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Take care of your family

May 04, 2018

Are summer workshops worth it?

The big question is - are these workshops worth our money?

Summer is here! Most likely, you are on a lookout for activities to get your kids busy and active since school is out. The most popular classes would include music, sports, theater, dance, or visual arts. Other parents opt for a more academic approach with math, robotics, programming, film, video editing, or engineering.

No matter the chosen discipline, one thing remains true: summer workshops require hefty sums. Ongoing rates for these seasonal lessons range between Php 3,000 to Php 15,000, with class hours usually running from an hour and a half or two per session.

The big question is - are these workshops worth our money?

As homeschoolers and firm believers in investing for the future, my husband and I prefer to train our children in skills that will be useful for a lifetime. Their interests and talents are our basis to what workshops we will enroll them in. For example, our eldest is already in musical theater and sees himself doing it for the rest of his life. That is why we think it is important for him to get training in dancing, acting, and singing.

Aside from their personal preference, here are 3 other factors that we consider before we enroll our kids to a workshop:

1. Practicality

We gauge what we’re willing to spend on based on necessity.

When our kids were younger, we put them in activities where they were able to meet and play with other children. Instead of workshops, we organized playgroups and art meets with other families. As they got older, we started looking for schools that can help develop their interests and abilities.

For example, while looking for an art class for our homeschoolers, we found a painting class that charges PHP 5,500 a month at a nearby art gallery. We have three kids who needed to earn grades for their art subject, so it would cost us PHP 16,500. None of our brood was going to pursue painting as a profession. After mulling it over, we signed up for an online art class instead: a digital course by Sharon Hofer that costs us PHP 1,500 a month for the whole family.

By being practical, we achieved the same goal at a much lower cost. We saved ourselves the hassle of commuting from one place to another. Best of all, we were able to bond as a family.


2. Expertise

If my child is very passionate and interested on a particular subject, I want her to be trained by none other but an expert. What you should look for is a class taught by someone who not only knows what s/he is teaching like the back of his/her hand, but can also guide your child as she works her way up the industry ladder.

Indeed, there is value on WHO is teaching your child, like a mentor who can provide both skills and opportunities.

3. Budget

In our experience, it is NEVER advisable to pay for workshops that are beyond our means.

It is good if you can enroll your child for classes that would truly let her explore her skills and talents, without any financial constraints. Otherwise, you need to figure out a working budget that fits available resources.

This goes even when you are looking at long-term training for your child. Learning must be consistent and continuous. It would be a shame to cut it short because you have to answer for loans and other obligations.

With the three factors discussed above, can you say that these summer workshops are truly worth your money?

Personally, the value of a workshop goes beyond the costs. You can feel its value the most when you look at the quality of learning that your child will gain from the experience.

For example, swimming is a valuable and necessary skill to have. So paying Php 4,000 for 10 sessions to ensure that your kids would know what to do in case they fall into deep waters has a good ROI (return of investment). Between an inexperienced voice teacher charging Php 3,500 and a clasically-trained professional instructor worth Php 7,000, I would choose the latter.

It all goes down to the basics: their needs AND your family’s budget. If it is a priority, then you should be able to find a way to allocate a portion of your income to these trainings.

And when should you hold back on spending money on workshops? Two summers ago, my children begged off from any lessons so they can really take a break. I took it as a hint not to spend on any workshops because I knew what they wanted to do.

In the end, I recommend to include your kids in deciding what workshops to send them while also giving guidance on how to maximize these opportunities.

 

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