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homeschooling and being a SAHM when low income

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

This is something I am struggling with.  I work really hard to keep my household running smoothly, and feel very challenged and fulfilled as a SAHM. In fact, I love it. For someone who doesn't have a regular job (well, I do babysit a little for grocery money) I feel quite busy! My daughter will be of traditional school age in two years.  Right now I just cannot imagine working full time outside the home.  My career aspirations have really dried up. 


That said, I have always planned on returning to work in some fashion when she reaches school age.  I guess I have thought that being a SAHM of an older child or homeschooling mom was a bit of a luxury of someone who has a partner with a good hourly wage.  My husband makes a very modest hourly salary.  We are as frugal as possible, in fact somewhat ridiculously frugal, but we still barely make it. I am not really comfortable living on the edge like this for many years to come.  But I also do not think I am comfortable spending too much time away from my child!  The cliche that time flies is really true.


What I am wondering is, can one be so frugal as a parent in the home that they save the equivalent of a salary that is not being made?  How many families can truly live on one very modest income?


I am determined to be with my little one as much as possible in her early years, "by any means necessary".  But I am realizing now I want to continue this journey a little further along than I realized!  I am a former teacher and am so looking forward to continuing to be directly involved in her education.  So, I guess I am asking, is homeschooling only for people with a partner with a decent salary?



(PS I realize this thread may fit in better in SAHMs, or the frugality section.  It's all connected!  : ) )






post #2 of 46

My dp and I are planning to be unjobbed by summer. We have one income presently, from dp's (total nightmare of a) job, which pays a very decent hourly wage, but once all of the costs of it weigh in, it's really not even close to adequate. And did I mention the nightmarishness?  Jobs are usually very expensive, but not many people sit down and figure in the expenses vs. the income from the job.


Neither one of us wants to make a living for countless strangers, or continue to widen the circle of influence of those strangers so that we literally have the least say in how our life is. It's patently absurd. We are soooo done with it.


I do not consider it a luxury to be together as a family doing what we do as a family. That's the default, in my opinion. I view with disdain things that prevent the harmonious functioning of my family as a deliberate group. This can be whatever each family agrees is best, but it has to be the starting place at least- the assumption that a family will be together in close physical proximity. From that default position, decisions about how often and for what purpose would individuals be away, can be made. Obviously individual values are essential to determining the answers to these questions. Even one job is not an essential, so to wonder whether there should be two of them just regresses the question. For what purpose? At what cost?


For me, I highly value having my children and partner nearby. I also highly value creative space- time and location for producing creative work. My dp does too. My children also have a definite desire for space and time for creative, productive work. We enjoy working alone, most of us (so far, only one extrovert in the family- don't know about the baby yet), but we also enjoy the exchange of ideas and critique, so we do a lot of talking together. We also enjoy physical activities as a group, so we dance, practice swordsmanship, do gymnastics, work-out, etc... together. We do farming together too.


To facilitate our values, it is important that we retain close physical proximity most of the time. It will be necessary for dp and me to, at various times, go away for the day to sell our work, meet with clients, and other reasons, but our studio is in our home so that we don't have to leave to work. Our garden and livestock will be on property. Even our close friends live only 40 feet away. This is not the life for everyone, for sure, but it suits us well. We also live 35 minutes outside of a small city. We have deliberately reduced our living costs in order to build our life the way we want it.


We have our children with us, we both work, and we plan to have eliminated the job (that denigrates our values) by this summer, and to continue to work, be a part of society and our community, be productive, and have the first and most say in how our life is. It's our life!!! It's so valuable that it boggles me how little some people value theirs, but I digress. My dp has just in the past year come to agree with me. I'm a very ambitious, industrious, creative person, but I refuse to have a job. I expect to make an income, though, and now that dp is on board, I will be doing so. It really hasn't worked for me to make an income while dp has insisted on having jobs because they require two people to spend the majority of their time working tediously for the sake of someone else's betterment, usually, and definitely in our case. We can do so much better by both being jobless and working at our own life.


I once priced out the cost of my dp's job against the time, money, and equipment he would need to hunt a moose or go fishing, and no matter which way I figured it, it was always more costly to go to his job than to hunt or fish for the amount of meat that we need. Same for buying a house or land. We'll have livestock this year, because with the convenience of having our food right at home, we'll have more time for creative work for income as well. If we chose to farm for profit rather than sustenance, then we'd have no time for creative work, and that wouldn't work for us. I can make more money in less time by painting than I can in harvesting market veggies or chickens. And I'd rather work at painting.


Yes, you can save a salary's worth by being at home, and more, but you'll likely need to find a way to leverage your time at home with some productive work intended to bring in income.


So, my perspective is that you do not live in luxury: you live the life you make, so make it the way you want it to be. There is just no requirement that you work for money or have a job. There are so many ways to live! You just choose the way you want to- decide what matters to you- and make it happen.


I noticed that you're in BC. You have so many options there! And this is all about choices. :)

post #3 of 46
You can do it mama, you have a good skill set to make it happen, which is more than many people that figure it out. You don't have to make good money to HS, and the OP is right, jobs have costs you may not have considered fully. (a second car, gas, insurane for I car, CHILD CARE, clothes, lunch) I cant help with frugality, as Its easier for me to make a little more money than squeeze more out of what I have. But I am awful at budgeting and things like this.

I DO have some ideas, here is goes redface.gif

1) You could find another parent that HS's too, and offer to teach their kid with yours a few days a week, and they can take yours a few days. This way you may be able to get help in subjects that arent your best and would allow HSing while freeing up a few days for work. There is bound to be someone else with the same problem..

2) You could substitute teach or tutor on the days your kid is with the other HS parent, or after school. GED tutors are in demand, and you may be able to get state funds for it. you would be improving your teaching ability while bringing some extra money.

3) You can also teach other HS or US kids with yours. if you have a degree you an easily charge a little for this, and it would serve the purpose of letting you stay home and helping other families add high quality education at a small cost. Plus, your DD would have other kids around. it sounds like even a modest fee could make all the difference for you. Offering field trips and other creative learning opportunities can really help other HS families out, and can bring in higher fees.

4) You can do something at home that includes your daughter and makes money. Some home based businesses can be done while Hsing, and can be a learning activity for your DD. These skills will be as important as typical stuff will be, you just have to be creative and make sure it doesn't eat up too much time. Sewing (baby clothes, cloth diapers, etc), cleaning, web design, sales, writing (term papers, market research pays better than you would think), etc. there are MANY things that you can do if you don't need it to be a primary income source, just an added help.

5) Frugality is good, but I don't know your situation so I can't say if its enough to make the difference or not. I do know you can cut your bills down a lot by doing things like home cooking, gardening, shopping second hand investing in solar hot water system, keeping heat low, no AC, only one car (my fav and Im not even frugal), bulk shopping, canning, bartering.

6) Try it as is for a little while, and if you cannot make it, put her in school until you can. I would be looking for work while you do this though, in case it doesn't work out well, you won't have to start from the beginning on a job hunt.

7) Even a crappy PT job a few nights a week might be enoughnto allow you to HS without too much fear of poverty.

My Dh is now a SAHD, we figured out how to make it work by doing things that are unconventional. I LOVE what I do (solar energy), love my company and career, and make very good money. BUT where we were living (San Diego) was eating it up as fast as I could make it. it's the kind of city where a 100k makes you barely middle class (even if you eschew luxury!) and you will have very little space too. Really. And I don't make quite that much every year. If Dh kept working, the cost of childcare even crappy kind, would be his whole paycheck And we would need 2 cars, something I am against. so we moved to Mexico, where we halved our rent, quadrupled our living space, and increased our standard of living. DH cannot work from Mexico but we save so much money and nannies are so cheap that it's a great option. My DH is an artist and its GREAT to see him painting all day with our son by his side, not working at a low wage job, which is all he can get right now. i also work from a home office most days of the week, so I am still around a lot. It is not all roses, Mexico is not like the US. I find it's better in many ways, the ones that count. But if you need things to work smoothly, and cant live without power or hot water sometimes, its not for you. it works for us !! smile.gif (BC is awesome, I would love to live there, you should have lots of choices)
Edited by NewSolarMomma - 12/25/10 at 1:14am
post #4 of 46

Well, I've been a sahm since the beginning, and dh's income that year was 11K.  Crazy to even think about, I don't know if we could live on that now!


For the size of our family, our income is hovering around poverty level, but no plans for me to go to work (and this is something dh and I agree on).  We did up our income with dh's home reno business, but not by much and actually last year most of that income went right back into the business.  I'm not sure how to advise really because definitions of frugal vary.  To some it's frugal to buy a shirt at $25 because it's on sale down from $50.  But we could never live on our income if that was how we were working the frugal angle.  Even $10 for a shirt would make me cringe.  We don't buy entertainment, we rarely travel, we eat and fill household needs, and that's about it.  I put in time at the local thrift stores, picking up $1-$5 items when we need them and shopping ahead a little.  I We homeschool through a state cyber school, so that is free.  I quilt and write ($30-$60/mo) and build up enough in paypal that is a sort of "gift account", so we can afford to give at Christmastime and birthdays.  We get our entertainment through the library--books and dvds.  No cable.  Cheapest phone plan possible.  Pay cash for junker cars and drive them into the ground.  Basically we live a completely abnormal lifestyle (from the American perspective) in order for me to SAH on dh's income.  If his income dropped, we'd change the lifestyle to fit it.  This year he's been out of the country, and so we moved back with my parents so that I could continue to sah and homeschool the kids.  Burned through our savings, but we made it.  We'll be OK until dh gets back to working, and then will need to spend a few years building all that back up.

post #5 of 46

We are lower-middle class, we suck at budgeting. We have to pay off our debt with the tax return we'll get this coming year but that was our own fault. I once considered going back to work when I only had one kid but realized that it's just too expensive to do that and I love being home with my kids and I feel I should be the one teaching my children. We manage fine.


The other posters gave some good ideas. I would really love for my hubby to work from home but I'm not sure how he could do it? He's very intelligent and has skills in lots of technical stuff. I agree with some of the PP that keeping the family close is important. I wouldn't want the state raising my children (public school) or even a private school. I want to be the one to do it along with hubby. We're expecting our 3rd child soon and I'm not worried. I wish I could sew as I would love to make diapers and some other kid related things. I might have to take a sewing class one day to do that. I think it is entirely possible to live on a modest-low income and SAHM(D) and homeschool. Go for it. 

Edited by dayiscoming2006 - 12/26/10 at 6:59am
post #6 of 46

Oh goodness, no.  We are very low income (I don't really feel comfortable posting how much, but I will say it's at the borderline poverty level for USA).  I get homeschooling materials for very or cheap through used book stores and asking around for friends.  All of our field trips are learning experiences and are free (firestation, nature walks, free festivals, library).  

I would say that most of the homeschoolers I know live on a frugal budget....not quite as frugal as I consider my family to be...but I'm certain we are strange to everyone else!  Look around for a homeschool group and ask for advice.  


Good luck!  

post #7 of 46
Originally Posted by LeighB View Post

Oh goodness, no.  We are very low income (I don't really feel comfortable posting how much, but I will say it's at the borderline poverty level for USA).  I get homeschooling materials for very or cheap through used book stores and asking around for friends.  All of our field trips are learning experiences and are free (firestation, nature walks, free festivals, library).  

I would say that most of the homeschoolers I know live on a frugal budget....not quite as frugal as I consider my family to be...but I'm certain we are strange to everyone else!  Look around for a homeschool group and ask for advice.  


Good luck!  

This is us too - I'm an extremely low-income single mama SAHM homeschooling. We live on around $12k a year plus food stamps, in a major city in TX. That includes a mortgage, taxes on the house and all bills. It can be done, It takes a whole different mindset at frugality though.


Some tips for the OP:


For us, all clothing comes from either yard sales, thrift shops, or new with a coupon. Every so often JCPenny puts out a $15 off of $15 or $10 off of $15, and that's when we buy things you just can't get used. I do the same with my clothing at Lane Bryant. My normal price to pay for a piece of clothing is between .25 and $1 - maybe up to $5 for a coat at most. I thrift shop on .99 day {Mondays at ours is .99 for anything with that weeks color tag} for most things, but just regular shirts and pants I go on half off day as their regular price is only .50 to $1 those days. I buy ahead in sizes for DD when I find quality at my price - she's got tons of Gymboree, Hanna Anderson, Gap, etc that I've picked up for pennies. I also make it known on the homeschool groups locally that we're always looking for clothing to fit DD, and I've gotten some free that way. All outgrown clothing in good condition goes into our yard sale - at the low price we buy it for you normally can get your money back even at garage sale prices.


Keep an eye out while thrift shopping for things you can sell for a profit. I've found the following at my thrift over that last few years: Amby Baby Hammock {paid $8 as they didn't know what it was and thought it was a playpen, sold for $125 in two days}, name brand Sling {paid $1, sold for $25}, and many home schooling books I bought for $1 each and sold locally. If you're already there looking for things for your family, you may as well look for things to bring income in as well.


Learn to use coupons WISELY. I started 5 years ago using The Grocery Game to learn couponing, and it's been a lifesaver. I did pay for about 2 and a half years, then I quit and just use slickdeals to get my deals from. I learned what was a good price and what wasn't from The Grocery Game though. We eat far better than we could ever afford to without couponing, and I never pay for toiletries anymore as I get them free at either CVS or Walgreens. Anything I can pick up free that we can't use goes in the yard sale we have quarterly, and anything not sold after 4 sales gets donated. I use extra store coupons from CVS and Walgreens to pay for things that we can't get with food stamps, and for extras like Christmas presents.


We cut any extra costs - no cable, no cell {we do have a freebie from assurance wireless that gets 200 or so minutes a month that I use while out and for emergencies}, home phone is magicjack, Utilities are bare minimums and we don't eat out unless it's free. We use the library for entertainment and for homeschooling books. We don't have a car either - we use the city bus system to get around. We don't do many home school events unless they are free, and not a ton even then on account of bus fare.


Our one splurge is Girl Scouts for my daughter, which is a great resource for home school students. There is a patch for just about anything if you look, and we use the patch programs as unit studies. My daughter is a Independent Girl Scout, meaning she is NOT part of a troop. This helps keep the cost down and works better for her due to medical issues. It also means that all her cookie money goes to pay for workshops for her, which cuts costs as well. As long as your child sells enough cookies/nuts every year to cover uniforms, patches, books and events, Girl Scouting is very very cheap to do. Plus they give great incentives to cookie sellers - in our area the top level sales {3000+ boxes sold} is a new laptop computer this year. The level under that is a season pass to Six Flags.


I wanted to mention The Book Samaritan - they help home school families who can't afford materials out with materials at no cost. All they ask is don't sell what you get from them - either return it or pass it to another family in need. It looks like their website is down currently though - this happens quite a bit.


Another spot to get free items is curriculum share - don't recall the exact site address but you can post what you're looking for and what you've got to give away. You normally pay shipping on items you are receiving.


I do swagbucks for all my online searches, cash in the points for Amazon GC, and use those to buy homeschooling books. I also do online surveys to earn gift cards too for Amazon. That pays for most of our homeschooling needs.


And always, if you use a particular curriculum, join any mailing lists, etc for it. Sometimes people will post used or partially used books for free, just pay the shipping. And you can find used books cheaper on those lists too normally.

post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 

Okay, this thread is bumming me out now!  : )     I just moved from the land of 25 cent thrift store items (rural California) to British Columbia, the land of the $3.99 thrift store items!  None of the thrift stores here (I am on the island) have deals like people have mentioned. Also, couponing here is nothing compared to the states -- no doubling, no grocery game.  And don't even talk to me about food costs -- they are easily double those in the states.


As a credentialed teacher I could probably tutor (ESL) and get a pretty good part time hourly wage.  Also, there is a charter school here that lets your child attend two or three days a week, and homeschool the other days.  One advantage here is that we get money from the govt to spend on curriculum or homeschooling materials.


Thank you everyone for your tips!


post #9 of 46
Originally Posted by Rosebud1 View Post

Okay, this thread is bumming me out now!  : )     I just moved from the land of 25 cent thrift store items (rural California) to British Columbia, the land of the $3.99 thrift store items!  None of the thrift stores here (I am on the island) have deals like people have mentioned. Also, couponing here is nothing compared to the states -- no doubling, no grocery game.  And don't even talk to me about food costs -- they are easily double those in the states.


As a credentialed teacher I could probably tutor (ESL) and get a pretty good part time hourly wage.  Also, there is a charter school here that lets your child attend two or three days a week, and homeschool the other days.  One advantage here is that we get money from the govt to spend on curriculum or homeschooling materials.


Thank you everyone for your tips!


:lol i know all about crying over the prices and deal from the usa. i am in the gta, ontario. there is vallue villages in bc and they have 50% off sales. most of the other second hand stores also have deals. for buying online there is craigslist.ca and kijiji.ca or you could even some amazing deals threw ebay.ca. 

how i manage to swing it here is being smart and always on the hunt for deals. there is always food deals pick up things in bulk when on sale. grab clothing that is bigger when on sale or in clearance (leave the tags on incase it is outgrown. you can sell it or gift it). sell toys/clothing that is outgrown. gift giving time for my kids i try to buy & get things that are educational or clothing. this goes for me aswell i try to get things i need or the home needs as gifts.  


HSing can be cheaper then sending a child to school even public school. lunches, new school year supplies,  clothing/backpacks, field trips, book fairs, pizza lunches, and all other non covered things. i know my best friend spends more to send her 2 to school then i do to hs my 2.


i know here in the gta there is alot of parents searching for tutors for their schooled child. that could be a option for you. even if you are working full/pt time it dont mean that you have to send your child to school. as long as you have someone to watch them you can HS them when you are with them. this all depends on the HSing method that you choose to do. i am a sahm, 100% a single parent financially, and unschooling my 2(4,8) . .. sdklsdklsdnkl..

i work from home as a assistant to a apartment building, do graphic work, childcare and anything else that comes my way. i also do odd jobs out of the home when i get a chance and have them babysat. i have a thinking and mindset where there is a will there is a way. i will do everything i can to hs my kids.

post #10 of 46

Honestly I'm not sure I would do it on a very low income. Part of homeschooling is giving your children many of the resources that would be available to them if they were in school, this depends a lot on what the public schools are like in your area and where you live. We're homeschooling the oldest two of our four children on an income of nearly $100,000 per year in an area with an average income of $30,000 and I sometimes wish we had the money for things I don't feel we can afford. We're also military so we don't pay for healthcare and have other benefits, like at-cost groceries. The library only goes so far especially in our semi rural area so we buy, I would guess, $50 worth of books each month on top of our curriculum. If you have a car and can find a homeschool group with free activities and have a great library then it could be doable, it would also mean trying really hard to find activities your kids want to do with other kids. Even inexpensive things like community sports teams can be out of reach expensive when you're on a low income; I know, I grew up wanting to do things that we just couldn't afford, without school programs and teams I wouldn't have done much of anything. You also have internet access, which goes a long way. School supplies are super cheap, with $20 during the August sales you can get plenty for the entire year. For lower grades you can even make up your own curriculum or worksheets by hand. Paying for standardized testing could be difficult you have have to do it but you could put away a few dollars a month for it.

post #11 of 46

i think the resources thing posted above depends on what your definition of what "good resources" are.  many people would argue that the low ratio and care a parent teacher can provide is the best resource available to a student. it all really changes from family to family. i am working right now. i really wanted to quit,and came VERY close, but we realized we just wouldn't make it financially, so we plan to re- asses next fall. i am really hoping it works out soon, as i love being home with the kids. even with cutting waaaay back it just wasn't going to work. if staying home is what is in your heart, and you feel like you can make it work, i say go for it! school will still be there if you find you need to work during the day somewhere down the road.

post #12 of 46


Part of homeschooling is giving your children many of the resources that would be available to them if they were in school


Elus0814, this is most certainly not part of why my family homeschools (in the broad sense of the term). The schooling system is certainly not the gold standard for us, and regardless of our income, we would never, according to our values, be living up to the school system, in resources or otherwise. It would, from our perspective, be an enormous sacrifice of our values to make use of it.


I don't think the quoted statement is an accurate representation of what is truly needed for the education of children. It's totally fine, imo, that you would choose not to homeschool with less than $100,000 annual income (I don't know what you consider very low income), but it is not necessary to have that, or even close to that, amount of money to facilitate the education of children. I know from experience. Our annual income has ranged from one third to one half of yours, and I am home with all five of my children, who are not lacking resources for their interests, which are many and varied. We're creative people and I work very hard to ensure that they are not hindered by a lack of funds.




Rosebud1, sometimes money and creativity are antagonists; you just must know what you value, and live virtuously to enact those values. Its like that cliche: where there's a will, there's a way. There's also the very real possibility of making money from home or from activities you do alongside your children. The possibilities for how to make your life the way you want are as varied as the possibilities of ways to live. We moved to the remote north to live the way we want to. Where we were was a hindrance to our plans and desires for myriad reasons, so we left. It may not be so simple for you as that, but something will be, and you can make at least that change right away, or whenever suits you. Then you'll be that much closer to living your values. If you want to stay home, you can. It necessitates making choices that are conducive to staying home. You can choose those things. I cannot imagine not being home with my children because of a lack of money; there are just so many solutions to that problem that giving up just wouldn't enter my radar (eta: I'm not suggesting you're giving up. That's what my experience would be if I chose differently than what I have).

post #13 of 46

What are absolutely needed and what would be really nice to have are different things and I recognize that. I'm coming from a background where we lived on a just above the poverty line income when I was a child and I know that had I not been in school I would not have done much of anything. I'm certainly not saying that you need a lot of money but I am saying that if a family lives in an area with few resources, few other children around, and are in a low income household it may be better for them to be in school. This also depends on the schools. If the local schools are really wonderful then I would be less likely to homeschool on a low income than if the schools weren't very good. To me, I have to decide if what I can give my kids is better or worse than what they would get in a school. The schools in my area are terrible and we have the money to offer the kids many resources so we choose to homeschool. 


preggie- the school system isn't the gold standard for anyone in this forum. I think you misinterpreted my statement. I feel that it is a disservice to homeschool a child when there are little resources available for that child to learn. Someone living in poverty but that has access to the internet, a decent library, some type of group or friends for your kids, and can borrow or buy some books is in a good position to homeschool. Someone, even one with a higher income, that does not have access to the internet, has very few books, cannot afford teaching materials and is unable to borrow them, and has no way to get to a place where their children can be around other kids when other kids don't come to their house is likely not in a position to homeschool. I'm not saying that you need a six figure income but unless to live in a area with many free resources it is simply not possible to properly homeschool for almost nothing and trying to would not be doing your child any favors. 

post #14 of 46

I have to disagree with elus0814 personally. I homeschool because I don't want my children exposed to the public school system which I personally think sucks big time. Homeschoolers as a rule are much further advanced educationally then their public school peers and they have a better grasp of the real society/socializing. They know they have to get along with all different kinds of people from young to old, etc. I do not want any of the public school's resources as I am a Christian and believe that the PS system is trying to raise children to be atheist/agnostic and evolutionists for the most part.


Anything I can provide my kids will be better in my opinion than what you'd find in the publics schools or even in 99% of private schools. My values force me to homeschool. I feel it's mine and my DH's responsibility to raise our kids up in the Lord. My best friend lives on low income and was able to raise 2 very intelligent daughters this way. She lives in a very small town with limited resources yet has still managed to accomplish this. Internet is really an amazing tool to be used when homeschooling as well. There are so many free resources there. 


Library sales are excellent places to get very cheap books to add to your personal library. Also, you can find lots of decently priced used books on amazon and other websites. HTH

post #15 of 46

This is an interesting thread!

My DH works FT, but when it was just him working, we pretty much lived right on the edge.... even with never eating out, rarely driving, cooking from scratch, only shopping at yard sales... We're really frugal, but the thing that really screws up our finances is the fact that we have to pay the mortgage on two houses, since our first house never sold (stupid, stupid financial decision there- if only I had a time machine).


Last winter we lost our health insurance due to his job's instability at the time, and I was pretty worried and stressed all winter about how we were going to make ends meet. We had a lot of together time as a family, but it wasn't exactly quality family time since I was so stressed all the time. I now work PT (I'm in healthcare), and while my working more has really helped us pay some debts off and provided some cushion from DH's job ups and downs, it has also made family life pretty chaotic. I work nights, and it is exhausting to me and DH, but I think it is even harder on the kids, since they don't really get a consistent bedtime routine when it's just dad here in the evening. So, basically we're financially stable now, but we're all completely exhausted and run ragged, eating too much convenience foods, and living in a messy house! It's nice to not worry about how we'll pay the mortgage, but it hardly seems worth it to live like this sometimes.


DD is 5, and will be official kindergarten age next fall. Homeschooling is definitely one of my top priorities as a parent, and DH and I had some talks and decided hs'ing will never work if I keep up my current schedule. So I'm going to drop down to PRN hours next month, meaning I am only required to work a minimum of two shifts a month. I def need to continue bringing in a certain level of income for the time being to make up the gap, at least until we sell our first house (which does not seem likely at all anytime soon).


I'm just beginning with some online wahm gigs, and I'm hoping that with working outside the home so much less, I can use the wahm stuff to fill in the gaps. If for some reason we can't make ends meet this way, I may eventually go back to work FT and maybe put the kids in public school, or keep homeschooling and have DH be a sahd; it wouldn't be the end of the world. I'm ok with being low income, but I'm not okay with not knowing how we're going to pay the mortgage, which is how things were last winter. But I really hope DH's income stays ok so we can make this work.


post #16 of 46

I don't have time to post a longer comment. I want to preface this by saying we homeschool for many reasons and religion is one of them, we use religious curriculum. I'm very surprised that homeschooling families would risk their child's long term education by homeschooling no matter how dire their finances. If the choice is paying rent or buying books rent will always have to win. Another post mentions library book sales and amazon - many, many people cannot afford amazon books or any new books and some don't even have libraries they can purchase or borrow decent books from. If you can homeschool on a short shoestring really depends on the area you live in. I'll post more later. 

post #17 of 46

I have a different perspective. In my experience, even with very little income, or even none, children can still learn. If they do not have enough food, that is a different issue, and one that isn't mitigated by public schooling anyway. I'm an autodidact, and my children are mostly that way as well, since dp is too, and we do not hinder our children from exploring their interests. In any case, I guess I'm not sure what sort of scenario you're referring to wherein the children would have access to absolutely nothing. If the situation is that a family cannot pay rent without sending their dc to gov't funded schools, then, imo, an examination of values is definitely in order, with quick and diligent action to follow.


I don't share this from any ivory tower! I consider the children being with their parents as the default position, so at base, this is not only possible, but preferable as long as there are not competing values that are yet undecided in hierarchy. There's just no way my family could have stayed where my first three children were born, because we just couldn't sustain an income commensurate with the cost of living and jobs there. It wasn't a matter of whether we could if we sent our dc away, because our values were in order that demonstrated that we had no desire to contravene the natural law. Certainly it was well within our right to do so, if we wanted to, but we didn't.


So, for us, the choices were never between sending our dc away so we could have more income, or keeping them home and starving! The choice was: where is the best location to achieve a family life the way we want it? This necessitated finding a location with a lower cost of living and jobs that paid enough on one income to meet the bills, so there also had to be much less competition for those jobs.


It took two moves to end up where we are now, but we moved the second time for the same reason. Our income is presently triple what it was when we had three babies in the city, our cost of living is now the same as then, but we have a seven-person family, so percentage-wise, it's much less than what it would be there, now. Even still, we are in the process of unjobbing in order to further align our life with our values. So not only will our dc be home, but so will we. The amount of income we need and/or want dictates how much and what types of work we'll do to earn it. Our dc being home is just a given. The two issues are not in conflict. At all.


We have friends from our old city who have given up their plan to hs because of finances and the recession there (which never hit here, and won't- another reason we moved here; it's in a bubble); their actions show that they value paying for their house and thereby keeping it as a higher priority than homeschooling or having their children close with them on a daily basis. Fine. But it is not the only option; it's the one they choose, mostly out of fear, but obviously it could have been chosen under better circumstances as well. But it is a choice, not a necessity or a requirement of some unchosen greater ideal than the ones they hold. 


To me, income generation and living my daily life alongside my children just cannot come into conflict. It just isn't possible because my hierarchy of values is firm, well-examined, and informs how I think and thereby, live. 


I'm looking forward to a further explanation of this:


I'm very surprised that homeschooling families would risk their child's long term education by homeschooling no matter how dire their finances.


I do not have any partnership with the gov't or its agents in the education or raising of my dc. There will never be a time when I weigh my decisions about my family by considering whether or not gov't programs and hirelings could do a better job than me. From my perspective, such a thought process is completely antithetical to being a mother, an adult, and an autonomous being. Obviously not everyone would agree, but I'm surprised that anyone would assume that all parents of children would consider themselves beholden to even consider worth consideration what the gov't "offers" their children.


It wouldn't matter to me if they offered space camp one week, an archeological dig the next, a trip around the world, fifteen languages and pastured goat stew for lunch. It's completely irrelevant to me. My only concern about the gov't in this regard, is that its agents not interfere with the loving, healthy family life that I have worked so hard to provide. That's it. You suggest that I should consider whether I can do better than the school system or not, but my calculated involvement with it is to comply with regulations in order to reduce to the greatest possible extent, its influence and hindrance to my family's peace.


This would be my perspective no matter where I lived, no matter what my income, because my underlying philosophical position/thought is that the well-being and education of my dc is my own responsibility. Period. This means that if I see that my dc need someone to show them something, I seek that person out, evaluate their character and expertise, and decide if s/he will meet the need. If so, I hire him/her, or better yet, work out a mutually beneficial arrangement that allows for relationship with this person beyond the formality of employment.


A school system is as relevant to my life as fast-food and tv programming: when contact is unavoidable by unforeseen circumstance, I make my best attempt to disengage quickly and politely, then mitigate the damage, if any, with care and tact, and resume life as usual (for us).

post #18 of 46
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

II'm very surprised that homeschooling families would risk their child's long term education by homeschooling no matter how dire their finances. If the choice is paying rent or buying books rent will always have to win. Another post mentions library book sales and amazon - many, many people cannot afford amazon books or any new books and some don't even have libraries they can purchase or borrow decent books from. 

I cannot imagine someone else teaching my children better than I and my DH would - even if we had limited resources. I do not feel the public school system gives any sort of decent education so would absolutely disagree with that argument. My number one goal in teaching my children is for them to know the God of the Bible. That is far more important to me than education. Certainly through living and growing and hubby and me showing them how to do various things, they will be educated but I do not consider that priority number 1 - it simply will happen. When I mentioned amazon - I was referring to the used books they have. I've gotten books for $3. And as mentioned before - if someone has the internet - there are TONS of free resources that can be used to teach kids available online. 

post #19 of 46

I agree with Preggie. Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice for us for many reasons.


Money does not make a person well educated. Here is some info and I am sure you can find more.



 One of the attractions to homeschooling has been research that suggests homeschooled students outperform their public school peers. In a survey of test scores conducted by the National Center for Home Education, homeschool students outperformed public school students by an average of 30 to 37 percentile points in math and reading. The survey also noted that the income and education level of homeschool parents did not effect the success of their children. While there was a direct correlation between public school children's' scores with parents education and income (students with well educated and wealthier parents achieved higher scores than children of poorly educated, low-income parents), homeschool students performed equally well no matter whether their parents were well educated or not, high income or low income. For example, homeschoolers from $100,000+ income families average a 92 percentile in national standardized tests, while homeschoolers from families making less than $15,000 a year scored at the 87th percentile, much higher than their public school counterparts.  




post #20 of 46

I think money CAN make a difference.  For example, if you have no money for gas/bus fare to go anywhere (inc. the library), you have little access to the outdoors beyond strip malls (and a very cramped living space), and you have no Internet access . . .then what?  You have to be able to do SOMETHING.  For some people, even $5 is a lot.  I think children would be better off in school in that case.   I am sure there are exceptions even in that situation, but I would say the parents would have to be very, very creative and dedicated. 


To the OP: money was a concern for me since I never would have bought a home had a I thought we'd be living on one income.  But, I got a job last year working from home and (thankfully) still have it.  It is not easy to balance work (even though I make my own hours-- it's a lot of work), the family, the house, etc., but I would like to believe that it will all get easier when my little one gets just a few years older.  I am not making what I would be as a WOHM but when I factor in all of the work expenses involved with that, I think I come out ahead. 


One thing that stands out to me in the pps is the dedication to hsing as a family venture.  If your DH is on board with hsing, I think it makes the finance issue much easier because, as others have said, it is more of a lifestyle vs. a choice/luxury.  I think when this is the case (and it's not in my house!) then there is just a different attitude/level of support.


BTW, I am in a Yahoo group re: people who work and homeschool.  It's interesting-- shows that it doesn't have to be one or the other!



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