How Much Does Homeschooling Cost: It Could be as Little as Free

By Radu F. Diaconu

In short, a bit more than public school – but not nearly as much as private school.

It all depends on you.

If you homeschool, you’re probably living on a single income. Depending on how much that income is, you can choose to invest as much of it in homeschooling as you see fit.

However, there’s a bare minimum – per child, of course - that you can go by, and that’s what we’re going to focus on here. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to homeschool for free (or close to free, actually).

How much does it cost to homeschool? - Curriculum

One of the most important things you’re going to need is curricula. Now, you can, of course, buy extensive, all-inclusive curricula for hundreds of dollars per kid. However, most don’t cost nearly as much, and you can usually find curricula for the main curricular areas for less than 200 dollars.

Free homeschooling tip: there’s always the option of borrowing or reusing curricula. If you’re part of a local homeschooling group, you’ll sure find somebody willing to share past-year curricula. Of course, you’ll still need to get stuff like tests and worksheets, but the overall cost will be drastically reduced.

How much is homeschooling? - Daily materials

Pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, glue, scissors etc – you’ll need to buy them constantly throughout the school year. Expect to spend anywhere between 50 to 100 dollars on that, depending on the brand and the overall quality.

How much does it cost to be homeschooled? - Tutors

With high-school students, you might want to hire tutors for the subjects you’re not really comfortable teaching.

The rates depend on the tutor, but they’ll usually be around $20 – $50 per hour. You can get an idea of how much you’re going to spend by approximating the number of tutoring hours your children are going to need.

Free homeschooling tip: Swap tutoring with other homeschooling parents. If you’re good at something – say, for instance, history – and you can teach that at a high-school level, you can tutor somebody else’s children in exchange for them tutoring yours on Math or any other subject. This might be a mutually beneficial experience – you’ll both save money and gain some valuable teaching experience.

How much does homeschooling cost? - Testing

Many states require homeschooled students to undergo standardized tests of some sort, and even if yours doesn’t, you might still want to see where your children stand, compared to their public school peers.

Standardized tests come with a fee of about $35, give or take. Hiring a third party to administer the test will cost an additional $30, while private evaluations usually cost more than $50 per student.

How much does it cost to homeschool? - Group membership

There are quite a number of homeschooling groups you might want to join. While many have a free membership policy, some charge up to $50 per year. Most online and all Facebook groups are free, too.

Joining HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) will cost $120 per year.

How much does it cost to be homeschooled? - Extracurricular lessons and field trips

You’ll probably want your children to take part in some form of extracurricular classes. You’ve got plenty to choose from – football, dance, ballet, painting and arts, all sorts of instruments, and even horseback riding.

Each of them will cost anywhere from $10 to $50 per hour, but many of them come with different discounts for annual membership. This means anywhere from $30 to $200 per month.

You’ll also probably want to take your children in different field trips and educational visits to museums, state parks, and other such venues. Again, this is all up to you, but you’ll probably be spending anywhere from $100 to $500 per child, depending on where you take them, and you’ll also want to set aside a similar amount for gasoline.

How much is homeschooling? - Library

You’ll also want to set aside some money for books – both resource books for you, and all sorts of books for your children. How much you want to invest in that is really up to you, but you’ll still need at least $75 annually for each children, perhaps more for high school children.

Bottom line: How much does homeschooling cost, really?

Adding up the numbers gives us the following features:

The essentials (only minimal investment, but still pretty decent):

· borrowed or free online curricula

· $50 worth of pens, papers and the like

· no private tutoring (or swapped tutoring, which is also free)

· $35 for a self-administered standardized test

· membership in a local free Facebook group

· $350 for one extracurricular class

· $150 for monthly field trips plus gasoline

· $75 for books.

· Total: $660 annually per child.

Moderate-to-high investment, with a few extra activities:

· $200 for mostly new curricula

· $100 worth of pens, papers and the like

· $300 for private tutoring

· $70 for standardized tests

· $120 for HSLDA membership

· $700 for two extracurricular classes

· 300$ for field trips and gasoline

· $120 for books

· Total: $1910 annually per child.

As you can see, even if you plan to invest substantially in different materials and services, you’ll still be spending much less than the average private school tuition fee (about $10,000 per year). That’s not much at all, considering you’re in complete control of what and how your children learn.

Image: (free for reuse)