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Homeschooling Costs and Benefits

Homeschooling Costs and Benefits
Written by Oana Schneider

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.
Homeschooling Costs and Benefits

Homeschool

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).

5. Openness

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.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

7 Comments

  • I agree, homeschooling does have its benefits. Especially if you’re not that confident about formal primary education, you can opt to homeschool your child instead. You’d certainly have less expenditures, and you’ll be closer to your children, but they may not form social ties or friendships with other kids. I feel that if you are homeschooling your child you should arrange ‘play dates’ or encourage them to find friends as well.

    • Exactly. Homeschooling comes with its inherent disadvantages, which you can work around if you do so properly. The same thing applies to the disadvantages of public schooling, too, though. Although things might not be perfect, there are always ways to improve the situation.

  • I’ve been homeschooling my daughter since kindergartner since she was in kindergarten. She is now 16. I had not planned to homeschool, but I went to the kindergarten roundup and came home and cried. The expectations for the children were incredibly low. She had already exceeded what the school expected the children to learn by the end of the year. She’s like me, and I got in trouble when I got bored, and she was already showing that pattern in preschool.

    Luckily, I live in an area with a plethora of alternative schooling options (southern Oregon). We enrolled in a homeschool support program, and that provided us with free help and curriculum materials. What I notice most about homeschooled children is the absence of the “I hate my parents” culture, and lack of the pressure to “hook up” or to dress a certain way. The clothing thing, in particular has been a huge money saver. She wears what she wants without peer pressure to “keep up” with the latest style.

    Although I wouldn’t recommend deciding to homeschool strictly for financial reasons, there are lots of cost saving strategies. Search used book stores. Find other homeschoolers to share experience and resources. And, as the article mentioned, there are TONS of online sources for curricula. Don’t let the idea that homeschooling will break the bank stop you from homeschooling if that is the right decision for your family.

    • I can definitely agree with your comment on getting bored and then getting into trouble. Even the smartest kids can have a rough school record as far as grades and behavior are concerned if they get bored because they’re not being challenged academically. Far too many schools won’t challenge kids’ minds when the curriculum is too easy for said children.

  • We have some friends who home-school their kids and I would HIGHLY recommend it. Public schools suck. The quality of education is so below par that there is no way our kids can hope to compete with other countries who put a LOT of their tax-dollars into education. Both of our’s friend’s kid’s are well ahead of any of their peers in grade levels. Both are better adjusted to dealing with real world scenarios than their public schooled peers.

    The only downside I see to home schooling is when it is done by religious nuts who think that teaching their kid(s) fairy tales instead of science is primo education. Those kids can never hope to compete in the real world.

  • Homeschooling is all right as long as parents ensure their children socialize and actually learn the concepts they’re supposed to. People can say that public schooling is terrible, but it turns out that most of the successful people in the world went to public schools. Homeschooling isn’t the answer to a broken public education, although it can be a great experience and education for many people.

    • Maybe the successful people who went to public school went when we were actually putting tax-dollars into education and not sending it overseas or bailing out banks? Maybe they actually were taught something. If I were having my kids NOW instead of nearly 30 years ago, there is no way on this earth I would send them to public school. If had known I could have homeschooled them back then I sure would have done it back then too.

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