Is Homeschooling Cheaper Than Public School?

A boy learning while reading a book

If costs are going to be an issue for you as you make a decision about homeschooling, you are not alone.

Homeschooling can mean taking a cut in your own pay. If you are an employed single mother (or father), and plan to do all or most of the homeschooling yourself, you will clearly have less time to spend at work; and that means less take home pay.

So is it cheaper to just send your child (or continue sending them) to a public school? Or will homeschooling work out more affordable in the long run?

One of the biggest factors influencing the cost of homeschooling your child is whether you will be hiring a tutor for some or all of the home learning process.

This will add to your costs, and possibly quite substantially depend on who your tutor is, their rates, and any specific expertise that will be needed.

Homeschooling is certainly cheaper than sending your child to a private school. There’s no doubt about that.

With vast differences across the country for public school costs, on average it is thought that parents who send one child through the public school system from Kindergarten until 12 grade graduation will be up for over $160,000 in total. That’s a lot of money for what we like to think of as an almost free public school education.

With this in mind, homeschooling starts to become a more cost effective possibility. Yes, of course there are costs involved in homeschooling and these won’t be shared and divided among other students.

But homeschooling gives you huge scope in how you choose to spend money on your child’s education.

These are the basic things, besides optional tutoring, you’d need to budget for as you home educate your child:

Online courses
Field trips (optional)

When it comes to curriculum, here’s where a lot of your budget can wind up.

We are fortunate to now have incredible choices for home schooling curriculum material (course components). The state you live in may or may not have specific rules and guidelines you need to follow, and these can differ markedly between states.

You will usually have a choice across the spectrum of expense:

  • Free curricula
  • Online classes
  • Co-ops
  • Private tutoring

Some parents will choose a combination of the above options. Single mothers on a low to middle income will often have to strike a balance to plan out each school year of home learning. Going for 100% private tutoring is out of the realm of possibility for many of us, but selective tutoring (such as for one subject of interest) can provide substantial benefit where needed.

Many homeschool parents will find costs to be under $1000 per year per child, provided full private tutoring isn’t undertaken.

It’s more than possible to home educate your child for half that amount if you plan well.

The amount of free and minimal cost materials we now have available, homeschooling does not have to be expensive. You do not have to go into debt or deplete any savings you might, if you know how to homeschool on a budget. And none of this means compromising on your child’s education. The amount of top quality education material we now have access to would be the envy of anyone who had to homeschool even ten years ago.

So to answer the question of is homeschooling cheaper than public education?
The answer can be a very confident “yes”.

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