Okay, tell me if this is too weird to be practical. I want to send my children to the "local" Waldorf school, which is 20 miles from our house. DH refuses to take them/pick them up because it "adds too much time" (20 minutes) to his commute. I have a chronic pain condition and can only drive within 5 or 10 miles from home. We found a small house that's on the same road as the school, and only costs $70,000. We're thinking of buying it and fixing it up, and staying at that house Monday-Friday, then going back "home" on the weekends. Would anyone else do this for a good school?
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Is this insane? (School-related housing)
I'm not a Waldorf person; I just saw this on New Posts. Would the 20 minutes added to your DH's commute be the total for the day, or would the total for the day be 40 minutes? Even if it's 40 extra minutes a day, wouldn't he end up spending more than 200 (40 x 5) extra minutes each week fixing up and taking care of an additional house? (I assume your pain condition would mean the amount of work you could put into it would be limited.) It might make sense if he really enjoyed that kind of work and you thought you would eventually make a good profit by selling that house, but unless working an another house would be a lot of fun for him this doesn't seem like a practical solution at all.
Maybe you could work out a carpooling arrangement with another family. Even if you had to pay someone else to drive your child to school, that would probably be more economical than buying a whole other house.
I know someone who did this. It wasn't for Waldorf, but to learn a foreign language, and I think they rented. But their commute would have been at least 1 1/2 hours each way. It was a situation where they had a unique opportunity to learn a very rare language, otherwise they wouldn't have done it. I personally wouldn't do it for 20 minutes (even if that means 40 min in a day).
That is a lot of driving. Assuming you can average 60mph there and back 20 miles would be 20 minutes. Assuming going slower on side roads before getting to main roads plus the actual pickup and drop off times it could easily be an extra hour a day. That's about 180 hours per school year, the equivalent of more than a month of full time employment. Not to mention the cost of gas. I know with my van and the current cost of gas that would add up to somewhere around $1200 in gas. In addition to all those expenses it would be approximately 7200 additional miles on your car. There is a lot of depreciation and maintenance associated with that many miles.
I wouldn't do all that nor would I move but if I was really set on that school I would stay in the house you're in and find someone to drive them. You could probably talk to the school and see if anyone lives near you and would want the job of driving your kids for, say, $2000 for the year. That would cover the cost of gas for them plus a bit extra for the hassle. It would be way cheaper than buying and furnishing another house. It would also be less stressful on the kids to be moving from one house to another.
Wouldn't living 20 miles away add to your husband's commute time? Someone would be driving way out of their way every day in either house.
Not sure if it would be plausible if your kids are little but I know of someone who lived an hour away from a private high school and their parents contracted with a cab company to drive her there and back everyday.
Where I live, that's not a big deal at all to drive that far to go to a school. I believe that Waldorf mama rented housing while taking her daughter to school, but the school was three hours away. They've bought a house closer to the school now. I think it would be much more disruptive to your family to move back and forth during the week, kind of against the calm simplicity that Waldorf espouses.
Sounds like a lot of hassle if the idea is to avoid extra hassle. Personally I'd consider moving closer to the area permanently instead of trying to maintain two houses - and enough stuff (utensils, bedding, clothes, toys etc) for both.
No offense, but yes, I think this is too "weird" to be practical. In an effort to avoid additional work for your husband, you'll be adding some more. No school is worth disrupting your family dynamic and incurring such a high illiquid investment. I would say carpool or move closer to the school permanently if you can. Waldorf is great but its not like your kids can't get a good education elsewhere. So much of what they need simply involves us being present for them. I wouldn't do anything to add stress, uncertainty, increased financial burdens, etc., to the mix.
Personally, I would not consider this for a second. But then again I don't think an extra 40 minutes of commute each day is that bad for a quality education, if that's what you feel the best avenue for it is.
I would say it is insane but that is just me. It will take a lot of energy to maintain both households. Unless you are highly organized, you will forget things and you will have to make unplanned trips back to whichever house. Also, you will have to buy groceries and other stuff to put in both places. So much work involved in this. If I were in your shoes, I would either make the trip daily or move.
In my area the average working commute is 2 1/2 to 3 hours EACH way so this is nothing!!! The majority of my county and the ones surrounding me all do this---the majority of the counties work outside of where you live- this is the norm.
we don't do Waldorf but at our "local" Waldorf school (45 mins from me) there are parents driving over an hour each way, so 2+ a day and no one would think having a second home.....there are other schools near me that the parents drive an hour plus each way, each day so their children can attend----not viewed as weird at all-----there are local public schools where your child is on a bus an hour (hour plus in some cases) each way and this is the only way to do it
I would sooner commute and to me an additional 20 mins in nothing, I would never do two homes for that short distance.
We are in the Northeast.
ETA- it is also the norm (because it just is how it is around here) for extra activities (dance schools, sporting schools, music lessons, etc) parents need to often travel 20+, so is your DH also not going to do these as well if you children want to take lessons? Given in my area- if you take dance, that is usually 3 classes a week. If he is this opposed for a good school what is his alternative? Also being not near the home, you will be with others that may commute- is he not willing to do playdates that might be 30 mins+ away or a party as well---- that is another thing to consider if you travel to a school.
Edited by serenbat - 11/28/12 at 5:32am
I would consider moving completely & just buying the new house closer to the school, but I wouldn't have 2 houses. And if I had enough money for 2 houses & didn't want to drive, I'd just hire someone to drive the kids to school or something. It's only 20 minutes, there are probably other parents in your area dropping kids off at that school anyway, you could carpool or just pay them to drive your kids too.
If you do want to do the 2 houses, I'd consider waiting 'til the kids have been in school for a while. You might find they don't even like the school that much, or that the 20 minute drive really isn't a big deal....
I wouldn't purchase a second home simply to live closer to the school part-time.
If the school was *really* worth it (meaning: you highly value the education the school provides and there is no other way to achieve a similar quality of education elsewhere) then I would possibly entertain the following ideas:
*Purchase $70,000 dollar home and live there full-time (not just on week days). If rental prices are good and you feel confident in finding a renter who will take good care of your existing home, I would consider keeping the existing home and renting it out. I would not be willing to cart my family back and forth from house to house each week (or even each month). However, how much of a fixer-upper is this home? Is it inhabitable? Is it safe? $70,000 homes in my area of the country are usually so deplorable that no one can live there without major renovations.Would moving to this home increase your husband's commute by 20 minutes? If so--what's the point?
*Find someone to carpool with so that your husband only has to drive the kids 2-3 days per week.
*Pay someone to drive the kids to school. I have a co-worker that does this because her work schedule does not permit her to drive the kids. She has had good luck (driver-wise) with responsible college-aged females from her church and with recently-retired neighbors.
*Have the children attend the Waldorf school only part-time (2 or 3 days a week) and homeschool/other school for the remaining days of the week.
*Decide that family-stability and family-happiness are more important than any sort of school, and find a different schooling option that, while it might not be as ideal education-wise, is still a good choice and enables more family harmony.
So what have you decided retromama77? I second the ideas about hiring someone to carpool your kids. You just might happen upon a stay-at-home parent who would jump at the chance to supplement their income doing something they're doing anyway. Could be a win-win for both families and an opportunity to make new friends! Unless, of course, you just won the powerball lottery. In that case, I would say go for the two houses.
- Is this insane? (School-related housing)
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