Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Real Cost of Homeschooling

This week on The Blog Cruise the question posed is this:

"How do you afford to homeschool? 
What are some ways to save money on homeschooling supplies?"

Homeschooling families are typically one-income. Occasionally the other spouse works odd jobs or part-time, but overall homeschooling families know how to cut costs and live frugally.

I was curious to see what the national average was for a public school student. I was amazed, even though I shouldn't have been, to see that it was $9,666 a year according to WikiAnswers.

I then became a bit more curious as to what the cost is in my very school district. My school district is made up of four towns. The town I live in has a population of about 900. The school board just voted to close the small elementary school in our town. That's just some background. However, the cost for just the last school year? It was $9,526.69 for an elementary student and $10,060.10 for secondary students.

That is a lot of money! Now I realize that takes in to account things like operating costs and what not, but still, that is a lot of money!

So what do we budget here at The Berry Patch to school three boys? Roughly $1,000. That covers the cost of curriculum, field trips, and the like. This is how I manage to do things frugally.

  • Buy used. There are numerous places to do this on-line. Check locally as well. Our homeschool association hosts a large sale every June (it's wonderful!). I try very hard to always buy used. 
  • Buy at a discount. Most publishers sell full price - obviously. There are a number of suppliers on line who sell at a discount. Some of my favorites are CBD and Rainbow Resource
  • Borrow. I have a lot of curriculum accumulated from my previous seven years of homeschooling. I willingly lend it out if I'm not currently using it. 
  • Use the internet. I can't even begin to list all the places online you can find free resources. In fact, you can find entirely free curriculum that would cover most if not all of your homeschooling - for FREE! My two favorite sites I share with people are Ambleside Online and An Old-Fashioned Education
  • The Library. Get a library card. It's worth it's weight in gold - literally.
  • Paperback Swap. If you haven't heard of this, go check it out right now! PBS has estimated that I have saved over $1,000 using their site. It's fantastic. If you haven't signed up yet, please consider using me as a reference so I can get a free credit. ;-)
  • Shop the sales. As for supplies - stock up on sales. Those wonderful back-to-school sales that are going on right now? Take advantage of those deals. I do and now have more than enough supplies to get us through the year bought at a fraction of the cost.

These are just a few of the ways I save money. I don't feel my children's education suffers at all. In fact, I think they have a much better, broader, and more rounded education than most of their public school counterparts.

Be sure to head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog on Tuesday to read how others save money and make homeschooling work for them.


  1. Great stuff here. I try to avoid seeing the cost per pupil for public education, LOL, but wow! Sounds like I would love to come visit your homeschool association's sale. :)

  2. I also don't like to see those public schooling education costs. We spend even less than you do on our children's education, and we can educate much more effectively and efficiently at home.


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