“Is homeschooling expensive?” Ha! That’s like asking if a toddler can resist a plate of cookies left unattended on the kitchen counter. Of course, homeschooling can be pricey but don’t worry. I won’t leave you hanging like a piñata at a kid’s birthday party. In this article, I’ll give you the exact breakdown of costs for a year of homeschooling, from pencils to protractors and everything in between. So, put on your budgeting hat, and let’s dive into the world of homeschool expenses. Just don’t blame me if you end up with a sudden urge to hoard all the discounted school supplies at your local store.”
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.
Don’t forget there’s a Youtube video further down the page outlining all the expenses of homeschooling (if you’d just rather drop the reading).
Let’s dive in!
Affiliate links are used in this article.
Homeschool Curriculum Expenses
The most expensive cost of homeschooling (for most families) is…curriculum.
The cost of a homeschool curriculum can vary widely, depending on various factors such as the grade level, the subject matter, and the type of curriculum used. However, there are many options available that can help make homeschooling more affordable.
Some families use free or low-cost resources such as public library materials, open educational resources, or online educational programs. Others purchase used curriculum materials or share resources with other homeschooling families. In this way, they can save money and make homeschooling more affordable.
However, it is important to remember that while there are ways to reduce the cost of homeschooling, it is still an investment in your child’s education. Also, you’ll be using the curriculum for two or three hours during the day. If you don’t like your program, it makes home education more difficult.
Min Homeschool Curriculum Expenses: $0 with a free curriculum.
Max Homeschool Curriculum Expenses: $1300.
School Supplies Expenses
The amount a person can expect to pay for school supplies can vary widely depending on the needs and preferences of the family.
For a bare minimum, a family can expect to spend around $100-$200 per year on school supplies such as pencils, pens, notebooks, folders, glue, scissors, and other basic materials. This assumes the family already has access to a computer or tablet, printer, and internet connection.
On the higher end, a family may choose to invest in more expensive supplies such as high-quality art materials, science equipment, or specialized software. In this case, the costs can easily reach $500 or more per year.
Remember that the more children you have, the lower the cost per child will be, as children can share many of these supplies, thus reducing your homeschool expenses.
Min School Supplies Expenses: $100 with a free curriculum.
Max School Supplies Expenses: $500.
Extracurricular Activities Costs
The answer to the question, ‘is homeschooling expensive’ depends on various factors, including the types of activities your child is interested in and the resources available in your area.
In general, extracurricular activities for homeschoolers can range wildly from inexpensive to quite costly.
Some activities, such as park days and nature walks, are free, while others, such as music lessons and sports teams, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.
A person realistically can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars per year on extracurricular activities for their homeschooled child.
The actual costs will depend on the specific activities chosen and the location. For example, a homeschooling family in a rural area may have limited options for extracurricular activities. In contrast, a family in a large city may have access to various options at varying price points.
Some homeschooling families participate in free or low-cost community programs or co-ops to keep costs down.
In contrast, others opt for at-home activities such as DIY projects and online courses. It’s important to consider both the financial and educational benefits of each activity to determine the best fit for your family.
Min Extracurricular Activities Expenses: $50
Max Extracurricular Activities Expenses: $5,000.
Co-op and Classes Costs
A homeschooling co-op or class can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the program and location. Some co-ops or classes are free or low-cost, while others can be quite expensive.
At the lower end of the cost spectrum, some co-ops or classes may only charge a small fee to cover materials or facility rentals. On the higher end, some programs may charge tuition or membership fees, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per year.
It’s important to note that some co-ops or classes may also require additional expenses, such as textbooks, materials, or uniforms, which can add to the overall cost.
To keep costs down, some homeschooling families opt for at-home classes or online courses, which can be more affordable than in-person programs. Additionally, some co-ops may offer scholarships or financial assistance to families in need.
Min Co-op/Classes Expenses: $10 per class or $200/year.
Max Co-op/Classes Expenses: $200 per class or $3000/ year.
Technology, Software, and Apps Costs
At a minimum, a homeschooling family will need a reliable computer or laptop, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the features and specifications. For example, a basic laptop suitable for homeschooling may cost around $300 to $500, while a high-end model with advanced features such as a touchscreen, stylus, and graphics card can cost upwards of $2,000.
In addition to a computer or laptop, families may also need other technology tools, such as printers, scanners, or tablets, which can also add to the overall cost.
To keep costs down, some homeschooling families purchase refurbished or used equipment or borrow or share technology resources with other homeschooling families in their community. Additionally, some programs or co-ops may provide access to technology tools as part of their program fees.
It’s also important to consider ongoing costs, such as software subscriptions, internet access, and maintenance or repair expenses.
Min Technology Expenses: $500 laptop, printer, internet. It may not be this high every year. Multiply depending on if you want each child to have a laptop of his own or not.
Max Technology Expenses: $3000 initially.
At a minimum, a homeschooling family will need a dining room table for the children to do their work on. But this won’t cost any extra, given you probably already have one!
If you want things to be comfortable and don’t want a mess in your house every day, consider getting a desk or table and chairs with storage units to organize educational materials.
The cost of these items can vary widely, depending on the quality and style. For example, a basic desk or table may cost around $50 to $100, while a high-quality ergonomic chair can cost upwards of $500.
Other furniture items that may be helpful for a homeschooling space include bookcases, shelving units, and storage bins. These items can cost anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, depending on the size, materials, and style.
To keep costs down, some homeschooling families repurpose existing furniture or purchase second-hand items from thrift stores or online marketplaces. Additionally, some families may use multi-functional furniture items, such as a dining room table that doubles as a workspace.
Min Furniture Expenses:$0 if using the dining room. ONE-OFF COST.
Mid Furniture Expenses: $50-100 for an inexpensive desk and chair setup.
Max Furniture Expenses:$2000 for a wow homeschool room setup.
There are also other expenses that you might incur when homeschooling. I’ve listed a full list of expenses you might come across further down the page along with instructions on how you can effectively write out a homeschool budget.
Is Homeschooling Expensive Compared to Public School
On the face of it, you would say homeschooling would be more expensive than public school. But this isn’t always the case.
Public schools often require parents to cover many extra costs like uniforms and extras on top of sometimes buying their own technological gear.
So, homeschooling can be less expensive than public school, depending on the family’s specific circumstances.
If a parent can provide instruction and materials without paying for expensive curriculum or programs, homeschooling can be very affordable.
However, if a parent chooses to purchase an expensive pre-made curriculum or pay for private tutoring, homeschooling can become more expensive than public school.
Is Homeschooling Expensive Compared to Private School
Most people would regard homeschooling as being significantly less expensive compared to private school.
Homeschooling can be less expensive than private school, but it can also be more expensive depending on the family’s choices. Private schools often charge tuition, which can be quite costly. Homeschooling can be more affordable if a family chooses a low-cost curriculum or decides to create their own materials.
However, if a family chooses to hire private tutors or purchase a high-end curriculum, homeschooling can become more expensive than private school.
Is Homeschooling Expensive Compared to Unschooling
Unschooling is often considered a form of homeschooling, but it typically does not involve the purchase of curriculum or other materials. Instead, unschooling is based on a child’s interests and experiences, with parents facilitating learning as the child explores the world around them.
Because unschooling does not require the purchase of materials, it can be one of the least expensive forms of homeschooling. However, unschooling may still involve the cost of field trips or other experiences, which can add up over time.
How to Reduce Homeschooling Expenses
Homeschooling can get a little expensive, especially if you’re only home educating on one income. So, here are some ways to reduce the expense of homeschooling:
- Plan your curriculum carefully: Do your research, compare prices, and choose a curriculum that fits your budget. There are many free or low-cost resources available online, such as Khan Academy and Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
- Borrow or buy used textbooks: Check out your local library, online marketplaces, or homeschooling groups for used textbooks or curriculums. You can save a lot of money by purchasing used books instead of new ones.
- Share resources with other homeschooling families: Joining a homeschooling co-op or a group can help you share resources and costs with other families. You can organize a book swap, share the cost of field trips, or team up for bulk purchases.
- Use free online resources: There are plenty of free online resources available, such as educational videos, games, and worksheets. You can use them to supplement your curriculum and keep costs down.
- Utilize the library: The library is a great resource for homeschoolers. You can borrow books, DVDs, and even access online databases and educational software.
- Cut down on extracurricular activities: Extracurricular activities, such as sports and music lessons, can add up quickly. Consider limiting the number of activities your children participate in or find free or low-cost alternatives.
- DIY projects: Instead of buying expensive science kits or craft supplies, try doing DIY projects with household items. You can find many ideas and tutorials online.
- Start an at-home business: Borrow a book from the library on how to start a business at home and go for it. See if you can make it a family affair. Bake cookies, sell succulents, fix sewing machines, repair machinery, re-bind old leather Bibles..there are so many ideas out there!
By being resourceful and planning carefully, you can significantly reduce the cost of homeschooling.
How To Budget for the Expenses of Homeschooling
Homeschooling expenses can quickly skyrocket out of control. So, you need a budget.
But how do you make such a beast…especially if you’re not budget savvy.
It’s easy, but it does take some admin work.
Here are some steps you can take to budget for the expenses associated with homeschooling:
- Determine your expenses: Make a list of all the expenses associated with homeschooling, including curriculum, supplies, field trips, classes, and any other costs. I’ve written a thorough list of possible expenses you’ll have further down the page, so make sure you check it out so you don’t miss something.
- Prioritize your expenses: Once you have a list of all your expenses, prioritize them according to importance. This will help you to focus on the most important expenses and allocate your budget accordingly. Most people find they can save money on curriculum, but things like computers are important expenses to consider.
- Set a budget: Determine how much money you can realistically allocate towards homeschooling expenses from your larger household budget. This will help you to avoid overspending, keep your finances in check, and avoid giving your husband a heart attack when he looks at the bank account.
- Shop around for deals: Look for deals on curriculum, supplies, and other resources. This could include shopping secondhand, buying in bulk, or taking advantage of sales and discounts. Remember that there are many sales around the months of March to August. Also, remember that you can get a free homeschool curriculum if your budget is spiraling out of control.
- Keep track of your spending: Keep track of your expenses throughout the year to ensure you stay within your budget. You can use a spreadsheet or budgeting app to help you track your spending.
- Adjust your budget as needed: If you’re overspending in one area, adjust your budget accordingly. You may need to cut back on some expenses or find ways to save money in other areas.
By following these steps, you can create a budget that works for your family’s needs and helps you to manage the costs of homeschooling.
Comprehensive and Thorough List of Homeschool Expenses
Like most people, you may forget to account for many expenses below. So here’s a full list to help you work on determining your homeschool expenses:
- Curriculum and textbooks
- Online courses or classes
- Educational software or apps
- Learning materials such as science kits, art supplies, and manipulatives
- Technology such as computers, tablets, printers, and internet access
- Office supplies such as paper, pens, and folders
- Furniture such as desks, chairs, and bookshelves
- Field trips and educational outings
- Sports programs or extracurricular activities
- Testing materials and standardized tests
- Tutoring or additional educational services
- Professional development and training for the homeschooling parent
- Homeschooling Association membership fees
- Legal fees for state requirements and documentation
- Transportation costs for field trips or extracurricular activities
- Health insurance and medical expenses, if the parent is self-employed and does not have access to employer-provided health insurance.
Please note that not all these expenses will be necessary for every homeschooling family. It is important to create a personalized budget based on your family’s individual needs and goals.
A Fool Doesn’t Count the Cost of Homeschooling
While it’s not the most pleasant undertaking, making a budget is important as it will save you from a lot of trouble down the road.
Jesus once said, “Which of you desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28
It’s wise to budget, but…
A Fool Only Counts the Cost of Homeschooling
But think about why you’re homeschooling in the first place. Many of us are homeschooling despite the fact that it costs more than another type of education. We’re homeschooling because we truly believe this is the best type of education we can give our child.
Like me, you may feel convicted that this is the best way to tell your children about our Savour Jesus…something you’re not finding is being done effectively in schools.
So, think about other factors involved in your decision to homeschool. For me, it’s not just a matter of money.
There are many reasons I’m homeschooling…oh, so many!
Is Homeschooling Expensive? The Conclusion of the Matter
In conclusion, homeschooling can certainly be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. By being resourceful, creative, and perhaps a little bit sneaky, you can keep the costs down while still providing a quality education for your child. And who knows, maybe your newfound penny-pinching skills will come in handy for other areas of your life. Just remember, if all else fails, you can always teach your child how to be a street performer and earn some extra cash to cover those curriculum costs. Happy homeschooling!