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How to cope financially with a gifted child?

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
Just wondering how others cope with the financial implications of having a gifted child?

DD is 3, and we are home schooling her, with her starting K level materials this fall.

I was going over my yearly expenses, and discovered that even with buying 95% used, and using gift cards, etc I still spent around $500 on materials for DD alone - books, videos, educational items etc. Without the gift cards it would have been closer to $1000. This is a big chunk of our expenses since we're low-income. No big ticket items included - which we will need next year like a zoo membership and museum admission, etc. That will add another $250 easy.

I know part of it is that DD does better with new experiences & things to think about - her behavior gets horrid if she gets bored. I buy 50+ books a month for her, every month because once she reads it, she is done with it 95% of the time.

How do you cope with the increased costs of gifted kids?
post #2 of 94
Why are you buying 50+ books a month instead of using your library? Even if your local branch doesn't have much, interlibrary loan is a great resource.
post #3 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by staceychev View Post
Why are you buying 50+ books a month instead of using your library? Even if your local branch doesn't have much, interlibrary loan is a great resource.
It's cheaper for me to buy them at 10/$1 or even 10/$2 than to pay the overdue fees and damage fees. DD has a bad habit {that we are trying to break} of coloring in her books.

Also our library won't request children's books on interlibrary loan, and since they tossed everything published pre-1985 with the new lead laws with books, I find most of what they have isn't fit to read.
post #4 of 94
We've been a little bummed by our library as well. They charge $1 per item for interlibrary loan, so hitting the used book store has been our first stop.

You might look at www.hoagiesgifted.org There are links to a wide variety of free resources on various topics. MEP math is a great free math curriculum when you are ready for that. There was a link on the Gutenberg project site (free older literature out of copyright) to a free audio book site. MSNucleus -free science site.
Have fun!
post #5 of 94
I was unhappy with our library too so I started volunteering in a small way. Gave me way more access and most late fees were waived.

Are there any moms groups, homeschooling groups, etc in your area that would be up for a book swap or a book share so you could split the cost?

I second trying to find a used book store. Or better yet if you are buying 50+ (really? 50??) a month that is over 600 books in a year!!t Why not start your own used book store on line? you could use craigs list or ebay.

or I assume that you have room to store them all, right? You could start an in home business and open your "store" to the public once a month,week etc. Advertise online or w/ flyers, etc.

the money you make back will help fund a 50 book a month habit or if that is already in your budget could help fund musuem passes, etc

Another option-Have you tried talking to the local school or even daycare, youth center, etc? There might be teachers/caregivers who would love to buy used books.

Lastly you really don't "need" things like videos and other educational items. Sure they are nice to have/own but you could save a lot of money by going online. You have a computer (I assume unless you use public?). There are thousand of free videos on line, thousands of free math, science, geography, and other "educational" sites too.

It might take a lot of work and resources but you can still educate a child w/o going completly broke!
post #6 of 94
If your local library isn't ideal, see if you can drive a bit further to a better library and still have privileges. For the time being, don't allow your dd to have unrestricted access to library books. Make it so they are read in one part of the house (on the couch, at the desk but just in one spot!) and that they are stored in one spot (on top of the fridge, top of the bookcase) to keep it under control.
Check and see what libraries in the area have used book sales and make plans to visit those regularly.
post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
Lastly you really don't "need" things like videos and other educational items. Sure they are nice to have/own but you could save a lot of money by going online. You have a computer (I assume unless you use public?). There are thousand of free videos on line, thousands of free math, science, geography, and other "educational" sites too.
But I get what the OP is saying and we have a similar problem. Mine won't sit in front of a computer to watch a video. We've tried. We've even tried copying the videos online to a DVD for him to watch on the larger screen but it's very hit or miss. That being said, we've gone back to a "no electronics" rule so this is less of an issue for us. But I understand the problem.

That being said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
It might take a lot of work and resources but you can still educate a child w/o going completly broke!
I do agree with this. It's probably more work than anyone realizes, but once you get your free resources and systems lined up--it's not an ongoing battle or drain (time/effort wise or financially).

My ds must. be. busy. If he's not engaged at a constant, it's a horrifying behavior problem. He's been flagged for possible ADHD and I wonder if this is part of that (although admittedly, that's a new thing for us to consider--so I haven't done enough research on it yet ).

For us, we just budget. We've found other things to cut out to create a larger homeschooling budget and we work within the homeschooling budget that we have. That's really all you can do. And yeah, you get online and get creative with where to find stuff.

Check with your local homeschooling groups (or Holistic Moms, or foster parent association) for book swaps. You can coordinate them. You can also talk to local zoos & museums about hosting a "homeschool day" once/year where admission is reduced or free. I'm in NJ and we actually have a few in the area that do this. In fact, one of our favorite zoos does free admission from 2pm-close (5pm) every Tuesday in the summer (for everyone). Dig for that kind of stuff, and if it doesn't exist--approach them about doing it. The museums tend to do it on school days (when non-homeschoolers wouldn't be home ).

Also see about coordinating group outings. Often, the group rate only requires 5-10 other kids. We've done this for theater outings.
post #8 of 94
We don't have the problem with books, because we have a great public library system (and I suspect I'm less picky about what my kid reads), but we did choose not to apply to a gifted school we were considering, in part because we couldn't afford to apply: there was a $50 application fee, a $300 IQ test, and then a fee to apply for financial aid! We don't have $400 to spend applying to a school. We decided to move anyway, but I still think it's wrong that it costs so much to apply to the gifted school when the public school system here doesn't have a gifted program and will not allow early entry.
post #9 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post
It's cheaper for me to buy them at 10/$1 or even 10/$2 than to pay the overdue fees and damage fees. DD has a bad habit {that we are trying to break} of coloring in her books.

Also our library won't request children's books on interlibrary loan, and since they tossed everything published pre-1985 with the new lead laws with books, I find most of what they have isn't fit to read.
Ah, that makes sense!
post #10 of 94
Wow, that's a lot of money for a 3 yr old or K-materials if you don't mind me saying. We do have a great library but to be honest, I never used it much when DS was 3. Instead we went out a lot and talked about the things we saw, and basically just did a lot of art and craft and construction toys.

When I decided to start teaching him (after realising how pathetic K was), I basically got myself a laptop (with burner), a printer/scanner, a laminator, and bookmarked all the potentially useful sites I could find. I put these down as business expenses for a little business I run. There's everything from handwriting, languages, maths, montessori, history, science etc on the internet.


For DS, I dusted off my childhood globe, children encyclopedia, and bought him a radio/cd player. I invested in some Maths manipulatives and Miquon handbook only earlier this year when he was 4+.

For the family, zoo membership card and science center membership card.

I regularly scan the papers for free events at museums, open houses at factories, photo exhibitions at shopping malls etc. At our annual library sale, DH and I will grab cartloads of books.

I budget money for tickets to children theater, transport, and as he gets older, extra classes - gym, chess, taekwando, swimming - where he gets to meet other children with similar interests. I think this gets more important as the children grow.

Minus his therapy sessions, the classes were the most expensive items and I have learnt to look for options that were within my budget. Another thing that entered after he turned 4+ was TV and DVDs. Since DH and I like to watch documentaries and science programmes, we already have these subscribed in our cable channels. I supplement with selected documentary DVDs, and 2nd hand issues of National Geographic which are wonderful budget buys complete with great photos and maps.
post #11 of 94
I'm not sure what you are considering as supplies/educational items. We make a lot of our "supplies" so we stock basics. It's amazing what you can do with paper, cardboard, glue, staples, crayons, paint, markers, string and tape. Everyday items can be re-purposed, so we save lots of food containers. DH brings home scrap paper from work. We have a "junk" box that contains all sorts of miscellaneous items that the dc's use to explore. When my dc's were younger, I rotated items in and out of use. It's amazing that when something is out of sight for a few months that it becomes exciting again.

We purchase things with an eye for long term use. One year we purchased a microscope for ds and that has been a long time favorite. Our wooden building blocks still get exercised regularly. This past holiday, ds received a telescope as a gift. Legos and whiteboards have been good investments for us as well as a globe.

I would check out a subscription to Netflix for dvds/videos and a good used book store that would buy your used books once your dd is done with them.

As far as memberships, you may want to evaluate how often you intend to go and see if they have days with reduced or even free admission and maximize your attendance on those days.

I have set up a "rainy day" fund for our homeschooling budget because I can't always anticipate the next new interest and it's nice to have some spare money in our budget for things that pop up.
post #12 of 94
The library (books and DVDs, free events, chess club). Free Tuesdays at the museums. Art gallery events. Reenactments. Zoo passes. TV (public TV, History Channel, Science Channel, Discover Channel, etc.) City recreational department (swim lessons, fencing, sports, etc.). I bought the first 2 volumes of Konos unit studies, one phonics book, a set of language arts books (McGuffey readers), a set of math books (Ray's Arithmetic) and used them for 8 years for 3 kids. For a cost of about $600 for K-7th grade. Plus the usual paper, crayons, glue, books, etc. I would have bought anyway regardless of the school experience.
post #13 of 94
I 've never thought about it costing any more than raising a non-gifted child. I use the library a ton, and that's free...As far as toys/activities, you can find almost anything used on ebay or at second-hand stores. DS does attend a private school which isn't cheap, but that is a choice I have made regardless of giftedness. In fact, a gifted child may do just as well (or better) academically in a public school's gifted program (or homeschooling, as you are doing).
post #14 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post
But I get what the OP is saying and we have a similar problem. Mine won't sit in front of a computer to watch a video. We've tried. We've even tried copying the videos online to a DVD for him to watch on the larger screen but it's very hit or miss. That being said, we've gone back to a "no electronics" rule so this is less of an issue for us. But I understand the problem.

That being said...



I do agree with this. It's probably more work than anyone realizes, but once you get your free resources and systems lined up--it's not an ongoing battle or drain (time/effort wise or financially).

My ds must. be. busy. If he's not engaged at a constant, it's a horrifying behavior problem. He's been flagged for possible ADHD and I wonder if this is part of that (although admittedly, that's a new thing for us to consider--so I haven't done enough research on it yet ).

For us, we just budget. We've found other things to cut out to create a larger homeschooling budget and we work within the homeschooling budget that we have. That's really all you can do. And yeah, you get online and get creative with where to find stuff.

Check with your local homeschooling groups (or Holistic Moms, or foster parent association) for book swaps. You can coordinate them. You can also talk to local zoos & museums about hosting a "homeschool day" once/year where admission is reduced or free. I'm in NJ and we actually have a few in the area that do this. In fact, one of our favorite zoos does free admission from 2pm-close (5pm) every Tuesday in the summer (for everyone). Dig for that kind of stuff, and if it doesn't exist--approach them about doing it. The museums tend to do it on school days (when non-homeschoolers wouldn't be home ).

Also see about coordinating group outings. Often, the group rate only requires 5-10 other kids. We've done this for theater outings.
DD is just the opposite - she will sit all day and watch videos on the pc. The issue is that I work from home to keep her out of daycare, and need my PC. Eventually I plan to get her one of her own, but not for a few years at least.

Only book swap in my area is through FEAST {Protestant group & must sign a membership agreement I'm not comfy with}. We've used paperbackswap in the past, but postage was eating me alive.

I do sell some to other home schoolers and the occasional teacher through yard sales, but mostly they end up in boxes in my garage. I try to buy ones that we will pull back out later for recommended reading in K-2nd grades.

DD is the same with being constantly engaged. I wonder at times if she wouldn't be classed as hyperactive.

We are very lucky that our metro area does do group outings {and at great prices} but they restrict the ages to school age - normally starting at age 5 or 6. DD is 3, and acts 3 even though she is on a K-1st level academically. I can't wait until this is open to us {and yes I've tried getting her in by saying she's X grade - they go by age only}.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daytripper75 View Post
If your local library isn't ideal, see if you can drive a bit further to a better library and still have privileges. For the time being, don't allow your dd to have unrestricted access to library books. Make it so they are read in one part of the house (on the couch, at the desk but just in one spot!) and that they are stored in one spot (on top of the fridge, top of the bookcase) to keep it under control.
Check and see what libraries in the area have used book sales and make plans to visit those regularly.
The nearest library with slightly better options is 50+ miles away - we live in a large metro area and all the libraries are in one system for the entire county.

The one thing I will not do is restrict access to books - I had it done to me when I was a child {and I craved books} by my grandparents, and I want DD to be relaxed enough to read where ever she wants - not just the "reading spot"

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post
I was unhappy with our library too so I started volunteering in a small way. Gave me way more access and most late fees were waived.

Are there any moms groups, homeschooling groups, etc in your area that would be up for a book swap or a book share so you could split the cost?

I second trying to find a used book store. Or better yet if you are buying 50+ (really? 50??) a month that is over 600 books in a year!!t Why not start your own used book store on line? you could use craigs list or ebay.

or I assume that you have room to store them all, right? You could start an in home business and open your "store" to the public once a month,week etc. Advertise online or w/ flyers, etc.

the money you make back will help fund a 50 book a month habit or if that is already in your budget could help fund musuem passes, etc

Another option-Have you tried talking to the local school or even daycare, youth center, etc? There might be teachers/caregivers who would love to buy used books.

Lastly you really don't "need" things like videos and other educational items. Sure they are nice to have/own but you could save a lot of money by going online. You have a computer (I assume unless you use public?). There are thousand of free videos on line, thousands of free math, science, geography, and other "educational" sites too.

It might take a lot of work and resources but you can still educate a child w/o going completly broke!
Yes, 50+ a week {I actually bought 130 last week at my thrift - a pre-school had donated their entire library!}. I already buy 95% used from thrift shops and the library book sales - the only new I buy is with gift cards from Amazon, and only if DD requests that particular book and I haven't been able to find it locally used. Dd can easily read 50 a week, and I was the same as a kid. I expect it to only get worse as she gets older. I used to bring home 150 a week when I was a kid.

I tried selling kids books online, but all the rules & laws regarding selling kids items {even used}, it just was too much hassle and I was losing money. I do sell some in my yard sales {see above reply} but not much - maybe 20% of them I manage to sell.

Videos buy me sanity and alone time - DD is VERY visual, and videos work well for teaching her concepts. She also uses them to learn proper behavior {we strongly suspect her to have asperger's - almost everyone in our family does}. I work from home and am a single mom, so every bit of alone time is precious. We have one computer that I use to work from home, so her watching videos on it is out most of the time. I do plan to get her a pc eventually.
post #15 of 94
Totally lurking here... but... check with Freecycle.org... I got TONS of books for my DS for free... but my "suitable reading" requirements probably aren't as strict as yours sound...

And as far as museums etc... around here, lots of them have one day a month (Saturday mornings... or Friday nights... for ex.) where admission is free. Plus our local libraries offer passes that are free or reduced-rate... with a little research & flexibility you should have more frugal options in that area... Maybe even chip in with a couple other families to share passes.

Can't say anything about the $500 costs... that sounds like a lot but at the same time, think of all the tax money that goes into public schools... education is expensive these days...
post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post
The nearest library with slightly better options is 50+ miles away - we live in a large metro area and all the libraries are in one system for the entire county.

The one thing I will not do is restrict access to books - I had it done to me when I was a child {and I craved books} by my grandparents, and I want DD to be relaxed enough to read where ever she wants - not just the "reading spot"
I guess I don't know what to tell you then.
post #17 of 94
Over the years, I've found ways to get most things free or very cheaply. ebay, craigslist, freecycle and gifted parenting groups are my friends On museum memberships, while it's not free, getting a membership to the Boonshoft Museum in Ohio has been incredibly helpful! If you do the $100 family membership, you get reciprocity at all the science and technology museums, the children's museums, the zoos and the natural history museums that participate in the reciprocity program around the country. For me here in Philly, it means that for $100 a year, my whole family gets in free to the Please Touch Children's museum, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the natural history museum, and the zoo (though the zoo has just gone to 1/2 price admission with the reciprocity, so it's not free anymore ) We also get in free to most museums when we vacation. My boys are eagerly anticipating our trip next month to the natural history museum.

For theater, many of our local theaters have $10 tickets for selected evening performances, so we go to those. The art museum has a donate-as-you-wish sunday mornings, so we'll go then a few times a year.
post #18 of 94
We live in a small rural village with no library and no access to larger libraries. I think it's possible to raise gifted kids in a healthy literate environment without giving them access to 50-plus books at a time. I realize this is more of an issue of parenting philosophy, but I aspire to simplicity and I think there's great value in learning to cherish a few special things and get to know them very deeply, rather than always grazing through a kazillion things looking for novelty. I think it's easy for people to become novelty junkies, so that only something new will grab their attention, and that's not where I want my kids to end up. They would have loved 50 books a month but it simply wasn't possible, and they did fine. Better than fine.

I spent about $650 in homeschooling expenses for my KG'er last year, and that included $475 in fees for sports and choir. (We had funding which covered $500, which was why I kept track, and happily enrolled her in some relatively expensive activities.) Most of her learning comes from real life, from conversation, travel, meeting people, attending free events, being involved in the community, exploring the natural world and participating in life around the home. The actual books and curriculum were minimal.

I haven't found it to be particularly expensive to raise gifted kids, with the exception of upper-level string music study that my teens are involved in. Our eldest's violin teacher feels she now needs a $10,000+ violin, for instance. Ouch. Still processing that one.

Miranda
post #19 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
Can't say anything about the $500 costs... that sounds like a lot but at the same time, think of all the tax money that goes into public schools... education is expensive these days...
Right, or the cost of pre-school or daycare, etc. I hate to sound like, "that's really not that much," b/c it is, from your perspective. Would your dd be eligible for a head start program or a free public pre-school program? That could keep her engaged for part of the day while freeing up time for you to use your computer and work at home.

As far as the library goes, it's a shame that it purged books prior to 1985 -- you mention that you live in a large metro area -- did all the branches purge these books? Even so, you should be able to find the older books reprinted after 1985?? As far as the coloring in the books and late fees go, I think you could remedy this pretty quickly by not allowing crayons near the books, making yourself reminders of what is due when, etc. Also, I have found library story hour to be a great resource.
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post
The one thing I will not do is restrict access to books - I had it done to me when I was a child {and I craved books} by my grandparents, and I want DD to be relaxed enough to read where ever she wants - not just the "reading spot"
Okay, though I tend to disagree. I think it's more important to teach children to respect books and others' ownership of them than it is to give them unrestricted access to them at age 3. But if that's how you feel, okay. How about restricting access to pencils, pens and crayons then?

Miranda
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