The number of American families opting to home school their children is growing rapidly- and not just for the reasons you’d expect. Compared to the 13,000 children home schooled in 1973, more than 1.6 million children now receive their education at home.
If you’re intrigued by the possibility of homeschooling but feel concerned that your family can’t afford to tackle the costs associated with educating your children, you’re in luck: homeschooling can actually save you money!
What Is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a method of education that allows children to learn outside of the traditional public or private school system. Rather than loading the bus each morning and staying at school until the final bell, homeschooled students learn with their parents or in small local groups.
Homeschooling has been steadily growing in popularity as education resources become easier for parents to access. There are many different reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children, including financial priorities.
Most Common Reasons to Homeschool
Every parent’s motivation to begin homeschooling is unique, but most relate to the same basic principles.
First, many parents are frustrated or disappointed by the public school system. Inadequate funding, safety, bullying, and overcrowding are just a few of the reasons that parents cite for pulling their children out of public schools. Some parents are also unhappy with the curriculum and want to ensure their children can learn at a slower or faster pace, often with religious elements involved as well.
Other parents are driven by a desire to spend more time with their children and recapture the seven to eight hours demanded by traditional school schedules. This additional time for focused attention and customized curriculum makes a big difference for children, including special needs children who may not have the support they need in a normal school environment.
5 Ways Homeschooling Saves Money
Since homeschooling requires curriculum, materials, and space, parents rarely expect to save money, but that’s exactly what happens.
Back-to-school shopping adds up quickly, from backpacks and new shoes to trendy clothes and required uniforms. Homeschooling eliminates those costs and may save hundreds of dollars per child each year. That money can be reinvested in homeschooling materials or sent straight into savings.
Classroom teachers often ask parents to donate supplies to the classroom, from tissues and whiteboard markers to notebooks and crayons. These expenses add up for parents. Homeschooling alleviates this pressure since parents can continue to use existing materials or buy cheaper items than a classroom teacher might request. There’s no need to spend $25 on brand new crayons and markers when your current supply works just fine!
State Tax Credits
The federal government doesn’t currently offer homeschooling tax credits, but certain states do offer tax benefits. Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota offer a state tax credit for homeschooling families.
Breakfast and Lunch
The cost of school food adds up quickly, especially with more than one child. Homeschooling families can prepare and eat meals at home, which is more affordable and can even tie into certain lessons in math, science, and nutrition.
In addition to the regular daily savings offered by homeschooling, it’s also possible to save money on family trips when your children aren’t enrolled in a traditional school. Rates are notoriously higher during standard school break periods like spring break, winter break, and Thanksgiving. As a homeschooling family, you can schedule your vacation during off-season periods to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Just like a child’s educational needs, your family’s financial needs are always evolving. Homeschooling offers a unique way to save money and nurture your family life.