$28,000 x 2

There was a thread on the Well Trained Mind Forums that got me thinking about this.  The amount in question is how much is spent per pupil here in DC.  Yes, you read that right.  We have one of the highest per pupil spending rates in the nation.  If Mushroom and BalletBoy were in school, it would cost the city approximately $56,000 per year.

And if little old me had that money this year instead?  Well, well, well…

$6,000 for the best geology field trip ever – five days in Iceland

$6,000 for the best New World history field trip ever – five days exploring Mayan ruins

$3,600 for two sets of piano lessons down the street at Levine School

$1500 and we all get iPads!

$500 stash for every school related book that catches my fancy that isn’t at the library

$1000 for season tickets to everything!

$1000 is about what I spent on curriculum and books anyway

$1500 is about what I put down on dance and other classes for the year

$1000 I’ll just keep in a fund for every activity that sounds good

$3000 to finance our next Shakespeare production in style

… Hmm…  I still have nearly $31,000 left.  Clearly I’m not dreaming big enough.  I mean, at that rate, everyone can have their own microscope, nice digital camera, and Kindle account.  If I count our upcoming trip to Africa, that would certainly help cover it.  Or maybe I could refinish the basement properly and use it as a school room!

Okay, I know, I’m being completely absurd.  I don’t know that I can argue that that particular amount is justified, but schools have costs that I don’t have.  They have building costs and the cost of experts like Occupational Therapists, Psychologists, Speech Pathologists and so forth who a few students really need.  They actually do have to buy all their books while we get the majority of ours from the library.  They have administrative costs, many of which are legitimate.  They have transportation costs.

But still.  The sticker shock of that cost and the dreams.  If only.

12 thoughts on “$28,000 x 2

  1. I know, right? I don’t spend 1/10th of that on my kids, even with my eldest doing Keystone high school online, a very extravagant expense compared to our previous homeschool budget.

  2. Okay, so you also need to add in the electricity, water, internets, etc you use during the school hours, the cost of feeding them lunch on a yearly basis, and the opportunity costs of how much income you are NOT making by schooling them at home. And you might need to factor in some percentage of your mortgage since part of your home serves as a part-time school.

    I would wager that if you added in these things, it’s pretty much a break-even proposition. For me, I have huge opportunity costs to keeping my son home, even with two kids it’s financially not a break-even scenario for us. Now I’m lucky to have a great preschool to send my son, and good/great public schools, but there is more to consider than your post evaluates (though you mention some of them in passing).

    Just want to point out some further thoughts.

  3. ” If Mushroom and BalletBoy were in school, it would cost the city approximately $56,000 per year.”

    Strictly speaking, that isn’t true. That is an average that includes the inordinate amount of money the city has to spend to educate some students with IEPs at private schools. The city is (slowly) getting back on track and getting the resources to educate those kids within the school system, but in the meantime, it inflates the per pupil cost.

  4. Chrissy is right, you’re not counting a lot of expenses that are actually expenses. The main expense I don’t see counted here is your salary. If you weren’t teaching your kids and instead worked full-time, what would your salary be? That’s a key expense you’d need to add to get an accurate figure on what you spend home-schooling.

    Even if you made a lowly 8 dollars an hour for full-time work, that would be 16,000 dollars a year. With your skills and experience, Farrar, you’d easily earn 2, 3, or 4 times that amount in a school system. Which means you do spend as much, if not more, than what DC spends on it’s per-student education. That’s a good thing from my point of view. I just think it’s important not to sell your talents short.

  5. Funding, it’s a can of worms, isn’t it ? Here, it’s definitely inequitable, as private schools receive govt funding, as do the public schools of course, meaning home schoolers are the only students being discriminated against by not having access to funding.

    If private schools there receive no govt funding, then I guess it makes sense that the ultimate in private education – homeschooling – gets zero as well.

    Your list sounds fantastic, especially that trip to Iceland! And its good to dream…I’ve got my own list of what I could do with the tuition-only part of the funding my kids would receive in school.

  6. I think it’s hard to parse out the house as a homeschooling expense. I actually think that’s absurd. That’s just part of what makes homeschooling obviously cheaper. Sure, we use a little water and a bit more electricity as a result of homeschooling – toss in a few hundred bucks for that at most. But the internet is a flat fee and we wouldn’t very well be homeless or even in a smaller space, so I don’t think you can put the mortgage on there.

    As for lost income, that’s very true. In the thread I glanced at, many homeschool parents said they’d just finally start earning a salary, in which case, hand on over a large chunk of the money anyway. But I can’t imagine I’d be working full time outside of this right now regardless. And if I was, the decision we’d likely make would be for me to try and get a job at a private school where they could attend in order to get a discount. And then I’d still have a negative salary quite likely as I’d just turn it all over to private school and probably some of Peter’s too. If I sent them to public school, you’d have to factor in either the therapy bill for me or the legal fees for whatever crazy crimes I’d be committing as a result.

    I’m mostly just dreaming. Even with the costs public schools face, that’s a frankly unconscionable amount. Some kids need more because of special resources, but most children, even with the building and administrative costs, do not, and this amount was the result of a lot of mismanagement – in particular for kids with IEPs and the (justifiable) lawsuits resulting from them. It has gotten much better both for the management of the money and the education of the kids, which I’m glad for.

  7. So I didn’t miss the whole subtext about waste and inefficiency in the school system ? Well, thank goodness! I can go back to dreaming of what I’d buy with the cash without feeling too shallow 🙂

  8. Holy smokes! I live in Fred Co MD and they spend $12K per student per year (and if your student goes to a charter school, $8K follows them there). Yowzers.

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