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I just want to say that I totally understand. I would love to homeschool, but dh doesn't believe we can afford to have one of us out of work right now. We are very lucky to have well paying jobs, a nice house, etc. But we still live paycheck to paycheck due to debt. I feel like I'm in a rat race. I go to work all day...drop my kids off at daycare/school all day....work to pay for daycare. In the end we are never home together and we are making tiny dents in our debt. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.
 

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Either way you are making choices to sacrifice something to gain something. You sacrifice money to stay at home...you sacrifice being at home to make more money, etc. There is no absolute right or wrong, just what is the best for you.

I will say, in your situation, I would totally work for a year or 2, save all that money, use it to pay down debt, do that stuff you want to do...get yourself setup to be able to stay at home in a LOW STRESS way. Some women seem to thrive on being broke all the time, and having to be "thrifty" - I don't. Not at all. I hate it. I hate being poor, I hate not being able to do the things I want to, I hate having to say NO all the time to requests for stuff. It just all sucks. I need to be able to grad a drink at the zoo when we go, buy a book at the bookstore once in a while, - and dd..omg, she wants to DO things...gymnastics, dance, art classes, horseback riding lessons!! that stuff all COSTS money. Big money. Yes, I realize you CAN homeschool for almost nothing, but that isn't the way we want to homeschool.

I think the TIMING is perfect for you...your kids are really young, the baby is 2, the oldest is barely 5..you arent even really "homeschooling" yet, you're just parenting yourng children. You could go back to work for 2 years, and they would be just 4 and not yet -7 - really old enough to get into homeschooling. I don't know what you would clear in 2 year of FT work after expenses...$10k? 20k? How far would that money go towards setting you up to be able to then stay at home..forever? Can you get a job in your area?

But..if your priority is staying home at all costs, you have other options..can you get part time work..with your degrees, you could maybe score a community college job doing remedial English, "life skills" or something like that, and that isn't a traditional school day, etc. I also agree about some of the other options presented..like, in my state, they hire people every year to grade the standardized testing the kids have to take..stuff like that.

I guess in the grand scheme, I would probably try to do something NOW versus later..your kids are old enough to be away from you but yet still young and you'll have lots of homeschooling years ahead of you. I'm actually at this exact point...my ds will be 3 in DEC, and dd just turned 6.....I will be changing my job from PT to FT at the new year....by doing this for only 12-18 months, I can pay off our CC debt, and my car, put some money in the bank, and put us in a position to be able to stay at home and be able to homeschool for many years to come, without the stress of being broke all the time. I will be using an in home daycare, they will not be going to public school.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
 

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I work evenings and weekends, and I also have my own business. Having my business has been a real help, but my new part time job will be a lot more regular pay and that's what we need right now.

Almost every retail place is hiring seasonal part time work right now, so I would start there. Maybe it will be enough to help you guys pull through until you can make more money at your birth work.
 

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Quote:
We are currently on food assistance and my girls have Medicaid.
No flames here. I bet what you get in food stamps isn't nearly what it would cost taxpayers if you put your children in school. Our children have insurance through the state children's health program too, because in NY you can make decent money and still get insurance for your kids.

What about doing childcare? I did daycare at home for three years to help us make ends meet. Now I just work as a doula.
 

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I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment for 5 years with 1 decent car, cheap one, and one falling apart old one. We only sold it when it would not run anymore and repairs would be more than the cost of replacing it. Before that, we were in 1 bedroom with just that one falling apart car. Our children wore only handmedowns and gifts basically. When we first started home schooling, I spent less than $100 the first year on supplies and books. I was 30 before we bought our first house, even though we both have college degrees and could have had way more money if we both worked. We did do without medical things that would have been nice to have, like PT for our child who had physical delays. We postponed getting our first computer until after most people had one, and then found a special deal for free internet (by doing cable with 1 particular place). We had no extra pay channels on cable and even did without for some time. Our TV was an old regular one, not a flat screen or big one. We never had things like pop, eating out, frozen meals, etc.

We do have more money now, but I would go back to doing without like that again if I had to, in a heartbeat.

I know there are some home schoolers who do without internet and cable to be here. Oh, and we only got cell phones in the last couple years. Those are costly. Those are all areas you can cut expenses. I know there are boards that have a lot of other helpful hints. Good luck! I hope I have helped!
 

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I agree. The public schools here cost the tax payers $20K per child about. I actually have started to feel a little offended toward the wealthy families in particular who use my money to send their children to those schools. I mean, when someone pulls up in their BMW and their child gets out with a shirt for the local school on, I cannot help but feel like they can certainly afford to educate their own children, why do I have to pay for them?
 

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Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

I agree. The public schools here cost the tax payers $20K per child about. I actually have started to feel a little offended toward the wealthy families in particular who use my money to send their children to those schools. I mean, when someone pulls up in their BMW and their child gets out with a shirt for the local school on, I cannot help but feel like they can certainly afford to educate their own children, why do I have to pay for them?
What? If they are really that wealthy, they are paying a lot more taxes than you too. Schools are for everyone, there is no income cap! Do you check out the cars of the people at the library too!??!
 

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Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

No flames here. I bet what you get in food stamps isn't nearly what it would cost taxpayers if you put your children in school.
I'm fine with people using state assistance so they can homeschool, but I just wanted to point out that keeping your kids out of school doesn't save the taxpayers any money. Just because your school district's expenses divided by the number of students comes out to $10K (or $20K or whatever) per student, that doesn't mean the district needs to spend an additional $10K for each student who enrolls (or that they can cut their budget by that much if you take your child out to homeschool.) Most of the school's expenses are things like teacher salaries and building maintenance that don't go up and down as enrollment fluctuates. (A big drop in enrollment can mean the school needs fewer teachers, but a few families deciding to homeschool won't have any effect.)
 

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Luckily, your children are young. You have time to figure it out. I wouldn't stick them in public school just yet. Try a year of free homeschooling.

In general I think many people (me included) make homeschooling WAY more complicated and WAY more expensive than it has to be. I have to stop and remind myself that in pioneer America the bible was the only book in some houses and the kids still got educated and learned to read. Maybe not to the level that is standard today but today their are more free resources today than just one book.

Do you have a library card? Tada! instant education. Internet access (through library even) Tada! Instant education. Someone on the unschooling forum said teach your child to read and take them to the library once a week and they will teach themselves. I thought that was cool advice. There are also budget (read free) homeschooling blogs out there. Ambleside and An Old Fashioned Education come to mind. Both are 100 percent free.

We are Dave Ramsey people here too so I'd highly recommend that if you need budget help.

On an aside: I just got Radical Homemakers from the library today so I'm off to read that. :)
 

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eastkygal, my kids are similar in age to yours, and I often feel a similar dilemma. You certainly won't get any flames here for accepting help with food/medical for the kids. It is very important to me to hs, and it seems like we have either the time to have a sane schedule, or the money to do fun out-of-house stuff, but rarely both at the same time.

Our pattern, since dd was born 5 yrs ago, has been for me to work a lot of hours for a while, then hardly at all for a while, then back to working more hours again. We're planning to enter a "mostly SAHM" phase again soon (12 hrs a wk), thank goodness. I've worked a lot of hrs this year and paid down a lot of debt, so hopefully we will have more breathing room by then. I'm sure some of our family wonders why I don't work FT, since I make more per hour than DH, but we have found that our lifestyle is just out of control when we both work FT (especially since in my work, I pretty much have to work night and weekends). Working PT/PRN has been a pretty good balance for the most part, since we have a fair amount of time at home and yet still enough money to pay the bills every month (don't have that on dh's pay alone).

If I were you I think I would try to find some kind of PT work that can be done from home, which it sounds like you're already doing.... I don't think working out of the home part-time excludes the possiblilty of hs'ing.
 

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I agree 100% when you say "being with my children and doing the work we are doing is more important than being able to go to the doc for check-ups and building onto the cabin." You will never get this time back and you have made the decision to stay home with your children for reasons that I am sure are important to you! Your children will not remember how big their house was but I can promise you they will remember all the time you spent with them! There is nothing wrong with getting a little financial assistance when you need it, that is what is is there for.

I spent my childhood in private schools and after school programs and I know that no matter how broke we are I will stay home with my kids!
 

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Just piping in to say that I work from home and that's the only way it's possible for us to homeschool. DH doesn't make a whole lot (for three kids at least), but my extra income makes all the difference. I'm also a very relaxed homeschooler, so that makes the work/HS balance easier. If you're looking to start working from home, you might want to look into freelance writing. That's what I do and it pays pretty good if you work for reputable websites. Some places don't even require prior web content writing experience.
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Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post

thanks... We have no savings and no insurance... that's right. We live month to month. I have a Master's Degree in Teaching and a Bachelor's degree in English/Creative Writing. I just don't know how to find these jobs and how to tell if these companies that hire work from home transcriptionists are legit. How do you work it into hsing? I'd love to be able to work from home and set my own hours. I tried Melaleuca a few years ago and that was a huge flop. I hate cold calling... I hate parties... I loved the products, but I couldn't do the work. So, that sort of stuff is out. Transcriptionist sounds nice, since I could still do my birthwork and still hs.

I like the idea of tutoring. Definitely! DH does teach lessons... that is part of our income. Thanks for the ideas. :)
This site might help: wahm.com Also, for more information about transcription, I recommend the forum at Transcription Essentials

Transcription work is one of the best options for wah-jobs, IMO. Once you get some experience and several contracts, you'll probably stay as busy as you want to be. I really encourage you to look into it. I'm actually thinking of getting back into it, too. I got busy and dropped it (big mistake) and now I'm starting to wish for the extra $$ again.
 

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We're living on less than $1600 a month, no public assistance except that I get Medicaid for my pregnancy. DH is a full-time student in his last semester of college at this point, but we've never once considered having both of us working. It's always been a top priority for us that someone is home with the kids, at least until school age, and then we decided to homeschool and now that's a huge priority as well. We've switched roles a few times over the years.

No, we don't have health insurance. Okay, I have Medicaid until Feb '11, but am only using it for pregnancy-related stuff. I'm 32 years old and have *never* had health insurance other than pregnancy Medicaid, nor do I want it.. unless we happened to get some really unusually awesome insurance for an unusually low cost through a job. Which could happen -- one of the jobs DH is interviewing for offers exactly that. I really, really, really prefer being private pay, and always have. I guess I'd kind of like to have catastrophic insurance for everyone but I've had hospital stays in the past (and a couple of more recent ER visits) and have always been able to work something out with the hospital. The worst thing they can do if you can't cough up is trash your credit score and we don't use credit at all.

We manage and are actually living fairly comfortably. But we don't have many of the expenses most people have:

No car payment (1 car, purchased used w/cash), state minimum liability insurance only, no other insurances, no TV bill (none of us care to watch TV), we **rarely** buy clothing or shoes, I cut everyone's hair but my own, no cell phones, no childcare, and we pretty much never eat out (by choice). We spend very little on gifts, too.

The sum of our expenses: rent, electricity, Internet, food, gas (very little - about $25/month), my medications/medical supplies, and about $50 a month in non-food consumables (laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, etc.). Rarely -- perhaps once every few years -- someone other than me goes to the doctor. I do have to see the doctor a couple of times a year (I have MS) but my neurologist charges a whopping $70 for an office visit and is great at negotiating down MRI prices when I need to get one. My last brain MRI, with and without contrast, was only $300. Medical supplies do add up but still cost far, far less than insurance would for me.

No doubt it helps a lot that we live in a low cost of living area. We are in a very nice brick duplex built about five years ago (we moved in four years ago).. 2/2 with a W/D in unit, nice appliances, a great big patio, covered parking, and all of the extras except for a dishwasher. Very nice neighborhood (upscale subdivision) and within easy walking distance of the school DH attends. W/S/G is included in our rent, which is only $525/month.

We'd have to be in danger of getting evicted or something before I'd consider having both of us working full-time with younger kids in the house. Even then, I'd figure out a way to homeschool. And yes, I'd go on public assistance to homeschool if we needed it. (We don't, but I went ahead and signed up for pregnancy Medicaid at DH's insistence.. and given the hassle it's been, I kind of regret it.)

That said, if you need to make more money, working from home is a good idea. When I was the breadwinner, I had a heck of a career as a freelance writer and editor and we were (compared to now) rolling in dough. We switched so DH could finish his degree after I was diagnosed w/MS and my hourly rate started plummeting (I'm paid piecework) because of MS-related symptoms. However, I still hold several contracts where I can get a bit of work here and there if time allows. I only work about 5 hours a week on average now, but I can vary my hours from zero to 60+ in any given week on a moment's notice, so we do have that as a contingency plan.

But we don't really have much in savings at all (a few hundred dollars) and we don't have health insurance, and we definitely feel we're doing the right thing by homeschooling. It's just an extremely high priority to us.

--K
 

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k-

sounds like we are in pretty much the same situation financially. glad to hear it is working for you. we will be cutting way down on expenses in a couple months (getting rid of a cell phone, paying off our car, cutting down on the grocery bill, ect..) . i have been considering getting rid of my own health ins, but the kids get ins free thru the state so they will keep theirs. i wish i could get dh to get rid of the cable, but he's a tv addict. at least i'll be able to keep it off during the day while he's at work.
 

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Cutting down on expenses really makes a big difference. We can get our food expenses down really low if I cook from scratch a lot, but I haven't been doing it as much lately as I'm 28 weeks pregnant and starting to feel the third trimester fatigue and blahs. But that's made up for by our electricity bill going down as it cools down (the major expense electricity-wise here is air conditioning... we're in a subtropical zone and it is still in the 80s during the day). Hoping to get the electric bill under $100 a month this winter. It's over $300 in the summer.. was $150 last month. We don't need heating even in January and can get away without AC during the winter if we set up fans and open the windows.

There are some programs where you can get a cell phone with a limited number of monthly minutes entirely for free if you qualify for state assistance. Maybe that would help with the cell phone bills? I should sign up for that... a cell phone could come in handy in emergencies.

Whether or not to dump health insurance is tricky and very much a personal decision. It depends so much on how much you're paying and how much your medical bills are. Since I'm self-employed, health insurance would cost me roughly $900/month (high risk pool because I have MS) but my medical expenses are nowhere near that, even if I have to go to the ER a couple of times in a year. Obviously, the health insurance companies have to make money, so for most people it IS a net loss to have insurance (unless you or your spouse get a really good deal through work).. but.. some people really value the peace of mind they have from knowing they're covered. DH is like that.

DD does not have coverage but we use an inexpensive day/night pediatric clinic on the rare occasion she does need to go to the doctor, and office visits there are only $30. DD is super-healthy, though, and almost never gets sick. The last time she was at a doctor was two years ago because she had a piece of glass embedded in her foot that I couldn't get out myself. We'd find a way to get coverage for her if she had any medical problems at all.

There are also clinics for adults in our area that have a sliding scale and we only pay $20 for an office visit, $5 - $10 for blood tests, and they do referrals for other tests to get the price down... I had a chest x-ray through a referral from there and it was only $20. My husband gets limited free medical care (from a PA or nurse practitioner) through his college. It's possible they have clinics like that in your area... I think everywhere I've lived has had a few clinics like that, but sometimes there's a waiting list for new patients, so it might be worth scheduling an initial appointment and getting on the waiting list so that you're an established patient and can get appointments quickly if you need them.

If you DON'T have insurance and your income is fairly low, you can get most ongoing medications for free through the manufacturer. NeedyMeds.com is a good website to check out if you're on any ongoing medication and you decide to drop your insurance. Also, a lot of doctors can provide free samples or coupons if you ask. The doctors around here kind of hoard the samples and give them in large quantities to patients without insurance. And you can ask a doctor to write prescriptions for an inexpensive medication if you need antibiotics.. there is usually a cheap one that will work. It's handy to have the Wal-Mart or Target $4 prescription list on hand when you visit the doctor.

It does really help that we don't have a car payment, cell phone or cable, and that we don't use much gas at all. DH walks to his classes most days.

We no longer eat out because I can make better food than any restaurant we could possibly afford, and it's much cheaper, so there's no real point. We do grab a little food to go when we take short road trips, like to visit my parents (they're an hour away). I'm trying to get into the habit of making food to bring with us but usually we wind up grabbing paninis from a local restaurant on the way there. (At least the paninis are pretty inexpensive as long as we bring our own drinks with us and buy just the sandwiches, not the combos.)

We do have the very high speed DSL and that costs extra (it's $30 a month for 6mb DSL here, I believe... vs. about $15 a month for 1.5mb) but it's worth it as we are Internet fiends, I work online, and DD does a lot of her homeschooling stuff online. That's really our only ongoing luxury though.

Also, you might want to join the low-income support thread in the Finances & Frugality section. Maybe someone there will have some ideas to help you out, and it's nice to be in the company of other folks in similar situations.

--K
 

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Originally Posted by karanyavel View Post

No car payment (1 car, purchased used w/cash), state minimum liability insurance only, no other insurances, no TV bill (none of us care to watch TV), we **rarely** buy clothing or shoes, I cut everyone's hair but my own, no cell phones, no childcare, and we pretty much never eat out (by choice). We spend very little on gifts, too.

The sum of our expenses: rent, electricity, Internet, food, gas (very little - about $25/month), my medications/medical supplies, and about $50 a month in non-food consumables (laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, etc.). Rarely -- perhaps once every few years -- someone other than me goes to the doctor. I do have to see the doctor a couple of times a year (I have MS) but my neurologist charges a whopping $70 for an office visit and is great at negotiating down MRI prices when I need to get one. My last brain MRI, with and without contrast, was only $300. Medical supplies do add up but still cost far, far less than insurance would for me.
This is pretty much us as well, except... We have food assistance, my girls have Medicaid. We have no cell phones. Our rent is only $100 a month. Our electricity and garbage bill is our only utility bill. However, we still aren't making it. We haven't been able to get the girls gifts for Christmas, not to mention family. Our biggest hit is student loans. DH and I together have about $75,000 out in them. I have also had many doctor's visits this year because of a few conditions. I utilize free internet resources for schooling. I am doing kindy with DD1 this year. She asked to learn her letters and such, so I am teaching her. I did buy Rod and Staff curriculum over the summer for us to use, so I don't have anything else left to buy there. It was cheap too.

I just can't stand the thought of putting them in childcare and school. It breaks my heart. I feel like being poor is preferable to that. So does DH. It is just that we both are stretched thin, and a bit worried about the future. I don't want to die and leave my daughters with debt. My heart isn't convinced that I am done having children either... though right now I don't feel like I could actively try to conceive because of our situation.

What brought me to this point is that someone hacked into our bank account a few weeks ago and took all of our money. We are having a time trying to get it back... We were already a little behind on the student loan payments at that point. It wiped us out. DH is an artist and musician. In this economy one of the first things our state cut was the arts. No one is buying art right now. It has been rough. DH is doing all he can at this point. We both realized how unstable things are and how it can take just one little mishap to totally put us in a bad way. It is kind of stressful living that way.

So, I totally appreciate the suggestions and advice. I truly love MDC for this reason. DH and I have had several long talks. I'm going to look into some of the online working options you all have given links to. I'm going to put out my services as a tutor. And... DH and I are going to look into opening a tattoo shop. We kind of wanted to avoid that, but there is steady money in it, and if we do things right, we can work together and school the girls at the shop. DH used to tattoo a few years ago when we lived in a bigger city and did real well. Tattoos are popular here too, and so many have asked him to do them. It will take time, so we'll be looking at options in the meantime.

Thanks so much...
 

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I wish I had some great advice but I can't think of anything that you're not already doing. One thing I kept thinking of when reading your post is about your insurance issue. If your kids were in school they would almost certainly get sick much more often and need doctor's visits that you would have to pay out of pocket for. That coupled with babysitting costs over the summer and breaks, commuting costs, work clothes, unpaid sick days when they're ill (or you are), mandatory school supplies, and so on could make the cost of working nearly what you would be earning. Working is not free and public school is not free, there are always costs which must be taken into account. I went though this dilemma when my kids were little. I had found a job I really enjoyed and had hours that allowed my husband to be with the kids for the couple hours each day I was out of the house but then his work schedule changed and after doing the math for the cost of working with child care we determined that I would be earning just 50-somthing¢ an hour so it simply wasn't worth it.
 
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