I recently read a very well written article entitled “Homeschooling: Can Your Budget Really Afford It?” As intelligent as the article is, I feel that it is a thin veiled attempt to convince people that homeschooling will be financially painful, and therefore persuade them to keep their children in school.
I completely disagree with the authors suggestion that homeschooling is cost prohibitive. All children become more expensive with age, homeschooled or not, but these costs can still be managed with creativity on one main income.
Let us look at some of the arguments presented.
A customized curriculum is not cheap. True. A customized curriculum can be expensive, but who is to say that you cannot customize it yourself. The author also stated in the same paragraph that you need to buy a pre-packaged curriculum. This alone in an oxymoron as a pre-packed curriculum is hardly customized. With the help of the world wide web, you will find many resources that you can use for free to help you customize your child’s education and to teach individual subjects. One of the hundreds of websites you will find that provides free homeschool resources is www.freehomeed.com .
You are likely to pay more for extracurricular activities than you did when you used the local public schools. This is far from true. In fact, I pay pretty much the same. When my kids were in public school, I paid $170.00 a month for TaeKowndo, $170.00 a month for music lessons, and $85.00 a month for dance. The only real changes have been the hours in which these activities are done. I now pay $120 a month for Fencing, $120 a month for music lessons, and $200 a month for a fine art program which include painting, dance, drama, more music, film (for my son) and history. I am paying $15.00 a month more, but I am getting a bigger bang for my buck and more convenient (and less expensive) class hours.
Homeschooling high school kids get trickier, and costlier. She is correct. High school courses can be harder for parents and tutors may need to get involved, or classes to be sought. Having both of my kids in middle school courses this year is taking a bigger bite out of my budget, but I knew this going in a prepared for it. In the earlier years, I took advantage of cheaper homeschool resources relying on the likes of www.Time4Learning.com and www.freehomeed.com as well as www.brainpop.com and http://www.unitedstreaming.com (which is free in my state and several others with proper registration). Meanwhile, I put aside money for my children’s high school homeschool education. Sure, I could have saved this money for college, but all the money in the world is not going to get them into college if they do not excel in high school. For that, we have long-term investments, and scholarships and/or work study programs. In addition, as kids get older, they need less and less of our attention, freeing the homeschooling parent to go back into the workforce part time, or work from home, like I am doing right now.
I encourage you to go back and read “Homeschooling: Can Your Budget Really Afford It?” because without proper planning and creativity homeschooling really can be cost prohibitive. The author, Ms. Sines, also provides a link to a worksheet that will help you decide if you can afford homeschooling. I encourage you however to read it with an open mind and a creative spirit. Some things you will want to remember are:
- Second household incomes are rarely well-utilized as a great deal of the money goes into fast meals, expensive wardrobes, childcare, and guilt gifts.
- By eliminating a few unnecessary luxuries, one can easily rediscover extra cash. Some of these luxuries include numerous restaurant meals, cleaning service, cappuccinos, expensive cars, designer clothes, and bigger houses.
- The income loss of homeschooling is very much comparable to the income loss of becoming a stay at home mom. Therefore, you may find this Mom’s True Income Calculator very useful in helping you decide if you can afford to not homeschool.