We live in an artsy university town and so we have the opportunity to attend a lot of free concerts, family gallery events, special events, lfestivals and ectures. We try to take advantage of these as much as possible.
We use our connections as much as possible to find ways to learn and do things inexpensively. For example we recently did a hike lead by a friend of one of our co-op families. The guide is a sahm now, but she's a biologist and for years she ran family outdoor ed programs for a provincial park. It cost me $1 per kid for a 2 hour guided hike on mushrooms and she provided handouts, samples and activity ideas for the kids.
Our co-op also organizes other events which are family and budget friendly. For less than $15 a month/kid we organize a weekly Friday event or field trip plus a family event one Sunday a month. So for example we're doing a star gazing night and have invited someone from the university astronomy club to talk with the kids. A few families will bring their telescopes, we'll have a pot luck followed by star cookies and hot chocolate and star crafts for those who want to do them and then the talk. The families are contributing $1 per person as an honorarium for our speaker. A similar night at the nearby conservation area would cost us $12 per person.
One of the moms in our group is really into fibre arts so she's done lessons with the kids and mums on tie dying and wet and needle felting. Families contribute $1 or $2 per kid for supplies and we hold it in a park (weather permitting) or in the senior's home craft room (free) and we invite the seniors. We're doing spinning and weaving next and have invited members of our local craft guild to come and show the kids and the seniors their art and then we'll do the hands on stuff - again it costs just $1 or $2 per kid for supplies because we pool the $ in advance and buy in bulk.
The $15/month includes a museum field trip, a program at our nature centre, a craft/art day or activity including supplies, some kind of volunteer event and another field trip/hike, and our family pot luck event.
For us the key has been to plug into the homeschooling community and broader community to find ways to do what we want inexpensively. We ask for memberships and big educational items (telescope/microscope/lego mindstorms for example) for birthdays and Christmas and I keep a running list of items that we want or need for school so I can buy on sale/used or ask for them for gifts.
We also prioritize this in our budget. I'd rather shop second hand shops for kids clothes and budget our groceries carefully so we can put the money towards events and activities instead.
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha
Most of our field trips have been free. We did pay a fee for the dairy tour (which included SAMPLES of their "Beyond Organic" milk products), but the other 3 field trips so far this year have had no cost at all. We've received zoo and science center memberships as gifts, so even that cost hasn't been borne by us.
Two of my kids take fencing lessons through the local fencing club ($60/semester; equipment included!), and my husband really wants them to take another physical class or join a sports team of some sort, but that would be the case if they were in school all day, too, so that's not really a homeschooling expense.
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
this is very, very true for us. My kids are into birdwatching, lego and building stuff, we "save" a ton of money by not doing Pokemon, webkins, cool clothes, x box or whatever else kids "need" to feel cool at school. I budget $500 per year per kid for everything, all supplies, curricula, fieldtrips, memberships, town sports, and co-op fees. We have yet to spend it all. We will adjust this amount when we add in piano lessons, but we would pay for that even if were not homeschooling. In fact, except for curricula and co-op fees, we would be paying for that stuff anyway. I am sure it could be done for less money, but we get all we ever need or want for that amount. $40+ dollars a month just seems like a good deal to me.
We buy tons of books at bookstores and would still do that even if we didn't hs. We love books. We also would still buy things like the parking pass to the nature center or the aquarium if we could. This year, we haven't yet because we just haven't wanted to put the extra money to those things ... though Christmas is coming up, so we will ask my ILs for a family pass to the aquarium as our family gift (thereby saving on incoming clutter at the holidays too).
We also prioritize our money ... we only pay for one cell phone, we didn't have cable until just this month (dh got a raise so we could finally budget it). We don't buy many new clothes very often (dh gets new shirts and pants before the start of a new school year as needed; the boys get stuff as they grow out - but then again, having 3 boys means I can recycle a lot between them). Our cars are paid for and the only debt we have is our house. And, frankly, we make it work.
For us, public school is not an option. Even though dh still teaches there (I used to), we know it is not someplace we'd want our children as it does not work for our beliefs (philosophically - we are in opposition to the way schools are designed and function). So, we do what we need to do so that I can stay home with the boys and homeschool. If money became so tight that I could not afford curriculums and such, then we'd be at the library each week checking out as many books as we could, and I'd be scouring yard sales and such. I also know others who hs, and would probably barter to gain "new" things when needed. It is very possible to hs, imo. And, if hs'ing is something that is fundamentally necessary for you and your family, you find a way to make it work.
and dd born 11/21/10 - our T21 SuperBaby
We use various free online curriculums (we loosely follow a month plan for learning objectives & I let kiddo choose which activity when there's more than 1 version of the same lesson) so I pay for paper + printer cartridges.
We have a 20% educator discount @ Barnes & Noble + the Director of Community Relations has given us leftover freebies from last year's Teacher Appreciation Event (she invited us to come this year as well) so I use the Library to preview all homeschool books, then decide if any are worth buying with a dicount. The library is our only source for children's books/movies.
Our "big" supplies (filing cabinets, bookshelves, manipulatives, games, pocket charts, etc.) is all thanks to Freecycle & holiday gifts from friends/family (our wish lists are through http://www.activitiesforlearning.com/ + http://www.learningresources.com/home.do)
My biggest expense was to join the local homeschool learning center -- less than $200 total, including the additional class fees for supplies, etc. although I do spend more on gas (still not as much as I was spending driving her to/from school since we lived beyond the bus route, not to mention other required public school expenditures)
We are in the camp of probably spending too much. I don't actually have a budget. My dh makes a pretty reasonable living working for himself as a locksmith and when I want things I tend to buy them, or just wait awhile till a high paying customer comes up. Lol local ps has to be good for something right. (Nice big fat school jobs ) At least there good payers. Having jobs at the local schools is also good as dh always comes home with stories about this or that, and it lets him see how we avoid those things.
Next year (That starts January over here) I am going to write everything I spend on homeschooling down. Mostly for my own interest, although sometimes it is hard to know if I would have bought the same thing anyway such as glue and paint just as a part of parenting, although I am sure it would be less.
Basically I want to spend less then if we sent dd to school. That would be the local Christian school which is about $400 per term in fees (4 terms a year) plus uniforms, books, etc.
I am guessing I spent about $1000-$1,500 on homeschooling last year, but I am including dd dance lessons and costume in that. If she went to the school I don't think we could afford dance any more.
You don't need curricula and/or phonics to teach/learn to read.
Even if you want curriculum for some core subjects, you can get GREAT stuff at very reasonable prices. Homeschoolreviews.com is a good place to learn about specific things and see what people liked.
I think that how much money you spend is completely separate from *how* you homeschool. While I know several kids who learned to read without any curriculm, I wouldn't want a neebie to get the idea that your homeschooling style needs to be determined by your budget. You could unschool and spends loads on cool fun things, or could be structured and use lots of free or inexpensive things, or vise versa, or any place in between.
but everything has pros and cons
Our public school cost us for the 2.5terms he was in school:
200dollars for uniforms (1 jacket, 1hat, 3 polos, 3pair shorts)
50dollars or shoes (he kills shoes)
100dollars for 'fees' at school
60 " a month for juice boxes, snack bars etc etc for lunches (OVER 400bucks for 7mos!)
and the list goes on...
That's nearly 800 bucks right there..and there are no excursions in prep so that would come into play next year as well! :
I'm in love with OM at the moment.. I worked out that with the exchange rate thats 550bucks including craft kit.. plus postage. Still leaves a bit of change for things like a membership to the kids science museum & koala/wildlife sanctuary :
I was able to buy what I did because dh has a good paying job and I work running baby signing classes and also a home daycare part-time. If I didn't work I would have seriously cut back on my purchases. Next Sept. I hope to have cut back my daycare hours to have more time to relax hs'ing with my kiddos and that will cut into my income, but next year I also won't have as many purchases to make for hs'ing as I did this year.
Really it is all subjective what you "need" anyway kwim, so if you don't have $$ for curriculum and trips and materials you can make use of the library and parks and rec classes and hs co-op options that are low-cost. Because I was able to though I wanted to have some great books and a math program, etc. to use at home.
|there are no excursions in prep so that would come into play next year as well!|
They also do costume days with little notice.
Yes the exchange rate is a killer. I tried buying the Five In A Row books of Amazon used and they wanted $100 for the p & P. Then I found there is a suplier here. You could put a wanted notice here http://homeschoolads.proboards51.com/index.cgi
We also fall into the category of spending more than what the average MDC homeschooler appears to spend. I'm fully aware that we spend more than we need to, but it's a choice that I've made for my convenience and for our enjoyment. No, I didn't need to buy a fancy curriculum for my kids. But I did because I thought it would be easier for me (all resources in one spot, and I can pick and choose what will work for our family). No, I didn't have to buy books for my kids to read- we could've relied only on library books. But this year I chose to buy readers for my kids, so they'd have books to read that would coordinate with what we're learning about, and I didn't have to search for those books at or reserve them from the library. We still go to the library every week or two (and bring home tons of books), but it's more convenient for us to own some of the books for now.
As for the talk about food, supplies, clothing- for our family it doesn't make a difference whether the kids are going to school or not- we'd still buy the same things. Quite honestly, it'd probably be cheaper for me to pay for school lunch eveyday than to buy the healthier food that we eat everyday for lunch (not to mention the times we go out for lunch, just because we feel like it). Most of the items on any 'school supply' list are things I buy for my kids anyway- crayons, markers, notebooks, lunchboxes, tissues, etc.
The most expensive category seems to be field trips and private classes. Like others, I suspect that we'd spend a similar amount of money on field trips, dance classes, sports activities, theater, etc. regardless of how my kids are being educated. I'd take my kids to the zoo and the children's theater and bowling and sign them up for soccer and dance even if they were going to school.
The only expense we have right now that we wouldn't if my kids were schooled is the cost of classes at our homeschool co-op. It's similar to a once-a-week private school, with classes taught by professionals. My kids take 2-3 classes each, and in total we spend a couple thousand dollars a year. While I don't think it's neccesary, we all enjoy attending, and we can afford it, so why not?
Homeschooling can be done cheaply or expensively- but I think the most important thing is that the family is enjoying learning together.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.