"Budgeting beyond curriculum: what home educators need to know!"
In any given year, the average home educator in the United States spends hundreds of dollars to educate their student at home. It's been estimated that a home educator can spend $350-$750 per student on curriculum alone. However, the truth is most experienced home educators would tell you that curriculum isn't the only expense that should be budgeted for during the school year. Here are five other things you might want to keep in mind which may require you to spend a bit of money on this school year.
Just because a student isn't in a traditional setting, it doesn't mean they may not require some items on traditional back-to-school shopping lists. I mean, what's curriculum without a pencil or pen to write with? So budget to buy paper, notebooks, and writing and art supplies. If you're really smart, you can stock up during the back-to-school period when these items are often on sale.
Many educational resources use computers, laptops, and other devices in our technologically-forward world. Does your student have a device that they can use? Depending on your lifestyle, you might not want to share your laptop with them--so do they have one they can access themselves? Also, if your student has goals related to game-making, multimedia, or code, having access to technology is essential. Even if you have something for them to use, but it's on it's last leg, you might want to consider setting aside some money for a replacement. How awful it would be to have your student's routine disrupted because they lose access to a resource they need to learn.
Field Trips and Transportation
Just because it's called "homeschool" doesn't necessarily mean that your student has to be at home all the time. If you take advantage of field trip options, plan to spend a little money. Museums have admission costs. The local theater's performance will require a ticket. Even visiting a local agricultural site or festival will require some money. And don't forget that you have to get there. It doesn't matter if it is gas for the car or money for the train; unless you're hoofing it you should plan to pay to get to any trips.
Tutoring and Classes
This conversation sometimes gets a bit spicy, but I'm going to say it... at some point, every home educator instructing their student for several years, or even their entire career through high school, should be outsourcing some of their student's education. That's not saying this must be expensive (it might be free!) or is required at all grade levels or for all subjects. However, somewhere along the line, that student is going to show an interest in something the home educator just isn't equipt to instruct them in, or they will surpass the level of instructor the home educator can provide on a topic. And it doesn't have to be academic topics. My sons take art and golfing with individuals that are passionate about the subject and capable of teaching them. Experts and professionals deserve to be paid for their time, so be prepared to pay for the help your student needs or requires.
If you've found a homeschool tribe, it's probably going to cost something. There might be a participation fee if it's a traditionally organized co-op. The one my family is involved in costs $100 annually (and is worth every nickel). I've also been involved in ones that require parents to participate by leading classes and activities. Planning an activity day for the group cost me just a little bit of money, and they got to participate in other events. It was a bargain! However, it still costs some money for me.
I use lots of methods to make homeschooling more affordable. One of the things I do is enter contests. I've gotten a lot of things through contests. So when I had an opportunity to participate in one, I jumped at it! A $200 gift card at the start of the school year would be beneficial. Of course, I can't enter--but you can! Winning a gift card to a major online homeschool retailer would surely help you check some things off of your curriculum wish list!
I've teamed up with a great group of homeschool bloggers to bring you a HUGE gift card giveaway to Christianbook.com. We will bless THREE homeschool families with a $200 gift card for you to use on curriculum, books, games, puzzles, or whatever educational supplies you might need!
To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Now I know this is quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers has generously chipped in their own money (including yours truly) to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries. And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!
Giveaway ends August 12, 2022 at 11:59pm ET. Must be at least 18 years of age. Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes, or another winner will be drawn. By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for the complete list).