I Want To Homeschool, But…We Can’t Afford It.

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We’re kicking off a new series here at Vintage Kids | Modern World for those of you just wondering about homeschooling! Maybe you’re wondering if it’s right for you? There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to homeschool, and we want to give you some information to make that decision a little easier!  We have an amazing team of guest bloggers that will be popping in now and then to give you their unique perspectives and to answer some of your most curious and pressing questions about that weird sub-culture that homeschools their children…


I want to homeschool, but…we can’t afford it.

Many of you moms (and I’m addressing moms because the ladies are typically the ones doing the homeschooling, although there are stay at home dads out there who are homeschooling as well) work outside the home and your family is dependent on your income to help subsidize household costs.   I get it.  We’ve been there, done that, and when you want to be home, it can be incredibly frustrating.  This is one subject that I could write a novel on, but for the sake of keeping it brief, let’s hit the highlights…

First off, let’s establish one thing –

we are NOT talking about pinching pennies to buy that new car – we’re talking about our children’s education, their upbringing and their futures.

Sorry for being blunt, but let’s get a little perspective here.  This is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make for your family.  It has far reaching effects, and whether you choose to homeschool, or to enroll your children in either public or private schools, it shouldn’t be an after-thought.  [end of soap box] [for now]


So let’s get started – a few things to think about…

If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen.

Plain and simple to say, but incredibly hard to make a reality.  But it’s the truth.  Mom, if you want to be home, it’s possible, but it’s going to take some creative financial acrobatics to make it happen.  Think long term, not short term.  You may not be able to stay home this year.  Maybe not even next year – but if you sit down with a pen and paper and set a strategy, then you can start to make small steps towards a larger goal.  It is possible to live ff of one income, and we don’t make anywhere near six-figures.  However, we’ve chosen to cut corners and make it work in order for me to stay home, which leads me to the next, inevitable point…


If you want something bad enough, you’ll sacrifice to get it.

I know you saw that one coming, but math doesn’t lie.  If we had an exorbitant mortgage, if I shopped at the mall and department stores for all of my clothing, if I splurged on a latte each morning (and the Good Lord knows I want to…) then we would slowly creep over the financial barrier of working vs. staying home.  As a family, we have chosen homeschooling over luxury vacations and new cars.  We’ve taken purposeful steps to narrowing down what is most important to us, and we decided early on, that even if it was a stretch, we wanted to homeschool and we were going to make it happen…even if it cramped our style a bit…

I’m a single parent, so I have to work.

This is a tricky one, no way around it.  If you are a single parent that wants to homeschool it can be done – but it will take a strong support system and some creativity.  Seek out a grandparent or elderly friend that would consider doing some (if not all) of your child’s schooling while you work.   Consider a nanny that could work with your child during the day, and if your child is older and able to stay home, you can give them independent work to do until you get home.  I’ve also known families that homeschool part time during the weeks, taking off certain days mid-week and schooling around mom’s work schedule, sometimes schooling on the weekends.  Homeschooling is beautiful in that it is designed to fit the pace of your life. It’s tough – there’s no sugar coating it – but it can be done with a little ingenuity.  Here is a great web resource for those single parents that are interested in homeschooling.

But public school is free.

Kind of .  However, there are hidden costs there as well – school clothes, events, field trips, class parties, school lunches, teacher’s gifts, etc, etc.  You all know what I’m talking about…it seems like every week your kids needs $10 for something.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We take field trips, we participate in outside classes, and yes, we do buy our children clothes and school supplies!  However, don’t think of public school as free because that’s simply not the case.


 But homeschooling can be expensive (curriculum, supplies, etc).

There’s no simple answer to the cost of homeschooling because there are thousands of curriculum options that you can explore.  Yes, there is an upfront cost, but there are SO many ways to cut corners here as well.  In fact, I purchase my curriculum (there will be upcoming posts on curriculum choices, so stay tuned) but one of my favorite sites for resources is Ambleside, which  provides an entire HIGH QUALITY curriculum from K-12 based on FREE on-line books and books from your library.  In theory, you wouldn’t have to spend a penny, and their resources (and articles) are fantastic!  Don’t let a fear of the cost of curriculum keep you from making the decision to homeschool.  Take a look at this article at HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association); it gives a great breakdown and estimation of the overall costs of homeschooling, with the very rough estimate being between $0-500 per student.


Truly, all of the financial hesitations that we have about homeschooling our children simply boils down to reconciling our budgets with our priorities.

If homeschooling is your priority, then you can make it happen.  It might be a long process, and mom might need to work for a year or two, (or more)  in order to save up the funds to ultimately stay home, but be encouraged that it’s possible.



This post is linked to Frugal Days Sustainable WaysAdorned from Above, Simple Lives Thursday


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11 Responses to “I Want To Homeschool, But…We Can’t Afford It.”
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  1. Carola Thompson

    This spring child #7 will be graduating. We started in 1984. The time has flown!! I was a reluctant homeschooler to begin with. I went into it kicking and screaming. Now that I am reaping the rewards I can’t think of any investment greater than training and teaching the next generation. Easy? No. Expensive in time, energy and resources – Yes, but worth every bit of it. The joy of raising beautiful,godly children was worth all the tears, second-guessing and work. You get out of life what you are willing to invest in it.

  2. Cheeky Bums

    Carola, Thanks so much for commenting. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to lose perspective and get discouraged. Congrats on graduating 7 kids! that’s amazing!! Blessings! – kelsi

  3. Love, love, love this!

    Everything you say is true! Where there is a will there is a way.

    Right now Kristina and I are co-homeschooling a friend’s little girl. Our friend is a single mom in her last year of art school, her daughter has some hearing challenges and was struggling in school. So, we offered to homeschool her along with our families. And we’ve been praying that when her mom graduates in the Spring she’ll be able to take over homeschooling full-time. Certainly a tall order–supporting yourself as a artist is hard enough–supporting your child, too AND being able to stay home and homeschool is huge. But, we believe that anything is possible. Well, last week, our friend got offered a job teaching art to homeschooled high school students after graduation. She can take her daughter with her, work around her schedule and make enough to support herself. GOD IS SO GOOD!

    I was homeschooled as a child from the fourth grade. About a year after beginning homeschooling my family went through a very rough season. I guess you could say we were homeless for a bit. Then we had a place but my mom had to go to work, in addition to my dad, and things just sort of fell apart. So, my mom had a conference with the Lord. 🙂 She was committed to homeschooling. She didn’t want to give up what she had just started. But, we had NO money to buy books. NONE. In prayer (and this may seem odd to many people) my mom heard the Lord say, “You take care of their hearts and their hands and I will take care of their heads.” So that year we worked on our character and Christian service. She molded our hearts. And we learned practical work–keeping the garden, I learned to cook, my brother worked on a ranch, etc. That was the “hands” part. And in all our spare time we lived at the library. Just reading books. We read everything we could get our hands on. And we listened to records (yes, records!). Classical music, Shakespeare plays, etc.

    At the end of that year we took the state’s standardized tests and my mom held her breath. We hadn’t really done official “academic work.” But she knew what she had received from the Lord. When the results came back, it was astonishing. We had advanced significantly in every subject. Not just moved ahead a few points or one grade level, but we were testing at high school levels in the 4th and 5th grades. God had been so faithful.

    Things turned around for our family but my mother never went back to the way she had originally schooled us. From that point on she leaned toward unschooling and creating a lifestyle of learning.

    All that to say (whew!) that it doesn’t have to take a bunch of money to educate our children. It takes creativity, willing hearts, obedience to our callings, and an ability to think outside the box.

    I’m so looking forward to more in this series!!!
    Daja recently posted..Answering Your Questions: Ordering From Azure StandardMy Profile

  4. Cheeky Bums

    that is amazing. I don’t even know how to reply to that Daja – THANK YOU for sharing!! God is so faithful and what an awesome story! – kelsi ( I can’t wait to hear more 😉
    p.s. I still wish you lived closer!!!

  5. Things turned around for our family but my mother never went back to the way she had originally schooled us. From that point on she leaned toward unschooling and creating a lifestyle of learning.
    baby shops melbourne recently posted..Buy Most Comfortable Baby Products Online updated Fri May 10 2013 12:22 am EDTMy Profile

  6. Kay

    I’m so tired of homeschooling moms telling me to cut out my coffee and shopping sprees and, voila, I’ll have enough money to quit my job.
    I work for food and health insurance. No new clothes, no car payment, no coffee.
    Just please try to see that not everyone can homeschool, even if they really want to. To state otherwise is insulting.

  7. Cheeky Bums

    Kay, I definitely didn’t mean my words to be insulting and I sincerely appollogize if it came off that way. I wrote this article with the sincerest understanding that some parents can’t homeschool – at least not right now. There’s not a magic button that releases the funds if you start clipping coupons and cutting out the lattes. We barely scrape by on my husband’s income and I understand – truly – so if I came off as flippant or naive, please know that that wasn’t my intention. That being said, I also meant to encourage parents that homeschooling may not be in next years’ plan, or even in the 2-3 year plan. However, if we always assume that it’s an impossibility, then it will never happen. Just like any major expense, if it *needs* to happen, thankfully we live in a country that can make that happen…I haven’t lost hope in the American dream and ingenuity. Not that it will be easy, by any stretch, but I’ve known parents that pinch pennies, get extra jobs, enlist friends and grandparents, college students, tutors, etc to make homeschooling a reality. It may take 5-6 years of planning to get the ball rolling in some cases…my point in writing this was that IT’S WORTH THE SACRIFICE and even if it takes time…I believe it’s possible. Of course everyone has extenuating circumstances and so it may seem out of the question…my central point in writing this is to encourage families to get creative…all the best – kelsi

  8. Tracy

    Great article. In most cases it does take a lot of sacrifces in order to homeschool. With the way this world works these days, most families are two income families. This is our first year of homeschooling and I’m very fortunate to have a work at home job that allows me to homeschool our children. I prayed for a couple years about homeschooling. My husband was not on board, and I had no support system. Still, I just kept praying.

    Amazingly, within a years time my husband was 100% on board with us homeschooling. After seeing our children struggle with the public school system my husband had a change of heart. I have a licensed home daycare and I had to cut back my client load so I was able to balance my kids schooling and my work. I dropped down to just two children, both the same age. This has been doable as I am still able to balance work, homeschooling and we can still fit in some homeschool field trips and play dates.

    It’s not without sacrifices though. We coupon, have dropped cable, We purchased a Magic Jack and use it as our home phone line. I don’t subscibe to a cell phone service. Instead of shopping at the mall, we shop at thrift stores and yard sales for many of our clothing items. I’ve learned that while having fancy box curriculums are nice…they are not a necessity. We rarely dine out..which has saved us a lot of money and we overall eat much healthier. We are working hard to pay off all our credit card debt. (one card left…yay!) My vehicle is paid off, and hubby’s will be paid off this year.

    My goal is to eventually be able to take time off work and focus on my children’s education 100% of the time, but we are not in the finacial situation to do that just yet. Like you said, it might take another year or two before that’s a reality…or it may never be for our family. I’m just happy that we’ve figured out a way…for now, to homeschool our children.

  9. Kelsi

    Tracy – thanks SOP much for weighing in on this!! What a great (though not easy) story! It’s SO important, just like you mentioned, to look at the long-term. Not everyone can decide to homeschool at teh drop of a hat and be able to financially pull it off. it takes strategy and sacrifice and a HUGE dose of creativity…but it’s possible. Blessings on your journey!! thanks for popping in! – kelsi