The cost to homeschool is an important consideration when starting homeschooling. Homeschool on a budget is possible! Here are creative ways on how you can save money while homeschooling and help you answer how much does it cost to homeschool your child and find an average cost to homeschool over several years of expenses.
Cost To Homeschool: How Expensive is Homeschooling?
If you’re thinking about homeschooling (or just now doing your research) or if you just started homeschooling, one of your concerns may homeschool costs.
One of the first things you should do is create a loose yearly homeschool budget. (I say loose because you can adjust and change the budget once you better understand homeschooling expenses for your family.)
Let’s take a closer look at how much does it cost to do homeschool.
Does it cost money to homeschool your child?
It is possible to homeschool on a budget and even homeschool free for bigger ticket items, but there are still costs to homeschool. You should plan for costs like technology (computers and internet access) and school supplies like paper and pencils, at a minimum.
What Does it Cost to Homeschool?
So, how much does it cost to homeschool your child? The cost to homeschool depends on your choices. There are free online curriculum, as well as paid homeschool curriculum and online courses.
When determining the cost of homeschooling for your budget, you will take into account different factors.
How much does it cost to homeschool your kid will depend on:
- How many children you are homeschooling.
- Type of curriculum you will use (if any).
- Online classes, courses, or camps.
- Type and amount of outside the home classes and activities and any other homeschool programs.
- Books and textbooks.
- Homeschool supplies.
- Technology (computers, tablets and software).
- Anything other expenses you will have when homeschooling. (Will you need a babysitter twice a week to watch the little one so you can focus on the older kids or while you work part-time?)
How much money does homeschool cost?
You may have seen homeschool cost quotes that average between $600-900. However, homeschool costs depend on a variety of factors, including the number of children you are homeschooling. Homeschooling the first year will probably be the most expensive for the homeschool budget and can considerably bring up your average cost to homeschool a child.
So, when asking How much does homeschooling cost? you’ll have to consider several factors (just like anything in life) like curriculum, courses, supplies, and outside activities.
It can be below $100 into thousands of dollars, depending on your needs and activities.
Homeschooling can be costly, but not so expensive that you cannot do it. However, traditional school (like public school) and associated extracurricular activities can also be expensive.
So, schooling, in general, can be costly!
Are homeschool expenses tax deductible?
In general, homeschool expenses are not tax deductible. There are a few states that offer tax credits that homeschoolers can choose to take. However, in the United States, you generally cannot deduct homeschool costs, write off homeschool expenses, nor get money from the state for homeschooling.
If you’re wondering Can I claim homeschool expenses on my taxes? you need to check your state tax laws.
Is it free to be homeschooled?
Another question that you may have is How can I homeschool my child for free? There are many free homeschool resources or cheap homeschool resources where you can find best homeschool curriculum for free or gently used homeschool curricula, study units, worksheets, and online reading like free books that help keep homeschooling expenses down.
(Repeat after me: the library is your friend — but watch those library fines!)
How can I homeschool my child for free?
When the budget is tight, you can find ways to homeschool for cheap or free!
Yes, you can even homeschool curriculum on a budget! (It’s all about thinking outside of the box!)
Here are some free (and affordable) ways you can homeschool that won’t break the budget and can work within what you want to spend.
How to homeschool free:
- Free homeschool curriculum, worksheets, and printables
- Free online school (or affordable homeschooling online)
- Library (books and free classes)
- Documentaries (Public Television offers great resources)
- Free local classes (through parks, colleges, local businesses, restaurants and more)
- Life skills
- Free online software and homeschool programs
- Free museum days and free local travel landmarks
- Virtual museum field trips
- YouTube tutorials
- Nature hikes and journaling
These are all items that will help you create a budget friendly homeschool!
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HOMESCHOOLING COSTS: A CLOSER LOOK
Just like any facet of raising a family, your expenses and budget are determined by your choices.
For homeschooling, those expenses include decisions like what homeschool curriculum you use, what books you buy, what method you choose, what social activities your kids are involved in outside of the home, and if you join a co-op.
Involvement in classes outside the home always raise expenses.
(And, it’s the same if a traditionally schooled kid is in a lot of extracurricular activities!)
However, one of the biggest expenses new homeschool families have is curriculum and at-home courses.
Just remember, as your child ages, the homeschool expenses will increase. A homeschool budget for a kindergartner will be a lot less because you can teach with park plays and library books, whereas a homeschool budget for high school will be more expensive because the learning tools, courses, and books are more expensive.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most expensive homeschooling costs to help you understand how to budget homeschool.
Homeschool Cost #1: Homeschool Curriculum
However, the cost of homeschool curriculum and courses can run into a few hundred dollars for each kid or learning level (at the most expensive end of the spectrum). It will probably be one of your most expensive home school costs.
And, the never-ending search for the best homeschool curriculum can make you crazy (and, can be costly, especially if you hate it and have to purchase another one and another one and another one).
So, you should give some serious consideration to homeschooling curriculum.
How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum
For a budget friendly homeschool curriculum, consider:
- Do you need a homeschool curriculum?
- Will you buy a homeschooling curriculum and hand it down to other kids? (allowing you to save money)
- Do you want an online curriculum or curriculum with books and study guides (or both)?
- How do your kids best learn?
- How do you best lead and how involved do you want/need to be in each lesson? (For example, do you work and need to the older kids to have more independent learning?)
- Are there any special needs for learning?
I like to call picking out a homeschool curriculum the NEVER ENDING HAMSTER WHEEL.
That’s because we’re convinced that BIGGER and BETTER is always out there.
WE HAVE A FREE HOMESCHOOLING CURRICULUM CHECKLIST
BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT!
How much does it cost to homeschool online?
The cost to homeschool online will vary based on homeschool programs and curricula. Homeschoolers generally pay by course, per child, so it can get costly quickly. Homeschool classes and programs can start as low as $20 and go up into the hundreds depending on the program.
►HOMESCHOOL TIP: One way to save money if you’re homeschooling multiple kids online is to find a program or online courses where there is one low price for the entire family. CHECK OUT THIS CHEAP HOMESCHOOLING ONLINE
Homeschool Cost #2: Outside Classes
The next biggest (or equal) expense is the cost of homeschool programs / number and type of classes your kids take outside of the home.
These kinds of classes are varying prices and can be as cheap as $10 per child up to hundreds of dollars, depending on the type of class or activity.
We try to do a mix of paid classes (music, Spanish, swim) and free classes, like those offered through a museum, library, or local business.
Many organizations today recognize the growing homeschooling movement and add free or cheap homeschool classes to their offerings.
(If you don’t see them for a museum or business that you love, just ask! You may be surprised how excited businesses are to offer homeschool classes.)
Homeschool Cost #3: Homeschool Supplies
Homeschool supplies are another cost of homeschooling. You definitely need to consider them as part of your budget for homeschool!
You need to be aware that it’s so easy to overspend on homeschooling supplies, especially if you are new to homeschooling. (Let’s face it, school supplies are fun!) Your homeschool supplies budget can break your entire homeschooling budget!
But, you need so much less than you think for homeschooling. My recommendation is always start with the bare minimum basics — paper, pens, pencils and folders — homeschool for a couple of months and then reassess the home school supplies you need then.
You should also take into consideration best computers for homeschooling in this category.
►HOMESCHOOL BUDGET IDEAS: Wait until traditional schools have started and then shop the back to school sales on clearance. Each year I get packs of paper and notebooks for 25 cents or less!
This will help you save money on back to school supplies or supplies throughout the year:
Homeschool Cost #4: Other Expenses
I know lumping everything else into other homeschooling expenses into one category is weird, but the homeschool curriculum and the outside classes (followed by supplies) really are the most expensive things about homeschooling.
In this category, figure out what you’ll spend on other items that you need to make things happen for your homeschool like childcare, homeschool organization on a budget, cost of homeschool tutor, streaming services for educational programs, or how much does it cost to hire homeschool help of any kind.
If you are joining a homeschool co-op, there may be costs associated with that, like membership fees or cost of homeschool teacher.
Do You Get Paid to Homeschool Your Child?
You get paid in love and satisfaction.
That’s probably not what you meant, huh?
Do you get paid for homeschooling your kids?
Parents do not get paid to homeschool their children as a “homeschool teacher.” However, in some states families may choose to receive a tax credit, deduction, or even a stipend if homeschooling under an umbrella school (like a charter school). The ways to get funds for homeschooling varies in different states.
Speak with a state tax professional if you want to deduct homeschool expenses.
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Money for Homeschooling From the Government
Even though you aren’t paid to homeschool (in the traditional sense), in some states you may get a tax credit or be able to take a deduction.
However, some homeschooling families are against taking any kind of government funding, deductions, or credits.
Many homeschooling families believe that the government should not regulate homeschooling in any way.
Some families fear that tax credits or deductions are just the beginning of allowing the government into your homeschooling world.
However, many others take those tax credits or deductions (if offered by their state) and find that they are helpful for their families.
Be sure to do the research for your state and make an informed decision that is best for your family.
Cost of Homeschooling vs Public School
So, what is the cost of homeschool vs public school?
Multiple homeschool sources report that the average cost of homeschooling for a child the first year is around $600 to $900, or more.
However, our homeschooling costs our way above that because my kid does a not of outside classes and activities. Our homeschooling costs, homeschool classes, home school outside activities alone make our cost per year to homeschool around $5,000 or more.
Your homeschooling may be a lot less or more.
Homeschool costs vs public school depend solely on your choices!
►Your first year of homeschooling is generally the most expensive because you are just figuring it all out.
During the first year, you may have a few trial and error purchases (homeschool curriculum, books, online classes, etc.) before you find what really works for you.
So, be aware that if your budget is feeling stretched the first year, it might actually get better the second year of homeschooling.
If your child is attending public school, some of the school costs are covered. But, you will still need to budget for personal supplies, school clothes, classroom donation supplies, extracurricular and/or sports uniform costs, and other classes and activities outside of school.
What is the average cost of educating each child each year in public schools?
According to 2017 education statistics, the cost for educating each student is a little over $12,ooo each year. These costs were tracked for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students.
Tuition-Free Online & Virtual Public School
One last thing I want to cover in the cost of homeschooling is tuition-free online & virtual public school.
If you’re new to homeschooling, this is one of the first things that comes up when you search for homeschooling programs online or free homeschool curriculum.
And, I want you to understand the distinction.
Tuition-free online & virtual public school is NOT true homeschooling. It’s a good option for some families, but be sure to understand the differences, especially if you want complete control over your homeschooling.
These are homeschool programs that are run by the public school, but the work is just done from home (virtually).
These programs are regulated and they follow the same rules as public schools — like standardized testing, curriculum set by the state, etc.
If you want to homeschool in the true sense of having total control over your homeschooling, then virtual public school is probably not the way to go (even if it’s free).
To learn more:
We’ve talked about the many costs of homeschooling, including how you can free homeschool and how the homeschool costs can quickly escalate. Be sure to understand your budget so that you know where you can spend or splurge during homeschooling!
WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE ON COST TO HOMESCHOOL?