Money Matters

Mistake #7. They fail to trust God to provide the material things they need. God is Jehovah Jireh — our provider. He wouldn’t call you to do something and then not give you the resources to do it. Phil. 4:19 says He will supply all your needs. Many moms go to work, either full or part time, not because they have to, but because they are frustrated at home or in fear over finances. If this is you, instead of going to work outside the home, (1) look for ways to cut costs, (2) pray for your husband’s boss or business to prosper, (3) investigate a home business, and (4) be patient. Caution: If you do pursue a home business, don’t let it interfere with your family responsibilities. Prov. 31:16 (amp) states this very clearly, “She considers a new field before she buys or accepts it — expanding prudently (and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming others).” The best time to start a home business is when your youngest child is reading and writing so that all your children can participate in the business and learn valuable skills as part of their homeschool.

When my oldest daughter turned 5 we were living abroad.  By law, we had to either enroll her in a school or register her as a homeschooler. Although public education was free and we lived in one of the better neighborhoods desirable for its better school catchment (which was also a walk from our house), I was not very comfortable with the idea of sending her to school each day.  And since I was aware of home schooling and had an inkling to engage in it, I turned to this alternative.  Aware that had we been in Manila I would definitely be spending on her tuition (it wasn’t normal to spend on early education when public education was available in Canada), I decided to purchase curricula I thought would  allow me to prepare her  in the basics of math, reading, and writing as well as a beginning package of a collection of books from Sonlight Curriculum (which are all non consumable).   We tried our best to keep our materials usable to her younger sister then while adhering strictly to copyright laws for consumables. I made her write on a separate notebook when possible. Otherwise, we just had to invest on future workbooks (which was a smaller cost when you already have the Teacher’s Manual) for the next student.  We were fortunate enough that there was a small home school fund available to us each year. The amount could have been about 7 times greater if we decided to be more accountable to the school (government) but we decided to forego this as I wanted to be, more or less, in charge and free to design our curriculum.  We had to show receipts for programs or lessons we procured and were reimbursed accordingly up to the amount of the funding. On top of this, we were a frequent visitor of the public libraries nearby. Since our two daughters were not followed by another child until after 4 years, I had ended up selling some of these materials we used to get back some of the money we had spent that went beyond what we were allowed to reimburse.

There was a time that we explored options for me to study in the Montessori Vancouver training centre to get accreditation to teach. Montessori teachers were in demand where we were and would be recognized anywhere else. It would have taken a year and would have required me to be in school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week.  With my husband also working, what then of our two young girls?  I also looked at taking in kids to babysit at home for it was common practice for working mothers to leave their younger children with families who are willing to watch over them for the day (an alternative to day care).  Majority of the children that could be assigned to a family would be below one year old!  I said to myself, if we were to take care of another one that young, it would probably be such a great responsibility and would divert my attention especially since I was paid to do it.  How would that affect our two children and even our family?  We decided to trust God that He would provide for us with one income and He did!  He also blessed us with a baby boy of our own shortly after that and it was a blessing to see how that (to be home schooling while anticipating and then taking care of an infant) was such a lovely experience for our girls and the family as a whole.  Of course, I can only say this on hindsight as the sleepless nights and having to home school the following day was quite challenging. By that time, my husband was already self-employed though and was a big help as we went through this together.  How God works to orchestrate the details of our lives! Recollections of reading aloud to the girls while nursing or changing nappies always bring fond memories of those days.

When employment for my husband caused a move to another province, we were blessed to find out that our home school funding had increased to about five times what we were previously allowed per child.  By the time our third child began schooling, we could purchase quality science, history, and art curricula as well as enroll our daughters in piano lessons both as a result of the more stable livelihood as well as the increased funding (as well as increased number of children!). In Canada, everyone is encouraged to be active especially children so recreational activities were always affordable via rec centres and even through tax incentives.

Now that we are back in the Philippines, our experience gives me continued encouragement to home school in the same way we had been doing even if we had to start from scratch in terms of livelihood.  Sometimes, I feel  that when I share the things we do and curricula we use, families might find it unattractive to seem to be spending so much to home school.   There is a need to see home schooling costs in perspective as we consider this issue. I have not actually done a comprehensive survey of current private school tuition, but have gathered data for just five possible schools nearby that I could enroll my elementary aged children.  Here’s a list of the nature of the schools and the corresponding annual tuition (if paid once a year, and per child) for younger elementary grades:

  • a newer, smaller “multiple intelligence school”  – P49,000
  • an established private Catholic all-girls school that provides “the Filipino youth quality Catholic education” via the Benedictine mission – P70,000/ year
  • a newly opened Montessori school that has expanded from operations in southern Philippines – P150,000/year
  • a newer, international, “Filipino community IB school” – P443,000/year + P150,000 refundable deposit
  • a more established international school – P530,000/ year, not inclusive of ESL fee and/or IB (International Baccalaureate program) fees

At the moment, I probably spend between the second and third alternatives above to homeschool ALL 5 children!   Even if I only had two children and decided to send them to the Montessori school, I would have to spend more.  Definitely, sending two children to the Catholic private school would cost way more than home schooling both.  And really, with the amount I spend, it’s like bringing a North American public library here with us (well, that’s probably an exaggeration but it feels that way sometimes).  That’s not the kind of education I got when I used to go to one of these private Catholic schools.  And really, with an almost one-to-one student ratio, even an IB program might not be as rigorous.  I’m not sure about that though since I didn’t go through one but I have a brother who did (unfortunately we were apart most of his middle and high school years).  Well, we try to school classically, so it seems it is difficult for me to find a place where my children could carry on anyhow. Oh, and the education is benefitting me too since I am learning alongside the children. When you see it in this perspective, it doesn’t seem to cost that much. Or maybe a better way of putting it is, this way every peso/dollar you spend is spent really well.

Last child who will use all the wonderful curricula and books his siblings are enjoying at the moment.

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3 comments

  1. Hi Winnie! 🙂 I’m just curious – so you use Sonlight for all 5 kids up till now? Are you enrolled locally with a homeschool provider?

    Thanks for all your posts – they are very encouraging! God bless you and your family! 🙂

    • Winnie

      Hi Tina! My older girls (now 11th and 10th graders) did Sonlight from PreK to Core 4 (around 4th/5th grade) “officially” (one of them continued reading the Core titles through the public library). After that we tried to follow history and science the Well Trained Mind (www.welltrainedmind.com) way. We did that for only a year after which I explored Tapestry of Grace (www.tapestryofgrace.com) which is basically WTM implemented in a way. Since the next batch of kids came 4 years after the older ones, I had the younger ones still do Sonlight at the appropriate ages since we owned the cores (and we really credit Sonlight for our love of books and learning). This year, we are on our second rotation of TOG Year 1 (Ancients…or better “The History of Redemption) for the 2 high schoolers (rhetoric). The younger ones are joining us officially although some of them were exposed to TOG as preschoolers: 6th grader (dialectic), 4th grader (upper grammar) and K (lower grammar).

      Sorry for the long explanation. We are not registered locally but online.

      You are welcome! God bless you and your family as well. Heard you had a new baby recently 🙂 What a blessing indeed!

  2. Pingback: Creating Enthusiasm for Learning | living and learning

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