People often ask – what does it cost to home educate ? And they normally get the frustrating answer that it can cost as little as you want or as much as you want. It all depends on what resources you use (which is true). But what is often not discussed is the hidden cost, in our case it is the fact that I am not working and that home education has almost halved our family income.
I totally understand how for some families this would be the reason why they try so hard not to home educate, every family unit is different and the bottom line is someone needs to be able to bring the money in to pay for the bills. For us it was not a point we ever dwelt on. My hubbies income covers our living costs and we felt very strongly that school and my daughter’s sensory issues would just not be the right fit. So we agreed without much thought that giving up my income and rather having me spending my time helping her was what we would do. Possessions and nice holidays just did not matter when it came to what we thought was best for our girl. (I will totally admit that if my husbands income did not cover our basic living costs our decision would not have been so easy).
As the kids have gotten older we have never hidden this fact from them. They know mum stays home and that I used to have a career as an Accountant. They know that the result of me staying home and educating them is there is less money, less spending money. It is something we are open about and we have chatted about it on numerous occasions. They know school is always an option and that if they wanted to try we would not stop them but they also have lots of friends in school and they have a fairly good understanding of what school entails. They realize being home means they get to spend a lot of time following their own interests. They know I am always here, if it is a hug, a question or just someone to read with. But they also know that means holiday time is mostly us having dad at home doing day trips or having family come and visit us. And they know we will provide what they need but there is not going to be a surplus for excess items.
Last Year we had a chat – Would they rather have the extra money but be in school or do they want to continue at home with me ? And without any prompting they both declared home. Both kids have already realized that possessions do not match the experience they are having, the childhood they are getting to live outweighs all those new toys, and cool holidays. The days they get to spend exploring somewhere new, losing themselves in their latest interest or just spending the day hunting insects or reading book after book.
Yes I would love to give them everything. I would love to be able to home educate and not have to count the pennies or schedule our trips but it is something that we as a family are more than happy to do.
Our biggest cost of home educating is my lost income and the impact that has on our finances but in the grand scheme sacrificing my income to allow the kids the freedom to explore and learn the way they do, for me to be here to help them daily on their sensory journey, for us it is totally worth it.