To continue the conversation I began last month in my blog post titled Does January = time for educational change? ... I thought I would talk a bit about the true "costs" of homeschooling.
Now if you're like my husband, you would, at this point, be pulling out your calculator and notepad to begin tallying up the financial cost of homeschooling. However, I believe there are some "costs" related to homeschooling that must be considered before we talk dollars and cents.
The first, and I believe most important, cost to homeschooling is that of COMMITMENT. Homeschooling is not just a 9 to noon chunk of your day or a different approach to educating your child, it is a change in lifestyle. Both parents and children must be willing to persevere through the change in family routines and relationships. No longer will you be just "mom" (aka doctor mom, taxi driver mom, peace-maker mom, etc...), but you will also be school teacher mom. Dads must be willing to recognize the extra burden on mom and be willing to step in whenever possible. As homeschooling becomes part of your life, you will begin to see learning "opportunities" in everyday activities. But you must be willing to take advantage of those opportunities ... even if it means setting aside those things on your "to do" list for the day to engage in the joy and privilege of helping your children grow and learn.
Another cost may be SOCIAL PRESSURE. As you may already realize (if you've begun discussing this change with your extended family), not everyone is excited about the prospect of your homeschooling their grandchild, nephew, etc... Concerned, well-meaning family and friends will have varying ideas and attitudes about your decision to educate your children at home. You must be convinced and convicted about your commitment to homeschooling ... despite what others may say.
Yet another cost may be in the area of TIME AND ENERGY. To add teaching to your schedule, you will need to organize your home, divide the chores, delegate, and plan ahead. For those who are born with the organization gene, this may not be as large a "cost" as it might be for those who are not. Keep in mind that as your children will be learning math, science and reading in your homeschool, you will be learning right along with them. And it could be that *your* greatest area of learning will be in wisely spending your time and energy each day.
Finally, there is the actual financial EXPENSE of homeschooling. The investment of home education varies widely from family to family. Usually you spend what you have and creativity supplies the rest. We all tend to spend our money on our greatest priorities. So be sure to establish an education budget, right along with your grocery, and maintenance, and vacation budgets. Then research, research, research. Find curriculum materials that fit your teaching and learning styles but also fit your pocketbook. And when it appears that homeschooling might be a strain on your budget, consider the life-long investment you're making in your children. Look at the cost of homeschooling vs. other forms of education such as private or charter schools. Weigh all your options and pray about your final decision. It's an important one!!!