As the world changes, the amount of children in homeschool is on a steady climb. More and more parents are seeking homeschool as their preferred education source for their children for a variety of reasons. Whether parents want to homeschool their children because of religious beliefs, bullying at public schools, or ill-feelings towards the state’s guidelines and policies, a cost comes with homeschooling. How much does it cost to homeschool?
- Curriculum (USD 300.00- USD 600.00):
- Homeschool Accessories and Planners (USD 100.00 – USD 250.00 per year)
- Fieldtrips (USD 200.00 per year)
In this article, we listed possible expenses and tips on how to get started.
There is no way to give an exact cost to homeschool. It is all about preferences, resources, and depends on how much you want to spend.
The first year will be the most expensive as big purchases may need to be made, such as curriculum, computer, printer, devices, setting up homeschool space, and more. After the first year, the cost will decrease, but depending on preferences, there is not a fixed cost.
The cheapest approach could cost from $50-$100 per student per year, a moderate cost could be $200-$300, and the most expensive plans could cost anywhere from $500 or more.
If the home is going from a two-income family to a one-income family, then taking that income lost into consideration is essential as well. So, all in all, the cost of homeschool solely relies on how much you want to spend.
Numerous expenses come with homeschooling, such as an increase in utilities, internet usage, and grocery bill. However, these expenses can be categorized into four main categories.
These main categories include curriculum, materials, field trips, and extracurricular activities.
The curriculum is what the student will be learning throughout his/her schooling. What will be taught to the student, the curriculum can be taught in two ways? The first is online, and the second is offline.
Techiehomeschoolmom provides a list of online homeschool curriculum options as well as advice on how to implement the online homeschool curriculum. She features all-in-one curriculums as well as individual studies and classes. Online curriculum generally is taught by a teacher or computer. The parent is there to give advice and help.
With an offline curriculum, the parent is more involved. Offline curriculum could virtually be free if the parent creates the lesson plans, scope of sequence, and delivers the lessons. This will take time to plan. Worksheets and other resources can be printed from the internet, and students can learn directly from the parent. Another approach is to purchase an offline curriculum like those offered through NestLearning and Evan-Moor. There are also numerous workbooks available for students to work through in every subject to learn.
The offline curriculum generally takes more time to implement because the planning is done by the parent. You should also consider to look into STEM homeschool curriculums as an addition.
On average, homeschooling curriculum can cost between $300-$600 per child. With many different avenues in obtaining curriculum, the cost can not be definite. However, what is fixed, is that curriculum is going to be the most significant expense in homeschooling, especially to get started. Much like the expense of materials, the older the student gets, the more costly the curriculum will increase.
Purchasing materials, such as supplies and equipment, can become pricey. The best way to give an exact cost on materials is to set a budget. Spend only as much as can be afforded. After the initial cost of beginning homeschooling, create a budget and stick with it. Some of the standard supplies to purchase are computer/laptop, printer, paper, pencil and pencil sharpeners, crayons, science equipment, science lab materials, books, materials to set up homeschooling space, and more. Keep in mind that the older a student gets, the more expensive the materials get.
Setting up a homeschooling space other than the dining room or couch is more conducive to learning. This space should be ample and open with little traffic. Adding a desk, tables, and bookshelves will be great for comfort and storage.
Don’t forget the teacher supplies as well. The teacher will need a planner. There are several choices. The first choice is a planner that will work for every child and every subject, similar to a teacher planner; a public school teacher would use.
Homeschool Planner For One Student
Another type of planbook is one for each student. Homeschool Planner: One Student offers an attendance tracker, 180 daily entries for lesson planning, and even report cards for the end of each quarter.
Another resource the teacher might want is a way to track homeschooling activities. This could be an online resource like HomeschoolTracker, or he/she could use their planner. The teacher may want specific writing utensils for lesson planning, a space of his/her own within the homeschooling space, and a whiteboard or chalkboard. Keep this in mind when purchasing supplies.
After the initial set-up of homeschooling, setting a budget is the best way to purchase materials. In general, homeschool parents pay between $100-$250 per child a year on supplies. Adding in any teacher supplies and resources will make this number increase.
3. Field Trips
Another expense of homeschooling is field trips. There is great flexibility with the cost of field trips because this expense could be as low as the gas money to get somewhere too as high as $100 a trip.
The first aspect to think about when taking field trips when homeschooling includes a homeschooling coop. Many homeschooling coops make field trips together, which encourage socialization amongst the students and often incorporate a group discount. However, being part of a coop will cost money. Fees for coops can run from $25/per child to $200/family depending on the coop. There are other benefits for coops besides just field trips, for example, sharing curriculum and teachers are significant benefits for joining a coop.
The other aspect of taking field trips is not going with a coop. It can drastically change the amount of money because you are not paying for the coop, and you have choices of different places to visit, including free locations. Many cities offer free museum tours, historical sites, and government buildings.
An excellent resource for planning inexpensive field trips is Homeschool Adventures: Learning Through the Power of Field Trips.
Not only does this resource give ideas of field trips but also how to make the most effective. Having a purpose behind the field trip will make learning happen.
One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility to take field trips. There are many events during the school day, such as reading time at the local library or open art class at the local art museum that children miss out on because they are in school. However, homeschooling gives the flexibility to attend these events. Field trips are another expense that should be budgeted for each year. The average amount spent on field trips each year is $200.
4. Extracurricular Activities
One of the most significant concerns people have when starting homeschooling is making sure their child has the opportunity to socialize with children their age and that the child doesn’t feel isolated. Generally, this is done through extracurricular activities. Most of these activities will come with a cost, and like many expenses on this list, creating a budget for what is affordable for the family is the first step.
There are some free extracurricular activities like Sunday School groups, clubs, and community service/volunteering. Then, there are some extracurricular activities that cost money, for example, sports, music lessons, scouting, and visual arts lessons. One way to get involved in extracurricular activities is through a homeschooling coop. As mentioned before, the coop will have membership fees in addition to the cost of the activity.
There are six questions to answer to help determine what extracurricular activities to pursue and how much to spend on them.
- First, will the student be in a supportive environment for the values you consider essential?
- Second, will the student be successful in the activity because it supports the student’s desires, abilities, talents, and interests?
- What are the long and short term goals for the activity when it comes to the child?
- These last three questions deal with linguistics and cost. First questions, how much does it cost?
- Next, will the activity disrupt family time, and what are the time requirements/responsibilities?
- Finally, how far will you have to drive to get the child to the activity?
After answering these six questions, set a budget for the extracurricular expense. Keep in mind, on average; homeschool parents spend $215 on extracurricular activities per child per year.
Estimation of Cost
As we already determined, it is impossible to give homeschooling a fixed cost, especially when first beginning to homeschool students. Curriculum, materials, field trips, and extracurricular activities all contribute to the overall cost. The cost of homeschooling depends on how much is willing to be spent and how much time you will put into preparing lessons.
- Overall, the curriculum, on average, costs $300-$600.
- Materials average cost between $100-$250 a year.
- Field trips will have an average cost of $200 a year,
- and extracurricular activities will cost about $215 a year.
These costs are averages and per child for each school year. So, on average, homeschooling can cost anywhere from $815-$1265. Keep in mind, depending on the budget, these costs can be lower or higher. Other factors that affect costs are location, availability, and choice.
Ways to Save
There are many ways to save money on curriculum, materials, field trips, and extracurricular activities when homeschooling or beginning to homeschool. With curriculum being the largest expense in homeschooling, looking for the greatest savings is ideal.
One way to save money is to keep the curriculum used by one child for a younger child to use as they grow older, much like hand-me-down clothes. Another way is to buy used curriculum or rent the curriculum. Some websites offer these services.
Joining a homeschooling coop will open opportunities for sharing the curriculum as well, and splitting the expense with a friend who also homeschools will save money as well. A great free resource is the local public library. They will have resources in terms of curriculum for homeschooling families as well. Books, DVDs, periodicals, and more can be checked out for a short period of time for no charge. With a little bit of research, there are multiple ways to save on the curriculum for homeschooling.
Saving on materials can be quite simple. However, it would be easy to overspend, which is why it is important to set a budget and stick to it. Shopping sales at local grocery stores, especially around back to school shopping time, will help save money on materials. Finding stores and websites with rewards programs will help you save as well.
Just like saving on the curriculum, you can split the cost with a friend for materials that are more expensive, like science materials. You could also buy used materials, especially when setting up your homeschooling space. Look at local thrift stores, school surplus sales, and online marketplaces for materials that are needed. Buying used and sticking within a budget are great ways to save money on materials for the school year.
Much like the expense of materials, the expense of field trips should be given a budget. It is easy to spiral out of control spending when taking field trips. The best way to save money on field trips is to find free field trips. When finding free field trips, the only cost is the gas it takes to get there.
Researching local free field trips on the web is the first step. Some places to check are libraries, museums, community centers, and chambers of commerce offices. The chamber of commerce office should have a visitation guide to the city/town you live in, which will give you more ideas for free field trips to take. Many businesses will offer a discount if you purchase tickets online in advance.
Also, going to homeschooling groups or with a coop could give you a group discount. Not spending money on extras such as concession stand food or in the gift shop will also help save money. The flexibility of homeschooling is great for taking field trips. It is essential to look at all the ways to save money and stay within the budget when taking these field trips.
Just like the other three expenses, there are multiple ways to save money when locating extracurricular activities for a homeschooled child. Creating a budget is the first step. After pinpointing an amount to spend, find the activity. As mentioned before, there are free extracurricular activities.
Checking local community calendars is a source of information for not only free but inexpensive activities as well. Many communities have community and recreation centers, YMCAs, and other organizations that offer cheap sports, classes, and lessons.
Other ways to save money is to register early, and there are no late fees when you register early. Also, ask about scholarships and sponsorships. Another way to save on extracurricular activities is to volunteer. Many times, organizations will reduce tuition costs and fees if parents volunteer to coach, teach, or work events. Dedicating some of your time to an extracurricular activity your child is involved in could save money and allow you to spend more time with him/her.
Also, there are numerous blogs that have articles about homeschooling. Although a definite answer to the question “How much does it cost to homeschool?” can not be given, there is a generic answer that can be given.
Homeschooling is going to cost as much as you put into it. After researching, creating a budget, and talking with your family should be the next steps before purchasing anything. When talking with your family, be sure to figure out the goals, desires, and necessities for homeschooling. This will allow you not to overspend and have an idea of an amount that is workable for your family.
Know that other expenses will arise because of homeschooling, for example, the grocery bill, utilities, and even gas for the car could increase due to being home more and traveling for homeschooling coop activities, extracurricular activities, and field trips.
Take all of these expenses into account as they all affect how much homeschooling will cost.