How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Is it Expensive to Homeschool?

 

The great thing about homeschooling is that it provides you the freedom of choices in your child’s education. Homeschooling can cost as little as $1.00 up to $1,000.00 plus. Expenses will be influenced by personal preferences, your priorities, and what kind of money you have to work with. Besides curriculum, school supplies, and educational toys, it is also important to factor in other costs such as cutting back on work or having a parent stay at home full time, the savings of vacationing off season, field trips, and extracurricular activities.

 

The Cost of Homeschool Curriculums

Homeschool Curriculums for kindergarten Math and Reading
Our curriculums for reading and math.

First of all, you do not need a curriculum to homeschool, not here in Ohio at least. There are so many different curriculums out there to choose from and it can seem a little overwhelming. Curriculum costs can range from free (putting it together yourself with free resources) up to hundreds or more each school year. To put together your own curriculum, a library would be of tremendous assistance. Then making printables with Canva, or downloading free resources on the internet.  I have personally found Pinterest to be very helpful in finding ideas for educational activities. Home learning Year by Year is a very helpful book to guide you on what to teach each school year.

If you would rather just buy a curriculum that you can just open up and go without having to do all the legwork yourself then there are many many options for that. I have compiled a list of what we used and my thoughts on each.

I would also recommend checking out Cathy Duffy Reviews with a large library of reviewed curriculums.

 Everyone learns differently so just because something works or doesn’t work for their child doesn’t mean that it will work for your child. Don’t forget to be flexible with your homeschooling. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do what works best for you and your child. If a curriculum isn’t working scrap it or incorporate the concepts in a way that engages your child.

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Curriculums

  • Get it used: Check to see if you have any used homeschool curriculum sales going on in your area. This is also nice because you can  check out the curriculum in more detail and speak to other homeschoolers about their opinion on the curriculum. You can find ones that are almost like new if someone bought one but it wasn’t working for their child so they tried something else.
  • Check Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace
  • Check Ebay – I personally have done this. A lot of curriculums for math will have a teachers manual, a student workbook, and then manipulatives. I got my my student workbooks through the curriculum’s website and then bought everything else off Ebay. Saved me some cash at least.
  •  Rent it – Yellow House Book Rental will allow you to rent out a variety of curriculums.

The Cost of School Supplies

This is another that is really going to vary. I feel like this and curriculum kind of go hand in hand. Now if you go to on Etsy every week and get the latest cute homemade this and that school supply then your costs are going to add up. I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t buy all the awesome homemade school items out there – I make and sell on Etsy too, just if you want to stick to a budget you are going to need to be careful and not get every cute thing you see.

Buying used is one way to cut back on your costs. I love to do garage sale hunting in the summer and have found lots of cool things at these. If you can find a retiring teacher having a sale then its a gold mine of supplies. Checking out thrift stores and auctions are also good places.

One thing that will probably cost you far less is back to school clothes. If your kids are not dealing with the constant peer pressure found at school to fit in then they are probably not going to put such a high priority of having the latest fashions. You can get them used and in great condition from many places. It will be better for the environment and your pocket to buy used anyway.

Buying things in bulk may work well for a better price, and I believe some places will give you a discount if you can show proof of homeschooling (NOI letter), although I have not tried this one personally.

Borrow from the library. Borrow puzzles, learning tablets, educational games, and unit studies from your library if it is offered. If you know another

Do you need to buy desks? No. Do you need to buy a giant chalkboard? No. Do you need to buy the latest tablet for online learning? No. There are no requirements on supplies for homeschooling, and this is completely within your control.

The Cost of Field Trips

This is going to vary widely and is easily within your control.

  • Free Ideas
    • Libraries : In our area a lot of libraries offer activities from story time to how to garden. Just simply taking a field trip to the library can help you stock up on so many educational books and more. We have a really nice library in our area that has educational games and toys to borrow as well. Some libraries offer passes to zoos and museums as well.
    • Parks : Many public parks have great classes or activities available for free. Just going for a hike, or playing in a stream offers many opportunities for learning as well.
  • Everything else – many of these can be more affordable if you get memberships. The membership can be used for more than just visiting that particular location multiple times. Many museums and zoos offer reciprocal programs where you can enter another institution at a discounted rate.
    • Zoo
    • Farm
    • Art museum
    • History museum
    • Science museum
    • Children’s museum

The list goes on and on. I will be adding a post shortly with some of my top recommendations for things to do in northeast Ohio (mostly educational).

Costs of Extracurriculars

With having more time you may want to take more classes offered at local places as well. Some examples are:

  • Art classes – available through local art museums, or local businesses.
  • Sports – Including dance, karate…any sport really. (In our area you can still play with school sports teams. If that is not an option, or you would rather, there are plenty of options ranging from classes at your local YMCA to a travel team)
  • Music classes – piano, violin, guitar, choir, etc.
  • 4H or Scouting groups – Including nature co-ops, hiking groups and free programs through parks.
  • Academic clubs – math club, science, etc.
  • Camps – summer camp, zoo workshops.

We like being kind of laid back and not having to rush every where all the time, and having flexibility in our schedules, so we have just done dance lessons and a nature co-op on the regular so far. Other than that we do lots of field trips and visit with family. There are so many options out there though. You just need to ask yourself if it is worth your time and money. The cost of this will vary widely with each family.

Possible Income Loss

This last one may be the biggest determiner for some whether homeschooling will work or not. Do you need to quit your job in order to homeschool? Not necessarily. Plenty of people make it work with two parents still working, or a single mother who still works and homeschools. Personally I work 2 days a week out of the house, but it works with my husbands flexible schedule. We both work together in homeschooling our children. Perhaps you work a few hours during the day every day throughout the week. You can still homeschool, just do your focused school objectives in the evening if that works with your family. School does not need to be Monday through Friday, it can be on weekends too. It can be all year vs having summers off. You can work around schedules to make it work with your family. That is part of the beauty of homeschooling. Now if your kids are living in a two parent household and both parents are working 50 hours a week, then that is going to be hard to swing. Perhaps if you have another trusted qualified individual teaching your children if that is ok with your state requirements. It seems like many homeschool families have one parent who does the bulk of the teaching, while the other one provides the income, but it does not have to be this way. Check out your states requirements (here is Ohio’s) and see if you can make it work. I tend to believe that if you set your mind to something then you can generally make it work. Besides just making it work, ask yourself if it is what is best for your children. While I love homeschooling, it is not for everyone. Everyone is coming from somewhere different in life and like everything else you have to do what is best for you and your family.

Other Factors

If you like to vacation you have flexibility in your schedules to go whenever you like. Off season prices will save you quite a bit.

Where you live and not having to live there for the school district. Some places may be great to live but the public schools are lacking. You don’t need to pick out a house due to wanting your kids to go to “that” school district. This could save you in taxes, etc. if you are not constrained by getting into the “best” school district. You can go live in a cabin in the woods without having to worry about your kid getting to school in the winter when your driveway is covered in ice. You get the point.

Conclussion

I believe most (not all) people can homeschool their children if it is something they really want. It will be easier for some than others. Homeschooling does not have to be expensive. The most expensive consideration may be the possible income loss and how you can move things around in your budget to make up for that loss. There are going to be sacrifices, and you have to decide if it is worth it for you and your family. If it is, then I believe the satisfaction of homeschooling your child will outweigh what you had to give up.

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More Reading

Is Homeschooling a Good Idea? The benefits of homeschooling.

Is Homeschooling a Good Idea?

Helpful Resources for Beginning Homeschoolers – From websites to books I lay out some of my top picks that helped us get started on our homeschooling journey.

Helpful Resources for Beginning Homeschoolers

Recommended Kindergarten Homeschool Resources

Recommended Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculums

2 thoughts on “How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?”

  1. Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

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