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May 26, 2009

My Child of the Recession

Recession I missed the SVMoms conference call with Katie_Couric on how the recession is affecting children in the U.S. I abhor hearing about children who are suffering due to the financial misfortunes of their parents. I was grateful that my family had remained unscathed by the recession. It was not until a day after the conference call that I realized that my family had been hit.

You see for the most part my children haven’t noticed a change in their lives since the recession hit. We eat the same meals, we live in the same house, and our lives are the same as before. But, I know different.

My husband did not get a cost-of-living raise this year. He’s a teacher in one of the wealthiest counties in the state of Maryland, and perhaps the country, but the board of education and his teachers’ union agreed not to give teachers a raise. We are hit hard as we are a one-income family. Yes, I write/blog/twitter/Facebook/social network, but my writing does not bring very much income to the family. So, my husband’s salary pays for everything – mortgage, car payment, utilities, HOA, not to mention the myriad of children’s sports and activities.

This brings me to this past January, when my oldest daughter scored very well on the SAT. She was chosen to take the SAT as part of the entry process for inclusion in the Johns Hopkins University Council_for_Talented_Youth. The CTY program serves more than 10,000 students (grades 2 through 12) from all 50 states and overseas each year. Summer camps are offered at colleges throughout the region, including my alma mater, Franklin_&_Marshall_College. CTY students often score above the mean for college-bound high school seniors on the SAT.


To say that my husband and I were thrilled at our daughter’s achievement would be an understatement. I heaped praise on my daughter for the achievement of being nominated and for her acceptance into the program.


Our enthusiasm was going strong until the brochure for Council for Talented Youth summer programs came in the mail. I was crestfallen when I saw that the cost for a three-week camp session at one of the CTY sites is $3,360 per student. This figure astounded me. We cannot afford to send her to camp. Financial aid is not an option.


It broke my heart to have to tell my daughter that I would not be able to send her to one of these camps. She would thrive in the learning environment provided by the camps. Course offerings range from “Crafting the Essay” to “Mathematical Logic” to “Politics in the Middle East” to “Probability and Game Theory” to “Beginning Ancient Greek” and the list goes on. She would love all courses.

My daughter showed a surprising degree of maturity in her reaction to not getting to go to one of the CTY camps. There were no tantrums, sulking, or moodiness. She understands that right now we cannot afford to send her to camp. Maybe next year?


This is an original post to DC Metro Moms Blog. Jill blogs at Musings_from_Me on parenting a kid, a preteen, and a teen.



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