One cost that you may or may not have considered prior to reading this report is the cost of extracurricular activities directly connected to the school. There are activities involving sports, the arts, music, science, math and more. Your costs will depend on what your child is involved in. Even being in the national honor society costs money. Pretty much everything your child does in school will come with a fee attached, so you need to be prepared.
Your Child Doesn’t Need to Do It All
Many parents start worrying about college the moment their child goes to kindergarten. It is a normal thing to be concerned about your child’s future. You want to introduce to them all sorts of
activities to figure out what they excel in and what they enjoy doing. But, all of it comes with a price attached.
Pick One or Two Activities
Keep in mind that your child does not need to do everything. Try to pick one or two major activities and stick to that. There are many costs to consider such as transportation costs, traveling expenses, clothing, shoes, instruments, extra lessons and more for each activity, including the fee.
Watch Your Child’s Stress Level
While a well-rounded child is great for a college application, if your child is too stressed out they’re not going to do as well at school. If they’re in too many activities they will be tired, not have enough time to study, and never have any alone time. You may not realize it, but it’s very important for your child to have quiet time to think and just be.
Do They Really Love It?
Another factor to consider about your child doing any activity that is supposed to be good for them is whether they really love it or not. Extracurricular activities teach something to your child, but the lesson will be lost if they don’t really enjoy it at all. Why should they keep doing something they’re not that good at and don’t like? They tried it and didn’t like it. That’s okay. It’s ok to decide to try something else next year.
What’s the Point?
Why do you have your child in an extracurricular activity? Is it something they asked you if they could join? Is it something your entire family has always been involved in and you just automatically signed them up from habit? Show your child choices and let them decide which extracurricular activities they want to do. Understand that the point is to try things, not to make a lifelong choice at six, or even at fourteen.
The days of overworked and overscheduled kids are over. Plus, it doesn’t really help them get into college. What helps them get into college is good grades, good test scores, and the financial means to attend.
Sports and Band Costs
This needs its own topic because it’s amazing how much it can cost to be involved in school sports or the band. You may have the belief that it’s illegal for schools to implement a “pay to play” fee, but in most cases, it’s not illegal and the fees can be quite high sometimes. Often they are couched in terms that bring guilt for parents too, such as “Fair Share Program”.
While it varies from school to school, let’s look at some examples.
Huntsville High School in Alabama: Their website reports that costs are 500 dollars for a first-year band student in 9th grade, with a sibling paying 200 dollars for the year. As you can see, this is quite a lot of money for some parents, and is paid whether you have your own instrument or not. If you don’t have an instrument, you’ll have to rent one or buy one.
Link – https://www.eteamz.com/huntsvillehighschoolband/news/index.cfm?cat=879543
Coronado Thunderbird Band Ex Paso, TX: Their website shows that due to the requirement to go on trips, students have to pay on average about 200 dollars a month to be in the band and fully participate.
Link – http://www.tbirdband.org/
Cheering Is Even Worse: According to OmniCheer.com, a website that covers all things cheering, the costs to be a cheerleader are piling up even for high schoolers. The total can end up more than $1500 a year for a cheerleader in high school.
Link – http://www.omnicheer.com/blog/post/the-cost-of-cheer
Football in High School:
Most people report spending between 500 and 1000 dollars a year for their child to be on a football team. It can get even more expensive for a winning team, due to needing to pay for travel and hotels.
Basketball in High School: This is about the same as football and growing. The costs of uniforms, shoes, practice camps, travel and more can get quite expensive for everyone involved. Keep in mind that the cost parents pay is just a portion of the total cost, but some parents cannot afford it.
Even being on the robotics team, math team or other less physical endeavors is very expensive depending on the district you are part of. The best thing you can do is ask other parents about it, ask the school about it, and be prepared for the additional costs if you want your child involved in that extracurricular activity.