How Can I Afford to Homeschool?
Any whirl around the Internet or a homeschool convention will reveal that homeschooling can be quite expensive. While still cheaper than many private school options, hundreds of dollars can be spent each year on curriculum and resources. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, when you take all of the fundraisers and little costs accumulated during a public school year, homeschooling can actually end up being much cheaper!
Points to Ponder
Whether your budget allows purchase of a full curriculum, just a basic guide, or no investment at all, here are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering the cost of homeschooling.
The library is your number one resource. Librarians often love homeschoolers and are more than willing to help you and your children find the resources you need. If possible, jump right in and start making friends! But, even if your library system doesn’t encourage the good old-fashioned personal interactions with your librarian, the resources available are extensive. Libraries offer free access to every reference book you’ll ever need, a source for computer or Internet usage, and often a meeting place for homeschool groups or friends. Learn how to reserve books, when the story hour is for young children, and how to navigate the library’s layout. Once you have a general outline of what you want to teach your children, most of the resources you need can be found right there in one place!
Use the Web
The Internet offers so many resources for homeschoolers. Educational milestones or learning goals for each year and graduation requirements can help you plan out each school year before you head to the library. And, if you do want to make some purchases, there are several reputable resale sites for homeschool materials. (Choose what curriculum you’re interested in before you head to resale sites, though, as the prices can sometimes convince even the thriftiest of shoppers that they have to have that book.)
Pre-written lesson plans offer a low-cost guide that you can then use to build a curriculum using a minimal investment in conjunction with your local library. You can also explore free curriculum options. Even if they are not specifically designed to meet your child’s learning style, these free resources can go a long way toward providing a foundation that you can then adapt to meet your unique needs.
Be sure to figure extracurricular activities into your financial considerations. Is your family going to participate in sports? Are you joining a local co-op or association? What about music lessons or theater programs? Most of these activities have at least a little bit of cost associated with them. Don’t let those expenses catch you off guard!
A Few More Thoughts
When we make the decision to homeschool, we take on a financial responsibility as well as an academic one. But, homeschool costs can fit into any budget. If you believe that homeschooling is the right choice for your family, you can definitely afford it!