Homeschool cost: Even though there is a homeschool cost for accredited homeschool programs, it is mostly offset by what you can save by no longer going to a campus-based school. It is surprising what it costs to go to a “free” public school. There are money, time, and stress costs to campus-based schools. Often these costs go unnoticed, but it is surprising if you take the time to add them up for your situation. Your first step before researching homeschool cost might be to find out what you already spend on education and what you will save. Just start a list of actual expenses and add them up. Make one column for money cost and one column for parent time cost and one column for stress cost. Then start adding things as you think of them.
For example, one of the bigger costs for most people is the cost for transportation to and from a campus-based school. Homeschooling removes the drive time twice per day. Read the example info next about this one larger expense area.
Not only does homeschooling save gas, but expensive wear and tear on your vehicle inside and out that reduces the vehicle’s value. The IRS figures that travel costs 53 cents per mile driven. Short commutes like school probably cost more because of the type of wear that in-town driving and above average engine idling time causes. If driving one mile to school, it costs more than $1.06 each time. Twice per day would be $2.06. That would be almost $400 per year. Driving less than a mile probably costs near the same because of wear on the vehicle. Traveling 2 miles to school would be around $800 per year. Traveling 3 miles would be $1200, and so on.
You might also want to ask yourself how many times do you go somewhere else while you are out that would normally be condensed to less trips if you weren’t running the daily taxi. Also, impulse spending on those frequent outings can increase.
Even in efficient households, the parent still needs to get dressed to go outside. Time is also used waiting for everyone to be ready. Then there is the drive and drop-off time. Then there is the drive and pickup time. From experience, you probably know what the total time is getting ready and to and from school.
Homeschooling also removes schedule stress for the entire family. This is even more extreme when you have more than one child. Did clothes get washed? Is everyone finally ready to leave? Did everyone remember to bring everything including homework? Did you do the clothing check? Is the school lunch taken care of? Is there enough gas in the car? Having more than one child (that will likely end up in different schools at some point) increases stress, time, and expenses exponentially. You might also want to ask yourself how many times do you go somewhere else while you are out that would be normally be condensed to less trips if you weren’t running the daily taxi. Homeschooling can also delay teen pressure to get a drivers license to take over the taxi service. Teen driving can be dealt with when the time is right for that particular child.
Once again, before researching your homeschool cost, find out what you will save by homeschooling. Create a list of current expenses that are required to go to a campus-based school. Start with the example expense above. Notate the full cost, time requirement, and if stress is involved. To get more ideas on what it costs to go to a campus-based school, please read “Why homeschool tuition is a value!”
If the saved money and time is applied to homeschooling, it is surprising what you can can afford for a good homeschool program that can help make homeschooling more successful. A good homeschool program can also free up parent time. Using the right homeschool structure can be the difference between success and failure. Finding a program that can function without the parent occasionally is an important insurance against family stress and burnout. Using a program that frees the parent up to be more of an encourager can protect family relationships. Make sure to read the Practical Homeschooling article to know what kind of program you need!