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Paying for extras to enhance education

(17 Posts)
redskyatnight Fri 10-Jun-11 11:28:05

One of the points that is often made on the private v state threads is that (depending on your circumstances) you might be better to send your child to state school and spend the money saved on paying for extras to enhance their education.

Coming at this from the other side, my parents skimped and saved to send me to private school and whilst I have fantastic academic qualifications I still feel that my education was very focussed on passing exams and not on all round experience. For example at the point where I left school at 18 I couldn't play a musical instrument or have any appreciation of music, my general knowledge was woeful, other than 1 trip to France I'd never been out of the UK, I'd never been to the theatre, I'd never had food other than the meat and 2 veg variety served at home. Looking back I think my "life education" was very narrow.

I don't want this to turn into a state/private discussion so I suppose my question is - money allowing, what "extras" would you pay for to enhance your DC's all round education? Music? Travel? What experiences do you deem as valuable?

IndigoBell Fri 10-Jun-11 11:39:59

Boy Scouts (Absolutely brilliant)

Piano

Team Sport (Don't do, but would like to....)

Individual Sport

'Challenging' holiday clubs ( anything to take them out of their comfort zone, like rock climbing or sailing or something they don't do any other time)

sue52 Fri 10-Jun-11 11:43:40

That's interesting. My DD is at a state grammar. To "top up" she has ballet, French language and piano lessons. She owns a horse, has taken part in gymkhanas and plays golf. We are regular theater and opera goers. We do go on long haul foreign holidays at least once a year. If I had paid school fees throughout we would not have been able to afford all the extras. I consider all this valuable but none of it essential. If my daughter had not been able to attend an excellent state school, we would have bitten the bullet and sent her to a private school.

mel38 Fri 10-Jun-11 13:03:12

Again it all depends on what school ,they are all different ,some offer great opportunities for broadening horizons others are just education,education !! i would definately go for the all rounder school ........My daughter is private and plays the piano the violin is in the choir and rides horses she also take french all at school. WE take her to restaurants and the theatre as often as possible and we go on holiday 3/4 times a year ,not always expensive holidays but always different. she has lots of friends in school and out as i think its healthy to have friends you dont go to school with ........

Lizcat Fri 10-Jun-11 13:04:59

Visiting lots of places in the UK I discovered 5 days ago that my DH didn't know that Durham was a county as well as a city. Going to the theatre, visiting museums, going to restaurants and trying different food.
Learn a language that is outside the box - the future of UK business is almost certainly working with the former eastern bloc and china these are the language skills that will help our children.
Become independent learn to cook, to do the washing and how to budget for yourself.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 10-Jun-11 13:17:50

Maybe I'm slightly unusual but I don't see extra-curricular activities as being 'topping up' or an extension of education. My dc's are state but I'd feel the same if they were at private.

For me the most important thing are groups like scouts and youth clubs because they are fun, sociable and tehy do get to do fun, different stuff. One or two other organised activities are good, but I'd put playing/being with friends over and above other stuff.

My dd has always done a range of other activities because that's the way she is
My ds has done very little, because that's the way he is.

lovecheese Fri 10-Jun-11 13:54:16

Funnily enough, I was having a conversation with my 10 year-old DD on the way to school this morning along the lines of this question. She is a kind girl with "good moral fibre", she is a buddy at school to two autistic children, plays in the school orchesra, belongs to Enterprise Club at school, is a member of a local theatre group, plays rounders, is a guide, swims and attends a church-run youth group regularly, and I said that I am more proud of her for these achievements than academic stuff at school, although it really might be useful if she did actually learn her 8 x tables.

wordfactory Fri 10-Jun-11 14:56:08

If I had sent DC to the local primary school I don't think I could have 'topped up' to make an equivalent...nothing to do with money, more an issue of time and energy and available resources...

However, I can tell you what things I do with my DC outside of school which I think have made a difference to their lives.

Sports - both DC are members of various local clubs. Over the years we have been members of football, cricket, diving, gymnastics, running... This isn't expensive but has cost oddles of time and comittment. The betetr you get, the more time it takes. However, it has been worth every cold and uncomfortable moment.

Tennis - I add this seperately to the above as a. lessons are expensive and b. there isn't the feeling of being part of something. However, I think being able to play tennis is spomething you can always enjoy with your friends until you're 70. DC used to have weeklly lessons but now tend to sign up for whole day clinics in the holidays.

Drama - DD is a member of a local group. Very inexpensive but again, huge comittment in terms of time, line learning and costume making.

Music - both DC play musical instruments and sing. I actually think the singibg has added more to their lives, actually.

However, the single thing that has made the biggest impact has probably been me being around and willing to spend time with them....even things I really really didn't fancy myself.

reallytired Sat 11-Jun-11 04:50:02

I'm surprised that your private school did not offer you additional activites and clubs.

My son does a drama club at school, karate at school, guitar lessons and is a choister in the local church. The most expensive activity by far is the guitar lessons. My son's lessons are £12 a week for 20 minutes individual. We also eat out occassionally. My son gets paid to sing so choir is a very cheap actvity. We have been on holiday to the lake district and in the past we have been to France and Italy. We do not have the money to go on holdiay every year.

My inlaws are very like your parents and they sent their children. I don't think that lack of extra curricular activites is necessarily lack of money. Sometimes its people's mindset of what is important.

As an adult it never too late to take up music and have lessons. Many instruments like guitar or woodwind lend themselves well to adult learners. Learning is a life long actvity.

sweatybrawearer Sat 11-Jun-11 05:03:18

Things I wish I'd done more of as a youngster- music, theatre, ballet, opera, eating out, travel. My biggest regret is not being able to play an instrument.

Things DC's do because I make them - musical instrument lessons, team sports, occasional theatre/concert trips. Travel and eating out are normal to them, but weren't to me at their age.

Things DC's would like to do more of - computer games/Xbox

Which goes to show that at this point in their lives DCs and I value different things (but I hope they will grow to understand and appreciate the things I value).

cory Sat 11-Jun-11 09:52:37

In our case (state school), it's not always about paying specifically to enhance the education of one child: often it's more of a family thing. We buy books because we all want to read them (I love children's literature), we watch films we are all going to enjoy, we sometimes go to the theatre, we travel when we can afford it not just for dcs' sake but for all our sakes. In fact, a lot of the things that benefit their education are probably more about keeping mummy entertained.

We did however pay for extra school music lessons when they were younger, and would have gone on paying had they shown any interest. Their junior school was heavily into music anyway, so there would have been plenty of opportunities if they had cared to explore them.

We do pay for dd's drama school and would be happy to pay for sport for ds if we could find something suitable.

Educationally, I have had to do a fair bit of topping up for dd, not because the local schools are that bad, but because she has chronic health problems and is off school a lot. But most of it hasn't been conscious topping up, no paying for tutors, it's more that we talk about things.

gramercy Tue 14-Jun-11 10:28:22

"non scholae sed vitae discimus"

... and that's why I send ds for Latin tutoring. We watch lots of quite random films and weird television programmes. In fact now I come to think of it we do quite a bit of odd stuff!

We don't go out to eat very often, nor do we have many holidays, but you don't need to go out to experience foreign food, and holidays are frequently a game that isn't worth the candle, in my opinion.

redfuchsia Wed 15-Jun-11 18:08:35

Cory: we do similar stuff to you. Don't do much in the way of holidays though, but do days out, visiting family in other parts of the country, take trips to museums as well as frequent the library. Re. OP's question, I think that State education + £ spent on a sport outside of school has been a happy combo for us.

chocolatebourbon Sat 18-Jun-11 22:27:39

This is interesting as when my sister and I reached 11 we went to the local state school but my parents paid money into a separate bank account which we called the "education account". As teenagers we could take money out of it to spend only on things which we could persuade our parents were educational. This ended up covering mainly:
music lessons and musical instruments
school trips to France
a school ski trip (only the first one counted as educational!)
loads of books
holiday activities like theatre school and dance workshops.
When we got to 18 and there was some left we were given it towards our living costs at university. With hindsight it seems a little over-organised/controlling on the part of my parents, but as teenagers we did really appreciate it and felt we had some say over how the money was spent.

IndridCold Sun 19-Jun-11 10:07:16

I think that music and/or drama are excellent activities, especially if there is the opportunity to perform with a group occasionally which is a great confidence booster.

Scouts ( or other equivalent)

Sport, either a team sport or club, or an activity like sailing or climbing

School trips tend to be very expensive, but worth it IMHO

Agree with wordfactory, it would be hard to fit in too many activities during a normal school week though. DS plays two instruments and is in the choir, but his lessons and orchestra practice all take place during the school day. If his school didn't offer music it would take 3-4 of our evenings for him to get the same exposure.

christinecagney Sun 19-Jun-11 10:12:57

Play an orchestral instrument or learn to sing, well enough to join a choir or orchestra (your local, amateur one not the Berlin Philharmonic!)

Wherever you go oin the world you will always find a group to join and will have an instant social life.

meditrina Sun 19-Jun-11 10:17:20

I wouldn't have wanted to send DCs to a school that didn't provide a good range of co-curricular activity, but I appreciate that you can't always get what you want!

I have paid for individual music tuition, music technology, ballet, gymnastics, specialist tennis coaching, martial arts, footie club and one (disastrous, brief) foray into Chinese.

Free via the school, they have also done music ensembles, choir, various sports coaching by the games staff (cricket, hockey, table tennis), origami, sewing, stop motion animation, computer club, drama club, possibly others I can't remember now (sounds a lot, but thus is spread over 3 DCs and a number of years).

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