How Much Does Homeschooling Cost
Homeschooling can cost as much as you want it to because there are so many different scenarios.
Not only do families vary in size but also in: children’s ages, educational approaches, and individual gifts, talents and interests of the parents and children.
To get registered to homeschool in Australia it is free. You don’t get a specific government subsidy to homeschool but some families are eligible for the isolated children’s scheme. Centrelink also gives some exemptions to the educating parent from working when you homeschool.
Here is an educated guess of the average costs of homeschooling and then you can individually tweak it for your circumstances.
What Will You Spend Your Money On
For all there is the initial set up homeschooling cost. This will vary as you probably have a lot of these things already.
Initial Homeschool Costs Setup
- a computer,
- internet access,
- stationery and art supplies
Extra Curricula Activities
When you homeschool you often want your child to attend other extra-curricula activities to enrich their lesson. Often children would have done these activities regardless of homeschooling. Your options are unlimited here.
Here are some considerations:
Curriculum Homeschool Costs
- Distance Education is usually about $2000 per child. It depends on the grade and school you choose. Public distance education is cheaper however the conditions can be quite strict and are not available to all students. You may incur some extra accommodation and transport expenses for residential days.
- For a curriculum package like My Homeschool will cost approximately $550 per year for primary school and $880 for high school per child. Plus another $150 for additional resources.
- DIY curriculum is quite unpredictable in price as there are many options. You can choose to look for free options. There are many around, however it can become a bit hodge podge. If you want a well thought out curriculum then a budget of $725 per year you could purchase: a math program and a Math Online subscription($80); an English program ($175) plus reading books ($200); a science program, such as Apologia ($120); a history and geography resource ($150). Reusable resources can greatly reduce costs for the second child to around $300. At My Homeschool our programs also have the option to reuse curriculum for a subsequent child.
- With natural learning or unschooling everything is curriculum (or nothing is curriculum depending on your definition). Unschoolers spend more money on extra curricular activities, excursions, hobbies and interests of the child, so I have added an extra $500 per year for extra curricular activities for each child. This may be too conservative.
But You Will Save On School Fees
School fees for the first child can cost, $0 to $300 in a public school and $12 000 to $50 000 in a private school.
- You also need to add:
- extra for special events,
- excursions and uniforms.
How much does homeschooling cost compared to to private or public school fees we can see that homeschooling is significantly cheaper than a private school education and not much more than a public school education.
But You Might Have To Give Up An Income
When you homeschool you need to be present to educate your children. In some families this may mean that a family gives up an income. However I have seen many families manage to maintain part time work if the parents work together or if the business is run from home.
Homeschooling Costs Change From Year To Year
Homeschooling costs can oscillate enormously and, in truth, it is impossible to give a concrete answer to the question, ‘How much does homeschooling cost?’. Homeschooling can cost as much or as little as you like. You can make things a little cheaper (see my money saving tips) and you can easily blow these estimates but you do need to spend money to homeschool and it is possible to work out the approximate cost.
Is It About The Money!
Choosing to homeschool, for many parents, is not about the cost anyway. Often one parent has given up a career or full-time wage in order to homeschool. It is about what is best for the children and somehow no matter what the homeschool costs many parents find a way!
Tips To Control The Homeschool Costs
Make a budget based on your income. Don’t be too miserly with yourself. Buying a few good resources will make homeschooling a lot easier. When you first start it is almost your right of passage to waste some money on curriculum mistakes you ‘must have’ and never use.
Don’t punish yourself (and your children) by persisting with something that is not working, just because you spent money on it. Put it down to experience and find something else. As the years go by you will get better at discerning what you need and you can direct your funds to cater for the growing interests of your children.
Research your curriculum before you buy. Do you really need a curriculum to teach that topic? Could they just read a book instead? If you can download free samples or borrow a friend’s copy of a resource you are considering you can often save yourself from making purchases that may not work for your family.
Ask for reviews on products from other Australian homeschoolers. Join a good homeschool forum to find homeschooling parents who are more than willing to give their opinion on certain resources.
Plan ahead but don’t buy too much in advance. Planning is good but as we homeschool our needs change. A resource that worked for one year may become stale the following. What worked for one child may not work for another.
Make the most of your librarian and your library card. I have requested the library purchase certain books and they often have.
Buy and sell curriculum second hand if possible. At My Homeschool we have a buy second hand section on our community forum.
Use ebooks. They are usually cheaper or even free, you can save on postage, and they are reusable. I take mine off to the local printing place and have them spiral bound.
Use the internet. This is a great place for getting loads of information.
Organise a group for extra curricular activities and ask for school prices.