PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR SCHOOL AT MINIMUM, COST

Filed in News by on September 18, 2011

Preparing your child for school at minimum cost
By Sunday Ojeme
Sunday, 18 Sep 2011

As most schools resume on Monday (tomorrow) for another session after the long holiday, a number of parents’ accounts are likely to be in the red as a result of commitments to get the children back to school.

From the payment of school fees to buying books, new uniforms in some cases and paying a few levies, the month of September, to a lot of parents, is another time to spend money for kids besides the amount spent during festivities.

Getting children set for school these days has become a little bit tasking financially as most children now decide what they want and how they want it. Unlike in the past when parents could foist most decisions and choices on them, they now contribute largely to whatever preparations are being made for their return to school.

Even those who are not in the boarding schools get conscious of how they get to school each day. As young as they are, some of them would want to be driven to school with some of the best vehicles in the garage.

Apart from the various fees/levies now charged by school owners, children also want to make their own demands, some for real while others are mere habits just to enable them to belong to certain clique in their schools.

A shipping merchant from Sweden, Mr. Henning Kilberg, who once found himself in Nigeria from Liberia under very unfortunate circumstances, once told our correspondent the story of his seven-year-old daughter’s attitude each time he took her to school.

As little as she was then, she already knew her peers who came to school from affluent homes because of the class of vehicles that brought them. Then her father drove a Volkswagen Golf 3 and whenever they got close to the school gate she would keep her head down so that nobody would see her inside such a ‘small’ car. Kilberg loved her daughter but he did not allow the pressure mounted on him to move him into buying a bigger car, which he could afford.

Back home in Nigeria, a little village boy was asked to come to school the following day with his parent. As soon as he gave the information at home, the mother, who was a bit on the filthy side opted to go with him. But the boy, as young as he was then, knew the difference his father’s presence would make among the teachers and his school mates. Immediately, he protested against his mother’s decision.

“No, daddy, you will be the one to come with me, and make sure you put on your suit.”

Both illustrations above give an insight into how much children want to be part of decision making especially in things concerning them. To a large extent, they would want to decide on certain choices for themselves and to some extent even decide how their parents should live and conduct themselves.

So in preparing children for school, parents should be mindful of these facts and learn to strike an understanding with the kids by telling them why they do not need a few things they request.

An online blog, Happy Parenting, says, “Money is not coming from trees, it comes from hard working. Do not spend more than you have. Understand the difference between needs and want. Use your money on needs and limit your money usage on wants. We should definitely avoid debt as possible as we can. Remind ourselves and children of these common senses often, it will help us and children have a good financial future.

“No matter how you choose to pay for college, the most important step is researching all of the available options and taking advantage of them as early as possible. Speak to advisors, and be honest with your family financial situation. If parents and children communicate well and prepare well they can surely survive financially.”

Most schools especially the privately owned are now in the habit of selling books to their pupils instead of allowing them to make such purchase in places where they can strike a better bargain.

For parents who can afford to get along this line, they are very free to fall ‘victim’ of the high bargain. But for those who are given the option to look elsewhere, it is always wiser to visit the open markets.

Prior to recent adaptations in schools, textbooks used to be some of the earliest property with which children learnt the virtues of inheritance. Books used by their elder ones were handed down to them from year to year until they turned into shred.

But like the proverbial bird, which learnt not to perch since men had learnt to shoot without missing, book publishers have become wiser by ensuring that most textbooks are now also being used as workbooks. Answers to all the questions contained in the books are meant to be written inside, thereby confining its usage to one person.

However, where there are options for others, the best bet is to buy in the open market instead of buying from the school. But in doing so, it is very important to ensure that one is buying the right one as some of them are pirated with different contents.

For beginners, starting school can be a difficult time for children. Children are hesitant to go somewhere new and see people. They have never met before. To tackle this, the parents should let the child know what the schedule would be like. Tell the child what time school begins and ends each day.

An online blog on children’s education, Kip Mcgrath Education Centre, says, “It is a fact, the majority of preschool children would benefit significantly if their parents or carers, sat down with them, one-on-one, to teach them some basic skills before they begin school. The problem is that most people don’t know what basic skills to teach their child and where they should start to make sure their child is ready for school.”

While it is very expedient for either of the parents to visit the school, possibly see the classroom and meet with the teacher, it is also important to find out from the child about his feelings — both the excitement and the concerns — about starting school.

The school bag, lunchbox, and the sandals or shoes as the case may be should be on the tough side to enable them weather whatever extra acivity the child may be engaged in.

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