The Financial Cost of Homeschooling

I was recently approached by someone asking how on earth we can afford to live off one income simply so I can homeschool.

Easy, I told her.

First, it costs me very little to homeschool.  I don't purchase a lot of items every fall for the school year.  This year I did spend a bit more than usual simply because of the math program I wanted for Squirt, as well as the grammar program.  All totaled, those two programs cost me $75 for workbooks and texts.  The rest we get for free from the library or internet.  (I did spend a bit this year on games and other educational items such as the globe, models of the heart and other body parts, etc etc - but those are one time purchases so not a yearly expense so I did not include those in my "curriculum costs")

There is a wealth of free stuff for homeschoolers on the internet.  It just takes some time to sort out and bookmark what you think you might use.  If they come in the form of downloads, do it.  The cost?  Space on your computer or a few CDs or DVDs that you can peruse at your leisure.

Then there are always other homeschoolers or former homeschoolers.  Not only to they offer a wealth of information and support, but often they have items you can borrow.  I was able to find text books and unused workbooks that one former homeschooler never used - and she had been given them from another homeschooler who only used them slightly.  Squirt didn't use the whole books, but there were bits and pieces of information and activities that we put to use.  When we were done, they were given to another homeschooling family.  Since these particular books had been long out of print we didn't feel guilty about "handing them down" to the next generation.

BUT I was not blind to the fact that she was not exactly asking about homeschooling costs, but the fact that we went from a two-income family to a single income family.  Funny thing is, it was only AFTER having gone from 2 to 1 income that we were able to afford to purchase a house and buy a new vehicle.


Because our own silly spending habits HAD to change.  After quitting my job to stay home and raise our son, we no longer ate out 3-4 times a week but started cooking and eating at home.  We no longer bought what ever we wanted, when we wanted - every purchase has to actually be thought about and more often than not, we end up deciding we don't need it or we wait until it is on an extremely good sale - such as DHs quad - when others purchased theirs for $4000, he waited and waited and found a brand new one for $1500.  We don't have brand new furniture and are in need, but we will find what we want at a price we can afford eventually. 

I no longer had the expense of travelling to and from work or the added expense of rent on another house depending on where I worked - reserve positions often require you to live there simply because of distance so I would have to pay for a complete second house, food, television, heating, power, telephone, etc as well as contributing to our own house together.

So if I had returned to work, I would have had the added expense of child care costs (anywhere from $800 to $1800 a month depending on the establishment and if I would require Squirt to be transferred to and from school - and so much because we would not qualify for child care subsidies due to higher income levels).  I would also have to have a decent wardrobe - no going to work in sweats or pajamas every day.

Then there are days when I would be required to be away, due to conferences or class trips, etc.  And if Hubby was gone that week to work out of town?  Well, we would have to arrange for Squirt to stay at one of the 24-hour day cares an additional cost because we don't have family able to take him without him missing school.  And really, who wants their kids staying with strangers for 2-3 days?  NOT me!

Our yearly income tax would also be higher because DH would not qualify for the lower taxes because I would be making above $20 grand a year.  As a teacher, if I had not taken any time off to raise our son I would be in the $50 thousand plus group now and would be paying taxes on that as well. 

I had to laugh and told her that in actuality, our take home pay NOW is actually MORE than what it would be if we both worked - yes, it is something we figured out one evening just because we wanted to see.  We would be living off of close to $10 thousand a year LESS if I returned to work simply due to taxes and monthly expenses.

So for us, it makes more sense financially for me to remain at home and homeschool our child.

Does it work that way for every family?  Of course not.  BUT what is true for any family is the fact that in order to homeschool or even remain home to raise your child/ren, you have to make adjustments.  You have to change your spending habits - which is not necessarily a bad thing.
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