When we were first discerning if home schooling was the right choice for us I had a lot of questions. Of course many of they typical ones were there about socialization, if I’d ruin them, how you even begin, what to use, etc. But, one question I had was one that I was surprised by the answer to.
Actually, I have been surprised by the answers to all of them and continue to be amazed at how mislead and uninformed I was about the whole issue. But I remember talking to my sister-in-law on the phone (I could seriously tell you where I was at the time, it was momentous!) and asking her a million questions about homeschooling. I remember asking her how much it costs.
For a long time leading up to our venture into this lifestyle, I mistakenly figured that homeschooling must be more expensive than private school. I figured that if I had to buy all the books and things, plus pay for activities and classes we could never afford it. Boy was I wrong! My sister-in-law answered that “it can be as expensive as you choose to make it” and her words were so true. I have since learned that I can provide my kids with a custom-fit, private, Catholic education that far outweighs what I would expect them to receive had we sent them to such a school. I have learned that I can, in fact, make it as expensive or INexpensive as I choose. Here are some ways to save while homeschooling:
1. Food-Because we are at home for the better part of the days we eat there. We obviously have no need to send lunch money or buy lunch tickets. We can eat leftovers for lunch and since we are not constantly on the go we can eat a home-cooked meal nearly every night. Not only do we save money this way but we are likely much healthier because of it.
2. Clothes-Since we don’t have to leave the house to go to school we don’t have to dress to impress anyone there. Of course we do get dressed but the typical wordrobe is comfortable play clothes. So far we have dealt with little to no peer pressure for name brands or pop culture clothing and for that I am SO thankful for many reasons. We shop consignment, clearance, and garage sales for basically all of the kids’ clothing needs. I have noticed that because of the lifestyle we have chosen our kids are less apt to feel the pressure of consumerism. I suppose this also has something to do with the limited amount of tv we watch.
3. Books/Supplies-This is where I figured we would chew up a great amount of our budget. I soon learned that we can find almost everything we need at discount prices in many places like used curriculum sales, from friends, at garage sales and for free on the internet. The options are really unlimited if you look hard enough. Borrowing and trading are great ways to save as well and don’t forget the library!
4. Activities-Since our kids are not in public school there is way less pressure for them to be involved in sports and activities at such a young age. When they are interested in something we can usually find a local park and rec class and we have never had trouble finding free activities in our community. We are able to put more emphasis on family time and compliment that with outside activities, rather than the other way around.
5. Time-Not only have we been able to homeschool frugally but we have saved time because of it. We get to decide how much we are on the go for outside activities. There is rarely a shortage of time spent together because we are together all day. So when we do choose an outside activity it is less stressful. We don’t have to try to cram it in between homework, dinner and bedtime. Our time is ours.
So, although you could spend a lot of money on all of the above things, whether you homeschool or not, there are much more affordable options.