JapaneseSchool6074472865_8df966aeeb_mMy husband is Japanese, and his entire family lives in Japan.  They don’t speak any English.

My son attended Japanese school from age 3 to 6, and I loved watching him learn the language.  Even more rewarding was listening to him actually have a conversation with his grandma and grandpa in Japan.

We planned on all three of our children attending Japanese school, even though it would require a definite financial sacrifice.

Let’s be real, a HUGE financial sacrifice.

Yes, they can learn some Japanese from their dad, but he is only with them for about 2 hours during the week days and then for longer times on the weekend.   Developing a full Japanese vocabulary is difficult at best.  Besides, Japanese school is also a Montessori school, and it provides an excellent educational foundation.  Our son continues to be a strong student, and we attribute that to the foundation he received at Japanese school.

This year, our middle child was able to attend Japanese school for 6 months before we had to pull her out in large part because of my health issues.  Now that I am doing better, we are considering sending her again in the fall.  The glitch?  Our youngest daughter will be 3 in the spring, and she will also be able to go to Japanese school.

Having two kids attend at the same time will cost us more per month than our monthly rent.

The only way I could see it possible happening was if we paid off ALL our debt, and at $47k, that is just not going to happen quickly.

I was having an e-mail discussion with Financial Samurai, and he mentioned that he always saves cash for EVERYTHING he buys.  That comment, combined with the success of our recent flash savings challenge, gave me an ah-ha moment.

We can have both girls go to Japanese school in the fall IF we save $7,000 first to pay the $700 we are short each month.  $7,000 will give us enough to make up the difference we are short every month for exactly one year.

Japanese school is a catch 22.  We can’t afford for the girls to go until I make more money freelancing, but I can’t make more money freelancing until the girls are in school in the morning.

By having a $7,000 cushion, I would be giving myself an entire year to ramp up my income to be able to afford both girls attending Japanese school for the second year.  If I can do that, then there isn’t a problem.  If I can’t, than our middle child will attend kindergarten at my son’s school where tuition is lower, and our youngest will attend Japanese school for one more year.

What about the Debt?

Part of me thinks that we shouldn’t even think about Japanese school while we have debt, but the simple fact is that Japanese school only goes up through kindergarten.  My girls are growing up, and soon the window to attend Japanese school will closed.  If we want them to attend, it has to be soon.

If my income increases as I expect it to, we’ll have more money to put on debt.

How We Will Make It Happen

$7,000 is a lot of money to raise before August.  However, we actually need more than that.  I plan to enroll all three kids in Japanese summer school, so I need to save an additional $3,300 for summer school (some of our flexible spending money will go for the rest).  All told, we need to raise $10,300, which is a bit of a mind blowing number.

The good news is that beginning in mid-June, all three kids will be in school through noon, so I will have more time to work on my writing and hopefully increase my income.

Until then, we plan to employ many of the strategies we used for the flash savings challenge–sell stuff, do extra work, and perhaps my  husband will start donating plasma.

This is our big, hairy, audacious goal for 2013.  We will send the kids to summer school, but if we don’t save the additional $7,000, the girls won’t go to school until it is saved.

What do you think?  Are we insane?

Photo courtesy of USAG-Humphreys via Flickr.com
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