools/daycare hate working parents. As someone who works full time, there are an awful lot of “early release” days for both my 3 year old’s private daycare and my 7 year old son’s public elementary school. For example, in my town the first day of school this year is tomorrow (9/6) but there was no camp available the last week of August and my daughter’s daycare was closed that week too so my husband and I both had to divvy up the week, each taking 2.5 days off from work.… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago

“We’re getting a big gift from the government” I just want to point out, it’s not a “gift from the government,” it’s a gift from those taxpaying citizens without children. If the cost of educating children were spread across only those with children, then there would be no savings, and it would be just as costly as if everyone were expected to educate their own children, which as you pointed out, would be a crippling expense to struggling families. By spreading the cost over everyone including those without children, it becomes affordable for you. You get to educate your child… Read more »

Mike Collins
Mike Collins
8 years ago

My wife was at home with the little ones so we didn’t have to worry about camps or other expensive expenditures, though she would often take them out and do things which cost a bit here and there. I do believe she is counting the minutes until the two oldest go back to school and she only has one rugrat to worry about during the day.

Tom
Tom
8 years ago

Besides the percentage of my federal taxes that go to education, I’ve never had to pay for public school benefits. I’ve always rented. If its such a burden for childless people, I would reccomend renting. Buying a house is a choice, just as having a child is. Good schools (funded by taxes) only increase your property value and attract future buyers anyway. Childless people also benefit from public education just by the fact it keeps a significant portion of teenagers supervised during the day, and not competing for their jobs or causing trouble. Also, I’ve never seen the word gift… Read more »

Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Since all but the most clueless landlords will price their rent to cover expenses – including property tax – your suggestion is not that helpful.

Pauline
Pauline
8 years ago

I know a group of families with similar age children who volunteer one week each to host summer camp. So during a week, the first family gets another 10 kids at their home, both parents are off work and taking the kids swimming and hiking. Then they go back to work and the neighbors take over.

Paula P.
Paula P.
8 years ago

I work at the camp where my kids attend, so that offsets most costs for that month. However, I took off from a job to do that and they hired a summer intern. Summer is very hard with young kids if one usually works throughout the year. I can’t afford more camp for when I still need to work, so they hang out in front of the tv for the hours I’m gone because then I know they’re not in the street unsupervised. 🙁

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