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How Much do you Spend?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I am desperately trying to find a way to get my kids out of public school. Trying to get a plan in place. The main hurdle for us is money. I am job hunting, and also planning on going back to school next semester. We were hoping that the girls would do ok in public school long enough for me to get my degree, but that doesn't seem to be happening. My oldest has already been skipped up a grade and is still way above grade level and bored most of the time. I am doing as much enrichment with her outside school as I can, but I am worried she is going to start getting bored with learning. My youngest is in Kindergarten and is having to hard of a time sitting still in the classroom setting and keeps getting in trouble. I kept trying to set up a meeting with the school and they weren't even available to talk. 


Back on topic here, though, how much do you spend per child per year on curriculum? I am figuring after this year I can sell some curriculum to fund the next years and such, but I am trying to figure out our initial cost. What free/cheap resources should I know about? I live in Kentucky, if there are ny state-specific ones you may know about. Thank you for your help.

post #2 of 24

We get an allowance of $1000/child/year from the school district to spend on extra-curricular classes, textbooks and consumable learning resources. We can also allocate it towards some of our internet costs. 


Despite being very free and easy with purchases I have never been able to spend that much without getting really quite frivolous: by the end of the year I am buying expensive things I think *might* come in handy in the future just to try to use up more of the money. I manage to comfortably spend about $200 a year, the rest is usually a stretch. And we don't even have a public library at our disposal.


We are eclectic and more into life-learning than bookwork, though my kids have all done some curricular work regularly in two to four core subject areas. We have benefitted from an economy of scale: having four kids, I have been able to use some of the same materials for multiple children. But still, curriculum hasn't been a big cost for us.


Music lessons, instruments, family travel, sports/martial arts, and choir programs are where we've spent more money.



post #3 of 24

I'm in Kentucky, too (western part) if you want to PM me.  We spend around 4K a year for three kids, but we could spend half that and still get by quite well.  That includes music lessons for one child and dance lessons for another.  Part of our issue is isolation, so we don't have other homeschoolers around to swap materials with and such.


Our small-town library is actually quite good, and inter-library loans are invaluable wherever you are.

post #4 of 24

I've got years worth of homeschool supplies and I don't think I've spent $150. I buy every educational workbook I can find. Walgreens carries some for about $2.50, but around back to school time they go on sale. They're not great, but my kids love to use them. I hit a lot of garage sales. You'd be surprised what you can find. I got six years worth of Saxon math for $10 just two weeks ago. Our library also has a booksale every year. Ours is this weekend.


I print things off the internet, I get a lot of ideas on the internet too. When I couldn't find an appropriate worksheets for addition, I made my own with graph paper. While I was trying to teach my 3 y/o the names of shapes I made cardboard cut outs for her to sort by size, shape and color. I also bought a pack of bamboo skewers (for grilling) cut them into three inch pieces and painted them. Then I play a game with the little one and ask her to show me a square with them. Then I ask her what she can do to change it into a rectangle. The sticks make it easy for her to count the sides. Anything you can buy, you can make.


For phonics we made letter sheets out of construction paper. They point at the letter and say the letter sound. I bought a pack of 15-minute tapes and made my own recording of the letter sounds, so they could follow along if I had to go to the bathroom. We used more of the tapes to record some of our favorite books. DS loves books on tape. If I had a second car we'd probably be going to the Library a couple of times a week.


And when I just get stuck, I have a few books I fall back on to give us something to do. Books are pretty cheap on Amazon, or the library might have them. For the little one I have Child's Play, I also make busy bags for her. Just google Busy Bags for preschool. For the 5 year old I use What your Kindergartener needs to know to give me ideas and help in teaching basic concepts. They make those for lots of grades. For project ideas I have 365 Art Projects and 365 Science projects. I have a ton of other books too, but if you need a quick start, I'd say those would be easier to find and have lots and lots of ideas in them.


I'd say we probably could have gotten started on short notice for less that $50, even with two of them. Buy a couple of packs of construction paper, Primary paper, glue sticks, markers, scissors, pencils, crayons and buy or make a dry-erase board or chalkboard (optional, but my kids like it.) Get them a couple of workbooks, a library card, maybe a printer, and even just one book to help guide you. It took me a year to get out of the mindset that I needed to buy a complete curriculum in order to do it "right". Now I just buy every book I come across at a garage sale and try to stay creative.

post #5 of 24

Just wanted to add, for perspective, that we're unschoolers, so this figure includes things like trips to see the Chinese acrobats, orchard tours, museum passes, etc.

post #6 of 24

Yes, we're unschoolers too. The original question was about spending "on curriculum." Our school district has a strict definition of curriculum, so I was able to answer based on that. But our own definition of "homeschooling spending" is very fluid. Dark chocolate for the flourless torte my dd is baking? The pricey violin we bought for my eldest, who would have still been a violinist if she'd gone to school, but surely wouldn't have been as advanced without as much time to practice? Replacement front shocks for dd's mountain-bike, which wouldn't have seen as many years of hard riding if the kids had all been in school? Chicken feed for hens we probably wouldn't be raising if homework and school days were intruding into time for animal chores? So much falls in the grey areas.



post #7 of 24

Miranda - we can use our cirriculum $ for lessons - that is where most of our $1k has gone this year.  If it weren't for that it would be hard to spend so much, I agree.


How old is your oldest?  You can keep costs down by having them do the same side subjects together, while math and reading/writing are tailored to each child.  I think life is less chaotic that way too anyway. :)


A friend of mine who homschooled one of her children for a year and now has them all back in public school has commented to me that if I want to SAVE money I should keep homeschooling.  We do get that cirriculum allowance, but there are a lot of costs that go along with school too and she felt that it was much cheaper for her to homeschool that year than school is again this year.







post #8 of 24

We also receive money each year - about $1100 per learner. I go through that, plus quite a bit on top. Most of it is for lessons in physical stuff (martial arts, circus skills, dance, skating, etc.). We also buy a few family memberships (science museum, aquarium, etc.), and can use the money towards a portion of that, as well as one-off admissions (the zoo, or the "honeybee centre", for instance). There are other one-classes and one-off activities...pottery, multimedia art, nature programs at the Ecology Centre, etc.


Other than that, I use some money for books, some for stationery supplies, and some for art/craft supplies. We bought a microscope and a children's telescope (not very high powered, but also not very expensive, in case ds2 breaks it) last year. And, we buy some misc. school supplies (math manipulatives, science kits, lenses, magnets, colour wheels, etc.) each year. I buy some curriculum, but not really very much. So far this year, I've picked up two unit studies from Intellego, but that's it. I was thinking of Rightstart Math, but have decided to do some other work with manipulatives that we already own, instead.


Oh - I also got dd1 and ds2 each a membership with Little Passports. I think they'll have fun with that.



Oops. I didn't read the first post carefully. For actual curriculum, I've been spending probably about $50/year, for both kids. It will be more this year, because I like the Intellego unit studies...but they're only $15 each, plus printing costs, if I use the downloads.

Edited by Storm Bride - 11/4/11 at 3:48pm
post #9 of 24

My kids are young (nearly-7 and 5), so $0 for actual curriculum.  


We pay for a puzzle book subscription for each, gymnastics lessons, for a birthday I bought a membership to the  Children's Museum.  Music "lessons" Sheepish.gif are at home for now.  We are going to a monthly tracking class for families.  I buy art supplies and other stuff like that.  In our state, we could homeschool through several online schools where we could find money for curriculums, etc, but choose not to go that route because of the tighter oversight.  For some parents, this is worth it, for me it is a deal-breaker.  (Our state requires only minimal oversight for kids 8 and over.)


So, for now, reading is practiced with just the stories we bring home from the library, math is still practiced with board games (and just random outbursts of "3 x 20 is 60!!!!")  Anno's Math Games (3 books in the series) we can borrow from the library.  Very cool.  Science and art books, even very schoolish ones, we can find there, too.  You might find that for the books written for teachers, there is a clause that states that copying is legal if used for educational purposes.  Increasingly I am finding sites like this online, but we don't use lessons or workbooks or anything beyond just going about our day.


But, like I said, our family is very young and I see no need for anything more than what we are doing.



post #10 of 24

I don't 'spend' much on curriculum.  My kiddo prefers online classes and those are $$ but again totally optional and come with a financial aid package.

The used book store has great text books and most of what I need I can find on the internet.

post #11 of 24

We just finished up our 3rd grade year for under $100. I rely almost completely on free stuff I get on the internet.

The only things we spent on, besides pencils and paper etc., were chapter books and a $15 math workbook.

There is so much free stuff out there, if you have the time to look for it and put it together.

My son just took standardized tests in Language Arts and Math, and did great.

We're on track and beyond.

You can do it without spending.

post #12 of 24

Just curriculum for a 4 and 6 yr old?  Under 150 for both - easily.


Just for kicks......


Math: counters (which you can make) and an abacus - $20

         a few discount workbooks for when you do not fell like making up question or printing stuff   $20


English:  Library.  Free voila!  Do five in a row if you like.  $35  http://fiarhq.com/fiveinarow.info/fiveinarow.html#


Science:  I might invest in a science experiment book, because I have had a hard time consistently finding good ideas on the net.  $30 alternately,  2 lesson plans from TOPS science.  


History and Social Studies:  


If you do 5 in a row, a lot of this will be covered.  a big world map or globe is cool.  $10.  There are many DVD's available in this arena from the library.


Hmmm...  I am 115$.  And you sure as heck do not need the above stuff, but if you want some stuff on hand this is where I would start.


I would also expect to spend 20$ or so on paper, crayons, pencils, sharpener, etc.  


While not essential, I think an internet connection and a printer have saved me $$$$ over the years.





post #13 of 24

I'm interested in finding out how you go about getting $ from the school district. Also, it seems like most of the parents responding have young children (kindy age). Does homeschooling get more expensive as they get older?

post #14 of 24

The people who are talking about getting money are in Canada.  Most people in the US don't have anything like that available to them, though I think Alaska has an option where homeschoolers can get some money from the state.


This is our 4th year of homeschooling, and we have yet to buy anything I would call curriculum.  We have a few workbooks.  Some we picked up for practically nothing at yard sales, library book sales, etc. and some were bought new, but they didn't cost much.  We have a zillion books, but most came from library book sales or yard sales and they cost very little.  We've bought a few other things here and there - a Snap Circuits set, recorders and music books, art supplies.  We've spent hardly anything, unless you count ski passes as a homeschooling expense.


If you really want curriculum, I can't help you with that, but I can assure you that it's quite possible to homeschool without buying curriculum. 

post #15 of 24

Dd is 11 and has always been homeschooled. We have spent as little as $50 up to $700. This year we have not spent anything on new curriculum yet.

We do not get money from the school district. We have used Sonlight curriculum, Math U See and random things. The internet is very helpful.


Some free or low cost resources:








post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by Nan411 View Post

I'm interested in finding out how you go about getting $ from the school district. Also, it seems like most of the parents responding have young children (kindy age). Does homeschooling get more expensive as they get older?

Yes, as mentioned, we are in Canada, where a couple of provinces provide funding to homeschoolers.


My children are 17, 15, 13 and 8. As of this year the older two are in school part-time, the 13-year-old is full-time. Looking back on our expenses over the years, overall their curriculum has not got more expensive as they've got older. We've needed fewer manipulatives and supplies, and they're more likely to be able to make use of library books and internet-based research ad resources. 


What has got more expensive is their interests. My 15-year-old is going on tour with his choir this year to Cuba in April and the flight alone has costs us a lot. My 17-year-old needs a new violin which will cost several-to-many thousand dollars. Ds is doing a credit in digital media arts and would like a MIDI keyboard to help with music production. Middle dd would like a mountain bike more suited to our steep mountains, one with disc brakes and maybe full suspension. 


We "count" all those things as part of our homeschooling and looking at it through that lens our homeschooling has got very expensive indeed. But chances are my kids would have expensive interests even if they weren't homeschooled. Kids are just like that. wink1.gif



post #17 of 24

Our children are 11, 8, 6 and 4. This year, we spent about $450 on books and curriculum.

post #18 of 24


Originally Posted by Nan411 View Post

I'm interested in finding out how you go about getting $ from the school district. Also, it seems like most of the parents responding have young children (kindy age). Does homeschooling get more expensive as they get older?


Look for a charter school in your area that serves homeschooling. In CA there are many to choose from. Some provide resource libraries with curriculum and book to borrow, some provide funding for materials and classes. Generally, the charters that offer the most funding for classes, activities, science and museum passes, art supplies, books, curriculum, instruments, lessons, tutoring, etc offer fewer additional resources, such as libraries and group field trips.


The funding comes from the fact that you are technically enrolling your child in public school. These homeschool charters receive a portion of the funds the state would have spent on your child being enrolled in a tradional public school. Since many do not have brick and mortar buildings to rent or daily teachers to pay, and very little admin costs compared to a tradional school, they are able to use more of these funds directly for each child.


The funds are fewer though, and the district granting the charter school skims a portion of these funds. 


You trade your independence to hs by following the rules of the charter, such as allowing for standardized testing, specific assignments, and once a child enters high school age, certain subjects have to be taught by a credentialed teacher.

post #19 of 24

I don't spend anything on curriculum for 10 yo ds.  The money I do spend on him is probably what I'd spend even if he were in school (money on fun outings, interesting books, museums, etc).  I'm actually convinced I save a ton of money by NOT sending him to school.  He doesn't need as extensive of a wardrobe as he would if he were in school.  There are no fund raisers we need to participate in.  No school supplies to purchase.  No keeping up with the Joneses issues with wanting things his classmates have.  Not that he doesn't want plenty but his wants develop more naturally rather than him feeling bad that he is the only kid he knows that doesn't have something. 

post #20 of 24

This year, we have spent around $250 on actual curricula, and I would like more. Unless you are unschooling, the cost of curricula can add up quite a bit. It is still cheaper than private school, obviously :), and I think cheaper than public school too once you take all "hidden" costs into account. 

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