Why Homeschool? …Reason #15

Reason #15: It’s Cheap

Well, no, not really, for most homeschooling families. Curriculums can cost hundreds of dollars, if you buy them brand new. Field Trips can also be costly. Not bringing in an income by being a working mother is also costly.But what I mean is this: I can buy used curriculum, or just pick and choose what things I really need to buy. I was a teacher – I know what to do, so I won’t have to depend on textbooks and brand-new curriculum. When I taught public school, the textbooks we used were up to 10 years old anyway, not to mention we didn’t really use them all that much in the first place – we knew the “tricks” to teaching most concepts and didn’t even need to use the textbooks except for reading supplementation or for extra math practice (it’s hard to come up with your own math problems, especially if you’re like me and don’t have a mathematical mind, LOL). Having a Reading basal to follow made teaching easier, but again, it wasn’t a necessity – those stories that are in Reading basals are the same stories you can borrow for free at your local library. Curriculums are definitely nice, and an easy way to do it, but it’s not a necessity. What I mean by “cheap” is this: it’s cheaper than private school, which is what we’d be doing if I weren’t able to homeschool. We’d send Laynie to a private Christian school, most likely, and the one we’d consider has a pretty high tuition. Most of the income I would make if I worked would be going for her tuition. And, it would cost more than my income if we are blessed with more than one child. It just wouldn’t make much sense in our case.So, now, to answer a question that lots of my readers have asked me, “How can homeschooling be affordable?”There are many homeschooling moms and dads out there using the most expensive curriculums and online courses, or who frequently visit museums or other costly “field trips” without worrying too much about the cost. But there are also many of us who need to be careful in how we spend our money, because we have tighter budgets. Truthfully, homeschooling can cost as little or as much as you wish it to! There are a few things to consider when deciding where your precious dollars are spent when you are “frugal homeschooling.” The good news for us is that there are many resources that make homeschooling more affordable, especially if you’re like me and are trying to live off of one income (my husband makes less than $27,000 per year, which comes down to about $800 every two weeks, after taxes and other deductions).Here are a few free or cheap resources for homeschooling that you can look into, to supplement (or even replace) your expensive curriculum options.1. The Internet. You can find anything on there that your heart desires. There are tons of educational websites for children as well as curriculum ideas for educators. Using these websites and a little planning and organization on your part, you could completely go without purchasing a curriculum for your child, if you felt comfortable doing that. If you aren’t so sure you could do that, then there are also some very affordable lesson plans and curriculum options online, often for less than $20 per month, to lead you in the right direction.2. Used Curriculum. Some homeschooling families put their used curriculum up for sale on Ebay, and others sell their used curriculum at discounted prices at local used homeschool curriculum sales. Your local homeschooling co-op members may sell or swap used curriculum. There are several email list groups that allow members to sell and swap used curriculum. You can also sell your own used curriculum yourself, and get some of your money back at the end of the school year, so making a large purchase won’t seem quite so bad if you keep that in mind. Another thing, be sure to buy curriculum that can be saved and used again with your younger children as they move up (you may decide that buying a new curriculum is worth the money if you’ve got several children that will be using it down the road).3. The Library. A wonderful place for finding the perfect resources for your child’s education is the public library. They often have informative homeschooling books for you, and of course there are tons of great literature choices for your children. Sometimes a good book is all your child needs to gain knowledge about a certain topic.4. Homeschooling Friends. Most of them are so helpful and generous, and usually these people are always willing to help a fellow homeschooler in any way they can. If they’ve got a book or program that you’d like to use with your children, then perhaps you could ask to borrow it.5. Yard Sales. I’ve found some awesome teaching supplies at yard sales (I go to yard sales almost every weekend in the spring, summer, and fall – it’s a “hobby” of mine). Most of the things I’ve found have come from retiring teachers or teachers who are otherwise leaving the school system. I’ve found lots of books, teaching manuals, unused or gently used textbooks or workbooks, and craft supplies.6. Discount Days. There are lots of museums and historical places that are free to visit, but there are also lots of them that aren’t. For the ones that aren’t, there are almost always “discount days” or “homeschool days” or other events that are offered at a discount. With flexible scheduling, you can visit those places on those days and save tons of money while still enjoying field trips with your children.7. Budget. Set a budget and stick to it. Figure out what your family is able to afford on a monthly basis, and don’t go over that budget. If homeschooling is your heart’s desire or calling, yet you don’t have the money to spend on full sets of curriculum or field trips every week, then you’re going to have to be content with using the resources that you can afford, and taking advantage of the above mentioned resources. Your family will still be blessed by your decision to homeschool, you know.One final thing to consider when trying to save money on homeschooling is to prioritize with your family’s needs and decide, “Is this truly needed, or is there a way we can get by without it?” You’ll find that homeschooling can be very affordable when you evaluate things carefully and decide what purchased programs are really necessary for your family and your individual situation.

Why Homeschool? …Reason #14

Reason #14: I Can, and I Want to!

I am the type person that absolutely LOVES being a stay-at-home mom. I find joy in being with my child, and making out house a loving home for her and my husband.Teaching and learning is also something I’m passionate about. I’m always trying to learn new things myself, and I enjoy sharing that with my daughter. Of course, I figure I might as well get some good use out of the Master of Education degree that I have, so if I’m staying at home, then why not educate my own? I truly enjoy teaching Laynie, and making life-long learning something for which she’ll hopefully appreciate.We don’t truly have the ability to live on one income with the luxuries we afforded on two. It’s tough, but my husband and I both agree that even though our finances are tight, this is what we both believe is the best thing for our family. Being out of debt (in another couple of years – thanks to Dave Ramsey) will make it a little easier, but we’ll still have to watch how we spend our money.Some people are surprised to find out that homeschooling is even legal. But in fact, it is legal, in all 50 states. To find out more information about homeschool legislation, a great place to start is the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Why Homeschool? …Reason #13

Reason #13: Budget, Personnel, and Decision-Making Control

Have you ever really paid attention to school lunch requirements and the silliness that goes on in determining what’s offered to children? Everything’s written down to the ounces of peanut butter per year of age that must be served to children by law – it’s something like 1 ounce per year of age – can you imagine what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would look like for a 10 year-old?!? It’s ridiculous. Plus, with limited budget for food, school cafeterias have to serve some lower quality and higher-fat foods. Even though we’ve got a limited budget here at our homeschool, we still eat decent food and the amounts of pizza sauce we believe is personally tasty on our pizza – not regulated by state law serving requirements, lol!Most concerning to me is that the state and local departments of education are limiting extra-curricular activities more and more, due to lack of funds to support them.I’ll be the decision-maker when it comes to education “budget cuts” at my school. There will be no limiting Art, Music, PE, foreign language, etc. in our school because of lack of appropriated funds. And we won’t be limited to having electives on a 6, 7, or 8-day rotation governed by limited time, overcrowded schools and over-stretched personnel, or short funds. We’ll have Art once a day if Laynie enjoys it that much. She’ll be attending karate, dance, golf, community soccer, homeschool co-op P.E. class, or whatever else she happens to be interested in for her physical education, and will be allowed more than 20-30 minutes per day (typical public school outside time) to play outside if she wants to – in fact, she’ll have lots of playtime at our local parks and playgrounds too. If “budget cuts” become necessary (because of living off one income) guess who gets to decide what’s important to “let go” or scale back on? Me!