The Cost of Homeschooling/Train Museum

July 25, 2007 at 10:27 am (Uncategorized)

One of the fun things we did on our vacation was to visit the California State Railroad Museum.  This is a place that we have been to several times before, but not since #3 was old enough to enjoy it.  My youngest child is in love with all modes of transportation.  He loves cars, buses, bikes, motorcycles, planes, trains and anything else that moves and carries people.  I could hardly wait to see how he liked the Train Museum and he did not disappoint me!  He LOVED it!!! 

Here the kids are in front of a train at the entrance.

This is the kids exiting the Pullman Car.
This is a really fun exhibit because as you walk through the train car it is actually swaying like it is moving and has the sounds of the track being played inside.  There is a gentlemen inside who talked to the kids all about the sleeping car and let them feel the mattresses and see how they pull down from the ceiling.  Very cool!

The Dining Car
This is the (wax) chef and waiter in the Dining Car.

This lady was letting the kids ring the dinner bell that called guest to the tables.
On the tables are samples of the actual menus from the different train lines in the past and the China.  The kids thought it was amazing that the children’s meals were .40 and .50 cents!

This is my 3 year old checking out the coal burning in the engine.
There wasn’t really any coal burning, but they did have it lit up to look like it was burning.

My daughter in the conductors chair of the engine.

My kids with our friend Faye who joined us at the Museum.

Checking out the mail bags on the mail car.

The boys in the mail car.
The boys had a blast together!  My 12 year old remembers going to this museum when he was 3 and he loved showing everything to his little brother for the 1st time.

There were also model trian exhibits, which the 3 year old LOVED!

This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.
The boys look like they are listening to info about trains, but really they are having a conversation with each other!  LOL 

This is such a cool place and the kids had a GREAT time.  But, what does it have to do with the cost of homeschooling?  Well, one of the questions people (Usually Dad’s.) often ask me about homeschooling is "What does it cost to homeschool?"  I have decided after 10 years of homeschooling that is an impossible question to answer.  It all depends upon how you do the Math!  What do you figure in to the cost of your children’s education?  Would this trip to the Train Museum be a part of their educational expenses?  They certainly learned a lot!  But, would I figure in the cost of gas to get to California, the cost of hotels, eating out, admissions.  Or would I only count the curriculum I buy?  What about lapbooking, craft and other project expenses? (I would have to buy school supplies if they were in a traditional school, right?) Now here is the real BIG question…What about the salary I could have been making if my kids were in a traditional school?  What do you take into consideration? I think you could come up with a number as high or as low as you want!  I believe if someone really wanted to they could homeschool for free.  Using the internet, library and other community resources you could keep the cost to almost nothing.  Most of us don’t do that, but I do believe it is possible. My family tends to spend a lot on traveling because it is something we enjoy.  I am sure we would still do some traveling even if the kids were in traditional school. (We do a lot more with homeschooling because we are not tied to someone else’s schedule and can take off whenever we want.)  We are also starting to see a bigger return on our curriculum investment now that #2 and #3 are starting to use the Sonlight and Math-U-See I invested in for #1.  I remember once when I only had 1 child a homeschool Mother of 6 telling me I "wasting" money because Sonlight was "so expensive" and I was "only" going to use it with one child.  In my opinion the money was well spent.  Yes, there were cheaper alternatives, and using Sonlight was a choice to cut things in other places. But, compared to private school Sonlight was a bargain.  Also considering that I LOVE to get up every day and open up our Sonlight books I figured they were well worth the investment for ME!

So, I guess I have been no help in answering the "What does it cost to homeschool question."  But I think the bigger question is "What is homeschooling worth to you?"  Is it worth giving up your salary?  Is it worth taking educational vacations instead of cruises for 2?  Is it worth spending your hard earned money for curriculum and field trips and school supplies?  Is it worth dedicating a part of your house to storing all your learning materials? Is it worth having your children home all day for you to deal with?  Is it worth having a less tidy house because your house is also a school? Is it worth struggling to make it on one income in a two income world? Is it worth defending your choice to homeschool with skeptics and critics?  For me the answer is a resounding YES!  When I look at the pictures of my kids at the Train Museum enjoying each other, enjoying learning and enjoying that their education is a part of their everyday life (Even when they are on vacation!) I know that the cost of homeschooling is well worth the investment.



  1. Maleah said,

    What is it worth is such a better question. I am often asked (mostly by the dads I noticed too) how much homeschooling is going to cost. I never really had a good answer and usually stuck by it varies from family to family. This is a good point to bring up when asked!

  2. Jimmie said,

    This is a great post — a glimpse into your HS life, cute pictures of your kids with their crafty homemade shirts, deep insights about money, encouragement to HS.

    LOVE it! You are a super woman, Jamin!

  3. picluvinmom said,

    I would much rather use our money to teach the kids instead of pointless things (like the cruise for 2 not that It would not be nice)..At the end of a cruise all you come away with is a bigger belly ,a little more relaxed, and a few memorys..If you take family vacation that is still considered learning you come away from your trip with Knowlege and great memorys and a stronger family bond..I would take the second trip over the first one anyday..My husband knows that anything we do now will be centered around learning and he is ok with that..As far as what we buy curriculum he does not want cost to be a factor in what we teach he wants what works..I am so thankful he is walking hand and hand with me about the kids education..I could not imagine it any other way..

  4. A Note From Theresa said,

    I LOVE the t-shirts your children have on!!! Did you make them or did you buy them?? And if you bought them, where from?

    My Email

    Fellow homeschooler Theresa

  5. Anonymous said,

    I love seeing the kids wearing their shirts. We bought a shirt several weeks ago and still haven't gotten around to making it. I'll have to get it out this weekend. – Dana,

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