Some years ago, we shared a town and school district with the in-laws. We both had young children and were facing the prospect of placing them in a not-so-great school district. While the town was lovely, the fact was that the school district was one of the worst in the state, due to some poor management, overcrowding, and a strange bussing policy that retained the option of pulling our elementary students to distant schools in areas with high crime rates.
In addition to our related families, there was another family we knew, with young children, and they lived down the block. Three families faced with three different decisions that had three different financial outcomes.
Our family decided to pour everything into a fixer-upper home in an award-winning school district. While the house was on the edge of affordability for us, the lower taxes for more house helped, as did access to a number of free parks and wonderful sponsored activities. The fact that we had three kids but two bedrooms also helped to make the decision to move. We also gained a community we love.
Our relatives decided instead that they would allow their kids to remain in the public school during the early years and then invest money for private schooling, choosing to take on extra jobs to afford the fees. They retain the home and the community they love and were closely invested in, while addressing the issue of a poor public school.
Our friends made the decision to homeschool. They had the added expense of homeschool materials and curriculum, without the need to move (although they eventually did so) or make allowances for private school tuition.
Another option available today, which was not so widely known then is distance learning. This is public school, free from a tuition, in which the learning takes place at home through the use of the internet and the phone. The curriculum is often top-of-the-line and offers a lot of individualized, although virtual attention.