The Finances of Homeschooling
August 21, 2013
When it comes to my son’s education, I’ve never considered homeschooling. Our personalities are such that it probably wouldn’t work out very well. I don’t like the idea of having to keep him on task with his education, and he just doesn’t like learning anything from me (it’s why someone else teaches him piano – even though I am capable).
However, I know several families that homeschool, and it works for them. And, there are times that I think homeschooling would be a little more convenient than dealing with someone else’s school schedule. Additionally, there would potentially be some financial benefits of homeschooling. Here are some of the financial things to consider as you make the decision whether or not to homeschool.
School Supplies and Clothing
We just finished shopping for school clothes for my son. It wasn’t very pretty. He also has “home clothes” that he wears around the house. These home clothes (sweats and inexpensive t-shirts) are less expensive than the nicer things he wears to school. Homeschooling would cut out the cost of buying new clothes for school, and reduce the amount of school-type clothing we would need to purchase.
On top of that, it is possible to purchase school supplies at our convenience. And all of the costs that come with extracurricular activities could be reduced as well.
Homeschooling, though it can be cost-efficient, isn’t completely free. While you can use resources like the public library, and find solid information online, it can help to purchase a curriculum. Many parents (I’d be one of them) like to have structure to their children’s learning. While that structure might be a little looser, it’s still nice to have an idea of what to teach, and what order to teach it in.
If you’re the kind that would like to have a lesson plan laid out, you can purchase a curriculum. Curricula can be purchased for different age levels, and at a variety of prices. It’s also possible to pay monthly subscription fees to sites that allow you to access a variety of materials for various age levels. This can cost a little more, but you do have more freedom and flexibility when you choose your curriculum, rather than relying on the school system to do it for you.
Educational Tax Credits
In many cases, the fact that your child is not in the public school system doesn’t stop you from paying taxes to support that system. This is why, in some states, it’s possible for you to receive a tax credit for the homeschooling that you do. This can offset some of the taxes you pay to support public education, and reduce your overall costs. Check with your state to see if it offers homeschooling tax credits or education vouchers.
Flexibility and Travel Savings
One of the biggest draws homeschooling has for me is the potential for flexible travel. Instead of always having to travel during peak times (spring break, summer, holidays), my son and I could travel off-peak and reap the savings. Travel is cheaper during times when fewer people are traveling – but those times are usually times when my son should be in school. Homeschooling gives you a little more flexibility, and the ability to take advantage of the savings that come with traveling during certain times of the year.
Is Homeschooling Worth It For You?
For me, one thing outweighs all the benefits of homeschooling: my relationship with my son. At the end of every summer, it becomes apparent that everyone in the house needs a break. My son is eager to return to school; we’ve gotten on each other’s nerves. I can’t imagine trying to force-feed him education every day would be good for our relationship. As it is, he comes home from school ready to share what he’s learned. And if there is something he’s especially interested in, I help him supplement his knowledge in areas that he’s interested in. That way, the learning we do together is fun, and the stuff he doesn’t like is someone else’s responsibility.
What do you think? Is homeschooling worth it? Is it something you’d try? Leave a comment!
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