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An Honest Look at the Cost of Homeschooling
Maybe you are thinking about homeschooling, but you wonder if you can afford it. Or you’ve decided to homeschool and have no idea how to budget for it. At Homeschool Master Academy we believe it’s possible to give your children a quality education no matter how much money you have to spend. That’s why we’re breaking down the cost of homeschooling and giving you tips to make it work for you!
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to do. That’s when I get out my phone and do a brain dump. I make a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. After that, I pull out my planner (yes, a good old-fashioned paper one) and schedule my days.
Plans don’t always go perfectly. We have to be flexible because the unexpected can be, well…expected. But by having a plan in place it’s much easier to get back on track. Making a homeschool budget is your money planner.
What You Need to Consider to Figure Out the Cost of Homeschooling
There’s a saying, “You will either spend more money or more time.” When considering the cost of homeschooling that’s especially true. You can buy an all-in-one curriculum that has everything laid out for you, create your own, or do something in between. Each will cost you something though: money or time. Which do you have the most of?
Of course we have to think about how much curriculum will cost, but there are other things you need to factor in when thinking through the cost of homeschooling for your family. Yes, I emphasized the “your” part, because each family will have different priorities and goals for their children’s education.
For each of the categories, think through the questions listed.
- Will someone be quitting their job to stay home?
- If not, will there be a decrease in income because one parent will be working less?
- How will this change your household income in other ways? For example, often when someone is home, families tend not to eat out as much or buy additional clothes for work, etc. There are costs associated with working, so will those change?
- What changes can we make to save money?
Curriculum & Resources
- Is there a complete curriculum I want to purchase? How much is it? Be sure to consider any add-ons that might be available too!
- Will I be putting a curriculum together myself? How much is each component or resource that I want to use for it?
- What are some other possible costs? Do we want extras like our own microscope? Do we want to build an extensive home library?
- What kind of homeschool supplies will we need?
Outside Courses & Tests
- Will your kids be joining a co-op or homeschool group that has fees?
- Is your high schooler going to take dual enrollment classes or take CLEP tests?
- Are there classes in the community that you want to take advantage of like art, theater, or computer programming?
Fees for Clubs, Activities, Lessons, & Sports
- What other activities will your children be involved in?
- Are there fees associated with those clubes, activities, or sports?
- Will you need to pay for lessons such as piano or guitar? Do you need to buy the instrument?
Do you plan to travel as a family as a part of your homeschool experience? Whether it’s roadschooling or family vacations around your studies, you’ll need to consider the additional costs from gas to admissions to places.
- Are you planning on taking field trips? Will there be travel involved?
- How many field trips would you like to plan each year?
- What are the admission prices to the places you want to go to?
Creative Ideas for Cutting the Cost of Homeschooling
Work at home. A lot of moms work from home while homeschooling their kids. There are so many options today to make money, and the flexibility of homeschooling allows you to set a schedule that works for both you and your kids.
Buy used. Often homeschoolers post curriculum and resources online. If there’s a particular one you are interested in, do a search on Facebook to see if they have a buy/sell group.
Trade with other homeschool moms. Sure, you may have a friend who generously offers to let you borrow curriculum and that’s great. But have the old fashioned bartering mentality and give as much as you receive from others. Maybe you don’t have a curriculum to loan, but could you offer to babysit your friends’ kids once a week in return for using the resources they bought?
Make the library a weekly part of your homeschool routine. Borrow books, do research, and participate in their children’s programs. The library can be the homeschool mom’s best friend.
Create your own. Creating your own can be a lot of fun and you can customize it to fit your kids and family. You’ll be able to use library books, community offerings, and online resources.
Combine subjects. It isn’t always necessary to have a separate curriculum for every subject. Subjects like history and geography can be combined. Language arts skills can be learned as you read about different time periods and biographies of historical figures and scientists.
Look for discount days. Museums and zoos often have special homeschool days or other discount days you can take advantage of. If you go with a homeschool group, you’ll be able to take advantage of group pricing, too.
Find homeschool companies with affordable resources and curriculum. We’re here to help! We provide unique, affordable resources for the eclectic homeschool family.
The Real Cost of Homeschooling
As you evaluate the cost of homeschooling, don’t forget the most important part. What is the cost to you and your children if you don’t?
Will it be the time you don’t get to spend with one another? Will it hurt your relationship as a family as each person is separated from one another? Will your kids’ education suffer?
There are some costs that are worth it and some that are not. We believe anyone can homeschool on any budget. It may take some creativity, you can make it work, and we’re here to help.
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