Monday, August 10, 2009

The Best $850 Spent

I took the kids to get school supplies today. Each of the 5 kids attending school this year has a mile-long list of very specific supplies they need. This is on top of the registration fees, gym uniforms, band fees, instrument rental, yearbooks, PTO membership, athletic boosters, and band boosters. I think Illinois is one of few states that charges insane registration fees for public school. So far, I've shelled out $850 (without any supplies) for public school! Still, I keep thinking - It's worth it! Think of the pay-off, Dawn! Soon they'll be in school! Soon they'll be back in school!!! (insert the crazed cackling of a woman at the end of her rope)

Really, I love having the kids home from school. By the end of May, I count down the days until school's out. I'm tired of the routine and the homework and making lunches and all the activities and can't wait for the laziness of summer. I love sleeping in and getting up without a plan for the day. I enjoy just winging it and seeing where the day takes us. Perhaps the pool, or the library, or the zoo, or the park.

But I've determined that summer vacation, as wonderful as it is, lasts three weeks too long! About a week ago, my kids decided they needed the structure of school. Ok, so they didn't actually come to that conclusion; the decision was made for them. I think I came to the realization that summer vacation was officially over when my kids, in fits of boredom, started trying to kill each other on a daily hourly basis. I fear my teenagers have turned into vampires which would explain why they sleep all day lest they turn to dust. They have resorted to whining that "there's nothing to do" about every 5 minutes.

On the rare occasion they actually find something to do, it usually includes destroying the house or trying to land in the ER. The other day, Clay hauled his bike up a huge set of stairs, put swim goggles over his eyes (you know, for protection) and geared up to ride his bike down the stairs. Thankfully we noticed and stopped him before he could play Evel Knievel.

And I find myself losing patience and yelling at the kids regularly. In fact, they made me so crazy this morning, I went for a walk by myself. Do you understand what I'm saying? I loathe exercise! I purposely went for a long walk just to get away from the little animals darlings! I took my chances on having a heart attack just for an hour of quiet!

Yep, it's definitely time to get my 850+ dollar's worth. Only 15 days, 8 hours, 12 minutes, and 32 seconds left.

41 comments:

Monica said...

Count down is on here too! And like you, I love having the kids home for the first couple of months. With two weeks left, I am officially ready to ship them back to their classrooms. Not looking forward to homework, but maybe, just maybe, when I clean a room it will stay there for more than 27 seconds if four of the five are gone all day. A girl can dream.

Shellie said...

Hang in there, you'll make it! I loathe the school year so much, I'll put up with the bickering and the ER visits.

Brenda said...

I'm hearin' you.....except if I had to take a minute or two to calm down and go for a walk my kids would follow me!!!

Love your blog.

Lesley said...

Hmmm..I am confused. You mean you have to pay a fee to register your children at State schools? In the UK we only have to pay fees for private schools, and in state schools everything is free apart from uniforms. Even the extra out of school activities are free if you dont go to a private club.

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Yikes! You've reached summer vacation saturation! Hold on, girlfriend! School will start soon!

Katie said...

I know what you mean. My kids had 7 weeks of swim team and were quite mellow in the afternoon. Now that swim team is over they are all in each other's hair, so much touching going on. Please stop! Well I broke down and put them in Water Polo camp (nothin' like treadin' water for 1.5 hours). It was better yesterday. Michigan Law (tourism industry lobbied hard for that last week of vacation) sends our kids back to school after labor day!!! I'm gonna make it.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

school started here yesterday and we dont pay insane fees... just supplies ... socome on down to GA you know you love it here :)

ClistyB said...

I'm pretty sure your kids have the longest summer. They were the first ones tO be out. And the last ones I know of, to go back. We are on year round, 9 weeks on, 3 off-all year. Yes, our summer was 3 weeks. Pros & cons, ya know?
But you totally win the award for most expensive public school system.

Janet said...

I just thought you might like to hear that you are not the only one with outrageous fees...I only have one child and I wrote $186 in checks for the first round of fees for my child to attend public school. That isn't counting lunch/breakfast plan, supplies, or uniforms, etc.

Jennifer in Wisconsin said...

AMEN sista!!! I hear you about the whole, "they are driving me crazy" thing. Mine are also on the verge of being sent to military school. And who ever says that boys are more of a handful than girls have never met my three little "darlings". They can take on any group of boys, any day. I'm tempted to buy a countdown clock so I can keep my sanity by seeing this will come to pass also.

pednurse said...

Exactly 2 days from now my kiddos will be back in school. I dread the homework "fun" but look forward to some peace & quiet. :)

Deirdre said...

When my kids complain they're bored during summer (or any other day off from school), I tell them "I'm not the entertainment committee." Then I make them go look at the list they made of at least 10 things they like to do. They're not allowed to say they're bored unless they've tried everything on the list. And if they still say they're bored, I put them to work. There's always some housework I'm behind on! Having said that, I can't wait until school starts--September 8! Four weeks (aah! four more weeks!)

Anonymous said...

I know just what you're sayin. I'm in AL snd I have just the last one in school now. 8th grade. I paid my fees $120. I have a few more to pay, shouldn't be too much though. I've bought all the supplies I hope. He starts back TOMORROW!!!!! Yipeee

fawndear said...

YEP! DITTO! So there with you on this! I've got a Clamatiy Jane myself who could give Evel Knievel a run for his money. Let's pray they never meet.
I'm counting down with ya!

Toodles,
Fawn

Keeley said...

Wow, you still have 15 days left? A lot of children in our area started back yesterday - and my son starts back on Thursday...which just happens to be his 14th birthday.

It's been a short summer.

Sherry said...

So, I guess this means you're not considering homeschooling this year?
Just who do you have to thank for all those fees? Can Obama take any credit for them? Just curious. ;)

Leslie said...

Goodness! My kids are in their 2nd week of school already. Our fees consisted of a whooping total of $15 per kid. Summer only lasted 7 weeks; however, the kids and I were ready after the first 4 weeks!

Regina said...

Wow, public school fees?! Here in PA I don't think we have any, other than uniform expenses and extracurricular activities. My daughter is in Catholic school, and believe me they fee you to death! The tuition includes a "fund-raising" fee of $650.00. You pay it up front, then sell the chances they give you to get your money back. It really stinks, especially in this economy where people don't have a lot of money to spend on extras like chances.

Shannon said...

A friend of mine in Georgia has already sent her kids back to school last week. Schools here in Oregon are starting this week or Monday next week.

Georgia might be good. That way that last three weeks that makes Summer vacation three weeks too long can be avoided. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn!

Maybe you could camping again, this time for a week. That should make the time until they go to school fly by in a jiffy!

Sandy in Tucson

Keeley said...

As an interesting aside, last year I spent about $100 for all the materials I needed to homeschool my son.

He's in public school this year and I'm betting the school fees will cost rather more than that. I wonder why public schools cost so stinkin' much?

Lee Ann said...

Indiana has horrible "book rental" fees, too. For my two daughters, it was over $500. That almost makes your $850 for five kids seem like a bargain! ha!

Amy said...

I am counting down the days too. Only 6 more days here!

Ninji Momma said...

I think you are channeling my life right now. I was recently talking to a couple of gals about the school schedule here. They mentioned off hand how wonderful it was to have a bunch of time witht the kids at home. I was ashamed to think I was at a breaking point with my "quality time" with mine. Thanks for the laugh, and making me feel like a better mom. You're awesome!

Paula aka sixkidsmom said...

no school fees in Texas either, no book rental fees or uniforms. The PTA puts together pre-paid school supply packs which cost about $30 - 35 per grade and includes everything they need for the year. Guess we really are spoiled.

Mandy B. said...

I guess I'm confused. What exactly are you paying a fee for? I live in TX and aside from the supplies, instrument rental, extra activities, lunch, I don't pay anything extra. Why do you have to pay?

Anonymous said...

I feel you on this and guess what my youngest (i only have 2) starts school this year only 12 more days till school starts i think i'm going to celebrate that day, after i cry my way home b/c they are growing up so fast of course, anyhow yep i'm a texan and we dont have public school fees at all i paid for a package that contains all the school supplies needed for the grade she was going to and since my baby is just starting out i had to buy her supplies but i think i spent about 25 dollars on hers then next year i'll order her supplies from the school too.

Beckie said...

Wow. We don't have to pay for public school here in Maine. And when my boys were in private school the registration was only $100 per child. I don't understand why they charge you. I do know our property taxes have a % that goes to the school system. Maybe thats the diffrence??? Anyway, mine go back on Aug 24 and I can't wait. We've had a crazy weather summer here and they are bored of being in the house and mom's pocketbook can't handle many more paid activities.

Anonymous said...

Just think how much those fees would be without us empty nesters, childless couples, and singles out here who subsidize all your great kids. Just sayin’…

Karen

Melissa said...

Yep. I'm with you. One minute I think,"I can't believe we have to start school next week!" and then the next minute I'm wondering,"HOW MUCH LONGER, LORD?!?!?!?!"

momofsixteen said...

I'm with you, Dawn!

I did discover a little trick that has really paid off for me with 7 teenagers in the house right now... it's called work.

I checked on the child labor laws in PA. Until they have a paid job, it's work at home if they have nothing to do, up to the allowable limits. Now they don't complain about our lack of a pool nor the facilites. If the facilities is a problem, they can help to fix it!

Not one teen has done enough work to get anywhere near the allowable limits for their respective ages.

This approach will keep the complaints to a very low minimum. I guarantee!

jrod0973 said...

Pay for Public School? Why? And Uniforms in public school? What's up with Illinois?

Catherine said...

$850 for five kids? That's a bargain! I live less than 10 miles to the south of you and just paid $594 for the privilege of having my one child attend public high school for the 2009-2010 school year! Granted that included $215 for Drivers Ed fee, but still, $379 for one child?!? Thank heaven my older one is in college where they offer a payment plan!

sdoll said...

OK...this doesn't exactly refer to this post, but I have a question that I'm hoping might make the SSO.

I have two kids--ages 10 and 7--they play this horrible game in the car and it drives me crazy. It's called punch buggy. When they see a Volkswagen Bug, they scream (and I do mean scream) "punch buggy" and then the one that screams it clobbers/punches the other. Then they argue for 10 minutes (or at least until they see ANOTHER bug) about who saw it first and how one has a better view out the window, etc...

When will this end? HELP ME!!!

Arlene said...

I am in Utah where we pay for school starting in 7th grade. A registration fee, a book rental fee (and they are not new books), in addition to art fees, music fees, and other classes that have "shop" fees. Also if your child gets any "U"'s (unsatisfactory) for being late or citizenship issues, you have to pay $25 per "U" or they can work them off and only have to pay $10. Insane I know! Thankfully I only have one going into 6th grade, but I have 3 brothers, and just as one was leaving high school another started Jr. High. Now only one is in high school. And he graduates this year!

Dawn said...

I really think we need to go to 'year round' school. The kids are 3 months on, then 1 month off, Less info is lost in between school stints, and they have a decent break in between, without getting bored stiff.
April, August and December would be the vacation months. I'd vote for it.
Dawn in MI

Halle said...

"Soon they'll be in school! Soon they'll be back in school!!! (insert the crazed cackling of a woman at the end of her rope)"

I'm totally with you girlie!!!!! I only have 2 school-age ones but if you include my elderly parents, one w/dementia and one thinking she's a rebelious teenager, and occasionally my hubby...I have 5!!!

Jkhb said...

Just wondering, is Clay going to school this year? or does he have another year of pre-school, if he is going to school who is going to entertain Brooklyn? Mine drove me crazy asking when the older one would be home from school!

Brenda said...

Not to flaunt it or anything but...6 more days here! 6 MORE DAYS!!!

Sara said...

$850 is a lot, but $170 per kid doesn't seem so terrible for the whole school year. But then I'm used to paying $170 a week for day care for ONE kid.

Dianne said...

Mine go back August 25th.

Yep, we're more than ready for summer to end.

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