Sunday, July 19, 2009

Penny Pinching Tips: Home School

What? You say. Home school? Seriously? Give up a free education to pay for one at home?

If you have a stay-at-home parent anyway, homeschooling is actually cheaper overall than the cost of going to school for a mediocre education at a public school (and I'm just talking the monetary cost).

Let me explain. I spend about $180/kid/year for access to our online curriculum. If I didn't use the online curriculum and BOUGHT used books for all the subjects for each kid every year (and you don't have to buy new ones every year, so that would be a high estimate), I could spend $100/kid each year on curriculum, which you do get free in a public school. BUT, here are bills you pay that I don't have to:

--Gas money getting your kid to and from school each day
--Lunch money
--School Clothes twice a year (my kids need TWO nice outfits for going out in public; yours need one each day AND they have to have clothes that are socially acceptable to other children, not just to adults, which often cost more) (and yes, twice a year. They grow fast and wear stuff out fast.).
--School supplies, most of which are actually unnecessary (homeschooled kids don't need 2 dozen new pencils EVERY YEAR, and we don't need each child to have their own markers, crayons, glue, box of tissue, etc etc etc....the year Caleb was in public school, the list of required supplies was a PAGE LONG and we didn't use almost any of them). We can work our math problems on scratch paper--we don't have to have five color-coded notebooks that don't get filled.
--School fees (for band, for ski lessons, for art supplies, for field trips, for registration, for the locker, for books, for PE, for the library, etc. You know you pay them. Unless you get free lunches, and even that doesn't pay for choir robes, ski trips, field trips, extra art fees, etc).
--Project fees (see, if we don't have money for it, we just don't have to build a monument out of sugar cubes or a castle from cereal boxes or make a poster on real poster board. You don't get to beg off those things if you want your child to have good grades).

Any ONE of those categories can easily cost you as much as I spend on my fancy curriculum every year. For each child. How many of you honestly can say you spend less than $100 per kid on school clothes in August and then again in December? Some--because you scrounge as much as I do. The rest? You only spend that little if you get your kids stuff the other kids will laugh at them for wearing or things that will fall apart (like anything you get from WalMart).

Cheaper to home school.

And that on top of all the other advantages of home schooling (did you know, for example, that homeschooled children function on average a full grade level above their peers? And that's including in the equation those homeschooled kids we all know that don't do or know anything!).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am a friend/fan of your husband's and have been quietly reading your blog for a while now because of your perspectives on homeschooling.

Preamble out of the way, we too are homeschooling and I love to hear from others about it. Your points about school costs are right on. Furthermore there are Public Charter Schools in CA (elsewhere?) that give you the benefits of receiving state funds per child per semester to use on whatever curriculum you want. We're paying the taxes anyway, so it's nice to get the public support back. The caveat is that we have to do the same State/Fed tests, but we don't mind that too much as it's one or two days a year and it helps us make sure that the kids are at or above where their peers are at.

Just wanted to pass along my support and that info in case others are reading your blog for the same reason.