Investing in Education

Food prices increase. Housing prices stagnate. Gasoline prices soar!

Daily headlines reinforce the somber fact: the American economy continues to struggle. How can parents provide a more stable future for their children? Investing in education is an essential component for a promising future. Every year, multitudes of studies demonstrate the correlation between education and income. The data are clear: education and success relate highly. Skilled labor trumps unskilled all the time. Furthermore, higher education translates into better paying and more satisfying careers and higher standards of living. Perhaps even more than money, however, success implies choice. For one student success may mean entry into an Ivy League or Tier 1 university; to another it may mean acceptance into a training academy, community college, or technical school. Choice remains the operative word.

Planning early is important. Start an education fund when an infant arrives, and contribute to the account regularly. Setting up the finances is a critical but not sole part of the formula. While setting aside money will help to pay for A college, investing time and energy may do more to help the child get into THE college. Of course, THE college includes a very broad spectrum, so time invested as early as kindergarten is well spent and may reduce consternation when those “fat envelopes” appear in the mail senior year.

Being involved with schooling extends beyond volunteering during the school day. Parents working outside the home can still oversee their children’s learning by engaging in meaningful dialog includes more than asking how their day went, which often elicits a monosyllabic response, especially from adolescents and teens. Displaying a genuine interest in their homework and projects shows them that their parents value their efforts.

Spending time making learning fun benefits both parents and children. Museums, zoos, cultural opportunities, and travel provide more than memories. They allow the children to expand their view of learning outside the classroom. If they see their parents as life-long learners, they are more apt to view themselves the same way.

Challenge encourages growth, so offering opportunities that allow them to stretch their abilities can result in rewards that go beyond an increased knowledge base, including more self-confidence. Enrollment in supplemental education programs also allows children to expand their interest, especially if such programs allow them to progress at their own rate. Parents may find a hidden affinity for a topic that wouldn’t have come to the surface without some encouragement.

Investing in education provides the best return in these uncertain economic times. It allows for choice, which is, after all, the ultimate freedom.

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