Your Family's Incredible Lifestyle Begins HERE – With Homeschooling
Monday May 20th 2024

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Yes, You CAN Afford Homeschooling!

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Yes, You CAN Afford Homeschooling!

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingHow much does homeschooling cost?

As much as you can afford, and not a penny more.

Like everything else about homeschooling, the amount of money you put into it is flexible. Spend what you can, but don’t let a lack of “disposable income” stop you. Unlked school budgets, your budget can reflect a more realistic return on the dollar. When you hear reporters like Thomas McArdle say in Investor’s Business Daily, “The results of homeschooling are startlingly positive,” or public school advocates like Martin Luther King III tell a convention crowd that “homeschooling can be a laboratory for testing new educational methods that can benefit full educational institutions,” you might mistakenly think these families spend a lot of money on education.

Frugal is Fun with Homeschooling

Don’t let your local school budget fool you. It doesn’t take thousands of dollars per student to get a true education – it takes thousands of dollars per student to run an education institution. Because your investment directly benefits your children, a little money goes a lot farther. If the cost of correspondence school or a curriculum is prohibitive, you most certainly can get by without them (and your homeschooling may be much better off because of it!). If you think you’d feel better (at least at the starting gate) with a prepared curriculum, get a copy of Borg Hendrickson’s How to Write a Low Cost/No Cost Curriculum and start your true education with learning how to set your own path toward knowledge.

Use your community library as the heart of your sources and connection to an ever-growing network of information, right along with the Internet. A public library, open to all on an equal basis and stiff offering many services free in spite of escalating costs, is our society’s last link to free inquiry and the first link to the much-needed community learning centers of the future.

The Public Library Association’s Parent Education Services Committee took the time to study homeschooling families. Their findings appear in Homeschoolers and the Public Library: a Resource Guide for Libraries Serving Homeschoolers. Perhaps librarians recognize homeschooling families as the fastest growing group of Americans who truly appreciate and utilize these community facilities as the valuable assets they are. Whatever the reason, librarians see that “this conventional educational system must deal realistically and cooperatively.” (OK, I can’t help myself and have to say it here: Whether you decide to go for homeschooling or not, please support your community library with your presence and your money, and use its resources to your family’s benefit!)

You can also keep the cost of education low by scouring library book sales and those backbones of American culture, garage sales. One man’s trash often turns out to be a homeschooling family’s treasure as you build your own library. Class literature doesn’t change whether you spend $15.95 in a bookstore or 25 cents on a neighbor’s front lawn! The same goes for many reference books, particularly history books (including biographies), nature books (encyclopedias and guide books), or dictionaries, thesauruses, writing guides, atlases, maps, and many art books. While you’re out bargain hunting, don’t forget to look for materials that creative young minds can turn into works of art! You can also find old electric typewriters, adding machines, record players (we found a Victrola that came with a record collection including Warren G. Harding speeches, “General Pershing’s March,” French music, and other wonderful examples of 1900s musical entertainment), old clocks (to be torn apart, examined, and maybe even repaired), games (cheap enough to take the markers, dice, money and/or cards and create a new game), and much more.

Don’t forget loans of material from family, friends, and homeschooling support groups. Whenever our support got together, kids’ books, videos, and games rapidly exchanged hands. That’s not to mention the clothes, recipes, food stuff, animal cages, and myriad other materials that get traded, bought, or given away.

How Do I Give Up My Job?!

Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you substitute creativity and ingenuity for greenbacks. But then there is the questio of living without a second source of income to which your family may have become very accustomed.

I’ve always considered finances a personal matter, so I don’t intend to provide you with a sure-fire way to make do. Instead, here is a list of a few of the “savings” you can’t enjoy until you kiss that second paycheck goodbye and dive into homeschooling. Let the list help put “lost” money in a truer perspective:

Expenses You Give Up for Homeschooling


1.Income tax bills – It’s quite possible you’ll see more of the money from the pay check you hang on to to provide more for your homeschooling family instead of for the government. Don’t forget to check this angle of hidden savings when making calculations.

2. Clothing – Figure out what you normally spend on looking good for work and keeping your kids in the latest fashions to keep up with their peers at school. Homeschooling families can get by with minimal wardrobes and use all that clothing money in more meaningful directions.

3. Transportation – A portion of that lost income went to getting you to work, either by car or mass transportation.

4. Meals away from home – It’s a lot cheaper to lunch at home on a bowl of soup teeming with vegetables from your own garden than it is to join your co-workers at even a relatively inexpensive fast food join every afternoon.

5. Health costs – If you’re currently suffering from any job-related stress or physical ailments, soon your doctor may no longer consider you one of his best patients. Your children are much less likely to pick up every germ that travels at the speed of light through local classrooms. Flu and chicken pox epidemics might miss your entire family! And don’t forget that schools are waiting until laws force them to provide lunches lower in fat, higher in fresh produce content. You can serve healthier lunches immediately because you want to, not because you have to.

6. Entertainment – Lots of families caught in the school/job whirlpool have to make a concerted effort to provide “quality” time for the family, which oftentimes involves the expenses associated with “going somewhere” and “doing something” together. Once you spend more time together, your need for this will likely decline. Entertainment can marry education and become edutainment, a delightful blend of fun and learning accomplished through low cost/no cost activities within your community.

7. Child care – This frequent budget buster takes a large chunk of a second check. Figure out how much you spend for someone else to watch the kids, a part of which you might now spend on the kids.

There are other expenses involved in earning a paycheck depending on your job. Once you’ve added them all up, you’ll have a clearer picture of how much money you’ll actually lose by giving up your family’s second income. And given all the benefits homeschooling provides you, “losing” some money may not be as devastating as you’ve been led to believe it is.

Need for Second Income Doesn’t Have to Stop You from Homeschooling

If you find a second income is necessary to your situation, don’t give up. Large numbers of homeschooling families are joining the ranks of one of the largest economic movements in this country – the home-based business. The same creativity, courage and trust you utilize in homeschooling your children can also free you from dependence on external paychecks.

By conducting money-making activities from home, you control the work load and the work hours. You can custom design your business to fit your lifestyle. Best of all, conducting business under your own roof creates learning opportunities for your kids that wouldn’t otherwise exist. When you’re the boss, your children won’t just visit the workplace. They help, they learn, and they realize, via yet another avenue, that they are an important part of a team.

There are many ways to make homeschooling a financially realistic option for your family. When it comes to the question of money, the answer is “think creatively!”

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