In 2012, studies showed that almost 2 million children in the United States were homeschooled – and it is definitely worth considering the fact that this trend is rapidly growing across the states. In truth, homeschooling comes with its advantages and with its disadvantages too (some of which are financial, but not exclusively so).
Why would you choose to homeschool your children? How much does homeschooling actually cost and what are the benefits of making this choice? Read on if you want to find out the most important things to take into consideration before making any move.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
First and foremost, you should know that there’s no such thing such as an exact “price” to put on homeschooling – it can either be more expensive or less expensive than traditional schooling. It all depends on what choices you make and on how you build your children’s curricula. As you will see later on, there is a tremendous number of financial benefits that come with homeschooling – but the truth is that they do depend on the choices you make.
For example, if you choose a complete boxed curriculum (e.g. Alpha Omega), you can expect your homeschooling costs to rise. Also, you have to take into consideration that teenagers who are homeschooled need to take college lessons and that homeschooling them may be more expensive than traditional, public schooling. At the same time, you may want to factor in the fact that children who are homeschooled (at any age) need more extra-curricular activities precisely because they have more spare time – so you will need to pay for dancing lessons, piano lessons, gymnastics and a variety of other “extras” that will help your children grow up in a harmonious way.
In the end, there’s nobody to tell you whether homeschooling costs more or less than traditional schooling. You can assume that it costs less than a private school, but not necessarily (and not always) less than a public school. In one way or another, homeschooling offers you with the option of being completely in control of how much you pay for your children’s education – and that is precisely what helps many people save more money when they homeschool their children.
What Are the Benefits of Homeschooling?
There’s a wide range of benefits that come with homeschooling and it is definitely worth taking all of them into consideration before making a choice for your children’s education. Some of the best benefits include the following:
1. Financial Benefits
As mentioned before, there is a fairly long list of financial benefits that come with homeschooling. Here are some of them:
- You can organize your family’s finances as you feel it. In the public school system, your finances are organized in the “rhythm” of the school your children attend. In a homeschooled system, you organize your family’s money however you find more suitable so that you can save for rainy days too.
- You can actually go for the low-cost options. If you need to save money for your family, homeschooling your children allows you to go all “low-cost” from various points of view. For example, you can use a lot of materials from public libraries, the Internet, books you have received from other people and so on. Furthermore, you can also take advantage of the “off-season” prices on school materials and you do not have to pay for their full price in September, when the traditional school starts.
- Cheaper vacations. Since your children do not have to follow a very strict schedule that tells them when they have to go to school and when they can stay at home, you can schedule your family’s vacation in the off-season. Therefore, you can save considerable sums of money by going on vacation when the prices are at their lowest – and you can do this without having your children skip classes for the family vacation.
- Tax benefits. Some states have tax benefit programs in order for parents who choose to homeschool their children. Thanks to the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association, parents can now use educational tax credits to reimburse some of the costs associated with homeschooling their children. Furthermore, if you have been funding a Coverdell Education Funding Account, you may be eligible to use those funds in order to fund your children.
However, keep in mind the fact that you cannot get the $250 tax deduction from the IRS for educators expenses. However, what you can do to enjoy more tax benefits is group around more parents homeschooling their children, get accredited by the state in which you live and enjoy a wider range of benefits when it comes to taxes.
- Financial education for your children. Public school curricula does not include financial education for children – but if you choose to homeschool your kids, you can include this in their learning. Studies show that it happens quite often that children who are schooled at home have a stronger sense of financial knowledge and even entrepreneurship.
- Higher income for the children. Some studies suggest that children who are homeschooled do better in certain tests and that they have a higher likelihood of earning more money than children who are schooled in the public system. Of course, this can depend on a lot of factors (including what subjects you choose to teach your children, how you do it and so on) – but at the end of the day, children with a homeschooling background still pose a better chance of being better, more well-balanced professionals as adults (and thus, of making more money than their public schooled peers).
2. Spending More Time with Your Children
As we grow up, we need to bond with our parents in order to be full, balanced personalities. Because you get to spend much more time together, homeschooling your children will allow you precisely that: to bond with your children. Even more than that, your children (if you have more than one, that is) can bond with each other much better as well.
3. Teaching Your Children to Be Self-Reliant
In many cases, homeschooling “produces” more self-reliant children and this can definitely be considered to be an advantage of this kind of education.
4. Limiting Your Children’s Exposure to Violence
Truth be told, many of the public (and private) schools are very violent environments for children. In a “dog-eats-dog” mini-society, your children can be exposed not only to violence, but to a lot of other harms as well (smoking, drinking, drugs and so on).
Some people may argue that homeschooled children are less sociable than children who grow up in the traditional schooling system. However, this is not entirely true, especially if you take into consideration the ideas mentioned above (that public and private schools expose children to a wide range of harmful factors such as violence, for example).
In fact, homeschooled children tend to be more balanced people as adults and they are perfectly sociable too (especially if you make sure they have plenty of extra-curricular activities to keep them busy and help them interact with other kids).
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits that come with choosing to educate your children at home. However, you should be aware of the fact that there are certain disadvantages too – and that you should take those into consideration as well, especially if you want to make the best choice for your kids’ education.