Dear Quentin: My wife and I have a 7 year old son who would normally be attending the public school system this year. However, for a variety of reasons driven primarily by the pandemic, we decided to homeschool our son for first grade this year. My wife is currently a stay at home mom (she decided to take a hiatus from a great career in marketing when our second child was born a couple of years ago).
“I thought the family would offer some financial consideration (they hinted at this last September) but we haven’t discussed the issue since. ”
My wife currently runs homeschool 4 days a week, and between homework, real time in the classroom, and a little playtime after school, she spends 15-20 hours a week. Details of how the deal would work financially were never discussed. The two families have shared the costs of the curriculum, school supplies, art supplies, etc., but the other family has not offered (or requested) compensation for my wife’s efforts. I thought the family would offer some financial consideration (they hinted at it last September) but we haven’t discussed the issue since. We and the other family are comfortably upper-middle class, so money is not a critical issue for either of us. However, I see how much effort my wife puts into education and I feel like she deserves something. The other family easily spends a lot on babysitters, other daycare, etc. Is it too late to tactfully ask for some consideration for my wife’s efforts? I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship or embarrass you. How do you think I should approach this, if at all? Greetings South Texas Parent The Moneyist: We were friendly with our neighbors for decades, until recently. One day we were introduced to your financial advisor … You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at email@example.com Dear Parent: This is an act of service to your friends and, for your child and yours. friend, it is also an act of love. Once you market a friendship and turn that gesture into a transaction, something fragile, pure, and unspoken about that friendship will be forever altered. Given what it says about your comfortable financial position, this feels like a “want” rather than a “need.” Remember the precious burden your four friends carry: two children oblivious to the quicksand of adulthood that surrounds them. I understand that there may be some underlying frustration at reaching a more equitable settlement. “We’re taking little Jimmy for a couple of hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and he can dine here a couple nights a week to give you some free time …” would have been nice. It would also have given you a clearer path ahead, but don’t give up on your friends’ ability to show your appreciation in other ways by taking your child on vacation this summer, or some other surprise.
“By giving these two children your time, you will also teach them another valuable life lesson. “- The Moneyist
You are not committed to doing this every year, but finish this year the way you started. You are in each other’s pandemic bubble, so there is probably a reason for that. They hold each other in high regard and trust each other. Don’t underestimate them. They may already be thinking of ways to express their appreciation. And yes, sometimes “thank you” is enough. And maybe, just maybe, seeing the improvement in your child and the love you instill in him for his favorite subjects is enough. This is also a better situation for your child. There is a great advantage for your child to have social interaction with his friend and classmate every day. They can have fun, learn from each other, help each other, and feel like they are not alone during the school day. If a child struggles one day and the next with another or the same topic, it shows that it is okay to ask questions and that it is human to have both strengths and weaknesses. By giving these two children your time, you will also teach them another valuable life lesson. Little Jimmy will remember this year and think highly of his mother and hopefully pass that lesson on when he gets the chance. Maybe you help a colleague in high school or college. Your friend’s son, perhaps, will fondly remember this moment. In normal and extraordinary times, it is often better to surrender yourself without expecting anything in return. The actual lesson plan for all of you may not be in the curriculum. The Moneyist: My boyfriend, 9 years younger than me, doesn’t want to move out of my house if I die before him. My grown children are not having fun. Hi, MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private Facebook FB group, -0.15%, where we seek answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns.