How much does it cost to Homeschool?


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There are some basic expenses that you can count on right off the bat such as classes, sports, field trips, and supplies. But let’s get more specific: obviously, we don’t homeschool to put our kids in a disadvantage. We homeschool to put our kids in a position to succeed. So if you lean towards a more hybrid homeschooling approach, there will be more classes and skills that are not learned at home or online.

Hybrid Homeschooling can cost up to $3,000 per year on average between the ages of 4 years old to 16 years old. Though chances are kids don’t want to be quite so busy, specially during the early years, unless they are overachievers by nature. There is plenty of room to trim the budget depending on your particular finances, your child’s interests, and your family’s priorities.

Hybrid Homeschooling = A World-Class Education

Let’s figure out what is the most you could spend on homeschooling to provide a world-class education for your child -you can play around with the budget to fit your child’s interests, your priorities, and your family’s finances.

In order to do so, we have to consider all the aspects of education. So let’s look at what we, as parents, in the United States, have been trained all our lives to think kids should learn:

  • Math
  • Reading, spelling
  • Science
  • Social studies

Now, in order to prepare our kids to a future in college, let’s look at what Universities look for:

  • Uses good grammar
  • Writes quality essays and papers
  • Has an exceptional interest in the major of choice (science, engineering, liberal arts, Fine Arts, etc.)
  • Not a slacker

More detailed information on what Universities look for on this post Teenage Years: High School vs. College

Now, let’s look at what a well educated kid “looks like” in most parts of the world:

  • Uses perfect grammar
  • Has good knowledge of history and geography
  • Has good spelling
  • Speaks at least two languages
  • Maybe plays an instrument, or has some art skills, or has some other interest
  • Can hold an interesting conversation with most age groups and asks good questions
  • Has some knowledge of math and science

Now, let’s look at what employers consider good candidates for jobs:

  • Has exceptional knowledge in their area of expertise
  • Exceptional written and presentation skills
  • Fluency in a second or third language
  • Has good insight and creativity to contribute ideas for solving problems, streamlining, and innovating.
  • Has aptitude for learning systems and processes
  • Can self regulate and adapt well to changes, takes criticism well, works well crossfunctionally, expresses himself professionally.
  • Has special interests and hobbies

Now let’s zoom in even more and come up with a whole sample education that could accomplish all the above requirements for a rich and diverse education.

Here is a sample budget for that journey from the preschool years to the teenage years:

Preschool –

Let’s say that for sanity’s sake  and because you value that your little ones learn social skills early on, that your kids are going to attend Preschool for a year or two. It is smart to start getting used to the idea that educating your kids will cost money, and it starts early.

Preschool for half day, three times per week – $2, 700 – $3,000 per year.

Science –

STEAM classes

LEGO classes

Zoo classes

Astronomy classes

These tend to be for the 6 to 11 year old range. And are maybe once per month. They are intended to encourage interest, nurture interest, or expose these subjects to kids at a young age.

These classes may range between $20 – $50 per month. So figure your child takes two of these per month for three years, that’s about  $1,500

Health and fitness

Nutrition classes – $300 per year

Cooking classes – $300 per year

Soccer – $200 per year

Golf – $300 per year

Swimming – $100 per year

Skiing – $300 per year

Survival camp – $200

Let’s say you have a kid who just has to do it all and give it a fair shot. 10 years of  Health and Fitness costs at $4,500. This does not include going to tournaments, etc.

Second language

Private tutor $240 per month

Group classes $180 per month

Travel – $2,000 per year

Overseas Summer Camp – $2,000 per year

After 10 years of learning a second language with a program like this we can safely say that the kid is fluent: $12,000

Art

Please note that this budget can be cut down considerably by taking these classes at Community Centers and Co-ops.

Ceramics class – $55 to $150 plus supplies ($25) usually for 6 to 8 classes.

Painting class – $180 for 8 classes plus supplies ($50)

Art class – $180 for 8 classes once per week, usually includes supplies

Supplies – Just to practice arts and crafts at home figure to spend $100 per year.

Art camp – $180 per year

Theater – $180 for 8 classes once per week.

Art history and appreciation workshop – $100

So let’s say that your kid is taking art classes for at least 3 years: $1,700

Culture, Entertainment and Travel

Say you schedule activities for the weekend, such as a concert, a play, a fair, a field trip.

And you do at least one museum trip, Zoo, or another activity once or twice per month during the week. You have to include parents into the admission, so the yearly budget for that comes to an average of $100 per month.

So say after 10 years you will have spent  $10,000. Most likely not every month but this can also be part of Travel.

Music

Piano lessons – $100 per month

Instruments – $100 per year

Guitar lessons – $100 per month

Choir – $350 per year

Fundraisers – $100 per year

Clothing – $50 per year

Littles music – $120 per year

Depending on how much time kids devote to these classes the cost will vary if it’s seasonal or they are doing it all year round. In many cases parents end up paying for an instrument and classes for a year only to be told “I’m not into that anymore”. I’d rather try another instrument…Or, “I’d rather spend more time on this sport or activity that I love”.

But let’s say that music lessons start at 6 years old and they learn an instrument on and off until they are 16 years old. The estimated cost for Music education for one child for 10 years is about $2,500- $3,500.

Community college courses for general culture classes including books:

History

History books – $150 and up.

History workshops – $50-$200

Travel – $2500-$5000

Other general culture (or General Studies Requirements)

Natural geography

Biology

Algebra

Calculus

Chemistry

Creative writing

Physics

Anthropology, ETC.

About $400 to $500 per course. Say your kid takes 9 classes when he’s 14  to 16 years old: $4,500

Do take into account that some or all of the Community college courses can be credits for university and therefore count toward a big chunk of the general studies requirements for most majors. So that might in some cases shave off a year from their major resulting in quite a bit of savings when they do go to University.

Alternatively kids might take college courses in their special interest area therefore creating a compelling curriculum to get into an university program.

Total world class education between 4 years old and 16 years old: $45,000 give or take a few thousand.

About $4,000 per year for an education that is tailored to the child, and very high quality. However, chances are kids don’t want to be quite so busy unless they are overachievers by nature. In fact, with this kind of schedule there is hardly any time left for recreation and play. So, there is plenty of room to trim the budget.

In some cases the economies of scale work in your favor when you have more kids. So a good rule of thumb is to split the most it could cost ($45,000 for a 12 year education) and divide it by two kids.

How you make it all work

If you have designed your life in a way that cost in not a problem, you can live on one income, you can afford a couple of nice cars, and you have all the creature comforts like a nanny, cleaning services, etc. Now focus on scheduling your kids education. It’s more like project management. If this is not you, continue reading:

In our case, and so many other families we meet, to compensate for the loss of one income, we made the decision to move out of California to a more affordable State. We realized that if we wanted to live in a state as expensive as California and make it comfortably on one income we would have to move to an area that was far from a cosmopolitan area. That was not going to work out since we also wanted to homeschool and to do so, we knew we needed community, resources, cultural activities, and different outlets for homeschool. In short, we needed to be in a cosmopolitan area.

By moving to a cosmopolitan area within an affordable State we saved on monthly payments, utilities, gas, and general cost of living. Making it possible not just to live on one income but had money left over to provide a good education for our child.

There could be other adjustments…in our case we could live easily with just one car.

Priorities, priorities…

Still nowadays some people tell me that our daughter’s German classes cost as much as a car payment. Hint. Whereas for us the thought process was: The extra car payment could pay for German classes for our daughter and the cost of the extra car insurance could pay for house cleaning twice per month.

Save on curriculum

Many articles you read on this subject will list curriculum as the top expense. While most advice you read from real homeschool parents about which curriculum to use coincide with having used a curriculum only to switch to another that was more suitable for their kids, and at the end the reality is that not using a curriculum at all is what works well.

Homeschoolers use the Internet extensively. They borrow books from the library, they take classes. They piece together free resources. It only becomes costly when kids get to a level of interest when special interest courses or the Internet is not enough. At that point they are at an age when they can take online community college courses or go in person.

Kids can be exposed to arithmetic in so many different ways and none of them include buying curriculum. See Best Homeschool Math and How to Help Your Child Learn It. Learning to Read resources and flash cards, etc can be taken out of the library or borrowed from friends. There are tons of opportunities for kids to learn to write, none of them include buying curriculum. Grammar comes with many opportunities to express themselves, being around people who speak well, and reading a lot. Please read this article for more information on How To Start Homeschooling and 5 Definitive Reasons to Homeschool -The New Homeschoolers Outlook.

Also, Mindful Homeschooling: The Early Years through The Teens

and What is Mindful Homeschooling

Juggling everyone’s needs and making time for yourself

The logistics of homeschooling can be tricky. Specially when it comes to catering to everyone’s needs, including your own. Some of the most important needs to make it all happen is those of your marriage and your individual needs. Please read 10 Tips to have time for yourself while homeschooling.

In a nut shell -Just like we’ve all been brought up to consider certain key factors when we make decisions about where kids will go to school, renting or buying in a “good school district” (whatever that means), planning how old we have to be to get married and have a dream job and then have kids, etc. When you are going to homeschool you have to consider the time, the place, and all the economic factors that can make possible a world class home education for your kids.

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