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I was wondering how everyone affords to homeschool? I really want to do this for my girls - I think it's important for them to have a parent at home and that this is the best way for them to have a positive learning experience. My biggest problem is trying to afford keeping one of us (namely me) at home. I am the working parent right now because my job paid slightly more than my husband's old job did and I had better benefits. He is looking for a job, and has a lead on one that may pay well, but it may not offer benefits. I am getting frustrated with the finance angle of having a parent at home. I was just wondering how others balanced this for their families.
First, it's possible to homeschool for free (other than printer supplies, school supplies, etc.). Second, people make it work by cutting out a lot of things they don't really need and/or by snowballing their debt to get rid of it quickly (I can help with that by pm if you need me to). Third, I'm blessed that my dh has a good job. For a while, we were both working because we had to (me from home), but now I own my own business just for fun. I use it to teach the kids how to run a business and to get extra money for non-essential homeschooling supplies or activites. He makes plenty to handle the usual expenses, and he has good benefits.
We reuse whatever we can. I copy some of the workbooks that are a bit more, and I have continuous ink supply system on my printer so it doesn't cost much at all for me to print anything out. We use Math Mammoth for math and I download it, so each grade level is saved onto the computer so we just reuse it as each kid down the line needs it. Buy used books and cut out the unnecessary stuff.
You can homeschool very cheaply or you can spend a lot of money. There's a lot of different options for homeschooling. For us personally having a parent stay home was no big deal because I've been a SAHM since a few weeks before Ani was born. We weren't giving up the second income when we started homeschooling. We had given it up 4 1/2 years earlier.
~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008) Smaller on the Outside
My husband and I both work, but we are on opposite shifts. I am lucky that I can office out of my home so he is home until 2:30, puts the little kids down for nap and I continue to work until they wake up. We split teaching duties and I usually do a lesson over my lunch break, too. It's not ideal, I would love for him to be home full time, but I do love that he only works M-Th (10 hour shifts) so we still have a lot of family time.
As for the expenses of homeschooling itself, we have a budget and buy used/reuse whenever we can.
Alison - Mom to: Augustus (2) Maximus (3) Eleanor (5) Reid (6) Evelyn (8) Lucas (12) Christopher (14)
This very reason was, and will likely remain for some time to come, a huge part of why we went with a free curriculum.
Now there are lots of ways to get your curriculum free. The net has so very many resources that you really wouldn't ever need to buy anything in most cases, other than some basic supplies. I know more people that opt for the cheapest route possible(ie buying very little, using free resources as much as possible) than I do people who buy their entire curriculum to be honest.
That's a huge part of why K12 works for us. I had already looked into their actual curriculum anyway. Had I been able to buy a boxed curriculum it was on the top of the list. The fact that it's free is a huge blessing. Because I *can adapt it so very easily to all of their learning styles. If I need help, it's easy to get a hold of someone. Everything is planned out pretty neatly for me(whether or not I stick by the plan is another story, but it's at least there).
I don't happen to agree with most of the pricing I see on curriculum, boxed or even piece parted together. I simply do not agree that it HAS to cost that much. Yes I know, they need to make their money too, understand that completely. I still happen to think they charge way too much and would make a heck of a lot more if they charged a bit less. But that's really neither here nor there. It's just a pet peeve of mine, lol.
If I hadn't gone with K12 I would be piece parting the entire thing together. It very well may have taken me much longer to get everything gathered that we'd need too. Mostly using free resources with very few purchases made. I just cannot afford to purchase books, workbooks, etc... Even at only $5 here $10 there(and then some in many cases) It's just not in the budget to get stuff for all three and it wouldn't matter which way I skimped or scraped, it would not magically just show up one day, lol. Being able to reuse curriculum for another child later down the road is awesome and eventually any investment made will pay off of course. But that doesn't help the current issue, if the money just isn't there. My resources are very limited right now(financial resources). They'll be that way for quite some time too. I do not have credit cards, never have and never will. So putting stuff like that on a card to slowly pay off is out of the question.
Aside from the homeschool aspect, I keep costs(as many as possible) to a bare minimum at all times. No going out to eat, no unnecessary purchases, no "trips" to places that will cost us money, no extra stuff just because, no extra activities that cost us. There aren't many here anyway for kids, but most of them are $30+ for each kid, on up to over $500 per kid. Sometimes it's per "season", sometimes per "session", it varies but it's extremely expensive. Even girl and cub scouts were horrendously expensive with absolutely no help from anyone else. Which is ridiculous since I know for a fact both have financial aid programs, apparently the leaders around here skipped that part of the manual though. Sorry, rant over, it chaps my hide. Grocery and basic needs costs always kept at a minimum as best I can. For the most part we do without quite a bit, but I don't think we're worse off for it, to be honest. In fact I think we're better off for it(this applies to *us* and only us, ftr, don't want anyone to get offended by the statement). We just don't have any need for most of the extras in life. Someday, finances will be different. For right now, they are not, and it will be a while before they are. So I budget, budget, budget that way when something unexpected *does come along-it won't be such a financial burden. (sometimes still is, but it could *always be worse).
We just scrimp and save. In the previous years I had bought books with income tax money in March for the next year. This year, I am buying one book at a time. I have half of my books on layaway with Abeka. Starting next month, I am buying a book a week. Also I reuse all hard books from other kids and just have to purchase workbooks. My 4 yrold will be doing preschool for free from the net. I have been a SAHM for 10 years & homeschooled for 4 years.
stay at home, homeschooling momma to Jacob(12), Alisha(10), Andrew (5)
Thanks ladies! I'm not too worried about curiculum for now. I have been squirelling away stuff for years now to eventually homeschool. I have most of pre-k through 4th grade covered LOL (as I have been teaching those grade levels and saved everything I could get my hands on - including text books that were being replaced - I have a ton of readers!). I am more worried about the day to day stuff. DH has been home since the girls were born and we are holding our own. He isn't confident about teaching the girls and doing lessons, and I really don't want to continue working in my current job. We have just had so much trouble finding a good job for DH that will let me quit mine. We have pared down as much as possible since DH left his job and we have been able to put away a little bit and live happily, so we've got that covered. I have started using cupons like crazy too to save money on groceries. I just worry about how we will cover health insurance if Dh can't find a job that offers it. Thanks for all the info though! I like the idea of working from home and have toyed with tutoring in the evenings too.
On the health insurance, I would seriously look into, at least for the kids, getting state insurance. It may not always be the best but more often than not the income levels required for it are a lot higher than people think. Now the income level for full family coverage is usually on par with other benefits, but most states have insurance just for kids that a lot more people will qualify for.
Even when I was working two jobs, I wasn't able to get health insurance, and I made just barely over the limit for family coverage(this was well before they offered a "sliding scale fee" for family coverage, so it was all or nothing back then). I did however have insurance for both the girls. For the most part it covered pretty much all of the basics and then some non-basic things too. The things it didn't fully cover, it usually covered at least a portion.
The programs are there for folks who need them. I know sometimes we think "well, I don't really *need* the help"(I mean, really, who likes asking for help), but in the end we realize had we gotten help even when it seemed we didn't need to, we would've been better off. I've been in that position more times than I care to admit to.
I don't know what we'd do without it, honestly. There was a time when I didn't qualify, but the kids did, and it was such a lifesaver. Now both the kids and I qualify-and it's an even bigger lifesaver. There's no way I could afford any insurance otherwise.
It really is very scarey.
We lost our insurance once. Lissy was in the hospital and so dang sick. I had forgotten to send paperwork in and they were sure to let me know. They gave me a second chance and made an appointment for me to re-certify. But I missed the appointment because we were stuck in rainbow. I can't even begin to tell you how friggen worried I was, lol. There I was, with a toddler(ok, lil older than a toddler, lol) at home with my mom, and I was stuck with a baby on the brink of death in the hospital. She had already racked up a few hundred thousand in bills just in the month we had been there. Had no clue what would happen. I know it sounds like I got paranoid for nothing(and really I did), but at the time fifty million things were running through my head and every possible worst case scenario turned into a real feeling.
I had one of the nurses call in a child life specialist to see if perhaps they could help me figure out what to do. She's like "first off, calm down, we won't kick you out even if you can't pay. And secondly, we can take care of this for you and get everything back where it should be". I was so relieved. It did take a good month for the insurance to kick back in, but they go back and pay the last three month's worth of medical anyway. I was surprised they were able to help because the county department of jobs and families(aka welfare office) we were dealing with were *notorious for making life a living heck for people with issue after issue. I'd already dealt with them enough, lol.
Sorry that was sort of off topic there, lol. Insurance is one of those things that most people *need*, but a lot of people have one heck of a time getting. I'm grateful that pretty much every state(that I know of) has at least *some program for kids, if not full family. One bill at the wrong time, can really have such a huge impact. Sometimes even small ones do too!