There’s no doubt raising kids costs a fortune, but where parents spend their money on are often debatable. Summer is coming up, and one of the options for us to send our kids is a math summer camp. Is it worth a few hundred dollars a month for Sara and Jayden to spend a few hours every week to hone their math skills? Or is it a gigantic waste of money?
Ask ten people who know Emma and me and all ten will tell you that I’m the one in the family who is always saying no to stuff because of how much it cost.
Yet, being the Tiger dad that I am, I was the one who suggested that Sara go to an after school math school a few years ago. The classes weren’t cheap at roughly $200 a month per person. Now add Jayden to the mix, and we are talking about spending close to $10k already with many more potential years of expenses.
Why Did You Pay for It Then
We’ve been paying for years, and we have to work hard to convince our kids not to kick and scream about going. Obviously, we felt the money was justified. Here are a few reasons why:
1. We saw it as splitting the difference between private and public school.
One of the reasons why we didn’t pursue the private school route was because we figured public school plus after school classes were both better and cheaper.
Private versus public school deserves its own separate discussion so we’ll tackle the topic on another day, but from a purely financial and return on investment perspective, simply putting the yearly tuition in a low cost index fund earmarked for each kid and letting the sum grow will seriously challenge any potential and debatable career benefits a child can get from a private education.
The future is unknown but think about this for a second. $30,000 a year per child, even at 7% growth for 13 years (kindergarten through 12) grows to $646,514.64 at the start of college. Wait another 4 years and they get to start adult life with roughly $850k in the bank. Markets growing 10% a year and that number jumps to $1.185m. That “m” stands for million!
How much better do private schools need to be for the education to be worth $1 million dollars more before they even start earning a penny?
We felt the kids going to public school and supplementing their education with some after school classes as a middle ground. It’s a bit more work for us because we need to shuttle the kids to and from school and classes, but the savings were substantial and the kids also got dedicated academic help.
2. The public school system seemed to teach math at a very casual (slow!) pace.
It’s hard not to compare what my kids’ are taught versus what we knew when we were kids at the same age. Jayden is in first grade, and I want to be understanding because teachers are trying to make do with the lockdown situation, but his typical daily assignment right now consists of about five to ten questions of single digit addition.
There are a few more questions for double digit addition, but they are labeled as CHALLENGE and optional. Naturally, Jayden is done in about five minutes and it takes him more time to use the mouse to draw the numbers on screen than actually doing the math.
3. It’ll be very painful to catch back up if our kids fall behind in the future.
Not learning much math every day isn’t even the most problematic issue. The potential disaster is that eventually, my kids are expected to know everything at a very advanced level. After all, I can only assume that the difficulty of college level math is the same everywhere in the world.
If our kids start off slowly and need to end up at the same destination by college, this simply means that at some point, the pace at which math lessons are being taught will drastically increase in order for our kids to catch up.
This is the point in time when someone is going to raise the argument that the U.S. has the brightest minds and best technology, so surely our educational structure is at least adequate.
But a system being able to develop top…