How Much Do You Spend on Homeschooling?

Have you ever added up what you spend to homeschool your children?

I used to, and still do. For the first few years (back in the 1980s), I spent around $500 a year to educate our two eldest children. I was buying books from A Beka back then, which isn’t cheap.

Once I had a few years of homeschooling under my belt, I became more interested in trying a variety of books and curriculum, so my annual expenditure actually went down a few hundred dollars or so. Most of what I did spend went to Rainbow Resource at each year’s homeschool convention; Christian Book Distributors, Miller Pads and Paper and Rod and Staff got a few dollars from us, too.

We spent only a few hundred dollars a year (even after having two more children) until the first year of high school for our eldest, when we signed her up for a correspondence school. We registered her brother for the same program the following year, and that was probably our most expensive year of homeschooling ever: $1000 total.

Before long, we jointly decided that the program involved too much memorization for tests, so we went back to doing our own thing. Since then, I doubt I’ve ever crossed the $300/year mark, no matter how many children I was homeschooling at one time.

I’m going to guess that you spend a similar amount. Am I right?

Whatever you spend, I’ll bet it’s not as much as the figures quoted for private and public education by writer Bill Walker from New Hampshire:

The Well School in Peterborough charges $7,360 for grades 1–4 and $8,800 for grades 5–8. Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton is $12,160 for grades 1–8. Monadnock Waldorf School costs $7800 for all grades. Here’s the fee schedule for St. Joseph Regional in Keene: “Tuition for grades K-8 for Catholics is $3,153, and $4,412 for non-Catholics. There is a 5 percent discount for one-time payment in full, and a discount for multiple children from a family.”

Now that’s private school tuition, and it far exceeds what our family has historically spent on homeschooling each year. But it’s nothing compared to what Walker says the public schools in New Hampshire spend: over $14,000 a year per student.

I have a feeling that far exceeds the most freespending homeschooling family in the country. But if you’re the exception, I’d love to hear where you’re spending all that cash!  :)

11 thoughts on “How Much Do You Spend on Homeschooling?

  1. We spend about $500 per child (4 doing school right now, with 2 more to go). We likely homeschool in the most costly fashion, ful enrollment in a home study program. Even though I was a ps teacher in a former life, I use the curriculum to have accountibility (if I am paying for it then these children are completing it) and a way to to escape some of the onerous regulations of our state. With book credits we spent about $1300 for school, not including piano, violin, and other classes.

  2. I’m probably still in the $500 a year range. Though, I haven’t spent a penny on “schooling” this year. We’re still working with the books and things I bought last tax time. ;)

    In my neck of the woods, they figure the PS spend about $7000 per student per year. WHAT I would DO with that money!!! Ron Paul has propoased legislation for tax credits for school… but, alas, I would not be able, ethically and morally, to accept the $5000 he’s proposing because it’d be the same as welcoming the gov’t into my home to dictate our course of home education! *sigh*

  3. Kat, that seems like a pretty reasonable cost considering the number of children you have.

    Tori, I’m with you about taking the money. But it’s fun to dream, isn’t it? :)

  4. One private school in my state is 30k a year….and the public schools around here spend 18k.

  5. I’m sure most of the thousands of dollars is spent on personnel – teachers, administrative, etc. – and the building. If a homeschool parent took 20% of their housing costs and called it “homeschool building maintenance” and then looked at what they could be earning for 20-40 hours per week as a professional teacher, homeschool would “cost” far more than a few hundred dollars.

  6. Agreed, Catherine, but consider that the homeschooling parent only has a few students to teach; even the Duggars homeschool fewer than two dozen, at least for now :)

    But your average public school educates hundreds or even thousands of students at $10-14K a child. That’s A LOT of money!

    BTW a few years back, I wrote about how much homeschooling moms are worth: http://www.cardamompublishers.com/opportunity-cost.htm

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. We have four children, with two graduated. It seems like the most we ever spent was about $1200 one year. I’ve tried to purchase materials that could be reused, and that is paying off with the younger children. My husband has been unemployed for the past 18 months, so we’ve learned to be pretty creative. For next year, our spending is projected to be around $100, including one evaluation fee.

  8. Wow, Jani, $100….that’s awesome!
    I’m sorry to hear about your husband being out of work for so long. We’re hearing too much of that these days. My own dh has been out of work in his field for four years but has been working for Cardamom, which is a real blessing. I hope your husband finds work soon!

  9. I quit using a “canned curriculum” over the past few years, and started using the Charlotte Mason method. If you have a computer/internet and a good printer, you do not have to spend nearly so much on curriculum. There are oodles of FREE e-books (public domain) on the internet if you know where to find them. Old Fashioned Education has a completely free curriculum with all links PUBLIC DOMAIN, with the exception of Math and Science books. AmblesideOnline is free too, and most books are available free w/links (you can also find some at the library, of course). HomeSchoolFreebieoftheday.com has something free Monday-Friday (one item per day), and you can sign up for their newsletter. I have not calculated my annual homeschooling costs lately, but it is between $100-200/year.

  10. Good for you, Mary! I think it’s great that there are so many classic texts available free online because most libraries have culled the classics from their collections due to space limitations, which is a shame.

    That said, you do have to be discerning when using freebies, as some are substandard. Also, at sites like Freebie of the Day, many of the publishers are losing money on those giveaways in hopes that those who use them will then spend money on their other products. That’s a real gamble for small businesses like ours because many people only want something if it’s free.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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