Being able to home school my girls was a choice I was glad I made. Not only could I see over their education and spend quality time with them, but it was far cheaper than public school.
Back when I was a kid public school was free. Each child got their books, pencils, paper, art supplies, and many other school supplies for free. We’d even go on several field trips throughout the year, all for free as well. About the only thing my parents had to pay for was my lunch.
Times have definitely changed, especially over the last decade. When my girls were still in public school they’d be sent home with a long list of items they needed for the year. Even if you bought most of the items from the dollar store, times that by several children and you’ve got a hefty bill on your hands. A lot of schools also require uniforms now as well. Add this in with the cost of books you sometimes are required to buy and it’s enough to make any parent on a tight budget feel nauseated.
I went online to find a sample school list and this is what I found for the 2009-2010 school year:
GRADES SIX, SEVEN, AND EIGHT
Supplies needed for the first day of school:
1. 6 – 1 subject spiral (at least 100 pages) regular rule notebooks
2. 2 – 1 subject spiral 80 page regular rule notebooks
3. 10 – pocket folders
4. 1 – dozen erasable pens (blue or black ink only)
5. 1 – dozen regular pens (blue or black ink only)
6. 3 – dozen pencils #2
7. 2 – Wireless note composition 3 whole punch notebooks
8. 1 – Three-fold (36 inches by 48 inches) Presentation Board (Science Fair)
9. 1 – Casio Scientific Calculator to be kept at home for math homework
10. 1 – 12 inch ruler (preferably with metric measurement also included)
11. 1 – Box of Tissues
12. 1 – Flash Drive/ Memory Stick (1GB memory)- with lanyard
Required for the spring English research paper:
* 1 package of 100 lined 3 x 5 Index Cards
* 1 package of 100 lined 4 x 6 Index Cards
* 1 plastic or heavyweight (expanding accordion) folder to hold materials
* 2 highlighters
Not all of these supplies can be purchased at the dollar store, though many could. Even so, if you’re living on one paycheck and have several kids in school this will really eat into your budget. At one time I had four kids in school at once and it cost me at least $500 just to buy all of their school supplies and uniforms. How many people, especially in this bad economy, have that kind of money?
Sure, there are programs that will give children of low-income families free school supplies, but there are often so many people on their waiting lists that there’s no guarantee you’ll get the help you need.
Field trips have just about been cut out from public schools.
Home schooling is much cheaper, especially if you put together your own curriculum. Supplies can be purchased throughout the year rather than all at once, and many everyday tasks can be turned into learning experiences. You can also take your children on many field trips throughout the year that are low or even no cost.
Just from a financial standpoint alone, it makes sense to home school.