Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Free" Education?

One of the things that irks me about homeschooling is having to spend my time and money to teach my children at home, *while* paying taxes for the purposes of education, that we don't get the benefit of. However, I was surprised to see the figure of $1,200 given as what to expect for parents sending their children back to school this fall. Of course, I'm not entirely sure what is included in this figure. One sentence says that this figure is for pencils, paper and activity fees. For the money-saving website they recommend, they talk about kids' clothes. I wish they said what all this figure entailed. Clothes for kids can add up quickly, even when you make them yourself, as I do. However, I managed to get school supplies and school *books* for my children for less than half of that figure, with the help of a little judicious buying of used books on ebay. I don't know that clothing should really figure in here, unless your school requires uniforms. Kids need clothes for fall in any case. We don't always do homeschool in our pajamas. :)


The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

kids here in Indiana have to pay a rental fee for their books which is quite expensive. It is more than what I pay on curriculum.

I guess the thing with the taxes is that people are NOT paying to send their kids to school. Property owners are funding the public education system in their area. That's basically what it really boils down to. My parents sent me to a private school for several years, but never thought it was unfair that their taxes went to support area schools, because they would have to pay it even if they were childless or if their children were grown.

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Perhaps some of that goes to the HP-96 or TI-93 or whatever SAT-killer-calculator kids need these days. :)

Faith said...

Dan's got a point - for older students, you're looking at $150 or more for a graphing calculator where required.

My stint in a public kindergarten in a very "nice" (read: moneymoneymoney) suburb of New Orleans (still a rather inexpensive place to live compared nationally) went like this:

Uniforms: we bought used, but new, would have cost about $15 for a shirt and $20 for bottoms. Must have belt. Must have particular shoes. Must have proper socks.

Supplies: In addition to pencils, etc., you now have to supply your classroom with paper towels, tissue paper, antibiotic hand stuff (like Purell), colors and markers to go into the general fund. Notes get sent home every couple of months asking for more. Also, as fundraisers, you are "encouraged" to buy a "supply kit" with everything next year's teacher will list as supplies. At dd's last school, it was $70. I think at the kindergarten it was $80.

Whoops... twins... back in a bit.

elephantschild said...

Regarding the clothes issue: I was shocked to discover that one week of VBS (and the accompanying playground time) put more wear and tear on my kid's clothes and shoes than several weeks worth of at-home use.

Just one more way homeschooling is more economical.

Faith said...

I'm back. Then there's PTA things. OH are there PTA things. There's your initial dues. Then there's every. single. solitary. ridiculous. little thing they want you to buy, which they spend a week hyping the kids about so that your kids think you're evil if you don't spend it. And do you want a school directory? Yeah, well, you're paying PTA $40 for it - and the teachers discourage the children from exchanging phone numbers, instead telling them to look each other up in the directory.

Then there are the big fundraisers for the school itself. They did those Entertainment books (the savings books), and her last school did "savings cards". Then there's the Christmas stuff fundraiser. Then the spring fundraiser. And they make the kids feel like they MUST SELL (ie: make their parents buy stuff when they don't have enough people to sell to) because almost every other kid in school gets to ride in the stretch limo that's a prize for selling over $400 worth of stuff...

Then there's "casual Friday" in which they pay to wear regular clothes (or shorts at places that don't have uniforms). BUT, you also have to buy a t-shirt, because there are t-shirt days at school where they can wear those and jeans, and the t-shirts are $25. They usually sell two a year.

Some activities have hefty fees as well. You have to have insurance (either personal or through the school, about $80 a year) to play sports. You have your annual physical you have to pay for. You HAVE to have a yearbook (which elementary schools do now) and those are $50. You have sports uniforms, organization dues, band instruments and uniforms, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

I have to tell you, I think I spent as much (possibly more) during dd's public school kindergarten than I did for her year at a private school.

Des_Moines_Girl said...

Darling daughter starts kindergarten next week. Imagine our surprise when we were told about her $22 per semester book kingarten...public school kindergarten. This is in addition to the "supply list" we haven't shopped for yet.

Book fees in kindergarten. I'm speechless. The only time I had to pay for books was during the three years I was in private school.

At least we can drive her to school. It would cost us $400 a year to ride the bus. I don't remember my folks paying a bus fee for me either.

I ask you - what are we paying property taxes for, which are pretty darn high here in Des Moines.

debbie said...

Thank goodness for my *not* homeschooling, charter school at home. Books-free; consumables-free;
computer equipment-free; back to school party tomorrow at Clays Park RV Resort- complimentary .

Uniforms? Ha! lol Then there is always someone else to do the record keeping and paperwork...Oh! almost forgot, $50 gift cards for each student at Staples (office store), and $300 per student for extra curricular or supplemental classes (Phys Ed, Etc).

We sold out. Feels goooood.....

We do still have to pay for the tissues and hand cleaner tho... ;-)

sorry couldn't resist! ;o)

Pauli said...

Barb, we're doing homeschooling too, starting this year. I should tell my wife to start reading you, along with an explanation that you're not REALLY evil. (You're not evil right? just Lutheran... right?)

Also, I'll write a letter to City of Cleveland telling them to pay you $50,000.00 of property tax money for all your good advice. Then you can dress your kids like royalty and get them really expensive pencils.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

RPW, who pays for schools and how is a whole other argument. But since I have children of school age it would be nice if I could receive some of the benefit.

Faith, I know what you're talking about; we went through most of that with my daughters when they attended parochial school, from the uniforms to the limo rides. Our PTA didn't cost money, though.

DMG, I'm sure that was a surprise. My girls got bussed to their parochial school for free. I would wonder where your taxes go, too.

Debbie, you have to do what's best for your family; you know we've done the same thing. I've been tempted to go back sometimes, but right now we value the autonomy.

Pauli, I'd love to chat with your wife about homeschooling! Not evil, just Lutheran, lol! I'm afraid Cuyahoga County wouldn't value my advice, and my kids don't need to be dressed like royalty. :)

Gino said...

Now wait. I know I'm a fairly new Lutheran, but I thought the whole point was acknowledging that we ARE all evil and just getting on with our lives despite it. (Well, and that whole it-won't-be-held-against-us-thing.) Go forth and sin boldly and all that.

And on the $50K thing. Don't be so hasty. There's nothing wrong with extra cash. (I'm DH hereabouts, and the bread-winner, after all).

Kim said...

We may have to buy clothes for our kids but not nearly as often as those in traditional school have to. Even without uniforms there are usually rules that restrict what they can wear. At home they can wear their pants even with holes in the knees and shoes don't wear out as often. Most of our kids' clothes are stained from working and playing outside, if they were in school we would have to continually replace those things even though they are wearable. School supplies, curriculum, and clothes for our 2 kids doesn't even come close to $1200!