How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
The average cost of homeschooling one child per year might fall within the following ranges.
- Curriculum: $350-750
- Materials: $150-300
- Field Trips: $100-$250
- Extracurriculars: $100-$500
- Approximate total cost per year per student: $700-$1800
The Average Cost of Homeschooling
Is homeschooling expensive? If you are just beginning the journey of homeschooling, that’s a question that is probably front and center of your concerns. It’s also one of the toughest questions to answer, mostly because what is “expensive” to one family is quite reasonable for another. But what I think new homeschoolers really want to know is exactly what types of things they will be responsible for purchasing if they take their child’s education into their own hands. Although it isn’t something you think about too much when you are sending your child to public school, you’ll be interested to know that your costs for homeschooling will fall into three main categories:
- curriculum (online or offline)
- general books and education supplies
- extracurricular activities (including local classes, athletics, field trips, etc.)
Here’s where things get especially tricky, though. One of the reasons it can be so hard to pin down average costs of homeschooling is because every family has a unique homeschool situation. For example, if you’ve chosen to homeschool your son with dyslexia because his needs aren’t being met at his current school, then you may need to factor the addition of remedial reading programs or even specialized instructors into your costs. On the other hand, a family who lives in a large city with access to multiple free museum programs, extensive libraries, and a strong homeschool co-operative may be able to homeschool for only a few hundred dollars a year!
“I had expected homeschooling to break the bank. Our family had to drop to one income to be able to teach our daughter at home. I was very surprised that we could cover most of the core subjects for less than $20 with an online curriculum. Our biggest cost turned out to be the weekly horseback riding lessons she wants to take now that she has the time. But she’s never enjoyed ‘P.E.’ more!”
The Hidden Costs of Homeschooling
Sure, traditional schooling has plenty of “fees” associated with it, but you are usually warned at least somewhat in advance when those are involved. Homeschooling, on the other hand, can add to your monthly expenses in ways you might not have considered yet. It’s important to foresee some of the hidden ways that homeschooling may affect your pocketbook so you can begin to budget accordingly. For example, homeschooling can mean:
- additional gas money for field trips, outings, classes, homeschool group activities, etc.
- a slight increase in your grocery bill just because being at home all day often means more snacking.
- additional supplies costs (especially in the beginning) to cover science projects, crafts, and hands-on activities you’ll be doing at home.
How to Save Money on Homeschooling
How much does it cost to homeschool? That depends on how resourceful you are! And the longer you homeschool, the more clever you tend to become about cutting costs. Some creative ways to keep down your homeschool expenses include:
- taking advantage of tax-free shopping days to purchase school supplies.
- using your local library liberally, including the online educational subscriptions they often offer.
- attending used book sales and homeschool curriculum fairs.
- keeping an eye out for free educational events and programs for children offered in your area.
- researching stores and venues that offer homeschool discounts.
- reading homeschool curriculum reviews before purchasing so that you don’t waste money on programs that aren’t right for your student.
Does homeschooling cost money? Yes, of course, but by taking advantage of free resources through your library, local homeschool co-operative, and free educational offerings online and in your local area, you can significantly reduce your overall expenses and keep your expenses within budget.
“I admit that I way overspent on curriculum our first year. By year two, we had switched to an affordable monthly curriculum, bought all our other supplies either on sale or used, and found out that our local science museum has free classes for homeschoolers twice a month. Even so, no matter what we spend, the chance to get to spend this much time with my kids is priceless to me!”
Leave a comment below to let other families know how you keep your homeschool expenses in check.