How Much Does Homeschooling Cost

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For many families, homeschooling is a viable option for educating their children. But how much does it cost to educate your child at home?

On average, homeschooling within the United States will cost between $600 and $1800 annually per child. Costs will vary by state, chosen curriculum, extracurricular activities, ages, and grade requirements. However, there are numerous resources available to homeschooling families that will significantly help reduce educational costs.

In 2010, more than 2 million students in U.S. schools were educated by parents or guardians. If you’re a parent looking into options for raising your kids outside school walls, consider all available choices before deciding which route to take. The right choice could save money not just now but over time.

The most common reason people choose private education instead of public schooling is to control what happens with their children’s education. Parents also may have religious reasons for opting out of a government-controlled educational system.

Some feel that there are too many social pressures within traditional institutions, like pressure to conform to peer groups, dress codes, and other regulations. Others believe that they can do better when teaching their children themselves. Whatever the motivation, research has shown that parental involvement leads to higher academic achievement.

What about financial considerations? How much will homeschooling cost? In this article, we’ll look specifically at some major homeschool-related expenses. Many factors go into making up these figures, including state laws governing homeschooling, curriculum materials and supplies, support services, etc. However, these estimates offer an idea of where homeschoolers might start if they consider homeschooling.

We begin our breakdown of the costs of homeschooling with tuition.

Costs Of School Tuition

One way to consider homeschooling costs is to compare them to those incurred while sending your student to a regular public high school. Public school attendance depends upon each district. While exact numbers vary from area to area, a typical public secondary school charges $7,000 per year (more or less) depending on location, size of the city, and whether special needs students attend separate facilities.

Public schools may be known as free, but the back-to-school supplies, extracurricular activity expenses, and annual taxes collected on behalf of the educational system generally cost families roughly $12,000 or more per attending student.

While public school expenses seem necessary and occur over ten months, homeschooling families have more control over their academic expenditures. A family would need to calculate what kind of funding source they’d use to pay for any extra homeschool-related costs, but the amount spent is entirely up to that family.

When budgeting, it is essential to include field trips, extracurricular activities, and transportation. Knowing and understanding local tax rates and property values is crucial to keep costs low and avoid forgotten or unknown mandatory state fees.

Another factor to consider is the potential income loss caused by taking off work to care for your children during the day. A recent study found that working mothers who chose either stay-at-home parenting or part-time employment earned slightly lower wages than women who worked full-time jobs.

Next, we will examine how books and supplies fit into the equation for homeschooling costs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 10 percent of American households send their children to college. That means 90 percent of Americans don’t have access to four years of classroom instruction before adulthood.

One possible solution to address this growing trend toward early childhood education is homeschooling, especially since statistics show that most homeschooled students graduate from high school ready for postsecondary studies.

Books & Supplies

If you decide to teach your children yourself, there are several ways to obtain textbooks. You can purchase new ones or borrow used copies. Online bookstores sell both brand-new and gently used books. Used textbooks often come from libraries, friends’ houses, or online classified sites.

Your library should provide a record of every textbook loan to ensure that no valuable literature goes missing. Most libraries also offer online resources through a dedicated website that loans audiobooks, digital books, and PDF materials, reducing the number of physical books for learning or pleasure reading.

When purchasing new texts, consider that prices differ significantly between various publishers. Because of this, it pays to shop around until you find the best deal. Check multiple websites because sometimes retailers list different versions of the same text under other names.

Also, make a note of shipping fees. Generally speaking, the more books purchased, the lower the total price. Finally, don’t forget to include taxes! They add anywhere from 8% to 15% onto the final retail price.

Classroom Resources

It seems simple enough, but finding good teachers and tutors is perhaps the most challenging aspect of homeschooling. Various sources help connect prospective homeschool families with quality educators, from print publications to Web-based search engines.

When choosing a teacher, ask many questions about their background, experience, philosophy, and methods. Another helpful resource is to join an organization supporting homeschooling families. These organizations typically maintain lists of qualified instructors who volunteer to answer homeschooling inquiries.

The type of material taught in classrooms varies significantly among counties, districts, and even schools. Most curriculums fall along a continuum that ranges from “traditional” to “alternative.” At one end of the spectrum lies the standard approach to the learning process. In this model, students learn fundamental skills through memorization and rote repetition.

On the opposite stands “project”-oriented education, in which students design solutions to problems rather than regurgitate information from preprinted worksheets. Project-based approaches tend to require fewer resources but demand more independent thought.

Curriculum providers range from large companies offering national products to smaller vendors selling locally produced alternatives. Before committing to anything specific, visit local homeschool meetings held regularly throughout your community.

Attendance at these events allows you to interact directly with other residents. By doing this, you can get an accurate picture of the classes offered in your chosen region and hear firsthand accounts of past lesson plans. Ask parents what they liked about the particular program and what was complicated.

Many states allow homeschooled students to register with virtual charter schools. Virtual charter schools operate independently from brick-and-mortar buildings. Instead, they employ computers and internet technology to deliver coursework.

Charter schools usually charge tuition fees based on age bracket. As long as students complete required courses, they generally receive credits towards graduation.

Some families supplement their homeschool experiences with supplementary programs like tutoring centers, summer camps, or after-school clubs. Although these supplemental programs aren’t strictly necessary for homeschooling, they certainly enhance a student’s overall development.

Because homeschoolers can determine lesson objectives, the scope of content differs widely. Curricula provided by larger publisher companies tend to cover topics similar to those studied in public and private schools.

On the other hand, nonprescribed texts published by individuals or small businesses focus heavily on subjects deemed suitable for young learners. Additional topics can easily be added later as needed.

Resources For Students With Special Needs

Children with physical, mental, emotional, or sensory disabilities face distinct disadvantages when attending public schools. Disabled students must rely solely on the efforts of others to achieve success. They frequently encounter communication, safety, nutrition, health care, and mobility barriers, even with appropriate accommodations.

Furthermore, special needs students miss out on opportunities enjoyed by their peers. Considerable progress has been achieved over the past decade, yet disabled students still lag behind their nondisabled counterparts academically, socially, and emotionally.

An estimated 1.5 million children nationwide live with intellectual disabilities, the largest group comprising developmentally disabled individuals. Unfortunately, few adults understand the complexities associated with living life as a person with an IQ level below 70.

Although rare, some children with severe developmental delays fail to thrive in traditional settings. Families wishing to avoid institutionalizing their youngsters can pursue homeschooling as a viable alternative.

Services rendered by licensed professionals specializing in early intervention techniques and behavior management can effectively replace formalized educational environments. Such expertise may prove invaluable in helping older siblings catch up with younger siblings.

Concerning feeding children nutritional meals, federal law provides guidelines for homeschooled children. Child Nutrition Programs Act mandates that food served to federally funded preschools and childcare centers meet specific standards set forth by the United States Secretary of Agriculture.

Homeschooled children enrolled in public or private elementary, middle or high schools cannot legally claim these programs’ benefits unless the institution serves foods approved by the USDA. Accordingly, parents considering homeschooling their children should consult legal counsel experienced in navigating complex regulatory issues affecting their state.

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