HOW WE BUDGET FOR HOMESCHOOL
When you are starting homeschool, it is wise to set a budget. There are multiple ways to set budgets but I am going to show you how we do it in our household and I hope it will help you out.
1 | DO YOUR RESEARCH
To get a realistic homeschool budget or ANY budget, we need to shop around (AKA do your research).
The average cost of homeschool is somewhere around $700-1800 per child, per year (curriculum, materials, extracurriculars, and field trips). Here is where I found those numbers.
2 | BUST OUT THAT CALCULATOR
To see if that average cost of $700-1800 per child, per year is realistic, I did my own calculations.
STEP 1: Browse Homeschool Catalogs or Websites
You can go to an online homeschool catalog like Rainbow Resources to get current prices on any homeschool curriculum or go directly to a particular curriculum’s website if you know which one you want to use.
You don’t necessarily have to choose the curriculum you are going to use yet (unless you already know). See what interests you and know the price range.
You simply just want to know a ballpark figure for curriculum here, don’t spend too much time (although I know it’s tempting).
STEP 2: Narrow Down Your Choices (Optional)
I say optional because I prefer to have a budget prior to choosing the curriculum.
So, I would advice to do this if you have already settled on your homeschool method and have some idea as to what curriculum you may want.
If not, please consider my Free Start Your Homeschool In 6 Days Checklist and Daily Guide (sign up below) to help guide you through this process (or you can just skip to STEP 3 for now).
To help narrow down our curriculum choices, I use Cathy Duffy’s book 102 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum and picked out the curriculum for each subject (reading, language arts, math, science, history/social studies) that we are most likely to use.
If you don’t have the book, you can go to her website here. She provides very good reviews, along with prices and links to a lot of homeschool curriculum.
STEP 3: Curriculum Costs
After choosing the curriculum for my son (in Kindergarten), I added up all the prices for each subject and I got:
- Curriculum: $347 per year, per child (younger years, includes teacher’s manual, text books and workbooks for each subject)
I did use full retail price just so I know what the price range is on the high end.
FYI: I did not choose a boxed curriculum, but some like Abeka or Lifepac can range anywhere from $300-$900.
STEP 4: Extracurricular costs
I added up my kids’ extracurricular for the year. The kids pick what they are interested in as far as extracurricular goes.
- Piano: $1,625 (two semesters, for 1 child)
- Soccer: $260 (for both kids)
- Total: $1,885
You can look up pricing on sports, music, or any other extracurricular by going directly to their websites or call/email and ask for pricing. This way you at least have an estimate of how much extracurricular activities will cost in your area.
STEP 5: Field Trips and Materials
- Field trips: $200/year
- Materials: $200/year
- Total: $400
These are our estimated budget for now. They are likely to go up as the kids get older.
We try to include learning opportunities when we travel and often look for free or low cost learning field trips for the kids.
Materials are things like craft supplies, paper, pencils, notebooks, soccer uniform and cleats, etc., but I suspect that as they get older we may have to drop more on science kits and whatnot, these can add up.
STEP 6: Tally Up
- Curriculum: $347
- Extracurricular: $1,885
- Field trips & materials: $400
- Grand total: $2,632
Our homeschool cost for this year is actually HIGHER than the projected average cost, which is around $700-$1800 according to this article.
3 | DOES IT FIT OUR BUDGET?
At this point, I will look at our budget spreadsheet and see if the total cost of homeschool will fit our budget. If it fits our budget then I can put those numbers in the spreadsheet. If it doesn’t, then I need to find ways to cut down.
If it doesn’t fit our budget, some questions I will ask myself are the following:
- Can I supplement our math (or another subject) curriculum with a free one online?
- Can I buy some curriculum second-hand?
- Am I getting the lowest prices?
- Are there ways to cut down on the cost of extracurriculars, field trips, or materials?
- How high is homeschool on our priority list?
4 | PRIORITIZE
If the grand total is still too high after trying the different ways to lower the cost of homeschool, we need to prioritize.
How high is homeschool on your priority list?
For us, we happen to prioritize homeschool very high on our list. One of the reasons we want to homeschool is because we can choose our own curriculum.
So if homeschool is high on our priority list then I will need to find ways to cut down costs on other budget categories so that we still meet our savings goal and don’t go over budget.
It does take some sacrifice to homeschool but from what I hear and what I find, there are many resources out there that help homeschoolers lower our costs. For most people it is cheaper than sending them to a private school.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
Was this helpful to you? I hope it was. These are the steps I took when I started budgeting for our homeschool. Even though my kids are still young and I don’t currently have any specific curriculum for Ellie (other than Bible and Dollar Tree sticker books) I still wanted to know just about how much homeschool will cost for our family.
How much do you currently spend on homeschool curriculum, field trips, extracurricular, and/or materials? Let me know in the comments section below! I’m curious!!