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Archive for August, 2015

Our long weekend vacation

August 20th, 2015 at 06:21 pm

My brother-in-law's brother-in-law is a practicing attorney. And I think he's a corporate attorney who makes a substantial amount of money. He and his wife (BIL's sister) own a house at a ski resort. So, my BIL and SIL (DW's sister) are spending this week at the resort. We were invited to the resort to spend some time with them. We had a couple of things going on Saturday morning, so we spent Saturday evening through Monday afternoon with them.

It is a very nice setting, a very nice resort, and a very nice house. The resort is primarily a ski resort, so the heaviest, most desirable use is in the winter. I got the sense that a lot of the owners rent their houses out for a week at a time to cover some of their costs.

The clientele were mostly clearly upper middle class. I've not been surrounded by a group like that in a very long time. In fact, it kind of made me feel the same way I felt when I was in college at Michigan State, where a lot of the folks around me had and spent more money than I did.

I don't want to take anything away from our enjoyable time. We spent at least half of the time away from the resort, at a couple beaches, and a national park.

Saturday evening, we took the chair lifts to the top of one of the ski mountains. There was a solo guitarist playing songs and singing. It was very enjoyable. There was also a bar. It's not like anyone was flaunting anything at all, but most of the people were dressed in much finer clothes than we were, and most of the people were spending quite a lot of money on drinks. At the same time, it looked like there were a few people more from our social strata.

Before I joined the SA community, I would have figured all of those people were "rich". And probably most of them are living within their means. But after having been here in SA, I couldn't help but wonder how man of them are in debt up to their eyeballs.

A follow-up to yesterday's post

August 12th, 2015 at 07:09 pm

Yesterday I blogged about starting DD1 in 8th grade at the local public school, rather than home school. I was typing a response to the comments in the post, and my response was getting long enough that I decided to make it its own blog entry...

Now that I think about it a bit, we do have experience with the nebulous costs of sending kids to public school.

We had been sending our boys to the special needs school. We tossed the requests for fund raisers, deluxe photo packages, and such in the trash. It seemed to help, because I think staff at the school got the message that we don't participate in such things, because we quit getting them. There is a difference, as the boys' understanding is such that they had no clue what it was that we weren't participating in.

The class that DS1 was in last year took occasional trips to places like McDonald's, and the movie theater. We valued those opportunities, because it's good to get an autistic child out in the real world, so he knows how to interact with people in those situations. The teacher appeared to have a fund to defray part of the cost, because the amount requested would never completely cover what they were doing. Her fund probably came from fund raising efforts! If the requested amount for the trip was $3, we'd throw in $5, or $7, throw in $10, and ask that she keep the change for another student or trip.

Public School

August 11th, 2015 at 02:55 pm

I just read Laura's entry about senior pics. Ugh.

DW has homeschooled our two girls for their entire learning career. DD1 has opted to enroll in 8th grade at our local public school. It was her wish, and I supported it, and DW supported it.

Reading Laura's post has made me wonder about the financial ramifications of the switch.

We've purchased curricula each year for the girls' school. I couldn't tell you how much, but DW could. But I think it ends up being somewhere less than $500 per year total for both girls. For the most part, DD2 uses DD1's used materials. And DW buys used, and swaps with other homeschool moms. So, that $500 price is probably out dated, as DW has gotten better at doing school on the cheap.

They've been attending a local home school co-op to take classes that may be better offered in a group. But, there's not the pressure for super fancy clothes, or neat note books, etc. like there is in a public school setting.

I can't help but think that the public school option will, on balance, end up being the more expensive option.

Of course, that can also be part of the learning - No, you don't need all these new, shiny things like the other kids. And, I really don't think it will be a huge issue with DD1 anyway.

But there are those things like senior pics, prom, etc. that seem to have escalated in price beyond any reasonable level over the last 25 years since DW and I were in school.