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How Our Son Paid For His High School Education

Greg is a retired manager having worked in his country for over 40 years. He and his wife are new residents living in the Tagaytay area.

The Growing Up years

When Kevin, our son, first entered elementary school at the age of 6 or 7, I thought of an original motivational system so that he could get the toys he was being introduced to while getting good grades in class. I guess I was like all the fathers of my age with growing sons, I was proud of him, and I wanted to get him all the toys that his little heart wanted and that I never had as a kid. I remember walking down the shopping malls, holding his boyish little hand and stopping by the toy stores. Watching him enjoy toy heaven, I resolved I wouldn't spoil him like many of the fathers did and end up with a spoiled brat always asking Daddy for a handout. I decided to teach him the value of money and how to earn it,

The system consisted of rewarding him for obtaining excellent grades in school and posting these grades next to the accompanying monetary rewards on a sheet of paper which I left in my study. I did not reward him if he got average scores nor did I punish him for failing grades, only when he received a perfect grade of 100% did he earn something. The system worked well in grade school as the teachers were remarkably easy in giving a's . At the end of a semester, I would add up Kevin's earnings and show it to him. He wasn't allowed to spend all the money he earned, I made sure that the money I gave him was deposited in his savings account but he was allowed to take out some of the funds for a toy or game that he wanted. I really enjoyed shopping in the stores with Kevin, as I would watch him carefully look at the prices of the various toys before making a decision on which toy he would buy. The guy was counting his available funds and shopping like a frugal buyer! I also made it a point to tell him when a toy was ridiculously expensive or when his budget couldn't pay for what he had in mind. I could almost hear the gears whirring in his brain as he planned on the next model plane or tank he would buy.

A  plastic airplane from WWII, one of Kevin's favorites toys

A plastic airplane from WWII, one of Kevin's favorites toys

The High School Years

By the time Kevin entered junior high school, I knew the rewards system needed modifications and some revamping of the rules and objectives. The toys were being replaced by more expensive computers and video games, while high school teachers was not as easy or friendly academically to our son.Thankfully, Kevin was not as interested in toys anymore as his interests were more on computer games and socializing with his friends.

As he got older and the toys became more expensive, I increased the rewards for a perfect grade from 100 pesos to 500 pesos ( about 2 dollars to 10 dollars). I never gave Kevin all the cash,but kept feeding it into his bank account.

There were also many different types of tests with varying grading weights such as 10 minute quizzes, whole day exams and semester exams. There were also grades for different types of homework like school papers, group projects and presentations. I remember devising a more complicated set of weights for grades depending on the type of test given as well as whether the grade was an 100 - 97%, 96% - 93% or 92-90%. An exam had a weight of 5 while a quiz weighed 1. Homework weighed a factor of 2 while group projects were a 3 or 4. Each semester, my earnings calculations looked more like complex algebraic equations while the grades sheet grew longer. Kevin's earnings were growing bigger, and I knew I had to do something about it.

At the beginning of Kevin's first year of High School, I took him with me to pay for his school year at the School Registrar's office. I showed him the cost of his tuition, which was posted for all the parents to see on a nearby wall. I showed him the bill from the Registrar, and I then I presented him with his savings passbook which was more than enough to cover his tuition. I told him that we were planning on using his earnings to pay for his high school tuition and that I wanted him to remember what it was like to pay for his tuition so that no one could ever say that he needed me to pay for his schooling. I remember that he gave me a look, one that I couldn't quite fathom at that time.

One of Kevin's Toy Soldiers

One of Kevin's Toy Soldiers

The Student Has Become The Master

I thought nothing more about that day at the School Registration Office except that Kevin seemed to be more serious about his high school classes. And then one day during his senior year, in comes our son to us complaining about one of his teachers who wanted to charge the whole class for using the school copier, "why did she want each student to pay 2 pesos (40 cents) for using the copier, when I already knew that the tuition I paid for, covered this expense!" he exclaimed. I was dumbfounded but I smiled secretly.

"Maybe I'm doing the right thing, after all," I felt like saying to no one in particular.

© 2018 Gregory Floro

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