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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: How Much Does Homeschooling cost?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How Much Does Homeschooling cost?

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     Recently, I had a private message on our Facebook Fan Page. One of our fans asked, "Hi. I am very interested in learning about the cost involved in homeschooling. Perhaps, keep in the back of your mind, it is a topic not very well covered." I responded with, "Very true, it is not covered much because homeschooling is different for everyone. Homeschooling is virtually free for me. I have her old work books we are going through from her previous grades, I supplement with free stuff I find online. Teachers Pay Teachers is a good place to start. Even though it is a paid site, you can still find a lot of freebies. When she completes all of her work books, I have had homeschool buddies gift me their old work books. We all trade and exchange. I also keep an eye out on Facebook homeschool curriculum sell and swap groups. I do pay about $60 for Co-op classes, but they also let me barter some of my tuition through my embroidery business. A huge part of her curriculum is homesteading and gardening, survivalist skills. We journal, budget, research and read about a lot of stuff. What I buy for her to learn (mostly gardening stuff) is also factored into our household budget. Things like our dehydrator were free, the canner a gift. There is so much science and math in homesteading and gardening, that all my curriculum is from personal know how and research. We Google everything. However, not every homeschool family is like us. I have heard several times from parents that they are not comfortable with designing their own curriculum. They prefer to buy it. Buying curriculum can get very expensive. I am confident in designing my own because curriculum is my passion and I am creative. I have a degree in education and took extra classes in curriculum development. As you can see, you have sparked my creative juices, I might have to blog this...." 
     AND, I forgot to mention, when I homeschooled my teenage son, we used Discoveryk12. It is a complete curriculum that is also completely FREE. 
     BUT, like I said, homeschooling is completely different for every family. I decided to ask my online friends that are in FB homeschool groups and some of my blogging/homeschooling friends. Here is what they had to say:

"Homeschooling had always been something we considered, but we didn't do much about it until we had problems at public school. When I made the decision to homeschool, I wanted to start as quickly as possible. The curriculum choices were overwhelming, and so was the thought of homeschooling. I felt that our best option was to enroll him in K-12 so I could get help and guidance for the first year. 

     K-12 is an online public school, so it's completely free! He still has to take the state standard test, but I can teach him how he learns best. Our particular school lets us move at his own pace, so he doesn't have to attend the daily class sessions as long as he does well on his own. We did get permission from his teachers to do this. Most kids do attend daily classes online. K-12 ships all of his books, workbooks, teacher books, art supplies, and some science lab supplies to our home. They also sent a computer, printer, headphones, and microphone. I get a $10 a month reimbursement for Internet too. They also sent him a Kindle Fire this year so he can read more. I have to buy ink, computer paper, some art supplies, and very few supplies for science lab. 
I think I've spent less than $50 in supplies. 
     We really like K-12 so far, so we may stay with it for a few years. Or we may create our own curriculum next year. We will have to see what's best for him and our family." Cari @

Deana Hipwell at The Frugal Homeschooling Mom, "homeschools her 3 children classically AND eclectically. Most of her curriculum is purchased through online curriculum swaps and sales, in gently used condition. Then she resells them or donates them to others in similar forums (you can find the numerous resources she lists on her blog). She supplements the used curriculum she buys with free printables and other free resources online. In doing this, homeschooling is a fairly inexpensive endeavor for her family. The most expensive part of her children's schooling is the tuition costs for the homeschool co-op she participates in. Otherwise, she homeschools all 3 children (a 3rd grader, a preschooler, and a toddler) within a budget of under $200 per year." 

My fb homeschooling friend, Rob, said, "Honestly, I thought it would cost a lot more than it does. It's so insignificant a difference that we don't really consider homeschool financially. 
We've got 4- 2 toddlers & 2 schooling. We may do more "field trips" & need to buy supplies but it isn't a financial burden at all. We actually don't use a curriculum (aaaah!) Mostly just answer the curiosities of our kids. I think they call that Unschooling."

Tanya from Treats By Tanya reports, "Our first year homeschooling I spent 2k on curriculum and supplies for 3 boys. Then, I went frugal. Not everything in the books we're on my boys level (below and above). I homeschool for as free as possible. With 1 paycheck to support our family now, we really have to budget in field trips and extras. I have a blog that I created just to share other free resources with parents that are in the same boat. I don't count internet as an expense, because we would be paying for that even if the kids were in school. The same for food; they packed their lunch. If anything, our food bill went down because I can serve leftovers for lunch, instead of individually packed processed unhealthy food. I buy 1 case of printing paper a year and thats about it. Spring we usually restock our art center, but we did the same when they were in public school too."

Dawn, also a friend from Facebook, says, "I have 5 kids in school/on record this year. I use Easy Peasy for curriculum, so my cost there is the internet and keeping up computers, then our umbrella school costs of $300 per year. So, $350 total with incidentals because I would have computers and internet anyway. lol. The hidden costs of homeschooling are that everyone is home all day using electricity and eating up the groceries. Savings in that you don't have to have nice school clothing, shoes, coats, backpacks, mandated school supplies, and the numerous "fees" and fundraisers. Homeschooling for us is much cheaper than public school."

LaRae over at Jones Jungle says, "We homeschool 3 kids and we buy curriculum. Last year we used a hodge podge that I placed together. It was in the neighborhood of $800.00. This year we bought a complete curriculum and it was just over $1000.00. Next year I will be piecing together again and have started buying and it should come in somewhere around $800.00 again (or at least that's our budget for it). I haven't compared the added cost to our daily living because there has always been at least 2 people home all day everyday."
"We participate in a classical education homeschooling program that looks very much like a "one room schoolhouse" one day a week. Since my children are still elementary age, it is approximately $450 per student (times 3 for us), and that does not include our math and phonics curriculum, plus some of the "extras." Our results are so excellent, however, that we have a strong commitment to this style of education. We help cut costs by our active involvement in the community; my stipend is nearly enough to cover the entire cost of homeschooling to include additional curriculum! Plus, the heavy involvement makes me a better homeschooling mom the rest of the week!" Chaya @The Pantry Paratus 

Another FB Homeschool friend, Sarah, said, 'I spend around $1500 on curriculum for five kids. We do a ton of field trips! A minimum of 1/week, so with the cost of the gas/entrance, or other field trip fees we spend about $200 on those each month."

Angi from Schneider Peeps says, "We live in Texas which has very little regulation for homeschooling. We have six children and two have already graduated. The children still in our homeschool are an 11th grader, 9th grader, 7th grader and kindergartner. One of the great things about homeschooling long term is that you can reuse curriculum, so each child actually gets a little cheaper to educate. So this year I did not have to buy any math, science or history curriculum. This year for 4 students we spent $190 on curriculum for our homeschool and $120 on college textbooks for our 11th grader who is taking early admission classes at our local community college. He received a scholarship that covers all his tuition and fees. We also spent about $50 on school supplies which mainly includes the art notebooks, Prang watercolors, spirals and binders. We pay $210 a year for two of our children to take art lessons from a college student. We are part of a homeschool co-op and pay $120 a year in fees. We are also part of a drama club and pay $190 a year in fees. This year three of our children are taking a social dance class where they are learning how to two-step, swing, line dance, etc and we pay $315 for the year. Our 9th grader is taking a photography class at co-op and that is an additional $50. We spend about $400 a year on field trips. Our older daughter is in our local ballet company and I’m not including those fees or Boy Scout fees since our children would be doing those activities even if we were not homeschooling.
I’m sure I am leaving something out as there are always small expenses that I overlook. But I can confidently say that we don’t spend more than $2000 a year educating 4 children. We can definitely spend less but the arts are really important to our family and we want to encourage the creative side of our children. And that’s really thing for homeschooling families to consider, it’s not the dollar amount that we should be aiming for but what do we want to encourage and nurture in our children. For our family that means used books and sometimes even borrowed books and lots of trips to the library so that we can do some of these other things that our children are interested in." 

"This year is the first year we have homeschooled. My older two children are at a 5th grade and 3rd grade level, and after years of public schooling we decided to make some changes. My youngest is 5 this month. We will be getting some basic kindergarten curriculum for him, but I am undecided on what I will choose. I spent quite a bit of time researching the type of curriculum we wanted to have. After the time spent researching, reading reviews of many different Waldorf based curriculum packages and programs we had finally settled on Oak Meadow. It has been great for having a starting point, as a tool to guide us in a general direction. After spending roughly $900 on getting the curriculum packages for our children you would think we would be sure to use them as much as possible. However I’m not sure if we will actually move forward with this in the future. To be honest, coming into Waldorf a little later there are many gaps that we have in what has been taught in previous areas. I have also found that my kids have been much further ahead in what is being covered in the curriculum as a result of coming from public school. The rate at which material is covered has a much different pace. This has left me feeling a somewhat disappointed since I love the concepts, but nevertheless we usually end up taking most advantage of free resources.
     I have learned to take a more laid back approach to schooling, and my main goal has become to foster a passion for learning. How does that translate to cost? We have a fantastic public library in our city of Fargo, ND that we frequent often. Whatever they are passionate about we find books on at the library, which is of course free (unless you forget to return them on time). We get craft supplies at the store, but don’t usually spend more than $50 every two to three months. We meet up with other homeschool families each week. Sometimes we go somewhere that costs $2 per child to play for the day. We try to keep the costs as low as possible, but I think what I have spent the most on is the printer ink! I would say this year we probably have spent at least $1200 on costs over all." Tiffany @ Findingthestory.com

 Erica Mom Prepares "We have two boys, ages 7 and 3, so 2nd grade and Pre-K. In previous years I homeschooled for free, printing stuff I found online. This year I realized I was going to need to be more organized and have a plan so I bought Abeka books for both of them for the main subjects and I'm using some handed down stuff and things I bought on consignment at a used curriculum sale for everything else. It's going great! I love the mix of curriculum and that I only spent about $100 total this year.
Fun side note: My husband and I were both homeschooled from Pre-K through graduation. My husband even did college on his own via online courses!"

So as you can see, "How much does homeschooling cost?" is not an easy answer. Every homeschooling family is different, even if they are the same. If you are planning to homeschool, just figure out what is right for you. Do your research, ask questions, join a co-op, find groups local and online, find your niche. 

You can find my blog page with lot's of free homeschooling sites HERE. And, don't forget our Free Lessons and Our Homeschool Classroom(s)

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