More discussion on the homeschool issue
There were so many questions from yesterday’s post on Homeschool Finance, that I decided to do a follow-up post today and explain a few things:
Mike asked: Have you calculated the option cost of having your spouse at home teaching your children instead of working full time or part time?
Good question. My wife stays home with the kids and actually makes money by watching other children in our home. Some of you will remember that Mrs. Stew almost worked outside the home this year, but we were going to get free tuition/preschool for our children as a benefit to her job. At the last minute we decided that she would stay home. I doubt whether Mrs. Stew could get a job that would justify the up front expense of work clothes, a second car, child care, etc. and still bring in money. Providing child care in our home has been great for our finances.
Given the ages of our children, I think that a stay at home wife is overall a cost savings. That might change as they move into junior high and high school.
Greg stated: 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.
The truth is that our curriculum is free! Our state provides a free online curriculum and so far, my wife and I have been pleased with it . . . well, it is not free . . . might be more accurate to say that it is paid for by the good tax payers of our state. The online curriculum provides a schedule and accountability. Yes, we do have to buy clothes, but they definitely do not get the wear and tear that school brings. There are some transportation costs to field trips – but only once or twice a month – and the library is within walking distance. My intent was not to list all of the expenses due to homeschooling, but rather just a list of the ways that we save money.
Gina’s question was interesting: 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?
I think they are called “homeschool co-ops”. I know that the homeschoolers in our old church used to use the church facility once a week to meet and bring in a teacher to handle specialized subjects that some parents found difficult. We are not currently involved in anything like that, however, Mrs. Stew often gets the kids together with other homeschool friends of ours for playdates. This might eventually turn into some sort of co-op. The definition of what constitutes homeschooling is defined by state law and is different in almost every state.
Evan asked: What about the lost socialization with other students around their age? Beyond siblings?
I think this concern is valid, but often over-stated. Our kids play with other children on a regular basis and we are faithful to church, so there is socialization there. As they get older, we hope to involve them in community and club sports as well. Furthermore, there are some peer influences from which we would like to shelter them – at least for a little while longer.
The bottom line is that while there was a financial component to our decision to homeschool, this was not the only factor. Many pros and cons were weighed. One factor that is not financial is the fact that my job allows me to participate in homeschooling. I teach thirty to forty percent of the material in order to give Mrs. Stew a break. If my job ever changes so that I can no longer bear part of the burden, our kids will probably go back to school.
Any more questions? :)
Article by Stew
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