Monday, May 5, 2008

An Answer to a Comment on Saving Schooling Money

The following comment was made on a recent posting. I was going to answer it in the comments thread but decided it needed a wider reading. The yeshiva tuition crisis certainly needs addressing and we need to think outside of the box, but outside of the box may not cost less then inside of the box, in many ways.

mlevin said...
Don't want to highjack the post, but if you can't afford the tuition don't send your children to yeshivah. There are perfectly good Public Schools. And with the money you save off not paying tuition, you can hire a yound rabbi to tutor your children. If that Rabbi charges $50 per day, you will spend a total of $12,000 per year to educate your children. If you combine with another family then your expenses became 50% less. Imagine all four of your children getting Jewish education for $6,000.

Theoretically your comment has some validity. But in practice it won't work. For one thing, the rabbis who tutor are making $50 an HOUR and up. Do you really think they will suddenly settle for $50 for 3 or 4 hours instead?

If you have children of differing ages and sexes that one rebbi for all of them at the same time now gets complicated. He would be expected to teach, let us say, 4 children with differing amounts of knowledge and with differing chinuch objectives all at the same time, giving equal attention to all four, and for only $50 a day, or even $50 an hour? Not going to happen. I would imagine that most rebbis would balk at teaching both girls and boys in the same educational setting, particularly as they get older. You are now in the position of hiring two rebbis--one for your sons and one for your daughters. Or maybe a morah for your daughters and a rebbi for your son. Welcome to complication land. Women who tutor limudei kodesh subjects are on par with rebbis as to what they charge, or fairly close to it.

Also keep in mind that the rebbi with the right aptitude for teaching very young children may not have the aptitude for teaching older children and vice versa. And the younger that rebbi, and therefore, perhaps, more willing to take less money, the less experience in teaching.

And once it is obvious that what parents are trying to do is reduce tuition payments by banding together with a few other parents for after public school learning, rebbis are going to raise their rates by a lot. After all, what are your alternatives? You can pay $10,000 to a yeshiva or you can pay $5000 per child taught to the rebbi. You can't claim that he should charge less because he is teaching more kids--he would do the same in a regular yeshiva classroom.

Look at the figures this way: $10,000 for a 10-month school year in yeshiva or $50 an hour for 12 hours a week, being $600 per week or $24,000 for 40 weeks of instruction. That is per child. Find a rebbi who will miraculously work for $25 an hour and you are paying him $12,000 a year, per child. The more children involved, the higher the figure, not the lower.

Even using your figures, let's say you get 5 children together. That is $25,000 to the rebbi. Is that a living wage? No. So the price will go up. After all, he has the same expensees that you do for supporting his family, including hiring someone to teach them while he is busy teaching your kids. You would have to have a full classroom's worth of kids to be able to bargain with that rebbi and get the price down. My house is fairly large, but sticking in 15 to 20 children into it along with all the teaching equipment on a regular basis is not going to happen. Then there is the insurance question. If you are running any kind of class with regular attendance and something should happen to any one of them while on your property, you would be liable for payment, or at least your insurance company would be. And if they should find out that a regularly scheduled class is taking place, your insurance would go way up. And they could require you to have a physical set up with at least two exits, among other things, before giving that insurance.

There is also this. Your kids come home from public school at 3:00PM. They need at least a little time to unwind before you sit them back down to learn. So let's say they begin limudei kodesh studies at 4:00 PM. At three hours of study that makes it 7:00 PM before they are finished learning. Supper for little ones at 7:00 PM? And when will they do homework for this double program? How about a bath? When will they go to sleep? And how about plain time for playing and reading and just relaxing? Make that only two hours of study and you still have a time crunch and a lot less learning going on. Only one hour of limudie kodesh studies a day? Just what will they be learning? Not the equivalent of a yeshiva education by any means. So now you are faced with school on Sunday as well to make up the time deficit. Now add in more money to the rebbi for those additional hours.

In short, looks nice in theory but very difficult to put into practice in a practical way. It's a question of supply and demand. When an item is highly desired by people the price goes up to whatever the market will bear. Hiring a private rebbi may look good on paper but there are lots of other considerations that make that bargain less than a bargain.


Anonymous said...

$50 an hour for tutoring?! Sounds way out of line to me. Even the math tutors where I live don't charge more then about $35 per hour. College students charge even less. And why would a rebbe charge even that much? It's not like teaching aleph bais or chumash equates to rocket science.

Anonymous said...

ProfK - I think you misunderstood me. You do not need a tutor for 3 hours per day. You need him for only one.

Let's compare to what children are learning in Yeshivahas.

1.They come in the morning and daven. Do you really need a tutor for that? Children can learn davening from parents.

2.Children are learning letters, how to read hebrew, genatria, stories. A tutor could teach stories. Or you could teach your children the same thing. After all Alef is easy to teach, and so a condensed version of Abraham... Moshe.

3. Older children go into Rashi, Halacha and DikDuk and etc. That is what you need a rabbi tutor for. He could cover it in one hour per day (consider how many times schools do not teach due to school closings, assemblies, tests and etc, one hour per week definitly covers that school time). Small age differences at this point does not matter, either.

4. For high school you could easily send your child to Yeshivah with the money you've saved the first 8 years of their lives.

5. If a rabbi has problems teaching boys and girls together, then as good parents you should look for a new rabbi. Elementary school children are not into sex, so there is no reason to separate them, especially siblings

BrooklynWolf said...

Try finding a high school that will accept your public-schooled eighth grader.

The Wolf

Leora said...

I know a family that homeschooled for a few years and hired outside tutors for the Jewish subjects (and the mother, who had educational training, did many of the secular subjects). The father said he ended up spending more on the tutors than he would have for tuition. (They weren't doing this to save money but because the children were not happy in Yeshiva).

Anonymous said...

Wolf- you're right, most yeshivahs do descriminate. However, they are not allowed to say it outright. They give an excuse that your child does not have sufficient Jewish education and will be lost in their "Yevrit ba Yevrit" classes, or similar bull.

But your child DID receive a Jewish education, and your child WILL pass that entrance test. Thus they will have no excuse.

(Point to consider, these yeshivahs do collect public funds to run schools (ie lunch programs, text books, school buses and etc) so legally they are not allowed to descriminate.)

Anonymous said...

leora - but they were homeschooling their children in ALL subjects, not just Jewish subjects. Hiring turors for only Jewish subjects is a lot cheaper, then both Jewish and secular.

Anonymous said...

so legally they are not allowed to descriminate.)

mleving, the yeshivas are private schools whose admission policies are set by themselves and that do not have oversight by any city or state agency for that admission. That is why they are private schools. They have to meet certain curriculum standards but admission is strictly up to them.

They receive services, not money, from various government offices. All children in NY state are entitled to the vetted textbooks the state has selected. Yeshivas get these books based on their enrollments and courses taught. They remain the property of the state and can be taken back. Bussing is provided by the state, except where the yeshivas contract privately and pay for extra services not provided by the state.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter got a bad case of mono that stuck around in sixth grade. She missed half a year of school. The city gave us tutors for the English subjects but we had to pay for tutors for the Jewish subjects so she wouldn't fall behind her class. The tutoring for the half a year cost more than the tuition for the whole year. No way that only one hour a day equals what they learn in the full time in yeshiva.

G said...

There is more to schooling than what goes on between the covers of the textbooks/seforim.

Anonymous said...

Debby - In BY girls have only three periods dedicated to Jewish subjects. They are Chumash, Navi, and third one varies from weekday to weekday such as dik-duk, halochah, tfilah, parsha, and etc.

First half of the period for Chumash and half of the period for Navi are spend reviewing previous lesson(s). Girls read a pasuk and translate it, answer various midrashim, mashalim and nimshalim. The second half of the class is dedicated to learning new material. So, if you eliminate these review sessions, you cut down your class time by half. So, in 45 minutes (standard class time) your child has learned both Chumash and Navi with additional 15 minutes left over for the third subject. (Before anyone protests, these reviews could be taken over by parents to cut down on rabbi expenses.)

When you add to this equation all the days schools are not in session and missed class due to assemblies, test preps and etc, then you would end up with more education in that one hour per day, than full time in an yeshiva.

Anonymous said...

"They receive services, not money, from various government offices." Huh?!? Since when do services come free? Someone is paying for them. Who do you think pays for those state books, or do you think that these books are returned to the state in the mint condition with the latest information magically updated in them? Who do you think pays for state provided bus driver, bus, maintenance of that bus, gas that moves that bus and etc.

All of that is state money, and as long as these schools take state money, state can and will dictate to them.

Haven't you ever heard of black and hispanic (not-Jewish) children attending yeshivahs? These schools have no choice but to accept these children, although these children are excused from prayer.

Anonymous said...

mlevin, sorry but you don't have this correct. It is the taxes paid by all state residents that fund the textbooks and food programs etc. Yeshiva parents also pay taxes and the only services they get are very few ones that have been fought for in the courts. Religious schools, all religious schools not just Jewish ones, have the right to deny entrance to students who are not the religion of the school. They may make attendance at religious classes mandatory. And no, in all my years living in nyc and living in Brooklyn I have never heard of Hispanic or Black students attending yeshivas and being exempted from tefilla and from Jewish studies classes. I do know of some geirim who are black or hispanic or asian, but then it's because they are Jewish that they are in Yeshiva. If you actually know of somne specific cases please name the yeshivas. I can't imagine the frum parents in those yeshivas are particularly happy to have non Jewish kids in the school, which is why I don't believe this is more than an urban legend going around.

Anonymous said...

I actually worked with a man who went to yeshivah. He is not Jewish. He said that PS in his neighborhoods were bad, so his mother send him to yeshivah. (Crown Heights neighborhood)

I also heard of other similar cases when I was growing up.

Yes, he was exempt from Davening/Benching. No, he was not exempt from Jewish studies.

"I can't imagine the frum parents in those yeshivas are particularly happy to have non Jewish kids in the school"

Why should parents be unhappy? He was a nice kid, behaved, and they loved to invite him over on Shabbos, because he was able to turn on/off TV for them, while parents were sleeping.

miriamp said...

My MIL tried to convince me to homeschool to "save money" and "just hire a teacher" for anything I didn't feel qualified to teach myself, and I (politely) laughed at her. Yeah, right, find an available teacher to teach my kids on all different levels (next year I'll have children in Kindergarten, second grade, third grade, fifth grade and sixth grade), pay him or her a living wage, and actually spend less than the school is asking of me for tuition? Not happening.

However, I would homeschool before sending my kids to public school. I'm sure the public school curriculum could also be covered in "an hour a day" but with the many more hours spent on secular learning vs cramming in the Judaic studies, you are teaching your children that the secular studies are more important. Not the message I want to send! Plus the extra time your children aren't learning anything in public school is spent soaking up bad middos and, umm, expressive language.

Now, I went to public school. I don't use foul language, never have. I also didn't engage in premarital sex, but most of my friends from public school not only did, they saw nothing wrong with it. I was the rare exception. And I was still affected by the environment. If I had it to do over, I'd beg my parents a lot harder to send me to yeshiva/day school than I did!

Bas~Melech said...

ProfK -- WHO is paying $50/hour for tutoring?! Send them my way, please...

frumskeptic said...

Miriamp: The kid I used to babysit is now in kindergarten, in a well-established yeshiva, with a good reputation... He davens for about an hour, then he colors, then he learns stories -and colors the coloring pages based on the stories- then he does aleph-beis and colors the letters...and well...thats what he does, he colors and does arts and crafts. You dont need a tutor for that. Thats one kid thats "free"

your second and third graders are probably on the same level. Buy them books, sit with them, chat with them, There really isn't anything a 2nd-3rd grader is learning in secular subjects, that even a completely uneducated frummy does not know. long division doesnt start 'till 4th grade, and PUH-LEASE! if you don't know that, then YOU should hire a tutor for yourself!

5th-6th grade may get tough. BUt when I was in public school, in 6th grade I had a self-paced math program.. yup... the kids taught it to themselves. We had a class of about 35 kids, two math teacher, and when we needed we had private tutoring from one of them. In most cases one was available, if not, they would ask the kids on a higher chapter to help those on the lower chapter (what the rush, the regent is only given twice a year anyway).

Now, with this system, I managed to learn 6-8 grade math in one year, i learned sequential one (9th grade math) in 7th grade, but b/c of a mess up in the administration of the school, I couldnt take the regent till 9th grade)...anyway... While I was doing this, I had regular classes, which were also advanced. I also took hebrew classes with a private tutor, because I wanted to get into a yeshiva from 8th grade.

Now, I had maybe 7 periods a week of math, plus required HW for the class, plus all my other classes. Most of my classes required alot of self-study, because they went under the "Johns Hopkins" educatino theory (something like that).

My sister switched from PS to BY in 6th grade. They stuck her into 3rd grade for hebrew, she missed the ENTIRE 6th grade hebrew, and when she returned for 7th grade, she was COMPLETELY caught up...why? B/c SHE put in an effort, and my parents didn't BS her taht one group of subjects is more important than another. Now she's in a very prestigious HS that is near impossible to get into academically, and theres no nepotism on her part!

My point is, is that if you sit your kids down, with good books (and there are mnay websites of homeschooling parents advice), you can manage to Homeschool your kids for waaaaaaaaaaaay cheaper. And, by reading mlevin's post, I dont think she wants her kids in PS in HS. And before HS the foul language is controllable, and there is no sex...atleast none of my friends in HS were like that. But then I went to a geeky school, and my parents cared about my education. So i don't know...

BUt if you are innovative and hire YOUNG bochur guys (not experienced $50/hr ganuf rabbis), you can provide your child with a very pleasurable learning experience at home, as well as a money-saving one.

Ohh..and most of the time, homeschooled kids score higher on SAT scores!! Imagine the money you'll save on college tuition !!

frumskeptic said...

I don't know of any yeshiva's with non-Jews, but I do know that there are many court cases constantly coming out about Catholic schools rejecting people, and boy scouts rejecting people. And in the end...the government HAS to side against the school, because of their anti-discrimination policies (such as CERD- whcih by the way is an international treaty). Because ONCE the government is involved its VERY bad.

Anyway, if there is even a bit of money coming from the state, it is never a "no strings attatched policy"

for those of you who think that its well deserved "help" because frummies pay taxes too, you're naive, and probably in for a shock in a few years... People aren't crying for school vouchers b/c the government is already giving them money.

Anonymous said...

The reason that more people are not crying for school choice/school vouchers is not because the schools are already getting money from the state. They are not all that willing to meet the much more stringent oversight requirements as regards curriculum and services provided that would come with school vouchers. They don't want the state mixing into the running of their schools. The programs for which they get money now get spending oversight by the state or city but the school itself has much more leeway then the public schools do in deciding how curriculum will be taught, how much, when and what programs and services they will offer. You have to have a college degree and education credits to be able to teach in the public schools. You have only a few years after you are hired to get the Masters in education. That is not the case for the private schools.

It's not just money that is the problem with school vouchers. It's who gets to decide what the school will be like and what it will do that yeshivas are against.

frumskeptic said...

"The programs for which they get money now get spending oversight by the state or city but the school itself has much more leeway then the public schools do in deciding how curriculum will be taught, how much, when and what programs and services they will offer."

You're admitting then that the Private schools DO get overseen? because the previous people seemed to deny that!

I have to agree, school vouchers come with alot of string attatched. But that was not my point. My point was that teh government isn't providing the text books because they "owe" it like was implied by another poster, but because there infact ARE strings attatched...or else teh frummies wouldn't be fighting for vouchers.

Either way, Any Yeshiva would be in deep you-know-what if they rejected someone that wasn't Jewish, and who really wanted in. They'd get sued, and they'd lose...BIG TIME!

Oh..and it would be a huge chillul hashem, and the entire media would be discussing it

ProfK said...

Good heavens, I put up a post, go to work, come home late, can't sleep and come down to the computer to an explosive string of comments. Where to even begin.

Okay, in no special order, regarding the price of tutors, you get what you pay for. In the Staten Island area $50 is the cheapest you will find a qualified tutor charging and most charge more. Those still in graduate school may charge in the $35 range but even some of them charge more. Math and science tutors charge far more than those in other fields--$70 to 80 is not unusual per hour. Go into the Far Rockaway/Five Towns area and the prices accelerate by a lot. Rebbis, not bochrim, who are experienced teachers charge on par with other experienced teachers. Why not? They are experts in their field. They have the training and know how to produce the results they are hired for. Why should we say of a rebbi as one person did above "BUt if you are innovative and hire YOUNG bochur guys (not experienced $50/hr ganuf rabbis"? If they are experienced then why are they not allowed to charge for their services? Are they not on par with other service providers in society? Plumbers in this area charge $50 just to walk into the house plus more if they actually do anything for you. Ditto electricians. And ditto appliance repair people. Are they also ganovim? Hairdressers routinely take $35 to $55 for a cut and blow dry, a job that takes less than one hour. They charge $65 and up for a color job. Ganovim? You pay for expertise in this society and it shouldn't matter if that expert is a rebbi.

Okay, what is meant by oversight as it applies to private schools and services/products they receive from the state or federal government? Let's take NYSTL--the New York State Textbook Law. This law says that all schools, regardless of what type of school, are eligible to receive textbooks worth up to a certain amount of money per year. The amount of money is determined by how many students there are in the school and whether the school is public or private. That is the oversight for NYSTL--getting the number of students officially enrolled in the school. Public schools get a higher budget. No money is actually given to any yeshiva that participates in NYSTL. The school gets a list of state approved books for a variety of subjects. There is a price next to each book. The yeshiva places an order for the types of books it needs based on how much money it has been alloted. The amount of money alloted is never equal to the number of books a school really needs. If you need more books then your state allotment, you have to buy them from your own funds. When the state changes the curriculum that will be tested by the Regents Exams schools have to change over all the textbooks in that area so that what is being taught will match what is being tested. New editions come out that replace old ones. New information is taught so new books are needed. What the state doesn't give you you pay for. The state can ask for its old textbooks back if you no longer use them--that is its oversight. They don't send someone down to see if you are using the books. They don't send down someone to count the books. They don't tell you how to use the books. They don't ask to see lesson plans for chapters in the books. They simply provide the books based on your school enrollment.

Oversight is a paper operation in which you provide the required information and they give you the services. No one supervises any of the products once they give them to you. You don't need to meet any standards other than the one in place for the service you are getting. In all the years that I was teaching in the yeshiva system we never once had anyone from the city, state or federal government come down to the school to check how their products were being used.

Please, let's not mix up the boy scouts, a private enterprise, with catholic schools. One is a religious entity, with protections under the Constitution. And please don't get me started on CERD. While the US is a fairly recent signatory to this UN-based international treaty, it has reserved to itself the right of the Constitution to trump certain applications of CERD. What is ironic is that the US is one of 18 countries sitting on that permanent committee on racial discrimination, along with such powerhouses in the world of fairness and racial equality as China and Egypt. The latest CERD NGO shadow report excoriated the US in 44 pages for its lack of progress in racial, ethnic and gender equality here. Among the things that they faulted us for was the use of English as the main language used to instruct students in the schools. Yup, a terrible thing when an English speaking country teaches in English. Buried in that report were a few things that our country needs to improve on and is working on. All the rest is the usual UN malarkey.

Just too darned late to be ranting any more. But one last thing. My girls went to Prospect Park Yeshiva. They had a whole hell of a lot more then a few 45 minute periods a day of limudei kodesh instruction. Their learning was intensive, to say the least. It was not something that could be boiled down to one hour a day with a 19 year old enthusiastic bochur.

Ah well, to sleep, perchance to dream.

frumskeptic said...

I'm in a rush, so I'm only going to respond to one line for now...

I meant do NOT hire the $50/hr Rabbi's because their experience is not necessary for you pre-HS kid.

And he IS a theif, b/c charging $50/hr for tutoring is waaay high.

Anonymous said...

I tutor English subjects and charge $50/hr and have never had any complaints. I have a Masters in Reading and I have other certifications which I took training for and paid for and which allow me to use a variety of methodologies when teaching reading. I have had a few people in the frum community tell me that $50 is too high, and they will hire someone who charges less, but I know in the community where I live, I am one of (if not the only person) a few people with some of the training, so I have explained that they will be getting someone less qualified who might not know what they are doing. My colleagues tell me that $50/hr is not enough, and that makes them look bad for charging more. So when one charges $50/hr, it does not make him/her a ganif.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion people are upset that it is teachers who would charge fifty dollars or more per hour to tutor. As profk mentioned with plumbers and others, people just shut up and pay whatever is charged. Teachers are not valued very highly in our society. If you say you teach you can just see in their minds the thoughts going through about how you must not have been bright enough to do something else.

Yes, any parent can parrot the information in a text book for someone in elementary school. They can make their child memorize the material. What they aren't doing is teaching. They aren't laying the foundations for learning that a child will need later on. And if their child is slower to grasp particular concepts or where their child is not thriving because of one particular approach (something they are also not qualified to see and adjudicate) those parents don't have any professional training or experience to draw on.

I charge more than fifty dollars an hour to tutor. The people who come to me for tutoring know they are getting a bargain--my rate is lower than my per hour regular salary is. Strange, I have three graduate degrees and 4 sets of professional certification, but because I teach I am held to be lower in intelligence and worth then the CPA who does their taxes for them. Here's a startling tip: get a good computer program for doing taxes, get on line and read up on the newest tax laws and you don't need that CPA either. And if "It's not like teaching aleph bais or chumash equates to rocket science." as one writer said above, then it sure isn't rocket science to learn how to fix your own plumbing,electricity, to repair your own washer and dryer either. Yet most people call in the experts for these things. It's only when it comes to teachers that people start to draw the lines.

Anonymous said...

ProfK - Here's prospect's number (718) 376-3337. Why don't you call and ask them how many Hebrew periods a sixth grader has. Don't forget that they count davening as a hebrew subject.

Anonymous said...

Miriamp – your post really annoyed me

1. Public school curriculum cannot be covered in one hour, because we are talking about more subjects. Here’s a list for an average 6th grader. (The reason I’m using 6th grade, is because someone mentioned it, and I think it’s best to stick to the same grade level) Math, Science, English, History, Foreign Language. That’s just main subjects, and then there is art, music, gym, and etc as secondary subjects. You cannot possibly condense 5+ subjects into one hour.
2. I am sick and tired of people putting down secular subjects. Actually, let’s list secular subject that you feel are so beneath you.
a. Math – a base for everything we do in life. Without mathematics you can’t shop because exchanging goods (food for money) requires mathematical thinking. Without math you can’t have a home, because builders and architects rely on their mathematical skills to build houses. You can’t even determine when it’s Shabbos without mathematics. There are calculations in taxes and cars and food and …
b. Science – it’s a study of a world around us. Without these scientists you wouldn’t have safe water in your tap. Without these scientists you wouldn’t be able to safely give birth to your children. Without these scientists people would be dying from common cold. Without these scientists trip to Israel would not be a common occurrence. Without these scientists millions of people would have died due to sudden changes in weather. Without these scientists you wouldn’t have power to cleanly cook and safely store your food…
c. English – unless you plan to spend your whole life in BoroPark knowing English language and how to communicate is essential to your livelihood.
d. History – is an organized story of what happened, and since Jews are spread out throughout the world, all events involve Jews. How could you brush it off as unimportant is beyond me, and yet you encourage your children to learn other just as meaningful historical events and call it limudei kodesh?
Please enlighten me, why are any of these subjects unimportant? Please tell me how you plan to function without these studies, unless of course you plan to be a leach on society.
3. “Yes, any parent can parrot the information in a text book for someone in elementary school. They can make their child memorize the material. What they aren't doing is teaching.”

Yes, and 19 year olds straight from seminary are so much more equipped to teach your children, right? Call any Jewish elementary school, be it Beis Yakov or Prospect or whatever, majority of their teachers are young unmarried or newly married girls. Please don’t give me this bull about professional teachers. If schools are hiring 19 year olds, it mustn’t be all that complicated.
4. Re plumbing – yes, you could take a class and learn how to do simple plumbing in your house, and then you won’t have to pay $50 to clear your drain. Just like you can take a book and learn a subject and then teach it to your child and forgo paying a tutor $50. Honestly, I would rather pay $50 and forgo doing disgusting drain work.
5. Re electricians – yes, you could take a class and learn how to do electrical work. It is dangerous and you must know what to do to prevent life threatening situations, until then you hire someone and pay him. And please keep in mind, if electrician makes mistakes not only people die, but he goes to jail. When teachers on the other hand make mistakes…
6. CPA/Taxes – it takes time and effort to learn all tax laws and apply only those that are relevant to yourself. Paying your CPA is a bargain. I would rather pay $50 to a CPA to do my taxes and save 100 hours of tax study, and instead I would tutor my own children on the subject they are lagging. 100 hours of tax study equals $5,000 of paying tutors to teach my own children. Not to mention parent/child bonding that happens during those tutorial sessions. Time is also money. I pay a cleaning lady so I could spend more time with my husband and children. Could I do it myself? Yes. Would it take me away from my family? Yes.

miriamp said...

mlevin -- I didn't mean to annoy you, and I apologize for that.

Let me state that I do not think the secular subjects are unimportant. I just do not think they are more important than the Judaic ones. And my kid do NOT have 19 year old seminary girls teaching them, except as student teachers, working under the professional teachers and Rebbeim in the classroom. And those student teachers came all the way from Montreal to student teach here, so that might mean something in terms of how professional a school we have. We're way out of town (Providence, RI) and different rules apply, I recognize that.

I am certainly not disparaging math, although my husband complained that "the kind of person who was on her County Math Team and competed in NYSML (New York State Mathematics League) and ARML (American Regions Mathematics League) in high school shouldn't attempt to tutor mere mortals," when I tried to explain a concept 5 different ways to my 5th grader when he asked for help, and only succeeded in frustrating said 5th grader. Next time I'll read the chapter in his textbook first to know how he's expected to do the work!

I don't especially like Science, but I understand its importance, and I did pretty well on the College Boards (CBATs) in Biology, when I took them in tenth grade.

My children speak a very good, mostly grammatical English, and are voracious readers, so I'm really not worried. And I can still diagram a sentence with the best of them.

Some History is important, and some is just meaningless names and dates. I don't see why one can't study History from a Jewish perspective and still get a good understanding of how the world works -- as you said, all events involve Jews.

But anyway, if I can't condense the public school curriculum into 1 hour a day, (although I really don't think most homeschooling families spend any 5 hours daily on these subjects!) then how do you expect to do it with the Judaic curriculum? I don't want to place one over the other, I want equal billing. My children study Chumash, Parsha, Navi, Mishnayos (for the boys)/Tefillah (an in-depth study of Shemoneh Esrei, not just the standard morning davening)(for the girls), Hebrew as a language, I'm not even sure what else. It's a full double curriculum, and the day is split accordingly. (As an out-of-town school, we get away with staggering grades to make better use of teachers, and some grades have morning Lemudei Kodesh while others have it in the afternoon.)

Frumskeptic -- I've worked in a preschool myself, I know the Kindergarten curriculum is easy, and the course work through probably any grade my kids go to isn't beyond me. I'm a Math person myself (see above, about being on my County math team) and I've always been a strong reader as well. I'm not especially worried about my kids' SAT scores, although I don't understand how that would lead to saving on College Tuition, unless they homeschool for that too (wink). I got a 1370 on my SATs... (1990s way of grading, and my parents said that was good enough, and only let me take them once) but it didn't really help in terms of scholarships, and only meant I applied to and was accepted at more expensive colleges.

It's more the overwhelmingness of trying to keep up with all of their school work on top of taking care of the other 4 kids, all year round. I'm sure I could do it, but I really don't want to. I suppose the 4 year old would join her Kindergarten age brother in activities, and the 2 year old might as well, but someone's got to keep them out of trouble when they're done coloring on paper and move on to the walls, not to mention chase the toddler, do the laundry, cook the meals, run the errands, go to dr. and dentist appointments... if my husband didn't do the grocery shopping, it would never get done! I have all of the children home all day during the summer, on the basis that camp is a luxury we don't need, and it works... but the summers we planned some enrichment on top of the fun ... well, the enrichment didn't happen. I had too much else to do, and I'm just not that organized. It's important for me to have some of the kids leave each day! (I like having a big family, I just need some time off here and there.) I'm all for homeschooling, I just don't want to have to do it personally!

Anonymous said...

miriamp-I went to BY for elementary. One of my daughter's did, too. I spoke to mothers and teachers from not BY schools. All elementary schools for girls have a similar hebrew schedule.

1. Daven
2. Chumash
3. Navi
4. Dik-duk,Tfila,yom-tov, halachah, parsha, and etc.

A school day is just not long enough for more subjects.

So, here's my imaginary schedule for parents who can't afford tuition.

1. Wake up
2. Daven
3. Breakfast
4. Go to PS
5. 3:30 return from school/park
6. Eat sneak while mommy orally tests on yesterday's (previous)hebrew lessons
7. 4:30-5:30 Rebbi lecture
8. 5:30-6:00 Rebbi leaves and mommy goes over what-was-learned-today.
9. 6:00 - 6:30 play time
10. 6:30-7:00 homework
11. 7:00 family dinner

On no school or half-day days mommy has more time to go over learned with Rebbi materials.

miriamp said...

So Mommy has to sit in on the lecture to know what was learned today? Or the Rebbe provides her with a crib sheet? And are we only keeping the girls out of Jewish Schools, or the boys too? And what does it say to the boys if we only do this to the girls!?

I don't know if it would really work, or really be affordable, for most families, but it wouldn't work for us. I can't speak for the rest of the universe. As I said, I have boys and girls, in (next year) K - 6th grade. That needs at least 2 Rebbes, minimum, (one for 2 and 3, one for 5 and 6) because they're at such different levels. The Kindergartener doesn't need a Rebbe, but the others do. Also, while my current 5th grader could easily do his homework in 1/2 hour, it takes my 4th grader far longer. She's brilliant but slow. And that's mostly Secular homework. She breezes through reviewing pesukim with Rashi and answering questions on the perek they've been studying, and that still probably takes her 20-25 minutes.

I also think, from personal experience, that my children would be beyond bored in Public School. Or they'd be pushed ahead a grade or two and ostracized for being much younger, if they weren't already being picked on for "dressing weird" and having "strange names." And no, they don't have English names, and I'll not make any up just for Public School.

Anyway, the point here is not to convince you that it isn't the answer for my children. The point is, could it work for a hypothetical family willing to try? And I'm still not sure. I'm not willing, for multiple reasons, to subject my children to public school, or to try to "supplement" with a bare basics Judaism curriculum. Will other parents be more willing? And I haven't priced Rebbeim/Moros, or checked availability, so I can't offer comparative prices. I know I made $15/hour as a tutor when I was in high school (through National Honor Society -- they set the rates) 15 years ago, but that was on LI. (NY)

So for the moment, I have to agree with ProfK that it may not actually be practical.

Anonymous said...

1. I did not say that all homework needs to be completed in half an hour, I'm giving half an hour of homework before family dinner.

2. Public Schools do not let children skip grades. Against their policies, instead they have separate classes for more intelligent children. Usually kids in these classes are nerds, so they dress funny and have funny names, your kids will fit right in.

As far as your other questions are concerns all I could say is this: You are not able to afford your current life style, so instead of considering alternate suggestions, you outright dismiss them and think that complaining will help your situation.

Wake up!!! complaining does not make money and does not pay bills. Yes, it's hard, but it sure bits living in poverty, with piling debt.

Orthonomics said...

I wouldn't get bogged down in semantics. The exercise of brainstorming is really a cry for help because putting 4.5 Orthodox children into "the system" is just out of range. A family could potentially cut a $1000/month grocery bill down by 50%, but the savings won't fund even a single tuition.

What would be nice would be to see some experimentation with different formats for schooling.

ProfK-Here you make the case that Yeshiva Education is a bargain per hour, compared with extensive tutoring (it could be argued that a smaller setting with self-motivated children would not necessitate such extensive tutoring because the Rebbi could spend more time teaching/facilitating and less time disciplining). However, Yeshiva Education is through the roof and young people are grappling with high housing costs (even if they rent) and student loans that are outrageous. Second incomes are eaten alive by tax and child care.

$12,000 a year minimum is needed in after-tax dollars per kid for education alone. It just isn't tenable and the search for alternatives is really a cry for help.

miriamp said...

Have you ever been a nerd in public school? I have, and not only was I not offered a separate daily class with other nerds (we had 2 hours, mixed grades, twice a week) but I learned the hard way that "fitting right in" with one small group of kids doesn't help you on the playground. Kids are mean to other kids who are "different." Not that that was my main concern anyway.

Besides, I wasn't complaining. My MIL mentioned once that I should consider homeschooling, I considered the options, and decided against it. Public school was never a tenable option, for us.

I really didn't mean to make it sound like I was complaining. So far things are working out for us, even with 4 kids in yeshiva this year. But living out of town means that there aren't really other options for the frum families (the school knows it can't say, well, so go talk to another school and maybe they'll cut you a deal, although for many, homeschooling may be an option.) I would venture that many and possibly even most of the families aren't paying full tuition, and the school (and all the families) do fundraising all year round. That's the system that works here. And it does work.

I'm interested in finding solutions for other families, but personally, I'm not really considering taking my kids out of school.