This post was written on April 8, 2009.
When I talk about my financial concerns with homeschooling, I am not talking about how much homeschooling might cost by itself. I do know that there are many companies who are marketing expensive curriculums to homeschoolers, and there are schools who offer a kind of independent study at home or other kinds of support/evaluation in exchange for tuition costs, but I don’t think I would take either of these routes. I have read also that new homeschoolers can get very excited and buy almost every educational tool they come across only to find out that their children don’t respond to these gadgets or computer programs or what-not. I believe that especially in the beginning when my children are young, I would mainly use the library and a few well-selected books and games, and then we would build from there. If later I felt we would benefit from part of a curriculum, I would look into those. But I don’t believe that homeschooling has to cost a lot of money. What I mean when I talk about financial concerns is that we would be living on one income for many more years to come. We have been living this way for the past few years now, and we’re okay, but it’s not easy. So I worry that in the long-run, we might wish I had gone back to work.
I know what homeschoolers would say about this: it is worth the sacrifice! Because nothing is more important than the children and their well-being, and if homeschooling is important to us, we can find a way. I agree. That is why I’m 99% certain we’ll homeschool. And I might be able to find some kind of work-at-home job, although I don’t think I should count on this. We have already made sacrifices so that I can stay home in these early years, so it won’t come as a shock to us. But when you live on the edge, you aren’t as prepared for emergencies as you wish you could be, and that will always be an issue. What it comes down to is that while homeschooling, finances will always be a concern, so we’ll have to decide if we can keep living like that.
UPDATE May 31, 2011: We are moving forward with our plans to homeschool, and though we will always wish we had more money, we continue to live frugally. I am writing for our local newspaper, which pays me a small fee for my columns, and though not much, even a little bit helps. I have also been taking on some photography jobs. As we move forward, we’ll continue to look for ways to save money and make a little extra. I think it’ll be worth it.
Finally, I think about what some of my extended family might say about our homeschooling. This should be easy. Who cares what other people think? I wish I could say that I didn’t care what others thought, but I do. At least when it comes to big issues like this one. And I know there are people in my family who know how to “push my buttons.” So this is something I think about. Fortunately, there’s not much I need to do about it. People will think what they think, and we’ll do what we want to do. This is part of the reason I have started this blog — so that I can gather my thoughts and research on this subject and hopefully be armed with information when people question me. Also, I have considered that the few people I’m thinking of might surprise me and won’t think it’s a big deal (yeah, right). Ultimately, I would hope that their concerns will be put aside once they see that my children are doing well, academically and socially. This, anyway, is what I read in The Homeschooling Handbook. Many people who express anxiety because their grandchildren or neighbor’s children or niece or nephews are being homeschooled, later come to appreciate the choice, once they see the outcome.
So in a way, this is a non-issue, but I wanted to bring it up here because it will be an obstacle I face, and I’m going to have to deal with. Wish me luck!
So please tell me what your concerns are about homeschooling?
UPDATE May 31, 2011: I also write about concerns and issues regarding homeschooling on my FAQ page.