I was sent a link this morning for an article called Even government envious of homeschooling success. The article begins with the following:
“Question: If Method 1 spends – on a national average – $10,000 per child annually, and Method 2 spends only $500 per child, but Method 2 delivers better academic results, which method is preferable?
Fact: The average government school spends $10,000 per child per year, but its students scored 1.4 points lower than the family sponsored homeschooled child on the ACT, according to results from 2009.”
As much as I want to side with homeschoolers in this subject, I have to admit that this is an apple to orange comparison, or probably more of an apple to bell pepper comparison. The thing that makes this nearly impossible to compare is that the teacher in public school is being paid and the home teacher is not being paid, PLUS they are often losing out on an outside income. Of course there are cases of homeschooling mom who would be home anyway, so you can see why this cost of educating comparison is so hard to determine. But I tried.
The average cost of educating a child in public school is clear. The national average is $10,000 a year. The cost of educating a homeschooled child is a bit more fuzzy.
It costs about $500 in curriculum to teach a homeschooled child.
A parent who stays home to homeschool misses out on lets say $40,000 a year (a median teacher salary).
The average homeschooling family has 3 kids, so you could say that per child, the the cost for a home teacher is $13,333.
Take into account that many homeschooling families run at home busnesses to make up for the lost income and you could reasonably cut that number in half. (Not to mention that having both parents working accrues its own costs through more meals out, more on clithing, etc) So if you ad the $500 in curriculum costs plus $6,667.00 in lost income, you could reason that it costs $7167 to homeschool a child which is still nearly $3000 less that a public school.
Take that knowledge and apply it to the original article and the results are still impressive.
Homeschoolers accomplish far more based on test results for a lot less money.
The reason I decided to look further into these true costs of homeschooling is that upon reading the article, I began wondering what changes schools could make to duplicate the success of homeschooling. I believe the first thing schools can do is to change the student teacher ratio. The average homeschooling family has 3 kids to one teacher, many homeschooling families school up to five or seven kids (or in the case of the Duggars, 18) and they have the same results. With that said, schools would be more successful if they topped the teacher to child ratio off at 7 kids.
Yes, that means they would have to hire alot more teachers and that would raise the costs, but if they cut alot of the unnecessary administrative costs and fluff and let teachers just teach, the costs would even out.
As we are talking about costs today, I will stop here. Come back to read my other ideas as I explore different things schools could learn from homeschoolers to make them more successful.
If you liked this you should also read my blogs at the home blog, the parents blog, and the frugal blog. You can read my recent posts here.