Homeschooling is a wonderful way to give your children an education more in line with their natural interests. Should you choose to take this route, how can you effectively budget for the costs of homeschooling? Below are some of the expenses you may incur as you homeschool your children and a few tips for making it work for your budget.
What costs come along with homeschooling children?
Homeschooling is a popular choice among parents who want more control over the curriculum used for their children’s education. However, many costs come along with homeschooling your child that you should consider before pulling them out of public or private school.
There will be an initial investment of time and energy to get started, along with materials such as books and curriculum for each subject. The cost of textbooks alone can be $1,000 per year for one child if you purchase new ones every semester. You may also need to buy workbooks and other supplies that help instill the lessons into your child’s memory.
You may also need to pay for a tutor to handle subjects you’re not good with. Tutor rates vary per state and the number of hours you’ll use them for, and specialized tutors may come with a higher hourly rate.
Any enrichment or extracurricular activities you plan to include in your curriculum can also add up. Things like field trips to museums or zoos can be excellent supplemental lessons for your kids but often come with a fee.
Lastly, you need to consider the opportunity cost for your family. Opportunity cost is the loss of potential gains (income or otherwise) from choosing one solution over another. In this case, what is the opportunity cost of one parent staying home to teach your children? Is the loss of half the household income worth it, or will that cause too much financial hardship to the family?
How to budget for homeschooling your kids this year
If you’re ready to start homeschooling your kid, you’ll need to rework your budget to account for these changes.
Get out of debt
The first thing you should do is get rid of any outstanding debt you owe since the money charged as interest is much-needed income that could go toward your children’s education. Consider looking into a home equity loan for debt consolidation, as the interest you’ll pay on that would be much lower than the current market rates for credit cards.
Utilize discounts or free days at local events
If enrichment activities are part of your curriculum, plan for field trips on discount days. Your local zoos, museums, and aquariums will typically have days where admission costs are lower or even free. If you aren’t sure, call ahead and ask if there’s special pricing for education-related trips.
Keep it simple
Many homeschool families get into financial trouble because they feel their kid needs the latest and best tools possible. Unfortunately, those tools come at a premium price and are rarely worth it since they’ll be replaced by the next new thing shortly. Instead of chasing the latest trends, stick to using things that are adaptable and built to last. Homeschool parents have used items such as train sets to teach motor skills, coordination, and problem-solving skills while also encouraging imagination. The internet is full of budget-friendly curriculum packets and free supplemental classes that are excellent for teaching kids a variety of subjects. Don’t blow your budget on things that can easily be replaced by something you already have at home.
Pool resources with other homeschool families
If your local community has other homeschool families, consider getting together and pooling your resources. One parent may be adept at a subject the others aren’t and you can swap curriculum days, while another may be willing to carpool field trips for everyone. Don’t be shy to reach out; remember that it takes a village!
The bottom line
Homeschooling your kids can be a great decision for your family. There are many benefits to homeschooling, but one of the biggest is that you can focus on your children’s unique needs and plan a curriculum that will bring them success and fulfillment in their lives. Use this guide to help create a budget that ensures homeschooling your kids is a great financial decision too.