I frequently have friends ask me all kinds of questions about homeschooling. There are so many questions parents have when starting out. One of the biggest is how can you afford to homeschool? Isn’t it expensive, what if I still have to work? Well, there are a lot of ways to make homeschooling affordable for your family!
Starting out with homeschooling can be daunting. There are so many decisions to make, questions to ask, and when you start looking at curriculum and classes you might start to think that there is no way that you will be able to afford homeschooling.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can! I’ve been homeschooling for 13 years and it has never been a financial burden to our family. I am a self-proclaimed cheap-ass so big boxes of expensive curriculum are not something that I’m willing to shell out the money for. We’ve managed to find the balance of saving money, having great experiences, and giving our kids an awesome education all without breaking the bank!
So if you’re making the decision to homeschool but affordability is getting in your way, here are some ways you can afford to homeschool and make it work for your family!
First, let’s address if both parents work outside the home. When you get used to two incomes from the start it’s hard to make adjustments for someone to stay home to homeschool. How can we make that work?
-Add up the cost of working- You may not realize how much income actually goes to pay for you to work! Add up your costs, gas, clothing, lunches out, daycare etc. How many of those could you cut if you stopped working? It is possible that you can live without the extra income if a lot of the extra expenses are gone.
– Could you adjust your schedule?- Can you work part-time? Homeschooling doesn’t take a ton of time! We get used to this idea of school as a 6-7 hour day and when you homeschool it is often more like 2 or 3 hours. You won’t have to dedicate all day to schooling so there is time left to work. If you can tweak your schedule you can homeschool and work! Remember too that homeschooling can be done any time of the day, so you can make it work for your family!
-Could you work from home?– Does your job offer the option of putting in some hours from home? Maybe you can look into a different job all together, there are so many options out there now for moms who want to work from home. It is still a balance of making working and homeschooling work together but when you can work from the comfort of home it provides more flexibility for your homeschool!
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If you’re already living on one income but are afraid of the extra added expenses of homeschooling there are ways to make it affordable and not put a financial strain on your family!
-Look for places to cut down your household expenses– Do you have a gym membership that no one uses? How about cable TV, could you switch to Hulu or Netflix and save a ton of money? Maybe you can switch car insurance companies, or cell phone carriers for significant savings?
I sat down a day last week and canceled our Y membership that no one uses, and switched services on a couple of things for a $110 a month savings! That buys a lot of books, or pays for some fun field trips and classes! So take a look at where you could potentially cut costs to free up funds!
-Save money on curriculum – So many people get intimidated when they look at a year’s worth of boxed curriculm with a $500+ price tag, then multiply that by how many kids they have, and think there is no way to afford to homeschool!
However, you do NOT have to break the bank on your teaching supplies! If you’re first starting out with homeschooling ask around, ask friends who homeschool, or on a Facebook group and find out what people are using that they like. Borrow things from friends to see if they work for you before commiting to buy, and then when you’re ready look for used curriculm! You can find groups on line or check sites like Ebay to get great deals on used!
There are also so many resources for free lessons! I’ve personally never bought a boxed curriculm! We use Khanacademy (insert link) for math and love it, and it’s totally free! I know many people who swear by easy peasy all in one homeschool (it is not secular just FYI) also The Free Reading Program, and many others that are 100% free! It is easy to find resources that don’t cost a dime that can help you create a one of a kind curriculm that is perfect for your child!
Yet another option is online schooling! Many people say online school isn’t “real” homeschooling and to that, I say poo on them! We used an online program for my oldest and my middle one went into one this year for 9th grade. We use TRECA Digital Academy because their classes are self paced an my son is a very independent learner. However other digital schools offer online classes with a live teacher that can be great for a kiddo who needs a little more help, or for a mom who wants her child home but doesn’t feel confident teaching. These programs use state funding so they are free and all materials are provided to you!
Limit lessons and classes- There are some homeschool families who you see doing ALL.THE.THINGS. They are taking ballet, art, karate and cooking classes, they are going on field trips, and taking lessons to the point you wonder if they are ever at home, and how in the world they afford to homeschool and do everything else! There is no shame in saving your family money, and your sanity, by limiting your children’s involvement in activities. We have a one (paid) activity per child rule in our house. When my oldest wanted to start swimming, he had to take a break from Tae Kwon Do during swim season. For us it is financial, and also that I don’t believe kids need to be busy busy busy all the time running from place to place.
We do try to take field trips as much as possible, (and group rates are always cheaper) and participate in tons of free activities like park outings, book clubs etc. So they get to have fun without it costing money!