We all want out children to have the best shot at becoming a successful, good, and honest adult. Many parents have different views, preferences, and values regarding education. I have decided to research and document the leading reasons why parents choose private, public, and homeschooling and assess the cost, benefits, and concerns of each choice. In order to analyze and compare the choice of childhood education well will need to determine the categories of which we shall rate. I have chosen: Cost, Academic benefit, Social Benefit, Safety, and Accessibility.
So this post will analyze the benefits of investing in childhood education. Conceptually it seems to make sense as a parent to want your child to have the best amenities, environment, curriculum, and classroom atmosphere that gives the best experience of a quality education. No one would disagree with those desires for a childhood education. However, there are other variables and stereotypes that add fuel to the fire to the growing number of middle-class households who seek private education as if it is an exclusive club guaranteed to give your child a quality education and character.
What does an investment in early childhood education require? I think it does not only required above-average financial obligations but also above-average parent involvement. In order to invest in early childhood education, you must be willing to invest your time to research the right schools, costs, academic policies, amenities, learning environment, curriculum, and the requirements placed on teachers.
My advice financially is to stay in your financial lane and don't make decisions with your heart that will ultimately negatively impact your family. Don't take out loans or send your child to a school based on exclusivity. Most household who grapple with the private, public, and home school decision represent the middle class. Financially the middle class suffers the most, as they seek to look well off, rather than being well off. If your household income doesn't support the investment in early childhood education then you can't force this investment. Be patient there are alternatives in next week's post. There are also other considerations such as religious views, as 71% of the private school community is catered to a religious affiliation.
As for types of schools, there are no cookie cutter private and public schools. Every school experience deals with dozens of demographic variables that only enforce my suggestion to research if a school matches your child's needs rather than opinions that private is better than public and home schooling. There are no right answers because only you will know what is right for your child.
So how do you fund this investment? The best option available would an Educational Savings Account (ESA). This account will avoid taxes on the growth of the account and can be used for pre-K through college. There is a ceiling of $2,000 per year, but those funds can be used for any expense related to the education of the child. This would be a great option if a parent wants to do public elementary and private middle or high school. The key is to start early! $166 per month into the account will satisfy the limit and ensure tuition doesn't limit your school options. To give you an idea, let's take a look at putting $166 per month for 11 years when a child ready for middle school. Assuming a modest 7% annualized return, the $166 per month would grow to $31,000.00 ($10,000 is compounded interest!) that's an extra $10,000 over your principle and you pay no taxes on that growth.
Investing in your child is one of the most rewarding investments you will ever make. While this post is about education, it also is about nurturing potential and providing meaningful experiences. Yes investing in childhood education is wise, but what schooling provides the best experience, academics, and environment for your child. To find out, follow this 4 part series on childhood education. Up next.... pros and cons of private school.
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