Should We Buy Kids What They Need to Further Their Passions?


My daughter Sophie loves talking to me. She shares her ideas, tells me what she’s learning about and what she hopes to do. And I enjoy listening to her.

And while I listen, I hear two words over and over again:  mirrorless camera.

“What’s a mirrorless camera?” I ask. “How do they work?” Sophie tells me, and then I say, “And how much do they cost?”

When I hear the average price of a mirrorless camera, I say, “That’s a lot of money. You might have to wait a while before you get one.”

Sophie accepts my words, but that doesn’t stop her dreaming. She’d love to own one of these new generation cameras. She continues her research, just in case.

Then one day, I say, “Wouldn’t it be easier to record videos if we had a smaller, niftier camera? I’ve heard iPhones have good cameras. How much are they?”My husband Andy says, “A lot of money. You might have to wait a while before you get one.”

Sophie, overhearing our conversation, says, “A mirrorless camera would be perfect for video making, Mum. You could use it for your Youtube videos. We could also use it when we record Imogen’s music videos.”

“Send me some links,” I say. “I want to know which is the best model. And I’ll need some prices.” Sophie grins and goes off to find the info I want.

But even though I’ve asked for some details, I haven’t quite decided whether I’m going to buy a mirrorless camera or not. Perhaps I can keep making my videos using my older DSLR. And if Sophie wants a new camera, maybe she should save up for one on her own (even though it will take her forever). I wouldn’t want her to think she can have everything she sets her heart on, would I?

With these thoughts in mind, I follow up all the links Sophie sends me, and then I say, “I’ll think about it. We’ll see.” I know this is a totally frustrating answer.

And then the right answer appears: What if I call the camera a ‘resource’?

Many homeschoolers buy things such as curricula, textbooks and online courses. They pay for them because they think they’re essential for their children’s education. Their kids don’t have to save up and pay for these resources themselves.

So I decide a mirrorless camera is a piece of ‘school’ equipment which Sophie needs if she is to continue learning about her biggest passion. It’s essential for her education.

I order a camera online. It arrives in the mail. And Sophie is absolutely delighted. (She’s appreciative too.) I am delighted as well because we’re sharing the camera. We’re going to have lots of fun with it as we continue to improve our photography. And, of course, it’s going to help us with the many projects we want to work on this year.

“Hey, Sophie! Have you worked out how to use the camera? You have? Can I have a go?”

I think I’m about to further a passion!

What about you? Have you ever bought any essential, unconventional educational resources to further a passion?

Update: I recorded a short video of Sophie answering the question: Should We Buy Kids What They Need to Further Their Passions? We also talked about mirrorless cameras and what we plan to do with ours.

I think I need to learn more about the camera’s settings to improve the video quality, but this will do for a first attempt!


PS If you’d like to see some of Sophie’s photos, please visit her blog The Techno Maid.


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  1. Reply

    I think if you can afford it, and it extends a passion or interest, then it's a great thing to do.
    And it sounds like you're all going to get a lot out of the new *resource*.

    1. Reply


      If we can afford it? Oh yes, we have to consider our available funds and make choices about what we're going to spend our money on. I'm glad we were able to buy this camera because I know it will extend Sophie's passion. And mine! As you said, we'll use it a lot.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. It was good to hear your opinion!

  2. Reply

    Hi Sue. I completely agree – I buy many things because I class them as education. Today it was a jumbo pack of perler beads for the younger kids and a table tennis table. Yesterday was another cricket bat. And a fermenting crock for me. The only problem is with seven kids and several interests (including mine and my husbands) we can't afford it all, especially on one income. So we need to be selective. I wish I could say yes to it all. Books and board games don't seem to have a limit though – very educational 🙂

    1. Reply


      We have to be selective about our purchases too, but like you, I try to buy what my kids need. The other day I came home with a paper guillotine and hole punch so Gemma-Rose can make some notebooks. It's very frustrating trying to do these things without the right equipment.

      I like how you said you buy things for your interests, and your husband's as well. Sometimes I think if I buy things for my own hobbies, why shouldn't I buy stuff for my kids' interests as well.

      We have lots of books and board games too!

    2. Reply

      Only 6 kids here, but I totally agree about books and board games!

    3. Reply


      Language can be confusing! Yes, a paper guillotine has a blade like a knife. When we pull down the handle the blade cuts the paper. We also have rotary paper cutters, but these don't cut as many sheets of paper at a time as a guillotine. I suppose guillotines are heavy duty paper cutters. And I don't think it's possible to cut off heads with them so we are quite safe!

    4. Reply

      Oh my! When you said paper guillotine, all I could think of was a paper model of a guillotine! I read it through a few times because I couldn't see the connection to notebooks (unless Gemma-Rose is fascinated by the French Revolution!). It must be what we call (much less romantically)a paper cutter. When I was little, they made a style that came down like a knife, but now all of them here are rotary cutters (I guess so they can't be used as an actual guillotine?!).

  3. Reply

    Our big splurge this Christmas was new laptops for the girls to better do their audio and video editing (does it count that I used my father in law's money?).

    I really do agree that it's worth sacrificing to fund passions, though. I think it shows that you really value what they are doing. Also it's a really great way to demonstrate money management: looking at what's really important and saving up for what you need. The benefit of having a limited pool (one income!) is that it forces you to think through what you really want.

    1. Reply


      A good laptop is so important if kids want to do things like video editing. We know all about that too. They just can't explore certain interests without one. We made it a priority for all our kids to have a computer so they can pursue passions. A couple of them (computers, not children!) need replacing. We'll have to work that into the budget. It's great you were able to buy new laptops using your father-in-law's money. I bet your girls are very happy. Imagine all the wonderful things they're going to be able to create!

      Value what they're doing? Oh yes, I was thinking about that too!

      We have a limited income too. But as you said, it does force us to think through all our purchases. Sophie did a great deal of research about the various cameras and their cost before we decided to buy one. The Internet is good for comparing prices and sometimes, we find bargains, which really helps!

      Lovey to chat!

  4. Reply

    Sophie does look delighted! And I love her latest photos, on your blog and instagram. For my daughter our biggest splurge (what a funny word that is) is on her activities, especially scout camps. She's at one now – rather her than me on this cold, wet winter's day! – but when I see how excited she is before and after each camp, and how much she learns about herself and other people, teamwork and leadership, and a heap of other stuff while she is away, I know it's worth it. I sometimes question our choices again when she spends a week recovering from camps, but then I remind myself that what she's learning during those intense trips away she could never learn from a book.

    Thank you again, Sue, for your encouraging words about my new blog. I appreciate them very much!

    1. Reply


      I love the word splurge! Oh yes, some things are really worth the money. It sounds like C will benefit greatly from the camp and come home with lots of happy memories. And yes, Sophie is delighted I decided to splurge on a new camera!

      I'm looking forward to following along with your new blog. So glad you decided to create it! I love chatting with you. Thank you for stopping by!

  5. Reply

    Yep, we are thinking about an IPad or surface right now to help with our son's love of animation.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Reply


      Oh yes, the right equipment will allow your son to do some fabulous things with his animation. It's just a pity iPads are so expensive. I suppose he'll be able to use it for lots of other purposes too.

      Thank you so much for sharing what you're considering buying. If you do get the iPad, I hope your son enjoys using it!

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