At first, homeschooling seems like a great option. After all, you don’t have to pay for lunches, school uniforms, and extracurricular activities. Sure, while homeschooling does have a lot of perks, there are some hidden costs mixed in there as well. As long as you’re aware of the costs of homeschooling, you should be able to budget better if you’re thinking about or currently homeschooling your child.
Printer paper and toners
You’re going to find yourself printing a lot of worksheets and books. This, over time, will add up, especially if you have an inkjet printer. Unless you really want your worksheets in color, consider upgrading to a laser toner cartridge printer. This printer will only print in black and white (unless you buy a more expensive color one), but it will be able to produce a thousand+ more pages, depending on the brand you purchase. Either route you take, plan on budgeting at least $100 for the year for a toner cartridge.
When your kids are at home all day, this means you have to keep the thermostat at a comfortable level, and you will have to do more things you wouldn’t normally do if you were away from work such as cooking more meals or vacuuming more after a craft project. Using the air conditioner, heater and stove can add up over the year. This cost will all depend on your geographical region and how you set your thermostat, so someone in Minnesota would see a much higher heating bill than someone in Southern California. You should plan on an increase of at least five to 10 percent at a minimum.
It’s not just the food you’re cooking for your children, but the cleanup afterward. Do you need to use more paper towel? Do you need more cleaner? What about running the water and dishwasher more often? Other parents often note they purchase more groceries since the kids tend to snack more. Sure, you’re probably laughing at these hidden costs, but every little increase can add up over the year, trust me!
Field trips and activities
Yes, your child would more than likely be going on a field trip with a public school, but usually, these schools will get a deal and won’t pay as much as the average customer. Since you don’t want to tie your kid indoors 24/7, you may want to think about taking your child to a local attraction such as a museum, orchard or park. This, depending on the number of children you have, can add up. For example, the musical instrument museum we have near us charges $20+ per person. If you had two children and yourself, this is an extra $60, plus the gas to get there.
A single income
If you’re going to commit to homeschooling your children, it will be very hard to hold down a job. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but you have to make sure your significant other can bring in enough money to live comfortably. While a one income family can see its challenges, just make sure you leave below your means, save for that rainy day, and always make sure you have at least six months worth of bills in your savings account in case your significant other loses his or her job.
Mingling with other like-minded parents in the area is a great idea if you want to share ideas, frustrations or share trips together. Most of these groups, while they can be great, will come at a price. Depending on the group you join, these fees can run anywhere from as little as $20 to more than $1,000.
Most homeschooling fees are pretty straight forward, but as you can see, some of those hidden costs can eat away at your budget. As long as you’re creating a budget and do your research, there’s no reason you can’t make this work. Best of luck!