Charter schools are public schools of choice, basically. We, just in the last five years I would say, have a lot of them here. Mostly because we really needed those options.
I would never argue that they fix the entire system of schooling, but they are a super important piece of a well-operated one.
If you're considering going that route, you're most likely going to be buying some pretty costly uniforms this summer.
There are good reasons for that, which I have to remind myself of as I pay nearly fifty dollars for a shirt...
Uniforms create belonging. They say you are a part of something larger.
And since real uniformity does mean an equal playing field, you can argue that it gives every child in attendance the chance to feel like they are included, which is awesome.
Also, there are zero problems choosing what to wear. There are some problems finding the specific uniform pieces sometimes, but nobody is going to be upset that their dress doesn't match their socks.
There's some evidence it improves scores, but I think there might be some confounding factors there. It didn't lower them, though, so there is that.
In any case, all of our local charter and prep schools require their own brand of uniforms. I bet there are exceptions, but this seems to be the rule here.
Those can get pricey, especially if you are enrolling more than one child.
The sticker shock might scare you a bit, but don't let it put you off getting your child into a good educational fit. I'm going to share with you how we tackle back-to-school outfits charter style...
1. Remember, you basically need one entire outfit to start with along with the extras (your socks, shoes, belts can often be bought at cheaper places, always ask what must be supplier bought). It might be mean you need a very strict laundry schedule, but it's doable. These uniforms are guaranteed to last the year at least, some beyond that, and these are hardy outfits that can take the extra washing machine cycles.
2. Add more uniform pieces as the year goes on. That's how we are building our closets. For example, each child needs school insignia blazers in the winter, and those run with a high price tag, but since you don't need them all at once, it can be spaced out. Treat all of it like that. Buy your extra shirt, pants, and skirts in intervals so you don't get hit all at once with a higher cost.
3. Sign up for your school's uniform suppliers website notifications. You'll get notified of coupons and sales that way, and we've saved up to 20% off with site coupons.
4. Buy the school spirit shirt. Most schools offer to let the kids wear it one designated day a week. There's another uniform spare for you right there.
5. Keep in mind that the first year trying to get your children into uniforms is the toughest financially. Next year, you'll have extra clothing that can be carried over (I'm telling you, they are made really well-and I have some serious rough and tumble kids). It won't always have this high of a cost.
6. Many schools have resales and donated uniforms. Ask the staff over the summer how that works for your local school. It's a way to get cheaper uniforms and you can resale the pieces your kids have outgrown to someone who needs them.
Back-to-school shopping I think is always one of those times where you feel like money is flying out of your wallet whether your children attend a public, private, charter, or homeschool. And, it kind of is.
But, as far as the uniforms go, I can tell you I feel like the expense is worth it.