Early Childhood Education Planning Tips

While no child is alike and each family is unique, a common tread run deep in the heart of every home – the desire of parent is to give their children the BEST education possible and see them grow into their full potential. However, life is full of unplanned surprise and the path to achieving this desire may be a convoluted one. That’s where a sound investment strategy comes in. With flexible planning and a suite of investment options that are available, you may help put your child on the journey to a valuable college degree. Here are a few TIPS that may help kick-start you planning:

1. CREATE A FINANCIAL PLAN WITH AN END IN MIND.

First, make an estimate of the costs that will go into your child’s education. Your cost should take into account inflation over the investment or saving period. With the estimate as a guide, start piecing together your investment plan. There are many education planning option, each with its own risks and benefits, which you may use alone or simultaneously to achieve your goals:

a. AN EDUCATION SAVING PLAN is a good place to start as it aims to offer payout when your child enters college. Some education savings plan may also provide protection benefits to the child and or parent.

b. PROPERTY may provide rental yields and capital appreciation to fund your child’s tertiary education. Rental yields may be used to top up your child’s education fund savings or pay for your child’s tuition. Should the value of your properties appreciate, it may be sold to obtain capital gains. Investing in property has its risks too as the property market may fluctuate in the future and you may not be able to get the selling price you hope for.

c. UNIT TRUSTS and STRUCTURED INVESTMENTS can be added to your investment plan, if they fit your risk profile, time frame and target goal for your child’s education.

d. AN INVESTMENT LINKED PLAN can be tailor-made to grow your wealth with the flexibility to choose the type of funds suitable to your risk profile and goals. Your child may be nominated to receive protection benefits, should the unforeseen happen to you. Usually, you would have the option to make regular contribution or a single contribution in line with your financial standing.

2. SET UP AN AUTOMATIC SYSTEM TO INVEST REGULARLY

Set in motion action plan that makes savings or investing automatic. Many savings, investment linked plan and unit trust funds often regular monthly, quarterly, half-annually or annual contributions option. By investing regularly, you will also benefit from Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) which average out the high and lows of an investment and possibly lower the total average cost per share of the investment.

3. REVIEW THE PLAN

Regular reviews of the plan will help you stay on track with your target goals. Review it at least annually and with every major life change such as new child, career advancement or move to a bigger house. Find ways to top up if it is not up to speed in reaching your investment goal.

4. TOP UP ANNUALLY or WHEN YOU CAN

You could consider increasing the amount of contribution annually or top up your regular contributions when your income increase such as when you receive a bonus or get a pay rise, in order to meet your target earlier or achieve an even large fund.

5. NO DIPPING INTO THE FUNDS

Choose a plan that locks in your funds for your children’s education till they are ready to leave for college. If it is easy to cash out the education fund, chances are you may be tempted to use the money for other emergencies or needs that may crop up in life.

6. ENCOURAGE CONTRIBUTION FROM FAMILY MEMBERS

Encourage grandparents or relatives who shower your children with gifts to consider opting for a cash contribution towards their education fund instead.

7. MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT

Get your children involved in saving for their education. When you are reviewing your investments for their education fund, talk to them about it and make them aware if the challenges and commitment you face in saving for their education. If possible, let them contribute a small portion of their allowance to their education fund too. And before they leave for university help them develop good money management habits to help them live within their means.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Child’s Education

The times are changing, and one area where this becomes very obvious is in child education. The competition and level of pressure are increasing, as more students have to work even harder to get into the relatively few slots in good schools. Kids are expected to plow through larger amounts of homework, and also do well on standardized and non-standardized tests. It’s quite a difficult world, and it’s not hard to understand why so many young people feel that they cannot cope with the stress. This is where having supportive parents can play a major role. And it’s heartwarming to see how many parents are trying to set aside the time and brush up on past subjects so that they can assist their kids. The most important thing here is to have a well thought out child education plan. Here are some key attributes of such a plan.

A Child Education Plan Needs to Be Realistic

Planning for your child’s education needs to start as early as possible, ideally at the earliest stages of the process. As an adult, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many variables that need to come together, to help your child manage. For example, part of keeping things realistic is making sure that there are multiple options when it comes to the potential school of your kid. Too many parents persist in having their child apply to get into only one or two schools. Sometimes, these are the same schools where the parents themselves went. This is not a realistic child education plan at all because the parents are artificially limiting the number of possible schools to get into, thereby increasing the risk that the kid might not be able to get into any of these. Don’t be the parent who has unrealistic expectations and assumes that their kid is smart enough to get into all the schools he or she applies to. Aside from not being a very viable strategy, this also puts tremendous pressure on the youngster.

A Child Education Plan needs to be Flexible

There may be situations where your kid has trouble with a subject or two. That’s just normal. Again, it’s important not to have unrealistic expectations of what your child can do. Now, some parents try to help their kids by going over the lessons where the child is struggling. This is a good first thing to try, but at the same time, the parents have to keep in mind that they may not be the best people to tutor their kid. So this is where the flexibility comes in. If things are not going well when the parents are doing the tutoring, consider bringing in a private tutor temporarily, to see if this improves things. Or perhaps an older sibling might do a better job of it. And then, be willing to mix and match strategies with the different subjects. So, one parent might be the best choice for math while the other one does a good job with history while a private tutor may need to be brought in to handle science. Be willing to try different tactics with your child education plan, until you end up with the best possible result.

Deaf Parenting – An Individual Education Plan (IEP) To Effectively Meet Educational Needs

It is important for parents of deaf and other special needs children to understand what an Individual Education Plan is and how to ensure your child’s education needs are being met in his or her IEP.

In this article, I will discuss:

What is an IEP

Give tips for having an effective IEP that meets your child’s educational needs

An IEP is a document that details the special needs services for special needs students. The IEP includes any modifications that are required in the classroom and any additional special programs or services. In the USA an IEP is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). The IEP will address your child’s educational needs, and contain specific, measurable short term and annual goals for each of those needs.

This written statement is developed by your child’s teachers, and is reviewed and agreed to by your child’s special needs education funding organization and you, the parents. The IEP describes the goals the team sets for your child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help your child achieve his or her educational goals.

In our case with our deaf son, Larry, we lived in Marlboro, MA and Larry attended school at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, MA. The town of Marlboro funded the cost of his education. So we dealt with the special needs education supervisor in Marlboro and Larry’s teachers in Framingham.

The IEP meeting is usually attended by the child’s classroom teacher, the child’s department supervisor, the funding special needs education supervisor and the parents.

The IEP document can be very daunting lots of pages with a lot of official sounding documentation.

Here are tips based on our experience on ensuring your child has an effective IEP that meets his or her educational needs:

Tip#1: You as parents need to be proactive and take an active role in developing the goals for your child’s IEP. You need to have regular interactions with your child’s teachers and school supervisors to understand what your child is being taught, how your child is progressing and what your child will be taught next. This will help you in 2 ways: firstly you will be able to understand what is being stated in your child’s IEP and you can make sure which educational needs will receive the most attention. Secondly your child’s teacher will realize that you are interested in your child’s education and they will make extra efforts on behalf of your child. I firmly believe that it is always good to set high expectations for the people working with your child.

Tip#2: Usually your child’s special needs education funding organization will have meetings a few times a year to discuss their plans etc. Attend as many of these meetings as possible and develop a relationship with the supervisor for your child’s special needs education. This relationship will allow you to discuss and make requests suited to your child’s educational requirements.

Tip#3: We requested a copy of Larry’s IEP 2 days before the IEP meeting so my wife and I could review the IEP. Your child’s teacher is usually very busy developing IEPs so you need to give the teacher early notice that you need the IEP for review. Having a relationship with your child’s teacher and the funding special education supervisor will really help here because you will already know what level of education your child is at and what is the next level of education and services to be addressed in the IEP.

Tip#4: You need to remember that you as parents can bring with you to the IEP meeting others involved with your child that you feel are important for the IEP team to hear, such as, your child’s psychologist or tutor. I would recommend keeping surprises for the IEP team to a minimum and again your working relationship with your child’s education team should help you resolve issues and have agreements on your child’s educational needs before the IEP meeting.

Tip#5: Parents should remember that IEPs can be updated any time during the year. For Larry, he was very good at mathematics and we had the IEP amended during the school year to provide Mathematics tutoring during the summer for the next level of Mathematics. Since we had a good relationship with our town’s special needs education supervisor, this was easily done and Larry had his Mathematics teacher as a tutor during the summer.

Tip#6: Here are a couple of things I wished we would have done differently. In middle school Larry was struggling with Reading and English. He had a literature class where the reading material was Shakespeare. We knew he was struggling with Reading and English and this class was frustrating him a lot. We should have had a discussion with this teacher and the Middle School supervisor and find a solution that met Larry’s needs and have his IEP amended. In addition, we should have requested a tutor for Reading and English where the tutoring was done in American Sign Language

How to Finance Your Child’s Education

These days the moment you give birth to a child, the first thing that strikes your mind is “I need to start saving for my child’s education, life, career, marriage…” and so on. You have already planned the schools to try and every night you are dreaming about the bright future you want for your little one. Every parent knows that education is the first step their child has to take in life to make it big. Not only would it give him a solid economic stand but would also help in developing him as a beautiful and intelligent person in life.

We all know that good education does not come for free. However you can avoid making a huge burden out of it if you plan efficiently.

1. One of the ways you can accumulate funds for your little one’s account is by opening an account in your bank where you keep depositing a certain amount of money every month from your earnings for his/her education.

2. You can also open a fixed deposit account for your child. During his years of higher education, he can utilize the money obtained after maturity of the fixed deposit that you had opened for him or her.

3. Loans are a good option too, but keep it as your last resort as while repaying loans you will definitely end up paying a higher price than your actual budget plan.

4. You can also consider taking up a flexible education saving plan. Savings you do here can be used not only as school fees but also for tuitions and other education related issues.

5. While planning your child’s education make sure you take into account higher studies, possibilities of studying abroad, school trips and excursions that you wouldn’t want your child to miss out on, school uniforms additional project costs etc.

6. It is best to engage a financial advisor. Your personal financial advisor will guide you on how to save your earnings for your child’s future. These days there are a variety of education schemes available as well.

7. There are Child Trust Funds that you could rely on. ISA’s, bonds and saving accounts could be opted for. Equity based savings and purchase and sale of stocks and shares can help you attain funds for your child’s education and growth in career. Try and purchase shares in small quantities which you speculate could give you higher returns in the future.

8. Fix a budget beforehand and plan accordingly. Rest assured your child’s future will be in safe hands once you have saved and planned for his education. Remember every child has the right to proper education and as parents it is your responsibility to guarantee him or her, a secured future.

Gone are the days of depositing coins everyday in your child’s little piggy bank. You must take into account that education these days is expensive yet unavoidable. You must plan your finances accordingly to ensure your child gets the best education money can buy.

Start saving today. Cut down on unnecessary expenditures you both as parents were indulging in for sometime and save for your child, after all it is your child that will act as your main support system in your old age. So he or she needs to be economically stable to be able to take care of you in your old age, illness and times of need. And only a good education can help him get to the level in life where he can assure you and relieve you of your financial worries in your later stage of life and help support you at all times.