The Price of Homeschooling

04 Mar

The forum discussion, that I have been talking about, has changed course.  New homeschoolers are relating how they feel when they read that homeschooling will solve all of their problems and how they then feel like a failure when the rubber hits the road and they discover that homeschooling’s awfully hard work.  I haven’t added more to their discussion but I did want to share my perspective with my readers.

Homeschooling isn’t an easy path.  School is easy.  Drop them off and let some one else do the work, although you do have to be prepared to make lunches at dawn, fight the school traffic, ensure uniforms are ironed and ready, and then in the afternoon fight the school traffic again, force your tired, grumpy child to do homework that makes no sense, and all the while deal with the terrible attitudes and ideas they’ve bought home with them.  Easy?  Not that easy I suppose.

If you want to lay homeschooling out perfectly straight and transparent, here’s the reality of it:

– money will be tight and that leads to stress.  You may even hear hubby grumble, “if you went to work, we could…”.  Let him blow off steam if needs be.  He bears the brunt of most of the financial strain.

– there will be hardly any time for socialising with your old friends.  You really will be forced to make homeschooling ones.  When you are free to socialise, they won’t be.  I haven’t spoken in person to one of my dearest friends in nearly six months.  Her children are at school and she works.  When am busy, she is free and when my school day is done she’s off picking up her children, running them to activities and then squeezing in meals and housework after that.  Don’t even think about the weekends when their schedule is even more busy.

– when big ticket items break and need fixing or replacing, it’s a major event.  It’s not uncommon to just have to go without.  My dishwasher has been uselessly adorning my kitchen for nearly a year now.  I’ve learned to wash the dishes by hand.  I could replace it but those extra dollars might be needed for something that really was important…like my sick and dying car.  C’est la vie, but it’s not the end of the world.  There’s still money for books!  Phew!

–  we are nearly always at home (often the only ones in the whole street as my Jehovah Witness visitors often tells me) and sometimes the walls start to crowd in on us.  It takes a while to get used to being still and not out chasing your tail.

–  the kids are ALWAYS with you, often in the same room (yes, the toilet counts!), and many times climbing all over you (more than one of them).  There are times when you just wish you could have a moment alone like normal people and times when you are desperate and you ask the kids to please leave you alone for just a little while.  People say they think it but I’ll be totally honest and admit that I’ve said it…more than once.

– some people find school stuff dead boring.  I like learning and researching and plotting and planning for school.  But I have friends who’ve told me that they can think of nothing worse.  They do what needs to be done for the school day but nothing more.   I find this sort of thinking to be more of the norm.

–  there are some school subjects that scare you silly.  Music is my subject.  Even now you can look at my term summary and spot that music just isn’t my thing.  I don’t do it weekly or fortnight or (gosh I hope the HEU aren’t reading this) even monthly.  If it happens in the term we are having a good term.  Phew.  My dirty laundry is aired.  Don’t judge.  Hey, we’ve been reading about Vivaldi recently.  Must be a good term.  Hehehe.

– the kids complain and rarely throw themselves eagerly into work.  They don’t resist it as much any more but they can’t help a little whinge each morning as we’re just about to start.  They’re normal.  Work is work.  I don’t get excited about ironing either.  Just look at my ironing pile.  I’m doing very well at resisting that!  And those who’ve read my blog know that I whinge about it a lot.  🙂

– housework!  Yep, another biggie.  No one…I repeat…No one…drop over unannounced….ever!  Please!   Aside from washing, dishes and sometimes bed making, nothing else matters in the house department in my world.  We (who am I kidding….I)  try to blitz the house every week (okay, truthfully, fortnightly) but in between those times the house can get icky and messy.  Sadly people think their houses define them as wives and mothers.  If it’s cluttered and dirty we feel like bad mothers.  Why do we do that to ourselves?  I don’t know.  I’ll admit it.  If you’ve been to my house it was only clean because I spent the whole day prior scrubbing it.  I’m glad people visit though.  I need the nudge.

– just because your kids are homeschooled does not mean that they don’t fight.  They are human after all.  There will be yelling, and it won’t always be the kids.  Hands up ladies, how many of us have been there.  No one’s perfect.  We snap and we have more opportunities to do so as we’re home with them all day.  The same scenes would play out in our homes if the kids went to school, except that they squabble outside of the hours between 8 and 3, and you’d be losing the plot over homework instead.  We’re mothers, not saints, our halos often fall down and strangle us.

– oh and life at home isn’t cheaper than going to work and school in every area….just to be super transparent.  Because we are home all day you’re going to find that your power, water and groceries bills are higher.  Yep.  Just didn’t want to lead you all astray.  You will save in other areas though.

So these are some of the cold hard facts that we could focus on every day if we chose.  In some ways, dropping the kids off at school would make life ‘easier’ for us.  But I don’t think ‘living’ is about making our life ‘easier’  for ourselves.  It’s about making life better for others.   We love our kids too much to allow them to continue (or ever) to struggle in school.  Our choice is:  Do we continue in our easier life and hope school gets better?  Or do we leave our comfortable position in life to make a better life for our children, regardless of the cost to us?

The cost of homeschooling is high, but you don’t put a budget price tag on a luxury item!  You scrimp and save and work yourself to the bone to pay for it.  And if you have God in your life, you only have to make the deposit and He fills up the void.  That’s a great deal!


Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Homeschooling Thoughts


8 responses to “The Price of Homeschooling

  1. Missy

    March 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you for being normal. That’s all.
    (I feel better now. ) 🙂

  2. Missy

    March 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Or did I mean … thank you for telling me I’m normal. Either way, thanks!

  3. Tracey

    March 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm


  4. Bernadette

    March 5, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Ooooooh I love your (almost) last line.
    “you don’t put a budget price on a luxury item” AWESOME!
    I am looking forward to a less icky house, and it just being plain ol’ messy 😉 my youngest has nailed toilet training it seems, even at nighttime…anyone for a linen purge??? 😀

  5. Elsa

    March 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Excellent post!

  6. Karen Loe

    March 21, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Another good post! thanks for blogging!

  7. Kate Campbell

    April 9, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I’m just contemplating home schooling, prep is looming next year for my oldest and it just doesn’t sit well with me.
    I’m also studying a postgrad in Early childhood education & what I’m learning seems to be at odds with the new national curriculum?!
    I listen to friends and family whose children are struggling in classroom where the teachers for example have removed all visuals in the classroom by Year 2 (not a good sign for visual learners) another school where the same kids who are very high achieving as academics are constantly celebrated in awards ceremonies whilst the rest are forgotten (surely there needs to be more imagination into qualities that can be celebrated other than high academic achievements).
    I am desperately looking for alternatives. My husband is concerned about money, just when it seems that I am going to be back in the workforce earning money I’ve introduced the idea of homeschooling, poor guy !!
    He’s not saying no so I’m going to be ingesting your blog Tracey and trying to find peace about whatever decision we make. It feels scary and unsettling for us all but at the end of the day my kids are most important and I want them to have a life that is extraordinary !!
    I look forward to reading more, any advice you or your readers can give me & trying not to freak out about all the knowledge I’m going to need to have !!
    Great blog, Kate

  8. Tracey

    April 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Welcome to homeschooling Kate…well maybe…hehehe.
    It is a big leap of faith but faith in ourselves and our children is much greater than faith in strangers whose track record with students isn’t great. So that’s a bonus.
    Rest assured you don’t need much ‘knowledge’ at all to homeschool. A lot of what I’m teaching my boys is stuff I didn’t know either (particularly in the area of history!). We learn alongside each other. It actually works really well as I get to model enthusiasm for learning, curiosity, research and communication skills. Plus the boys will share their learning with me knowing that I truly am interested in knowing, rather than pretending I don’t know. Obviously we still need basic Math and Language skills to teach them but curriculums are a great support in this area.
    Money is always the biggest hurdle for most people. We are so used to living on two incomes and our society is increasingly forcing it. When I left the workforce, to have my first little men, we told ourselves that we’d trial it for a year and see how we go. I was on maternity leave so I could have gone back at any desperate point, however I’d have lived in a caravan before putting my baby in child care so really it was just a security net for my fears. If you are already out of the workforce you’d already have a fair few strategies for surviving on less. Plus think of the savings of NOT going to school, especially if a private school was on the cards. Even if it wasn’t there are a lot of school expenses – before/after school and vacation care if you are working, uniforms, bag, shoes, excursions, levies, books, dozens of birthday parties (trust me) and tutors (yep lots of parents pay for these…I know because I was a tutor 10 years ago and people were paying up to $70 an hour and I never had a problem finding clients).
    Prep is a great year to trial homeschooling as prep isn’t compulsory so you don’t have to submit any paperwork and can just enjoy a year together to see if you think it’s the right choice for your family and financial situation.
    I’m happy to answer any of your questions that might come up in your researching and reading, so feel free to email me. My “Contact” button is at the top of the page and in the sidebar.
    Happy researching and reading. 🙂


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