I know that this is two "homeschool" type posts in a row. However, this is also a moving/personal commentary as well. I'm sure everyone runs a cost/benefit analysis before moving, right? Well, I was thinking that with a higher house payment and potentially higher utility costs (according to the online surveys, but really I haven't seen higher utilities yet) our cost of living would increase slightly. However, I've found that I have actually been spending less on gas and transportation than I forecast (although that has the small potential to increase depending on which location my husband moves to permanently).
The other benefit that I didn't really factor in, and that is hard to put a value on, is cultural opportunity. The greater Raleigh area has such a vast wealth of free or low-cost educational and/or cultural opportunities that I'm honestly a bit overwhelmed right now. I knew of several (the free state museums downtown), but I wanted to get together an official list, since part of my homeschool curriculum is to take weekly field trips.
Imagine my surprise when after about 30 minutes and a few searches on my smart phone while the kids played somewhat nicely together in destroying the living room (although they did clean up, not sure how I managed that one) and I have a list of over 20 possible field trips with no repeats. Almost all are within a 20 minute drive and almost all (90%) are free (other than potentially parking for some of the downtown options). I'm positive this is not an exhaustive list, and almost every item on the list is something I know my kids will be excited about even at their young ages.
There are so many local parks with educational opportunities and a few other ideas that I haven't even researched yet. So far, our homeschool plans are much more exciting than public school, and much of it is thanks to the many cultural and educational opportunities in this area. I'm not sure if Louisville had as many and maybe I just wasn't as aware, or if it was just that most of them were too far from the part of town I lived in. Either way, I'm excited to live in a part of town that's close to so much without being the "desirable" part of town (i.e. expensive and full of traffic) so I can actually get to everything quickly and cheaply. Gotta love free!
Also, I'm not trying to knock public schools. I've been a teacher in one and they have the capacity to be great. However, if you're not working full-time, then your kids being gone until 4pm doesn't sound like all that great of a deal. At least not most days...