A Brief Guide to Homeschooling Costs (Expenses and Deductions)
What are the real homeschooling costs? What type of expenses must you consider? And what kind of deductions are available for homeschooling families?
When transitioning into homeschooling, it’s normal to have these questions and more.
Keep reading if you want the scoop on homeschool costs and some smart ways to save money while homeschooling.
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How Much Does Homeschooling Cost in the U.S.?
If you’re considering homeschooling your child, you need to know how much it’s going to cost so you can plan accordingly. People estimate that the total cost of one year of homeschooling is from $700 to $1,800 per student. But clearly, this is a wide range.
So how do you keep your costs as low as possible?
In this article, I will give you a detailed analysis of expenses and deductions, including some useful tips on reducing your costs!
Homeschooling Expenses Broken Down
Most homeschooling expenses are quite clear. You likely already know that you must pay for curriculum, supplies, materials, and some extracurricular classes.
However, there are other hidden costs of homeschooling that are not that obvious and can take you by surprise if you’re not well prepared.
One of the main reasons parents choose to homeschool is the opportunity to create an educational plan according to their child’s needs.
Finding the right curriculum is crucial to improving your child’s development and success in homeschool. There are many curriculum options which you can choose. But there are also many aspects you should consider before selecting one.
You can read these detailed guides about choosing a homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten and high school.
Homeschool curriculum can be expensive. In some cases, it can cost over $1,000. Although, more economical options start from $350. And the best news of all? You can also find free alternatives!
Here you can find some of the most popular homeschool curricula in today’s market.
You might like: Top 5 Homeschooling Kindergarten Curriculum Options
The cost of homeschool supplies and materials depend on how much you want to spend and what you are willing to include on the list. It could go from $150 to $300 per year.
However, you may have to buy a computer, tablet, or printer, or have a special budget to subscribe to some online apps. If you want to design your homeschool classroom, you’ll probably need at least a desk or some other types of furniture.
If you consider that part of your supplies and materials, your estimate will probably go over $300. Although, some of these expenses are one-year costs that you will only pay once.
According to a 2020 Deloitte “back-to-school” survey, families should expect to spend, on average, $800 on supplies.
You might like: The Ultimate Homeschool Classroom Supplies List for Beginners.
Some parents decide to hire a private tutor or certified teacher to take care of their child’s homeschooling needs. But, how much does a homeschool teacher cost?
Due to the growing popularity of homeschooling in the United States, there’s a booming market for certified teachers willing to homeschool. A private tutor may charge between $10 and $80 an hour, depending on their experience, credentials, and the subjects.
You probably don’t want to overlook this cost!
Field trips are an essential element of homeschool. These are your child’s opportunities to get out of the house, see the world, and interact with peers. That’s why homeschool parents tend to organize several field trips during the school year.
As you may know, museums and other cultural centers usually have entrance fees.
Depending on how many children you have and the kind of field trips you set up for them, the field trips can cost you up to $250 per child for a year.
As field trips, extracurricular activities are great opportunities to socialize and make friends.
Your budget may vary wildly depending on what your child wants for their extracurricular classes. For example, horse riding lessons will be significantly more expensive than soccer training sessions.
You also need to consider how many activities your children will do and the frequency.
Time 4 Learning estimates a cost for extracurricular activities between $100 and $500. But, as I mentioned, that depends on what you want for your child.
I recommend first defining how much you want to spend on extracurricular classes and choosing your child’s lessons accordingly.
This isn’t so much a homeschooling expense but an unintended consequence of choosing homeschool over the public school system. If you’re a homeowner in the U.S, you still have to pay school taxes, even if your child doesn’t go to your community public school.
That means you must pay the total bill for your child’s homeschool education and still pay your proportional share to keep the public education system working.
I’m sorry to disappoint you if you thought you would be off the hook from school taxes just because you’re homeschooling.
The homeschool requirements of some states include taking tests every pre-defined time. These tests usually have a cost, and you should include them as part of your homeschooling expenses list.
Make sure to learn all about your state’s homeschooling requirements and find out if there are testing fees related.
You might like: 6 Biggest Regrets That Haunt Homeschoolers
Loss of Income
Homeschooling usually means that one of the parents needs to stop working to take care of their child’s education. This loss of income must be considered from the beginning, as it may become the most expensive “cost” of homeschooling.
Of course, you can avoid dealing with this by hiring a private tutor. However, that comes with its costs, as I explained above.
Homeschooling Deductions and Other Smart Ways of Saving
I know that a list of expenses can be overwhelming, but homeschooling also has its share of deductions and other smart ways of saving.
Find some of the most useful ways to save money in the following list:
Do you remember the cost of a homeschool curriculum? Well, there are a few options that are entirely free of charge.
- Khan Academy is one of the most popular academies. It could be a very good option for all grade levels
- Easy Peasy is a free Christian homeschool curriculum that covers preschool through 8th grade
- Ambleside Online is a faith-based free homeschool curriculum that follows Charlotte Mason’s principles
You might like: 6 Homeschooling Methods You Need to Know About
Free Virtual Field Trips
To keep a low budget on field trips, you can try to visit museums or theaters on discount days or specific dates designed for homeschoolers.
You can also plan virtual field trips and use the money for other expenses.
Nowadays, you can virtually visit almost all the important museums in the world. That could open your list of field trip possibilities to lots of options. From the British Museum in London to the MoMA in New York, you can now take your field trips to a higher level.
No Child Care Costs
Sometimes homeschooling can be expensive, but one of its most significant financial advantages is that it saves you a lot on child care.
Experts estimate that “married couples spend around 11% of their income on child care costs.” Well, if you choose to homeschool your child, that cost instantly disappears.
Your savings from not paying for child care could be part of your overall budget.
You might like: 8 Amazing Benefits of Homeschool vs Public School
Homeschool Co-Ops or homeschool pods are a smart way to save money.
A homeschool pod can be made when 2 or 3 families get together to form a kind of “mini-school” at one of their homes and spread the costs between them.
Homeschool pods not only provide the benefit of saving money, but they’re also an intelligent way to help your children interact and socialize with others.
You might like: The Simple Way to Start a Homeschool Co-Op You Love
Free Online Resources
Nowadays, you can find a lot of materials and resources online. You can find pretty much everything from games and handcrafts to projects and worksheets if you know where to search.
In this post I mention some of the most useful websites with free homeschooling worksheets. Here you can find websites specialized in offering Math aid.
Core Knowledge is also a quality source of free homeschool material.
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Meet Your New Best Friend: The Local Library
It feels that with the rise of the Internet, we forgot how useful our local libraries can be.
However, for a homeschool parent, the local library offers lots of resources and learning opportunities.
At your local library, you will find books and documentaries, and in some cases, you will have access to software programs that otherwise you would have to pay for.
Tax Credits for Homeschooling
Although there aren’t any federal homeschool tax credits, “a few states offer tax breaks for homeschooling families,” including Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
Explore your state’s homeschool law and look for specific tax breaks for homeschooling families.
Time to Set Up Your Homeschooling Budget
Now that you know all the costs related to homeschooling in the U.S, it’s time to define your budget according to your own family’s needs.
What kind of curriculum do you want? How much is it going to cost? Are you planning to teach your child or hire a private teacher? How many extracurricular lessons will your child have every week?
Your answers will help you to elaborate a unique homeschool budget.
It all depends on what type of homeschooling method you want to choose and how much you are willing to spend. Good luck!
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