When people find out we homeschool the initial reactions we get can vary from shock and awe to flat out disgust. Most, however, immediately begin to tell me how they admire me but could never homeschool themselves. In this series we plan to put to rest some of the myths and stereotypes about what it takes to homeschool.
Myth #1 Homeschooling is Expensive
When my children were first born I was working part time. I made a decent salary for a part time employee and I even had the benefit of being able to take my girls in with me! As jobs go, this one was a dream come true. However, by the time my youngest daughter was 6 months old, taking them both in was just not working. Well, more to the point was I was not working! How could I with a toddler and an infant constantly needing my attention. So, I began checking around for child care. I toured day care centers and was pleased to find one that I really loved! They had a computer lab, an indoor playground, a low teacher to student ratio and boasted a fantastic kindergarten readiness program. The kicker was that it was going to cost me $250 per week per child to send them there! $500 per week just for child care! In order to put my children into day care I would have to take a loss on my pay check. Ok, how can I make this work? I was bringing home about $350 a week on my part time hours. I could increase my hours...of course that means the girls have to stay at the day care center longer. It was unlikely that I was going to find another job that paid as well as this one and allowed me the flexibility that I needed as a mom. Then I came to a surprising conclusion. It was too expensive for me to work! It was cheaper to keep my children at home and be a non-income parent than to have a job!
Of course, I know what you are thinking, public school is free (well, free on delivery), but have you ever taken the time to tally up what it costs you to work and send your child to the "free" school? I encourage you to sit down and do so!
gas to and from work
clothing for work
dinners out due to late work hours
gas to and from school
money for field trips/fundraisers/class parties/projects
These are just the expenses that came to my mind, but I bet you will find that the free school isn't as free as you thought! Even if you are managing to bring home some of your pay check, what about the time investment? How much is your job and your child's public education costing you in family time?
What about homeschooling? Is it expensive? It can be.We definitely need some of those things too, and it is true, some homeschooling curriculum can run into the thousands. The great thing is that homeschooling can cost as little or as much as you want it too! Are you willing to put in a little extra time searching the internet? Between the internet and the library homeschooling can be completely free. Yes, there is a little bit of a trade. Some homeschoolers prefer to pay for the convenience of a curriculum already set up, but even that doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Providers such as Rod and Staff offer a very comprehensive and inexpensive "boxed" style curriculum. A parent willing to go the extra mile can match any expensive curriculum with free or nearly free substitutes.