Am I being unreasonable? [Send daughter to private kindergarten]

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Traveler
Posts: 849
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by Traveler »

veindoc wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:42 pm I don’t think sending a kindergartener to private school is such a bad idea. That’s where the foundation is set. My kids learned to read in kindergarten and do simple math and subtraction. If your child is bright and interested, she will do well anywhere. But if she doesn’t have the basic preacademic skills now, she may need to be in the most optimal school environment you can find.
But not all private schools are equal just like not all public schools are equal.

If this were my kid. I would just swing for the fences and get into the neighborhood I want now. I would put what I could down now even if it was not quite 20 percent and then refinance when able. If that was not possible I would just stay put for the elementary school years- do the private thing and move when my kid is about to hit middle school.

Also how much down payment do you need? Is the 20k going to make or break you? If you need to save 100k, then you are looking at keeping your child in a mediocre or poor school system for a number of years- I would find this unacceptable. I would just do private school and get into the neighborhood I want when I could. If you only need to save an additional 15 or 20k to get your desired down payment then I would proceed with the plan I outlined in the above paragraph.
I would think that someone who can afford $20K for kindergarten is probably reasonably educated and could figure out a way to teach the kid the "foundational" skills before or during kindergarten.
Last edited by Traveler on Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MathWizard
Posts: 4530
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by MathWizard »

As much as I hold to 20% down, if faced with 20K per year
(It will never end, you'll pay for private K-12 then on to 60K tuition at a private University.

I would forgo the down payment, and put the 20K towards a house where you child can go to public school, and pay PMI.
mancich
Posts: 912
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by mancich »

You're not being unreasonable. Your child is 5. Your parenting (reading with her often, limiting TV time, etc) will go a lot farther than a $20,000/yr kindergarten.
veindoc
Posts: 770
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by veindoc »

Traveler wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:21 pm [quote=veindoc post_id=3876287 time=<a href="tel:1523486568">1523486568</a> user_id=111966]
I don’t think sending a kindergartener to private school is such a bad idea. That’s where the foundation is set. My kids learned to read in kindergarten and do simple math and subtraction. If your child is bright and interested, she will do well anywhere. But if she doesn’t have the basic preacademic skills now, she may need to be in the most optimal school environment you can find.
But not all private schools are equal just like not all public schools are equal.

If this were my kid. I would just swing for the fences and get into the neighborhood I want now. I would put what I could down now even if it was not quite 20 percent and then refinance when able. If that was not possible I would just stay put for the elementary school years- do the private thing and move when my kid is about to hit middle school.

Also how much down payment do you need? Is the 20k going to make or break you? If you need to save 100k, then you are looking at keeping your child in a mediocre or poor school system for a number of years- I would find this unacceptable. I would just do private school and get into the neighborhood I want when I could. If you only need to save an additional 15 or 20k to get your desired down payment then I would proceed with the plan I outlined in the above paragraph.
I would think that someone who can afford $20K for kindergarten is probably reasonable educated and could figure out a way to teach the kid the "foundational" skills before or during kindergarten.
I used to think that too, but I learned the hard way.
I and my husband are very educated and very motivated. We care deeply about our kids education. Nonetheless my middle son was chosen to atttend a math remedial program in first grade. I was shocked. I actually cried. Didn’t see it coming. We did his homework together every night in kindergarten and he was getting mostly check pluses on his report card. I did notice on some of his math assessments he was getting “developing” rather than “on track.” That troubled me a bit and I set him up with a tutor for reinforcement. But he seemingly passed kindergarten with flying colors. I didn’t really notice any deficits.

Anyway when he was “identified” as a kid who needed math recovery in the beginning of first grade I met with the interventionionalist the next day. It turns out my son lacked something called “number sense.” He could memorize math facts but if you asked him to count backwards he couldn’t. He could tell you 6-2=4 and 6+4 is 10, but he couldn’t answer the question what number comes before 7. I had no clue. Anyway he went through the program and is a rock star. He was “recovered” as they put it.

When I was in elementary school, I and another girl were the top. We were always number one and number two. I noticed around middle school she was slipping. She needed more and more help in math. She was still above average but she was no longer the best student in the class. I always wondered why. After this experience with my son I wonder if it was number sense and if it was identified earlier she might have continued to be the top. Middle school math is not calculus.

Another example, I tried to teach my oldest to read. Would not do it. Got irritated and would run away from me every time I approached him with a book. Got nightmares that he would be living in my basement when he was 50 completely illiterate. Found him a tutor and he learned to read in like two weeks. To say I was humbled would be an understatement. Maybe I was too insistent, impatient or just plain obnoxious.

But I digress, bottom line is that early learning skills are developed in kindergarten. It’s not just play and socialize. Kids nowadays start school at 3/4. They learn those norms of taking turns and socializing at that time as well as basic preacademic skills such as recognizing letters and numbers. In kindergarten they work. They read, write and do math.

Whether or their child needs to go to private school is up to the OP and his wife. But I would not poo-poo kindergarten as quickly as some of the other post-ers are doing.
denovo
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by denovo »

ram wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:18 pm I know that one data point does not mean anything. But this is our story. Daughter went to public school. She was the top student in the state (State AP scholar). This includes all private schools in the state. She got a scholarship to attend Medical school.
However at the present time I am paying >80,000/year for "private" school. (Harvard). I doubt if even at this stage the private tuition is justifiable. But I think it is more justifiable for a graduate degree than for KG. Also my mortgage is all paid up and I would not have spent on private tuition if I still had an outstanding mortgage.
Isn't tuition 43k a year at Harvard
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln
jminv
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by jminv »

Your wife is being unreasonable.

If I were going to send my kid to private school it would only be because the public school district was bad and/or my child was further along than kindergarten. Once your wife has her in private school for kindergarten, it's unlikely that she'll agree to put her in public school, new district or not. She will have pushed for this decision, will have a tendency to defend private school and it's benefits, and be unlikely to admit in the future that public school is good enough for your kid.

This is also bad for the kid if she does private school for a few years, you move, and all of a sudden she's in public school. She could end up resenting you. Not if she's still young, but say if this continues until just before middle school. If anything, I would pay for my kid to go to private school from middle school on, not before.
Last edited by jminv on Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jminv
Posts: 1076
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by jminv »

denovo wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:48 pm
ram wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:18 pm I know that one data point does not mean anything. But this is our story. Daughter went to public school. She was the top student in the state (State AP scholar). This includes all private schools in the state. She got a scholarship to attend Medical school.
However at the present time I am paying >80,000/year for "private" school. (Harvard). I doubt if even at this stage the private tuition is justifiable. But I think it is more justifiable for a graduate degree than for KG. Also my mortgage is all paid up and I would not have spent on private tuition if I still had an outstanding mortgage.
Isn't tuition 43k a year at Harvard
No, from what I read she's going to medical school which has an all in budget of around 90k/year.
indexonlyplease
Posts: 1571
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:30 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by indexonlyplease »

I am laughing. 20k for elementary private school is crazy. I would state go public up to 8th grade then private high school. Many private high school really get the kids ready for college. But no guarantee..


Also, sound like you need to cut back on the Roth IRA. Save the money for a house.


Maybe your wife can get a second job to pay the 20k. Now you are laughing out loud.

Here is the most important. Will your wife have to work in the future to pay tuition for the kids. That will be a real shame. Nothing more important than mom being around for the kids.

I also think home schooling will become really popular in the near future. The education at public schools in large cities are a joke.
Last edited by indexonlyplease on Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
veindoc
Posts: 770
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by veindoc »

Hello OP,

I re-read your post again.
I had interpreted the trade-off to be private school vs down payment but it seems to be be private school vs 529. That doesn’t seem as dire to me especially if you foresee getting into the new house within a year or two. If the 5 year old is the oldest you still have plenty of time to save. The only danger is that if your daughter/wife like the private school so much that they lobby to stay there. In which case, stay in the same home and convert the down payment money to a college fund.

In any case good luck with your decision!
boglebrain
Posts: 125
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:55 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by boglebrain »

I’ll be contrarian and agree with your wife. Personally I think education is more important than a nice house or most material things. I spent a lot of time visiting many schools (public and private) and most were just ok. We found one private school that was really good and decided to go for it.

While I agree that you’ll be fine with most paths I found that there are some schools (public and private) that allow students to progress at their own pace and develop a love of learning. That is worth it for the right school.
ks289
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:42 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by ks289 »

ram wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:18 pm I know that one data point does not mean anything. But this is our story. Daughter went to public school. She was the top student in the state (State AP scholar). This includes all private schools in the state. She got a scholarship to attend Medical school.
However at the present time I am paying >80,000/year for "private" school. (Harvard). I doubt if even at this stage the private tuition is justifiable. But I think it is more justifiable for a graduate degree than for KG. Also my mortgage is all paid up and I would not have spent on private tuition if I still had an outstanding mortgage.
That’s terrific! I think some kids can thrive in a variety of settings, but others really would be able to reach their full potential or just be happier in a specific situation. Med school is obviously very different from kindergarten, but I think the rationale for deciding is basically the same.
1. Can you afford it comfortably?
2. Which option gives you the best opportunity to achieve your purpose/goal?

I only was able to utilize our very good public schools for 5 years for each of my kids (K-4) before we decided that a private school ($30,000 each) would better suit them. That’s the main reason I avoid the luxury car, $5000 watch, boat, and summer home threads.
User avatar
TxAg
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by TxAg »

I don't mean to be snarky, but your wife needs a reality check.
dknightd
Posts: 2450
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by dknightd »

Vulpinus wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:24 pm
My wife wants to send our daughter to a private school till we can move to a "better" school district.
move
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds. Retired 9/19. Still working on mortgage payoff.
PhilosophyAndrew
Posts: 643
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:06 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew »

My recommendation is to let your daughter’s needs should dominate your decision-making. What is the case that the private school option is the best fit for your daughter’s specific needs? What is the best case that the public school optio is the best fit for her needs? Which of these two arguments is strogest? These are assessments that only you and your wife can make — you understand your daughter, whereas the rest of us know her not at all.

As one of the replies suggests, there are pedagogical approaches to kindergarten that differ greatly from the standard approach, and if your daughter would flourish under one of those approaches that is an important consideration. Our daughter attended a Montessori kindergarten and gained much from that experience; for our family, the investment in private school tuition was a wise one. (Her program was only half-day, however, and cost less than half of the tuition, so the financial pain was lower for us than it would be for you.)

Andy.
sambb
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:31 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by sambb »

I would go to private

20,000 a year to keep wife happy is pretty cheap

I dont see the issue that the others do above, it is more than an educational cost. It could be a relationship cost.
Topic Author
Vulpinus
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:32 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by Vulpinus »

Thank you everyone for the responses. I am truly grateful for the insights and the perspectives so far.

As others have pointed out, I am confident that showing my wife this post will not change her mind and I have no intentions of using this as ammunition. I have had a reputation of being more frugal than my peers and I just wanted to make sure I was not way off base.

We have had numerous discussions on the fact that as best as anyone can tell the private school option does not definitively increase the odds of future success (whatever that means).

My wife's perspective is that the absence of proof does not mean proof of absence and that there may be unidentifiable and unquantiafiable benefits to private school otherwise they would not be so popular. She does admit that this is, in part, an emotional decision for her and thus arguing Bogleheads logic against that would be akin to taking a knife to a gunfight.

As warner25 pointed out - many in our circle of friends and family have utilized the private school option (despite being in the so-called better school districts) and this further impacts her decision (of course a lot of these friends also trade on the margin and buy Tesla stock).

She is absolutely opposed to sending our daughter to the "mediocre" elementary school in our area since she comes from the mindset of "where will we spend the money, if not on the kids's education". In her defense, she is otherwise conservative in her spending and is okay with driving our 10 year old Toyota with a 130,000 miles on it.

Also in regards to the future, she is open to the idea of sending our kids to the elementary school in the better public school districts but wants to recalibrate when the kids hit middle school in case the schools are "not meeting their needs" or "aren't being challenged". I explained to her that the odds that either of our girls will be geniuses is about 2% and even then there is no data that private schools will cater to them better (and that they might do well regardless provided they work hard and have the other "soft-skills"). On the other hand, if the girls are average or thereabouts (as the overwhelming odds might suggest), a private school or a public school should be able to meet their needs.

Her other argument is in regards to college placements (which we are so far removed from, it's not even funny). I imagine there is a huge selection bias to this argument.

Anyway, as has been said multiple times on this forum, marital harmony trumps the extra money that we might save and I would rather be happy and defer financial independence by a few years than have this sour things in the long-term.

In the end, I anticipate a decent probability of us staying in private school universe since it's hard for my wife not to get sucked in with the gravitational pull of their marketing. I just hope that we can keep the girls grounded with some sense of the real world. I don't want them thinking that just because we can afford it, we should buy it.

Thank you everyone for the sanity check (knew I could count on this forum!). Sorry for the long-winded response as well.
User avatar
teen persuasion
Posts: 1397
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:43 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by teen persuasion »

DH and I each attended private elementary schools, and single sex private high schools (in different cities, we met in college). We deliberately chose to send our kids to public schools, because of the limitations we each perceived in our private school educations. Our local district has a strong music program that our kids embraced enthusiastically, something neither DH nor I had access to at our smaller private schools. There were more sports, more AP and college courses available. DD1 participated in a Gifted Math Program for 6 years thru a state university (recommended by her public school teachers). Even in hindsight, we feel using the public school system was an excellent choice, we have no regrets.

So far (DS5 is still in middle school) the older kids have all received significant scholarships for their chosen colleges, of course, all different!

The students who excel are the ones whose families are engaged and involved in their education, regardless of where they attend.
Topic Author
Vulpinus
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:32 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by Vulpinus »

PhilosophyAndrew wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:35 pm My recommendation is to let your daughter’s needs should dominate your decision-making. What is the case that the private school option is the best fit for your daughter’s specific needs? What is the best case that the public school optio is the best fit for her needs? Which of these two arguments is strogest? These are assessments that only you and your wife can make — you understand your daughter, whereas the rest of us know her not at all.

As one of the replies suggests, there are pedagogical approaches to kindergarten that differ greatly from the standard approach, and if your daughter would flourish under one of those approaches that is an important consideration. Our daughter attended a Montessori kindergarten and gained much from that experience; for our family, the investment in private school tuition was a wise one. (Her program was only half-day, however, and cost less than half of the tuition, so the financial pain was lower for us than it would be for you.)

Andy.
Andy,

I agree with that aspect and that if the school is a better fit for the kid then the money (provided one can afford it) should not be as big a concern. However I personally struggle with how to make that determination. I can totally see my daughter flourishing in the private school but it's hard for me to fathom that the same would not happen in the public school as well.

Sure the prospective private school teacher is more experienced than the one in her public school class and the materials in the classroom seem more diverse. The private school touts things like the fact that they discuss "one writer" and "one artist" in detail every month, their food is better (fresh baked bread etc.) and they go for walks in the nearby wooded area. All this is good and fancy but my concern is spending all that money worth anything in the long-term.

Maybe the Montessori approach is better than the standard approach and that is in how my wife sees it as well - if there is a possible benefit why ignore it.

Thanks.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5174
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by quantAndHold »

63 percent of Harvard students graduated from public high schools.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
dknightd
Posts: 2450
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by dknightd »

teen persuasion wrote: Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:02 pm The students who excel are the ones whose families are engaged and involved in their education, regardless of where they attend.
The students who excel are the ones who are self driven to excel. I'm not sure how the families can help except by providing an example and motivation.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds. Retired 9/19. Still working on mortgage payoff.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 68640
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Am I being unreasonable?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread has run its course and is locked (topic exhausted, derailed, getting contentious). See: Locked Topics
Moderators or site admins may lock a topic (set it so no more replies may be added) when a violation of posting policy has occurred. Occasionally, even if there are no overt violations of posting policy, a topic (or thread) will reach a point where the information content of the discussion has been essentially exhausted and further replies are much more likely to cause distress to the community than add anything of value.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
Locked