After-School: Don’t Go Broke, Have Kids Learn Chess

Kids learning chess at school

Kids learning chess at school

It’s back to school time, and soon we’ll all be inundated with after-school offerings: soccer, dance lessons, lego club, Mandarin lessons, art club…and the list goes on.

I am very fond of programs that happen right at school. No driving, no hassle. The kids go straight from their classrooms to the activity, which means I get an extra hour or two in my day. Bring on the brochures!

But wait, what was that? If I’m not going blind, I swear I just read that the tuition for art club is $20 per session per kid. Yikes! Did they resurrect Divinci to teach? Oh, and Mandarin lessons are $25 per one-hour session per kid. Let’s do the math. Two kids x two activities = $90 per week, or $3600 per school year. 6 years of after-school elementary school programs add up to $21,600 for a two-child family.

This is stupid. When did after school get so expensive, and wouldn’t that money be better served in the kids college fund? And while we are on the topic of college, art and foreign language aren’t going to get any of our kids into Harvard. Chess clubs, however, are populated with kids that frequently get accepted into the Ivy’s. But that’s another article for another day.

There is a simple alternative to all this kid-activity money madness. Kids, learn chess.

Without diving into a formal cost-benefit analysis, chess is cheap. And the rewards of learning are nearly infinite. Having kids learn chess doesn’t require transporting your little angel to any location other than your own school, or your own house.

The program I ran at my kids school has 25% of the student body staying after school, once every week, for a cost than is less than school-provided childcare. Yes you read that correctly. It is cheaper for kids to learn chess after school than go to childcare. Sometimes it’s even free.

Part 2 of this article is coming soon, where I will tell you exactly how to start a kids chess program right at your school.

About Jill

Jill Keto is the co-founder of, published author, and engineer chick. You can find her on and Twitter. Jill has provided over 1000 chess kids after-school programs and tournaments.
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