true cost of hands on learning homeschooling

The true cost of hands on homeschooling

I love our style of homeschooling.  I love the hands-on lessons, I love our ability to travel.  I love the time I spend with my kids.

But there are costs and downsides to homeschooling.  I know it’s a question I get from time to time.

The true cost of hands on homeschooling in our lives

How much does it really cost to homeschool?

I’m going to leave out the opportunity costs, things we can’t do because we homeschool, but focus on the actual cost of what I buy.  I’m sure there are many posts that can tell you about that.

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TOTAL: $623

As you can see that adds up to a lot of money, and that’s not the random chapter books and art supplies I buy throughout the year.

But, that’s not truly the cost, that’s just the market price.  I plan my school years out years in advance.

So when I went to GHC in April I knew what I wanted to buy, and I got the MOH audiobooks for $30, and my science was $22 for the text and $15 for the notebooks.  I buy the Bright Ideas stuff when they’re on sale.  That’s why I let you guys know when they have sales because I know that’s when I want to shop.  I bought the MOH2 textbook over 3 years ago before we completed US history.

So, in reality, I probably spent about $500.  But, let’s break it down further.

$400 of that was a one-time purchase I will use over multiple years

true cost of hands on learning homeschooling

I’m going to use ALL of the MOH2 materials at least one more time.  I’m going to use Illuminations 2 at least one more time.  And I know I’ll be using the grammar and writing for several more years.  SEVERAL.

I plan to let my kids organize their own science for middle school and review all we covered during elementary, so both of those science books will be used again.

That gets me down to $100 or so of non-reusable stuff just for this year.

Let’s talk art supplies and chapter books now.

I easily spend $200 a year on art supplies, peg dolls, paints, colored pencils, glue, you name it.

You know what?

I’d spend that if the kids were homeschooled or in public school.  I want my kids to have access to those materials.  I’d spend it because I want to use those items.

Books?  Oh, don’t get me started on books.  I visited with a college roommate this past week, and her biggest memory of me from college looks like this:

She texted me this picture last week saying, “This is you!”

So, I don’t really think I’d save ANY money on books if they were in public school.  If our personal library is any indication….

But here’s what I gain because of homeschooling, yes it costs money, but here’s what I can’t buy.


The memories, and who they have become because of homeschooling and our parenting choices.


18 responses to “The true cost of hands on homeschooling”

  1. It’s painful to see the grand total for books and supplies…but I’m with you, I’d spend most of that, if not more, on the same sorts of things even if the children were in public school…probably more, because then we’d be getting those Scholastic book order forms all the time, and who can resist those?

    1. Oh those Scholastic book orders…. I bought so many books from them when I was teaching.

  2. You know we are big book people, too. My homeschool friends always ask me about any piece of curriculum they are thinking of buying because they are sure that I already have it. They are usually right, too. LOL The buying has gotten less as my kids have gotten older, but it is still there. That would be true for me, however, if I homeschooled in a different method and it would also be true if I sent them to school. I had Alex in school for three years and every day after he got home from school, we would homeschool.

    1. I’m hoping the buying will get less as the kids get older, but I have the feeling I’ll just be spending the money in different ways.

  3. We spend much more due to outside homeschool classes. This year, we’re looking into cheaper options like 4H and Girls Scouts.

    I’ve heard you can use free curriculum on-line plus a library card to homeschool cost free. But there’s always the materials.

    1. My theory on that one is the money you save homeschooling that way is lost by the amount of time you spend looking for that stuff.

  4. I used to try to explain what I spent or didn’t spend in almost an apologetic fashion to my Hubby, but he finally repeated, “It’s okay. It costs what it costs.” enough that I actually believe him. Some of it can get quite expensive though 🙂

    1. Jeff trusts me not to spend too much, for which I’m thankful. But you’re right sometimes it gets frighteningly high.

  5. Education costs money, but honestly I spend a fair bit on things I want my kids to learn that I know they won’t learn at school. Add in field trip fees, teacher gifts, etc and it is less than what homeschooling costs but not by as much as people might think.

    1. I know, I’ve talked with friends in public school here, and when you add in all those things and some of the different clothing fads and such my kids haven’t noticed as much of, it gets pretty darn close to homeschooling.

  6. Great post. I also spend a small fortune on supplementary materials, and I am not even homeschooling. Doesn’t Texas cover some of the material costs of homeschooling? I believe in CA homeschoolers get some money to spend on books and classes for their kids.

    1. I don’t think it does. I’ve noticed the schools that cover some of the costs of homeschooling tend to be the higher requirement states.

  7. I agree about investing in curriculum you can use again and again, especially if you have multiple kids. It can be a lot upfront, but you save a ton down the road. Great post!

    1. You really do. I’ve got a good bank of supplies to head back to in a few years.

  8. Breaking down the cost of homeschooling is a really worthwhile exercise. I like to know where the money goes to, and much of it goes to homeschooling (books, trips, materials, etc). I don’t think I’m excessive on spending, but it still adds up. However, I won’t do it any other way. 🙂

    1. Totally agree, I think if I did it any differently I’d be very unhappy with our life.

  9. I think our breakdown would be similar most years. I get some things free for review. And I try to plan out what I need and buy things at convention or used curriculum sales. But, yes, the books and art supplies- I’d buy those no matter where the kids went to school. 🙂 And there are many, many good reasons that make the cost worth it.

    1. Yes there are.

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