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What Does It Take To Home School Children & How Much Does It Cost?

From Our Forum a Reader Asks:

What does it take to home school your kids & how much does it cost? I just need a ball park figure of cost. I would like to home school my son. I would rather he not attend public school anymore (It is a long story that I dont' want to get into right now). Yes, I now I am not using proper language, spelling, or punctuation right now, but I am upset and crying while I am typing this. Thank you ahead of time.

6 comments to What Does It Take To Home School Children & How Much Does It Cost?

  • hsmomlov

    What it takes is the desire to do so and the commitment to do whatever it takes to give your son the education he deserves. It sounds like you have both of these, so you’re good there šŸ™‚
    How much it costs depends on a lot of things – the age of the child, any special needs, and the approach you want to take. You can spend less than $100 per year, or you could spend $3,000+. It also depends on your budget and on what you are willing to pull together.
    To give you an idea…I homeschool my highly gifted & dyslexic 10yo for around $300 per year, not counting activities like sports and lessons. (We do these as his interest appears and as our budget allows; when necessary, he earns the money and pays for it himself.) For some of his classes, we co op with friends and split the cost; for others, I find great deals on the curriculum.
    The few things that we spend money on include:
    -a subscription to http://www.cosmeo.com/ – it can be paid monthly or annual, completely worth it at $99 per year. We use it daily for a number of different subjects.
    -late fees at the library (oops!) Even if I had to make a quarterly donation, the money would be well spent. Well over half of our curriculum comes from the library. I would say this amount to around $30 per year, but hey – my son loves to read šŸ™‚
    -math curriculum – for pre-algebra and above, we went with VideoText. I get them used (great condition) at discount, so we probably spent $100 for the 6 module set. Even if we paid full price, it would be worth it.
    -writing program – IEW. This was a one-time investment of $130, which will carry us from grades 3-12. Again, very flexible and completely worth it.
    -science curriculum – my son is a total math and science nut, and I found curriculum at http://www.vegsource.com/homeschool/ swap boards. You can find great deals there on whatever you need. (Just research what you want to use first, then look for it on the swap board.) I found 3 full years of 7th-9th grade science for less than the retail cost of the 7th grade science textbook by itself.
    Everything else, I trade for, borrow, or put together myself. I would suggest getting in touch with a homeschool group in your area; the moms there will answer your questions and let you look through various curriculum choices.
    Question – what state do you live in? A few states will require you to register either before or shortly after pulling your son, and will require you to list your curriculum for the year. If you live in one of these states, you’ll need to pick a curriculum before pulling him. Otherwise, you can go ahead and pull him, give him some time to transition, and use that time to get things figured out. There is no need to pull him on Tuesday and start school on Wednesday – you are allowed to take as much breathing room as you need.
    Hope that helps – let us know if you have any more questions. Also, let us know what state you live in and we’ll give you links to the laws that apply to you.

  • Kathleen

    I would suggest that you go to home school legal defense and look up the laws for your state (http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp). If you have questions after reading through the laws for your state, I’m sure someone here would be able explain the laws to you.
    If you have a child that has an IEP in public school, it would be wise to enroll in homeschool legal defense. Public schools seem to give more hassle to parents when they pull special needs children out of school.
    Just a note, if you sign up for homeschool legal defense you can not enroll your child in a public online school.
    Charity Christian Academy is a low cost homeschool academy that works hard to serve the family. They even sometimes have used books available at a minimal charge.

  • mrs_blas

    I am going to homeschool my daughter beginning next year. With school just starting, we have been able to get a lot of supplies pretty cheap. She is only going to be PreK, and I have all of the material from when I was a childcare worker. PreK for us will be almost free. Beginning in Kindergarten we are going to try Sonlight curriculum, which is about 400.00 for K, and around 800 for higher grades. Everything I have heard about it gets me super excited!
    That being said, one day I sat down and compared the cost of public vs homeschool. My assumption was, homeschool would be more expensive because of materials, etc. After I broke it down, I realized public school is FAR from free! Between school clothes, school supplies, field trips, yearbooks, lunches and all the random incidentals that are bound to pop up along the way, public school was more than double what homeschool was.
    I think homeschooling requires organization — when it comes to schooling at least, and some patience. And some daily set aside Mommy Time. Good luck with your new adventure!

  • sha_lyn6

    You can spend very little or a lot depending on how much work you put into it and what approach you take/style you use.
    The more “complete” and laid out the curriculum, the more expensive it will be. The more time you have to put into it, the cheaper it can be.
    Some curriculum (such as http://amblesideonline.org/ ) use a lot of books that can be found at the library or on line as free files.
    Curriculum such as K12 cost around 1K a yr.

  • justanot

    Many homeschoolers don’t use a packaged curriculum or try to recreate a classroom environment in their homes, and instead just focus on making sure their kids have access to lots of good books and educational activities. Good books are free at the library. Educational activities can be free too. There are neat things to do that cost money, but there are lots that don’t, and you can make things fit your budget.
    You and your son could… Go on nature hikes. Go to museums on their once-a-month free days. Do volunteer work in the community. Usher at theaters in return for free admission to performances. Hang out with educated people and have good conversations. Do science experiments with household items. Make art with household items. And much more….
    The only mandatory expense I can think of is a bit of transportation expense. To give your son access to a variety of educational experiences, you’ll want to sometimes go beyond what’s in walking/biking distance, so there’ll be some gas money or bus/train fare to deal with.
    I was homeschooled by parents who were quite broke for part of my childhood, and it was never a problem for us!

  • Ok it first depends on the laws in your state. Like the one lady said go to HSDLA and find out your laws. Then the amount can be as little as $200 ($100 for your HSDLA membership) or as much as $1000+ for boxed curriculum. I am an eclectic homeschooler and I range about $300 a year for both my kids.

    I don't know if you are in California or not but go to CHEA.org and take a look at some of the information they have there . Most of it can pert5ain to any state except for the laws.'Good luck to you. May God be with you on your journey!

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