Homeschooling is a great alternative to many families’ traditional public or private schooling. It provides an individualized, customized education tailored to a child’s specific needs and interests. But how much does homeschooling cost a family each year?
The answer depends on individual circumstances, but there are a number of costs associated with homeschooling to consider. Some of these costs include curriculum, books, materials, and any fees associated with taking standardized tests.
Technology and tutoring are also among the items that can increase the cost of homeschooling. With careful budgeting and research, homeschooling can be an affordable option for families looking to provide their children with an education tailored to their needs.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling, also called home education, is a type of education in which children learn outside of a traditional school setting. Unlike public school, homeschooling doesn’t follow a set curriculum or have specific learning goals.
Homeschooling is a growing trend in the U.S., with approximately 3 million children being educated outside of a traditional school setting. Many parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons, including poor academic performance, bullying, and disciplinary issues.
Homeschooling is not a one-size-fits-all approach to education. Each family has their own reasons for homeschooling, and each family homeschools differently. Some families provide their children with a customized curriculum, while others opt to create their own curriculum from scratch.
Families planning to provide their education must do the necessary research to determine if they need to obtain a permit from their state.
Benefits of homeschooling
Homeschooling has many benefits, including flexibility, cost, and tailored education.
Flexibility – With homeschooling, parents are able to ensure their child gets the education they need when they need it. Parents can modify the curriculum and structure the day to accommodate their child’s needs.
Cost – Depending on the family and the child’s individual needs, homeschooling can be significantly less expensive than traditional schooling.
Tailored education – Homeschooling allows families to tailor the curriculum to meet their child’s needs and interests. This personalized approach can help to engage and retain students who might otherwise struggle with a standardized curriculum.
Cost factors to consider when homeschooling
There are many factors to consider when determining how much homeschooling costs a family. These include the curriculum, books, materials, and any fees associated with taking standardized tests. Additionally, technology and tutoring may increase the overall cost of homeschooling.
Curriculum and books – A great way to reduce the upfront cost of homeschooling is to purchase used curriculum and used books. Used curriculum is often available from other homeschooling families, while used books can be purchased from a bookstore or online.
Standardized tests – There are a number of standardized tests homeschoolers may need to take, including the ACT, the SAT, and the PSAT. These tests are typically required for college admission, and the fees can add up quickly. Families may be able to find group rates for standardized testing, and some schools offer fee reductions for homeschoolers.
Technology and tutoring – Technology, such as subscriptions, apps, and online tutoring, can add to the overall cost of homeschooling. On the other hand, many free or inexpensive resources are available to homeschooling families.
Testing and evaluation costs
Homeschooling families may be required to take standardized tests and evaluations. Testing is often required for private school or scholarship applications. While the cost of testing varies greatly, some tests may cost up to $150 each.
Testing services such as the Stanford 10-minute assessment are available at no cost. Homeschooling families may also be required to submit an evaluation of their child’s progress. Evaluation costs vary by state. Some states, such as Texas, offer free evaluations.
Additional costs to consider
Homeschooling families may also want to consider the following costs:
Curriculum supplements – Some families supplement their curriculum with online materials such as online tutoring or online textbooks. These can be a great way to extend the curriculum and get more for your money.
Testing and assessment tools – Some testing and assessment tools are designed specifically for homeschoolers. These can help to keep parents accountable and on track with the curriculum.
Field trips – Some field trips, such as museums, are great for encouraging children to learn. However, field trips can be costly and may need to be planned for multiple children.
Extra help – Some families choose to hire tutors or mentors to provide extra help to children who may be struggling. Tutoring can be an expensive addition to homeschooling, but it can also be a worthwhile investment.
Tips for budgeting and saving on homeschooling costs
– Research and plan before purchasing curriculum or materials. Homeschooling families can benefit from online coupon sites and sales offered by many curriculum providers.
– Explore free materials. Many families benefit from using free online materials.
– Shop during back-to-school season. Families can save money by purchasing school supplies during back-to-school season.
– Share with group buys. Some families choose to join group buys for online tutoring and online textbooks.
– Shop for used curriculum and books. Secondhand curriculum and books are a cost-saving option for many families.
– Get free books from your local library. Many libraries host reading programs and offer free books to homeschoolers.
– Join a co-op or forum. Homeschooling families can benefit from sharing resources and joining online forums.
– Simplify the process. Homeschooling can be more expensive for families trying to do too much at once.
– Don’t feel pressured to spend money. Some families choose to start off with very little and work their way up as they become more confident in their educational approach.
Homeschooling scholarships and grants
Many organizations offer scholarships or grants to families who are homeschooling. Scholarships.org features thousands of scholarship opportunities, including many scholarships available to homeschoolers.
Families can also explore their state’s department of education or department of financial aid, which often offers grants for homeschoolers. Families can also look into local organizations that may offer scholarships. Many local churches and community organizations offer assistance to families who are homeschooling.
How to find affordable homeschooling materials
Homeschooling families can benefit from online second-hand sales sites like Craigslist and online forums. Families can also make use of free online resources provided by public libraries.
For more specific materials, such as laboratory equipment or sports equipment, families can try searching for local secondhand resources, such as yard sales and online forums. Families can also explore free online resources, such as websites that offer free science experiments.
Most parents worry about how much it costs to educate their children. This is especially true if they homeschool their children instead of sending them to a traditional school setting. However, it is important to remember that every child is different and needs different things from their education.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to educating a child; parents should do what works best for their child. Homeschooling is a great alternative to traditional schooling and can be affordable when done right.