For parents who are considering making the switch to homeschooling their children, the cost of providing this education is one of the most influential factors.
Whether it’s public schooling or homeschooling, where you spend the most money often falls into the same categories: supply shopping, clubs and extracurriculars, and your own time and energy. Here we break down these expenses so you can make the right decision for your family:
Costs of Public and Private School:
School supplies: School supply shopping can be an exciting time for your children, but a strain on your wallet. Beyond just the new notebooks and pencils, many teachers send a list home with specific items needed in each class: flash drives, copy paper, even cleaning supplies. Because you have to buy supplies for each of your kids at the start of the year, it can be a huge expense.
Another supply to consider is uniforms. While not mandatory for every school, some public schools do require uniforms or dress guidelines. If your school does require them, you’ll need to buy multiple new uniforms each year as your children grow.
Clubs and extracurriculars: If your children are interested in after-school activities, they often come with initiation fees and necessary uniforms. Parents should also consider events their children will want to attend, like school plays, sporting events, festivals, or fundraisers.
Your time and energy: Even parents who don’t choose to homeschool often find themselves helping their children with schoolwork outside of the classroom. Between getting your child adjusted to the early schedule of public school, and helping them with homework or projects at night, parents still pay a huge amount of time and energy into their childrens’ education.
Costs of Homeschooling:
Supply shopping: For homeschool parents, the first supplies you need to consider are your curriculum. Finding quality curriculums can be pricey, especially if you have multiple kids learning at different levels. Then, similar to public school, you want to purchase the necessary supplies for your children. Luckily, the supplies you need are within your control and you likely won’t need as many as public school children.
Clubs and extracurriculars: There are plenty of opportunities for clubs and extracurriculars for homeschool students in the community. If your child wants to join a sport or perform in a local theatre production, you’ll likely face similar fees to public school children in initiation fees and uniforms.
Your time and energy: Of course, you spend more time and energy on schoolwork as a homeschool parent than you would as a public school parent. However, homeschool parents can determine their own schedule and class hours to be more manageable, and there are plenty of resources for homeschool parents to help lighten some of the load. One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make in the homeschool process is to try to do everything themselves.
There are ways to alleviate homeschooling expenses, which may be especially crucial to parents who are just starting out and looking for helpful resources. Keeping curriculums as your students age, finding thrifted books or reselling your materials, and searching for quality free resources online can help parents.
What’s the next step?
While many believe that public schooling is a less expensive alternative, homeschooling can actually be more affordable in the long run. As an added benefit, you can find comfort knowing that every dollar you spend is worthwhile and goes toward a personalized education for your child.
The South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools serves as an excellent resource to homeschool parents and children. Our trained counselors can help you determine your expenses, find the resources you need, and guide you throughout the homeschooling process. The new school year is getting closer, so now is the perfect time to reach out and get started.