How Much Does Homeschooling Cost? Average Expenses Explained

How much does homeschooling cost? Parents have been grappling with this question, especially lately. Some believe it costs a fortune while others think it’s cheaper than public school. The reality is that the expenses can vary greatly based on how you choose to homeschool.

As someone who’s been there, done that, I can tell you firsthand that homeschooling expenses can range from next to nothing to “holy cow, I need a second job.” It all comes down to your curriculum choices, learning style, and how resourceful you can be.

So, ready to unpack the nitty-gritty of homeschooling costs? Let’s do this.

Table of Contents:

How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?

As a homeschool dad of many years, I can tell you firsthand that the cost of homeschooling is one of the biggest questions on every new homeschooler’s mind. And I get it. When you’re used to public schools being “free,” it can feel like a big leap to suddenly be responsible for all the curriculum, supplies, and activities.

So, how much does homeschooling cost? The truth is, it varies. But I’m here to break it all down for you, based on my experience in the homeschool trenches.

Average Cost Per Child Per Year

Let’s start with the big picture. Recent studies show that homeschooling can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,800 per child, per year. I know, I know – that’s a wide range. But that’s because homeschooling looks different for every family.

Some of us are minimalists, using free resources and hand-me-down supplies. Others spare no expense, investing in top-of-the-line curriculum and enrichment activities. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

Homeschooling Cost Breakdown

So where does that $700 to $1,800 go? According to the research, the main expenses are:

  • Curriculum materials: $300 to $1,000 per year
  • School supplies: $100 to $500 per year
  • Field trips and extracurricular activities: $100 to $500 per year
  • Technology: varies based on your family’s needs

Remember, these figures are just averages. Depending on your homeschooling style and what your kids need, you might spend more or less.

Online Homeschooling Cost

What about online homeschooling programs? You might be surprised to learn that they can actually cost more than piecing together your own curriculum.

Popular programs like Time4Learning and K12 can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or more per year, depending on the grade level and courses you choose. But for many families, the convenience and comprehensive coverage are worth the price tag.

Is Homeschooling More Expensive Than Public School?

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is homeschooling really more expensive than public school?

It’s true that homeschooling comes with additional expenses that public school families don’t have to worry about, like curriculum and supplies. But public school isn’t exactly free either.

Think about all the fees for sports, field trips, school lunches, and classroom supplies. And don’t even get me started on the cost of trendy school clothes and backpacks.

When you add it all up, public school can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year, depending on your child’s activities and needs. So while homeschooling isn’t necessarily cheaper, it may not be the budget-buster you think.

Homeschool Curriculum and Supplies Expenses

Now that we’ve covered the big picture, let’s zoom in on the nitty-gritty of homeschool expenses. First up: curriculum and supplies.

When I first started homeschooling, I was overwhelmed by all the curriculum choices. Should I go with a boxed set? An online program? Piecemeal it together myself?

The answer is…it depends. Every family’s needs and preferences are different. But here’s a breakdown of some common curriculum and supply expenses:

Textbooks and Workbooks

If you’re going the traditional route, you’ll need to budget for textbooks and workbooks. The cost can vary widely depending on the subject and grade level.

For example, a math textbook might run you $50 to $100, while a set of language arts workbooks could be $20 to $50. And don’t forget about teacher’s manuals and answer keys, which can add to the cost.

Online Learning Programs

Homeschooling can get easier with Time4Learning’s complete program. They offer fun interactive lessons along with printable worksheets for offline practice. Plus, their automated grading helps parents stay on top of their child’s progress effortlessly.

The cost of online programs varies, but expect to pay around $20 to $50 per month, per child. Some programs offer discounts for multiple children or longer subscriptions.

Supplementary Materials

Even with a solid curriculum, adding extra resources like educational games, science kits, or art supplies can make learning more engaging and fun.

These extra costs can really add up, so I make sure to budget for them. Every year, I set aside between $50 and $100 per child for any additional materials they might need.

Art and Craft Supplies

When you’re picking up art supplies, remember to include basics like paper, pencils, crayons, and glue. These small items might seem cheap individually but can really add up over a school year.

I budget around $50 to $100 per child for art and craft supplies. But if you have a budding artist on your hands, you may need to allocate more.

“I thought I could get away with just buying the basics for art supplies. But my daughter is so creative, she burns through paper and paints like nobody’s business. I had to up my budget to keep up with her passion.” – Jane D., homeschool mom of 3

Additional Costs to Consider When Homeschooling

Curriculum and supplies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to homeschooling costs. There are plenty of other expenses that can catch you by surprise if you’re not prepared.

Extracurricular Activities and Sports

Homeschooling offers the flexibility to explore your child’s passions, but extracurricular activities can get pretty expensive.

Sports teams, music lessons, art classes, and club memberships can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. And let’s not forget the extra costs for equipment, uniforms, and competition fees.

If your child is passionate about a particular activity, it’s important to factor that into your homeschooling budget. But don’t feel like you have to break the bank to provide enrichment. There are plenty of low-cost or free options out there, like community sports leagues, library programs, and online classes.

Field Trips and Educational Outings

Field trips are a blast and make learning exciting. But, they can really add up with costs like admission tickets, parking fees, and meals for everyone.

Some homeschoolers budget a few hundred dollars a year for field trips, while others spend over $1,000. It all depends on your family’s interests and priorities.

To save money on field trips, look for free or discounted admission days at museums and zoos. Many places offer homeschool discounts or annual passes that can pay for themselves after a few visits.

Transportation Costs

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a walkable city with great public transit, transportation is going to be a significant homeschooling expense.

With co-op classes, field trips, library visits, and other extracurricular activities, homeschoolers can easily cover hundreds of miles each week. All that driving adds up quickly in terms of gas money and vehicle maintenance costs—not to mention the potential need for a bigger car.

“I never realized how much I’d be driving as a homeschool mom. It feels like I’m always shuttling kids from one activity to another. But I’ve learned to make the most of our time in the car with audiobooks, educational podcasts, and good old-fashioned conversation.” – Maria R., homeschool mom of 4

To keep transportation costs under control, try to combine errands and carpool with other homeschool families whenever possible. And don’t underestimate the value of at-home learning days to give your gas budget a break.

Technology and Equipment

These days, technology plays a big role in homeschooling. Kids can take online classes, use educational apps, and play learning games to make their lessons more interesting.

But all that technology comes at a cost. A new laptop, tablet, or printer can easily set you back several hundred dollars. And don’t forget about ongoing expenses like internet service, software subscriptions, and printer ink.

Want to save money on tech? Check out refurbished or second-hand devices. Many homeschooling families also pool resources like microscopes, telescopes, and lab gear so they don’t have to buy everything themselves.


So there you have it – a breakdown of the main costs of homeschooling, based on my years of experience in the trenches. Remember, every family’s expenses will look different based on their unique needs and priorities.

Creating a budget that suits your needs and being mindful of how you spend can make homeschooling affordable. With some creativity, you can offer your kids a fulfilling educational experience without spending too much.

Key Takeaway:

Homeschooling costs vary widely, from $700 to $1,800 per child annually. Expenses include curriculum materials, supplies, activities, and technology. While public school isn’t free either due to fees and extras like clothes or lunches; budgeting for homeschooling helps manage these expenses effectively.

Saving Money on Homeschooling Expenses

Think homeschooling is too expensive? Think again. There are plenty of ways you can save cash and still ensure your kids get a great education at home.

I’ve been homeschooling for over a decade now. And let me tell you, I’ve learned a thing or two about stretching a homeschool budget.

Utilizing Free Resources

If you want to save money on homeschooling costs, look for all the free resources available online. You’d be surprised at how many there are.

Your local library is a goldmine. Not only can you check out books for free, but many libraries also offer free classes and educational programs for homeschoolers. Some even have homeschool-specific resources like curriculum guides and learning kits.

The internet is packed with free homeschooling resources. You can discover a variety of printables, lesson plans, and educational videos online. Just remember to check your sources and stick with trustworthy websites.

Buying Used Materials

One smart way to cut down on homeschooling costs is by buying used curriculum materials and textbooks. You can usually find gently-used books for a lot less than the price of new ones.

Take a look at online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook groups specifically for homeschoolers. You might also find fantastic deals at used book sales, thrift stores, or even local yard sales.

Just be sure to inspect the materials carefully before buying to make sure they’re in good condition and align with your homeschooling goals.

Joining a Homeschool Co-op

Joining a homeschool co-op can be a cost-effective way to access group learning experiences and share resources with other families. Co-ops typically involve a group of homeschool families who meet regularly to participate in classes, activities, and field trips.

Families can save money on education by sharing the costs of materials and instruction through co-ops. Some co-ops charge a membership fee, while others rely on volunteers to keep things running smoothly.

Joining a co-op brings great social interaction and support for both kids and parents. Everyone benefits.

Taking Advantage of Discounts and Sales

Smart homeschoolers know that catching sales and discounts can make a big difference. Watch for deals on curriculum, supplies, and educational resources to keep costs down.

Many homeschool publishers have seasonal sales or offer discounts if you buy in bulk. You can also score some great deals during back-to-school events at office supply stores and from online retailers.

Don’t forget to check for homeschool discounts at museums, zoos, and other educational attractions in your area. Many offer reduced admission prices or even free entry for homeschoolers.

If you plan your shopping trips carefully, you’ll find great deals and save a lot on homeschooling supplies.

Homeschooling vs. Public and Private School Costs

One of the most common questions I get from prospective homeschoolers is, “How much does homeschooling cost compared to public or private school?” The answer might surprise you.

Okay, here’s the breakdown.

Comparing Tuition and Fees

The most obvious cost difference between homeschooling and traditional schooling is tuition. Public schools are funded by tax dollars, so there’s no tuition cost for families. Private school tuition, on the other hand, can be pretty steep.

According to Private School Review, the average private school tuition in the US is $12,350 per year. That’s a big chunk of change.

Homeschooling, by comparison, has no set tuition cost. The amount you spend on curriculum, materials, and resources is entirely up to you. Some families homeschool on a shoestring budget, while others invest in pricier programs and extras.

Additional Expenses to Consider

Tuition isn’t the only cost to consider when comparing homeschooling to public and private school. There are other expenses that can add up.

For example, public school families may need to pay for school supplies, extracurricular activities, and transportation. Private school families often have additional costs like uniforms, technology fees, and fundraising obligations.

Homeschoolers have their own set of expenses to budget for, like curriculum materials, educational subscriptions, and field trips. But the beauty of homeschooling is that you have more control over these costs.

You can choose curriculum and resources that fit your budget, and you have the flexibility to opt-out of extras that aren’t a good fit for your family.

Financial Benefits of Homeschooling

Although there are costs associated with homeschooling, it often turns out cheaper than paying for a private school education.

Homeschooling also gives you the flexibility to adjust your budget as needed. If money is tight one year, you can scale back on extras and focus on the essentials. That’s not always an option with traditional schooling.

Homeschooling can give kids the chance to follow their dreams and even learn how to start a business. Imagine your child turning a hobby into a successful venture that helps pay for their education.

When you think about it, choosing to homeschool isn’t solely based on money. Yet knowing that it’s an affordable option for numerous families is certainly comforting.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Homeschooling

So, how much does homeschooling cost? The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The cost of homeschooling can vary widely depending on a number of factors.

Let’s break down some of the main factors that can affect your homeschooling budget.

Number and Age of Children

The more kids you have, the more it’s going to cost to homeschool. That’s just basic math. But there are ways to keep costs down as your family grows.

A smart way to save money is by buying non-consumable resources that your kids can share. Items like reference books, educational games, and sturdy manipulatives are great because they last a long time and can be handed down from one child to another.

You can also take advantage of sibling discounts offered by some curriculum publishers and homeschool programs. And don’t forget the power of hand-me-downs when it comes to school supplies and materials.

Curriculum Choices

The cost of homeschooling can vary depending on the curriculum you pick. Some parents go for all-in-one boxed curriculums, which are expensive at first but could end up saving money in the long haul.

Some folks like to create their own curriculum by mixing and matching different resources. It can save money, but it often takes more time and effort to get everything organized.

Another option to consider is the online curriculum offered by Time4Learning. For a monthly fee, families get access to an interactive and comprehensive program. This can be more budget-friendly compared to traditional boxed curriculums that come with high upfront costs.

Learning Style and Approach

The way you teach at home, along with how your child learns, impacts expenses. For hands-on learners who thrive with interactive activities, be prepared to buy extra supplies for their various projects and science experiments.

If you follow a Charlotte Mason or Montessori approach, you may need to purchase specific materials and resources to support that educational philosophy.

On the other hand, if your child thrives with homeschooling online, you may be able to save money by using free or low-cost digital resources.

Location and Community Resources

Where you live can also play a role in your homeschooling expenses. Homeschoolers in urban areas may have access to more free or low-cost educational resources, like museums, libraries, and community centers.

Folks living in rural areas might have to spend a bit more on field trips and other educational outings. Similarly, homeschoolers in high-cost regions should consider adjusting their budgets for these activities.

But no matter where you live, there are ways to save. Seek out homeschool discounts, join a local homeschool co-op or support group, and take advantage of free community resources whenever possible.

The bottom line? Don’t let the potential costs of homeschooling scare you off. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can provide your child with a top-notch education without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaway:

Save on homeschooling by using free resources like libraries and online materials. Buy used books from eBay or thrift stores, join a homeschool co-op to share costs, and watch for sales and discounts. You control your budget, making homeschooling a cost-effective option compared to private schools.

Conclusion

So, how much does homeschooling cost? The answer is, it depends. You can homeschool on a shoestring budget or spend a small fortune. It’s all about finding the right balance for your family.

The real cost of homeschooling isn’t only financial. It also involves significant time, energy, and dedication to your child’s learning journey. Yet the rewards? Absolutely priceless.

Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years or you’re just getting started, remember that you have plenty of options. With some creativity and a bit of resourcefulness, you can provide your kids with an excellent education without spending too much.

Worried about how much homeschooling might cost? Don’t be! Get inventive with resources, enjoy the process, and witness your kids’ amazing progress firsthand.