Yo everyone – I'm really excited about today's guest post by Melissa from Life 101 Pro! It's so weird – my wife and I don't have kids yet, but we actually have started talking about where they would eventually go to school (public vs. private vs. homeschool).
(Honestly, I think we're sorta close-ish to creating some Millennial Money Children in the next year or so, but don't quote me on that juuuust yet haha.)
As a former teacher, I've always thought that homeschooling seemed like a weird idea. Why keep your kids home when trained professionals could teach them instead? But as my business has grown and I'm realizing that I'd like to spend as much time as possible with the future kiddos…it sounds a lot more interesting. I love the way that Melissa compared the costs here and gave a peek behind the curtain on how it all works, so I think you'll find this post to be really interesting too. Enjoy! ~M$M
I never – in my ENTIRE LIFE – planned to be a homeschool mom. They are quirky and have weird kids…then *BOOM* I got laid off, started volunteering in my son’s first-grade classroom and saw him slowly but surely falling through the cracks.
I don’t blame the teacher – I have no clue how anyone can expect ONE adult to be able to teach 28 different precious kiddos well. *KUDOS* to all you teachers out there – YA'LL ARE ROCKSTARS!
I began homeschooling my son that year and we brought our daughter home when she hit 6th grade. Wine and I were very good friends that first year I taught both kids…again – teachers, I don’t know how y’all do it but sending you a big virtual hug right now! ?
Deciding how to educate your child is such a personal decision that EVERYONE wants to give their opinion on. But really, it is just that – personal – your own.
The cost of homeschooling
Often when people find out we homeschool they say things like: “Oh I would too, but we just can’t afford it.”
If cost really is a concern, this article is for you. This all about what homeschool cost us.
When we decided to homeschool – every penny counted, because like I mentioned earlier I had just been laid off!
Fortunately, you can actually homeschool for FREE! With sites like khanacademy.com and allineonehomeschool.com – you can easily get through all the required classes (plus some fun ones like Intro Pixar animation) at no-cost. Then all you need to do is keep up with all the paperwork for records.
For my precious little 1st grader, I bought a $7 workbook at the Dollar Store and we made weekly field trips to the library and our education was covered. We did other “field trips” as well. Sure, we wanted to go to a petting zoo, but those are pricey.
So instead, we would go to the local pet shop. I mean, how can a wall of amazing and different fish, not equal an aquarium?!
The big thing we noticed was school doesn’t take 7-8 hours when you are home. It took maybe an hour that first year for EVERYTHING and 3-5 hours as the years progressed. So, finding ways to fill the day that didn’t break the bank was important.
Luckily, we had a community pool, so our PE was fun and took another hour. He was an organizer, so I would have him match cards, dominos, SOCKS! Anything to keep him moving. Another lucky break was that we had 3 homeschool families in our community. So, we had weekly hangouts and got together for Valentine’s Day parties and things like that, but those events cost us nothing but our time…and a little construction paper.
So, looking back – after homeschooling for 8 years, I say the biggest cost for homeschool is TIME.
You have to be present SO MUCH MORE of the time than when your kiddos are in public school. I remember literally crying one night to my husband saying I miss my Dave Ramsey carpool time! (Which was one hour all to myself.)
After that, we began scheduling time for me every week. It helped.
The other cost, that broke my heart, was it cost me some of my dear friends. We enjoyed each other’s company and met for coffee monthly and bible study weekly. Then all the sudden I had a curious first grader in tow and soon we were no longer able to meet up.
Finding friends in the homeschool world can be hard, but co-ops help. All co-ops are different, so if you and your kiddos can’t find a friend in one, try another.
Co-ops are homeschool groups that cost about $20 a year and worth it to connect with other people in the homeschool tribe.
Other homeschools, where you can drop your teen off and they can learn higher level classes can run $50 a year + cost for classes- a good $40-$75 a class per month. Classes vary. My daughter took ASL1, Spanish 1, World Geography and Computer Apps this year. My son took Algebra 1, Chemistry, Outdoor Leadership Survival Skills, Chess and English Comp.
Those costs were a little steep, but I would say the benefits are even steeper when it comes to homeschooling.
I thought I knew my kiddos. Then I began homeschooling them and got to *KNOW* them. I saw what really tickled their fancy and got them excited about learning. We had inside jokes about ketchup that we thought were HILLARIOUS!
We, as a family really bonded together. Instead of heading to after-school activities most nights, now we were home playing board games and card games with them.
We even started a few businesses – creating and selling handmade soap products and installing Christmas lights. The soap business taught us all real-life application of chemical reactions and creating art and the sad fact that P&L statements speak the truth (we had to close that one down because we could only seem to break even). The Christmas light installation company taught our kiddos work ethics and a job well done.
There is such FREEDOM when it comes to homeschooling. Getting to choose what and how my kids learn a subject is PRICELESS.
Being able to surround my teens with good peers and mentors, PRICELESS.
Seeing my daughter, who graduated this year, leave our nest with a good head on her shoulders, a sweetheart – not hardened by the mean girls in public school and a game plan, as well as a budget for her future. WORTH EVERYTHING!
Every tear. Every gray hair. Every “friend” lost.
Public School vs Homeschool
In 8th grade, my son decided he wanted to go to public school. We told him that was fine, but he would have to stay the whole year. And…he did.
What that cost us: It cost us time, as he usually had 1-2 hours of homework and after-school activities like track. It also cost us some of his innocence. He had to read and re-read books that we would never have subjected his heart to reading, but that was what his English teacher assigned. The “cool kids” made sure he was exposed to things he shouldn't see as a young kid and crude ways of talking and looking at girls.
Public school financial costs that year: School Supplies $75, driving to all the track meets all over + meals while there, +$75 in audio books.
Private school financial costs: We used Schoolhouse Teachers at a cost of $80, or $10 a month.
What he learned was priceless. He came home one day ½ way through the year and said, “mom, the kids act TOTALLY different at school than they do anywhere else.” That opened his eyes to how important it is to be who you are no matter where you are.
I know MANY families who would never consider taking their kids out of public school and they thrive in that environment and for those families, I say, I am so happy for you. You do YOU!
To all you considering the idea of homeschooling – consider the costs that your family will pay, the benefits that will come along with it, and then weigh your options wisely. You’ve got this.
On the journey with you,
Melissa is the mom behind Life 101 Pro, a blog and website all about preparing teens for adulting. When she isn’t working on her business you can find her hanging out with her family, going on walks with her husband or having coffee with a friend. She loves connecting with other moms on the journey, so feel free to get in touch!