Homeschool Finance

By Stew


When my wife and I started to have children, we never thought that we would end up as homeschoolers. This year we are just that. We have a first grader and a kindergartener and we are educating them at home. I do not want to get into a long discussion about the pros and cons of homeschool v private school v government school. The bottom line is that we believe this is best for our children at this point in time and in the future, circumstances might change that will cause us to reconcider and possibly even choose one of the other options. Today, I just want to talk about the financial aspect of this decision.

Here are the ways that we save money by homeschooling:

  • Clothes. We have been able to avoid the cost of clothes brought on by a dress code (some private schools) and by peer pressure. Our kids go to school in their play clothes and we save some money this way. I think the greatest area of savings is in shoes.
  • Transportation. We do not have to drive our children to and from school. Getting to school is as easy as walking downstairs.
  • Food. We do not have to buy the school lunch and we even save money on packing a lunch since lunch at home does not require a lunch box, sandwich bags, beverage container or even the proverbial “brown bag”.
  • Tuition. This is the obvious cost savings over private school. Public school would not require us to pay tuition, obviously.
  • Fundraising. All schools, public and private, require students to raise money for one thing or another. We do not have to deal with selling candy bars, magazine subscriptions or participating in any other ways to bring in money to the school.
  • School supplies. Our kids share school supplies and many of the things that they use are items that we already have around the house.
  • Vacations and travel. Because we are not bound by the school year, we are able to travel at “off-peak” times of the year. We save a lot of money by booking flights on week days or staying in hotels on school nights.

We did not chose to homeschool because it was the cheapest option. We chose it because in light of all of the circumstances, it is the best educational choice for our children. I am thankful to live in a country where we have the freedom to educate our children at home. While there is a financial component to the decision to homeschool, I certainly believe that it is important to invest in education and hope to have the money  in the future to spend on the best education possible for my kids.

Article by Stew

Photo by tiffanywashko

19 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Homeschool Finance”

  1. kim Says:

    Fundraisers are not required for public school kids. We make a straight donation, usually to the child’s classroom, as we are able.

  2. Mike Says:

    This is a very interesting point of view.

    However, have you calculated the option cost of having your spouse at home teaching your children instead of working full time or part time?

  3. Greg Says:

    I have had my children in home school, private school, and government school. Each has it’s pro’s and con’s. The one thing you left out was the cost of home school curriculum. This can be very pricey. The savings on clothing (you still have to buy clothes), transportation (field trips, library visits), and food (you don’t need to buy lunch at school and you can use reusable containers) is negligible to the cost of the curriculum.

    Homeschooling is definitely more cost effective than private school. and you can do some things to offset the cost of homeschooling. The reason to home school is rarely because of a financial benefit…but it is important to understand the costs and whether it can fit into a families budget.

  4. ABCs of Investing Says:

    Are there any costs for books/curriculums etc?

    As Mike said, having a stay-at-home spouse is very expensive. I know because I have one. :)

  5. Gina Says:

    I wondered about the cost of the stay-at-home spouse too.

    If you have “other” students, would you charge a nominal fee to cover the curriculum costs? Would other students require more licensing (such as w/a daycare)? What sort of creditentials are involved w/being a “homeschool” teacher?

    As my daughter gets closer to school age I am thinking more about this.

  6. Evan Says:

    I am not sure if it is a good or bad thing, but what about the lost socialization with other students around their age? Beyond siblings?

  7. dramon Says:

    Hopefully, you make this decision based on what is best for your child and family in the long run, versus a financial decision. Having said that I am not sure if I would have stayed home if I was financial able to. I don’t think I have the aptitude to be a stay at home parent and a teacher.

  8. Emily @ Under$1000PerMonth Says:

    I would think you may already have a stay-at-home spounse, since one child is going into kindergarten, but I was hoping for some info on curriculum expenses, too.

  9. Credit Card Chaser Says:

    Also reusing textbooks if you have kids near the same age would save money as well.

  10. Jamie Says:

    We are a single income family of 6.

    Homeschooling is neither the cheapest or easiest way to educate your children, but for now we feel that it is the best way for us. This is a personal decision and requires a huge commitment. One of the most important things to do is find a good support group in your area. Ours has around 250 families. They are a great place to trade or buy used curriculum. These groups also provide opportunities to resolve the socialization issues most non-homeschool families believe exist.

    Homeschooling does provide learning opportunities that can never be matched in a classroom. We took three weeks this summer to see some of this great country that we live in. We drove on old RV coast to coast covering almost 7,000 miles. If you want to see the joy of homeschooling check out .

  11. Maureen Blue Says:

    What a cool story. I just love the site! Keep up the great work :)

  12. Krystal Says:

    I think this is excellent! I have only ever met one family that did homeschooling and I was kid then. Now with my children, two in school now, one starting next year I’m highly debating on beginning homeschooling due to private issues. However I’m hitting a road block on how to ‘begin’ this journey with my family. I think most are negative in a way because they have not lived the life, and the life they live in the only life they know. (No disrespect intended)

  13. Jonathan@Friends and Money Says:

    Homeschooling has many benefits and it has to be a personal choice. I do sometimes worry whether children miss out on the social aspects of being in a school community, but certainly educationally there appears to be little difference. It’s a very very good way to save money, especially on clothing!

  14. shari Says:

    No one has posted in a while, but this is a good read. We decided to homeschool our child at the end of 4th grade for several reasons, but mostly it was the best decision for us. How we homeschool depends on the residing state. HSLDA has each state’s requirements. Some states, families have to have an “overseer” someone who checks in on the progress. We live in a state that we basically said, “We’re done with this, we are homeschooling next yr.” That means no government help with curriculum choice or back up if there are learning issues or concerns. We were on our own, until we found a homeschool group. Homeschooling takes courage. We are basically pioneers set out for the homeschool frontier. A few have paved the way, and it’s getting easier. There are also partnerships, coops, etc.. several options exist. We are currently a “homebased” school because we outsource classes, but are gone 3 days a week. Socialization is not a problem, in fact my child is too social at times, but we are on the go from 8 am till 8 pm most days. This is by choice, we could choose to stay home and do all the work, but we decided we want more adventure everday.