This is probably the most obvious of all of the homeschooling expenses. The textbooks and workbooks that directly aid teaching cost money (shocker). There is a vast world of curricula from which to choose so you can factor your budget into your curriculum selections along with your child’s learning style. Try to get your non-consumables (books that can be used repeatedly) from libraries and/or other homeschooling families.
Our homeschool charter has a resource library to lend non-consumables and provides each child with a set amount of EUs (educational units) that are dollars to spend on the consumable curricular materials of our choosing. Additionally, since we have 3 kidos, we save all of the curricular materials that are not written in for use with our subsequent homeschoolers.
2. Extra Curriculars
While extra curriculars are an expense that even traditionally schooling families contend with, their importance is even greater for homeschooling children. They can provide social interaction while helping to nurture your child’s passions, all out in the world.
To save on these, keep an eye out for sibling discounts and offer bartering of some kind of service you can offer. My children are each allowed to choose and do 1 paid extra curricular activity at a time.
Passes and memberships are a frequently overlooked gem of homeschooling. Tickets, passes, and memberships to various community resources like the zoos, museums, aquariums, gardens, and special events in your community are endlessly valuable in terms of what homeschooling can offer your child.
Instead of more plastic junk my kids don’t really want or need, we (and ask family members to) gift our children with tickets, passes, and memberships for gift-giving holidays. Instead of playing with something for a couple days and then having it sit on a shelf, we gift our children with experiences that they enjoy all year long.
Having a well outfitted playscape can set your child up for days full of self-discovery. Think in terms of toys that don’t do the playing for your child (which also tend to be less expensive). The best and most used tools for play (and in turn learning) in our house right now are things like rice, dishes, PVC, wooden blocks, anything magnetic, dress up (each year’s Halloween costume stored), markers, white paper, etc. I would say that homeschooling families make more of an investment in their playscape because it is the environment that stimulates and provides the tools for learning. Make the effort and investment in an organized and fun playscape but think outside the box in terms of what tools would best suite your child.
5. Loss of Income
The final homeschooling expense is more of a cost. While you can absolutely work and homeschool your children, the reality is that you are sacrificing the free childcare that traditional school provides. In many homeschooling families (again, not all), either one parent is present full time or both parents co-parent part time. Either way, there may not be 2 full time incomes. So this is something that needs to be factored into your family budget when setting up your homeschool life.
My husband works full time, sometimes remotely from home. My children attend a learning center 2 days a week and I run my own company. I write, teach, and speak all with my children under wing and I love it. That said, were I to have no children, I would be working full time and making significantly more money than I do now. We have decided to invest in our children instead but it is an intentional choice that comes with financial sacrifice.
Read more in Sage Homeschooling: A Lifestyle of Connection
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