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  1. #21
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    My advice? Skip the synchro. It's expensive, with no ways to cut costs (other than fundraising), and it's something she can always do later if she develops strong skating skills now. Lots of colleges have teams and if she's still interested she can do it then - it's a great way to make friends, stay involved in skating, represent your school, and be a part of a team. If she puts the work in on her skating skills now, she'll have a lot better chance of making a team in the future than if she does synchro now but has to skimp on the rest of skating because of the expense of synchro.

    Yes, skating is incredibly expensive. But it's also incredibly wonderful and has been a truly irreplaceable part of my life. I learned more on the ice than anywhere else, and I use the (life) skills I learned in skating every day, even if I'm not competing or training anymore. At the end of the day, it was never the glamor of the glitter that were why I loved it (though those things are nice); it was the indescribable and uniquely wonderful way it made me feel. I still haven't found anything quite like it. So if she really loves it, let her skate, if you can.

    A few years ago, Braden Overett wrote a piece about his process of retiring. I think he did a great job of expressing some of the invaluable things one can learn from skating:

    While everyone's experience is different, the characteristics we each share are the real assets to growing up as a competitive skater. Just to survive in the sport, we've had to work through days that seemed impossible. We've had to communicate one-on-one with adults. We've learned the meaning of hard work and dedication, and suffered from lackluster efforts. We understand why to pay meticulous attention to detail, and how much small mistakes can matter. We've experienced both the benefits and the pitfalls of being the center of attention. We know how to set goals, push boundaries, manage our attitudes, and follow through on commitments. We have a sense of independence and are capable of making ourselves grow... as students, as employees, and as people.

  2. #22

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    Skating is one of those things that sucks people in because they enjoy it, then gradually skaters and parent discover how expensive it can be. Bit like drugs really, except it is a much healthier option.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  3. #23

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    I agree with the others that she needs to make a choice. If you can't afford synchro, you can't afford synchro, end of story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling a child that you can't afford it -and it's not like she's a five year old that won't understand, she's more than old enough to grasp the concept of money.

    Re-reading your first few posts, it sounds like your daughter is one of those girls who thinks it will be like Ice Princess, where triple Lutzes are achieved with no effort. She may be in for a big shock when it starts getting really difficult. You don't mention what level she's at, but the Axel is usually a pretty big stumbling block for a lot of kids. I've seen kids whine and quit because it's "too hard" there.

    You say she is attracted to the glamour. I wonder how much she really knows about the sport if she thinks that's where it's at. Yes, dressing up in pretty dresses is fun, but your description about her refusal to do anything about off-ice makes me think that she considers it easy and she won't have to put in effort to become good.

  4. #24
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    The dressing up in pretty dresses doesn't happen that often either. Not more than 4 times a year for ISI typically and less than 10 for USFS (at about $250+ each, we don't do more than 5 total-but we do know girls who do one every 3 weeks beginning in the spring). The more comps (esp at lower levels), the less time working on new skills with a coach.

  5. #25
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    overedge -- so far my daughter seems fine. I guess compared to many of the people we know she is in no way over-scheduled. She is only doing music and skating at this point although as she gets older she may develop a real interest and want to commit entirely to that.

  6. #26
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    So one chooses which sessions to contract for and pays in advance and whether it is used or not it's paid for, if I understand correctly.

    Thanks!

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by treesprite View Post
    Just pay for what you think is reasonable. Then when she is old enough to be making money, if she really wants to do more, she can pay the rest herself. I'm not being sarcastic or anything, believe me. My parents paid for group lessons, and when it came time for the new indoor rink and private lessons, they would have nothing to do with it because they had 5 children. So at 15yo I paid for 2 private lessons a week, ice time, skates, attire, transportation (2.75 hrs on the bus each way!), everything, with money I earned myself (I did not get any allowance) from babysitting, selling my own designed/sewn skating skirts, and a PT fabric store job (when old enough to have one). I REALLY wanted to skate, and any kid who is truly serious will go as far as I did.

    Wow! That is great. Thanks tons for the ideas, especially about making costumes and working in the fabric store. Kill several birds with one stone -- learn a skill, make money, and develop some responsibility.

  8. #28
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    Debbie S -- thanks for the extensive thoughts. I grew up working on a farm and my wife is from a rather poor family. We both are very frugal having had little in the past. My daughter is the strange one out in that, despite our best efforts at trying to teach her financial responsibility, she has no concept at all of money. She is constantly at $0.00 in her 'house' bank account and there seems to not be a day that goes by without her asking for at least one thing (latest needs are phone and a name-brand sweater yesterday). Her complete and total inability to learn anything about money management so far terrifies me.

    My son who is 9 has learned the lessons already and has saved a bundle and seems to make very astute decisions with regards to his money. Seems most of the other posters have children and sometimes have wondered (like I do) if this child is really ours.

    As for the glamor of skating, she likes to be the center of attention all the time and in skating she seems to really love that everyone's eyes are on just the skater who is wearing beautiful costumes and doing this lovely skating. She does desperately need a reality check but sometimes she seems oblivious to reality.

    I will have to copy many of these ideas to a single document so I can refer back to them easily. The thoughts are very much appreciated. Trying to have her do some of what she would like without breaking the bank is my goal.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Wow! That is great. Thanks tons for the ideas, especially about making costumes and working in the fabric store. Kill several birds with one stone -- learn a skill, make money, and develop some responsibility.
    Note: this only works if you can actually do it. For a lot of people, in the long run it is much cheaper to just buy a dress rather than waste hundreds or thousands on fabric, stones, and in hours of time wasted trying to learn to sew the appropriate fabrics (and if you need four-way stretch material you'll need access to/purchase of the heavy sewing machine that can deal with it. That's a few hundred right there.) Plus at the moment, don't count on a teen getting a job in a fabric store--the economy is getting worse, not better, and those jobs are generally given to people who can ALREADY sew or craft, as they have to help customers. (And remember, the reason that skating clothes are expensive is in part the materials aren't cheap. Actually almost no fabric is cheap these days.) Some people can sew. Some people can manage quilting or yarncraft but will never be especially competent at making something that has to fit on a human body. You will burn through a lot of money getting frustrated in the process.

    I'm not quite sure why musical instruments are more than a one-time expense. If you're renting the violin, buy a decent student one instead and be done with it. If she intends to keep playing she'll need a decent instrument eventually, but a good one that costs a bit more now means not having to replace a cheap one down the road. LESSONS cost, but if that's an issue, drop one or the other. If the intent is she be a music performance major, drop the other activities now and focus on that, which won't be cheap, but if she's actually SERIOUS about it, needs to be done. (The only kid from my school who went pro, and is an established 'name' soloist in the classical world now, even quit public school when we were in ninth or tenth grade to go to Interlochen instead so he could be ready to audition for Juliard. Yes, he got in.)

    If synchro adds too much to the cost, say no with no discussion on the point. I rode and rated shows were too expensive, so I knew not even to ask about doing them. NOTHING except skates and blades (where badly-made ones can cause injury) needs to be name-brand fashionable. I use my dad's old ski-boot bag for my skates. She doesn't need expensive special practice clothes--sale racks at dance stores and sporting goods stores will do, ditto t-shirts and camis from Wal-Mart. My favorite "skating" pants are actually those skin-tight winter running pants that I got at Dick's Sporting Goods. And if she wants to do expensive activities, no designer street clothes, no unnecessary electronic toys, spell out what sorts of things like vacations or meals out will get cut down or eliminated to cover it. She'll either want to accept the sacrifices or she'll quit. Kids should know pricey choices have consequences (and that does have the added benefit of teaching her fashion and pricey toys are not important or relevant.)

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Wow! That is great. Thanks tons for the ideas, especially about making costumes and working in the fabric store. Kill several birds with one stone -- learn a skill, make money, and develop some responsibility.
    Note: this only works if you can actually do it. For a lot of people, in the long run it is much cheaper to just buy a dress rather than waste hundreds or thousands on fabric, stones, and in hours of time wasted trying to learn to sew the appropriate fabrics (and if you need four-way stretch material you'll need access to/purchase of the heavy sewing machine that can deal with it. That's a few hundred right there.) Plus at the moment, don't count on a teen getting a job in a fabric store--the economy is getting worse, not better, and those jobs are generally given to people who can ALREADY sew or craft, as they have to help customers. (And remember, the reason that skating clothes are expensive is in part the materials aren't cheap. Actually almost no fabric is cheap these days.) Some people can sew. Some people can manage quilting or yarncraft but will never be especially competent at making something that has to fit on a human body. You will burn through a lot of money getting frustrated in the process.

    I'm not quite sure why musical instruments are more than a one-time expense. If you're renting the violin, buy a decent student one instead and be done with it. If she intends to keep playing she'll need a decent instrument eventually, but a good one that costs a bit more now means not having to replace a cheap one down the road. LESSONS cost, but if that's an issue, drop one or the other. If the intent is she be a music performance major, drop the other activities now and focus on that, which won't be cheap, but if she's actually SERIOUS about it, needs to be done. (The only kid from my school who went pro, and is an established 'name' soloist in the classical world now, even quit public school when we were in ninth or tenth grade to go to Interlochen instead so he could be ready to audition for Juliard. Yes, he got in.)

    If synchro adds too much to the cost, say no with no discussion on the point. I rode and rated shows were too expensive, so I knew not even to ask about doing them. NOTHING except skates and blades (where badly-made ones can cause injury) needs to be name-brand fashionable. I use my dad's old ski-boot bag for my skates. She doesn't need expensive special practice clothes--sale racks at dance stores and sporting goods stores will do, ditto t-shirts and camis from Wal-Mart. My favorite "skating" pants are actually those skin-tight winter running pants that I got at Dick's Sporting Goods. And if she wants to do expensive activities, no designer street clothes, no unnecessary electronic toys, spell out what sorts of things like vacations or meals out will get cut down or eliminated to cover it. She'll either want to accept the sacrifices or she'll quit. Kids should know pricey choices have consequences (and that does have the added benefit of teaching her fashion and pricey toys are not important or relevant.)

  11. #31
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    You and your daughter are going to be influenced by the rink culture. if everyone skates singles and has three lessons a week with StarCoach and a solo and also skates on the synchro team, and they're all bff's, it's hard to say no. We went with a coach who didn't push synchro, who gave semi and group lessons and also skated seasonally. -->outcast section of the viewing room. But if I had to give advice, I'd say do the contract ice for a while but with a goal in mind, like tests attempted. Synchro can wait.

  12. #32
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    It's great that your daughter can handle all the different activities, but still, it's good to be prepared for the inevitable conflicts. When my daughter was doing skating, dance, piano and violin, she was able to manage the regular lessons but the problems arose with the extra activities. She frequently missed lessons to appear in performances. One year, she had to choose between her strings school's end-of-year concert and her dance studio's end-of-year performance which occurred on the same day. The teachers were generally understanding, but I felt it was unfair to them and the other students, and we weren't getting our money's worth if she was continually missing lessons and passing up performance opportunities. That was the main reason she eventually quit skating and then dance.

    If your daughter wants to do all these activities (which is entirely possible if she's organized and focussed), it would be a good idea to decide how they rank in importance, so you'll know how to deal with conflicts and warn the instructors ahead of time. For example, we made it clear to my daughter's piano teacher that piano is her second instrument, and she would not be able to practice or perform as much as the teacher's other students. Fortunately, the teacher was fine with that and we've been with her six years. Her expectations are in line with what my daughter can commit. As long as your daughter and her instructors are realistic about what she can manage schedule-wise, then it's not a problem to do multiple activities. Good luck to you!

  13. #33
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    Hi Miss Karne -- I would almost be willing to pay any amount of money if the skating could teach her some persistence and stick-to-it-ness. Maybe because things have typically come easy to her she tends to whine when she actually has to exert herself. She is doing her homework right now and whining about having to do it. She says she does not like math so I told her I don't like paying for skating for someone who makes it a struggle to take care of their responsibilities.

  14. #34
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    [QUOTE=danceronice;3800813
    I'm not quite sure why musical instruments are more than a one-time expense. If you're renting the violin, buy a decent student one instead and be done with it. If she intends to keep playing she'll need a decent instrument eventually, but a good one that costs a bit more now means not having to replace a cheap one down the road. LESSONS cost, but if that's an issue, drop one or the other. If the intent is she be a music performance major, drop the other activities now and focus on that, which won't be cheap, but if she's actually SERIOUS about it, needs to be done. (The only kid from my school who went pro, and is an established 'name' soloist in the classical world now, even quit public school when we were in ninth or tenth grade to go to Interlochen instead so he could be ready to audition for Juliard. Yes, he got in.)

    If synchro adds too much to the cost, say no with no discussion on the point. I rode and rated shows were too expensive, so I knew not even to ask about doing them. NOTHING except skates and blades (where badly-made ones can cause injury) needs to be name-brand fashionable. I use my dad's old ski-boot bag for my skates. She doesn't need expensive special practice clothes--sale racks at dance stores and sporting goods stores will do, ditto t-shirts and camis from Wal-Mart. My favorite "skating" pants are actually those skin-tight winter running pants that I got at Dick's Sporting Goods. And if she wants to do expensive activities, no designer street clothes, no unnecessary electronic toys, spell out what sorts of things like vacations or meals out will get cut down or eliminated to cover it. She'll either want to accept the sacrifices or she'll quit. Kids should know pricey choices have consequences (and that does have the added benefit of teaching her fashion and pricey toys are not important or relevant.)[/QUOTE]

    Last spring when my daughter finally got to a full-sized violin we bought a good instrument for her. Now it's weekly lessons, orchestra costs 3x per year and then the orchestra has a fall and spring fund raiser plus they have several concerts per year where we are 'assigned' tickets to sell. We even have to pay for tickets for concerts ($12 per person) when she plays. While not as much as skating some of the other parents have been showing frustration at the recurrent requests for more and more funds.

    As for the tradeoff between skating and other things I hate to say that if she skates she cannot have an iPhone, designer clothes, etc because of any implication that she would get all those things if she is not skating or skating less. I don't want to get tot he point of her arguing that if she only has one 30 minute lesson per week instead of two then she should be able to get an iPhone. I'll have to contemplate a way of discussing that.

    It was much easier when I was a kid -- the kids of neighbor farmer were the Andreesons (Marc Andresson is an internet billionaire now and was one of the writes of the first web browser). They wanted computer games and the dad told them no way. If they wanted computer games they would have to make them on their own.

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    minx -- Thanks for the comments. Yes, the peer pressure if that's what it's called in this case, is on top of everything else. I dropped the skate club manager a note to inquire about details for the contract ice costs. I guess the best way is going to say we will spend $x per year on skating and then the question will be how that will be most effectively spent. Not the first time we set a budget for something.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post

    As for the glamor of skating, she likes to be the center of attention all the time and in skating she seems to really love that everyone's eyes are on just the skater who is wearing beautiful costumes and doing this lovely skating.
    You might want to point out to her that in synchro she will be sharing the ice with 10-20 other skaters dressed identically to her, and doing the same moves. Synchro is not the sport for anyone who wants to be the center of attention.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Hi Miss Karne -- I would almost be willing to pay any amount of money if the skating could teach her some persistence and stick-to-it-ness. Maybe because things have typically come easy to her she tends to whine when she actually has to exert herself. She is doing her homework right now and whining about having to do it. She says she does not like math so I told her I don't like paying for skating for someone who makes it a struggle to take care of their responsibilities.
    This may in fact be the case if she does, in fact, really love skating. I was similar to your daughter at her age. I wanted to start skating at 15 years old after seeing on TV. Really, to this day, I have no idea why I wanted to start since the couple times I'd been skating I was awful at it. It was probably the best thing that's ever happened to me. Almost 20 years later, I'm still skating and competing. It's taught me invaluable life lessons and brought me so much happiness. I've met my very best friends from skating. I hope your daughter finds the same love of it that I did.

    That said, my parents paid for my first set of 6 week group lessons and that was IT. Skating is the reason I don't have a lot of money (and I am not complaining when I say this, it is what it is) There is no reason your daughter can't work and help pay for her lessons, skates, ice time, etc. But if she really loves it and works hard at it, if you can afford it, don't put the entire financial burden on her. My parents could have afforded the little skating I wanted to do when I was young, but they chose not to support me, and they weren't very emotionally supportive either. I knew I was doing it for myself, so it was ok, but it still would have been nice to have had support for the one thing in my life I'd found that I loved to do. I wasn't talented at it, but I enjoyed the challenge and the process of skating, and still do.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Hello all -- new skating dad here, I suppose. My daughter, who is 12, has been taking group skating lessons along with a practice session once a week and then going to open skating for a couple of years. She is on the cusp of moving on to what I guess they call 'contract ice' and a coach. The expenses before were not cheap but pretty reasonable. These new expenses are astronomical. The coach, for a 30 minute lesson per week, plus contract ice is close to $300 per month plus there are costumes, skates, etc etc. In addition, she wants to skate in the synchronized skating team which is another $120 per month plus $805 for 'competition costs'. There is no way I can or will pay close to $7000 per year for her to do these things. We would have to sacrifice everything else from family vacations to saving for college and our retirement. We have a son who is 9 and he plays soccer which costs maybe $300 for the entire year. It's hardly fair to him to be spending 20 times what we spend on his activities on our daughter's activities. How does one set a reasonable budget and prioritize these sorts of things?

    Thanks for any support. I am in a state of financial shock.

    (I re-posted this here from another location at the suggestion of another member of the forum) - sorry for the repeat posting.
    Just my opinion, but have her pick one activity and stick with it. Kids "want" to do all kinds of things but it's up to the parent to lay down boundaries. She wants to skate, ok. But say no to synchro if the family can't afford it.

    I personally spend $300 a month on my own skating, and it's only a couple hours and one lesson a week. It's the sport I have chosen so sacrifices are made in other areas, driving an old car, etc.

    I agree with Stormy as I also started skating "late" as a teenager, and I had to beg my parents for months. If a child wants it more than anything, the money will be well spent.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Hi Miss Karne -- I would almost be willing to pay any amount of money if the skating could teach her some persistence and stick-to-it-ness. Maybe because things have typically come easy to her she tends to whine when she actually has to exert herself. She is doing her homework right now and whining about having to do it. She says she does not like math so I told her I don't like paying for skating for someone who makes it a struggle to take care of their responsibilities.
    This doesn't sound very promising. She will only learn persistence and discipline from skating if she is the kind of person who is susceptible to it in the first place. Whining about her maths homework isn't a good portent, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell View Post
    Debbie S -- thanks for the extensive thoughts. I grew up working on a farm and my wife is from a rather poor family. We both are very frugal having had little in the past. My daughter is the strange one out in that, despite our best efforts at trying to teach her financial responsibility, she has no concept at all of money. She is constantly at $0.00 in her 'house' bank account and there seems to not be a day that goes by without her asking for at least one thing (latest needs are phone and a name-brand sweater yesterday). Her complete and total inability to learn anything about money management so far terrifies me.
    Okay, I have to say it: has it occurred to you that the reason she has no money sense is likely because whatever she wants Mummy and Daddy will get for her?

    There's nothing dirty or wrong about the words, "No, we can't afford it." Or even just the word "No".

    Quote Originally Posted by overedge View Post
    You might want to point out to her that in synchro she will be sharing the ice with 10-20 other skaters dressed identically to her, and doing the same moves. Synchro is not the sport for anyone who wants to be the center of attention.
    This is another good point.

    Perhaps it should also be pointed out to her that not everything needs to be done at once. She can still skate when she's older.

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    Perhaps you could tie her school work/progress somehow, given that she seems to have issues with school work. That way, the cost of the skating is an investment in her education. For example, whatever her GPA is for a marking period, that dictates how many private lessons she can do during the next marking period when her new grades come up. Then you just budget out the lessons so they are spread evenly over the next period, so you can let the coach know in advance rather than going week by week.

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