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Have you heard the one about the homeschooling family that lives on less than $22K a year in an area that costs above 100% (116%) of the National CoL Index?

I haven't quite figured out why so many people still persist in perpetuating the myth that living on a single income and homeschooling on a dime aren't possible. I can only suppose these are people who can't imagine life without a daily trip to Starbucks and dinner out several times a week. The people who actually shop at malls (*shudder*) and think "Brand Name = Best". The people who really live by the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality.

That? Would not be us!

Welcome to our world. We cook from scratch. Buy from thrift stores. Find 95% of our homeschool materials for free. This is my blog and this is how we do it.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Cheaper Than Public School.

If you've read my "about me" page, you'll know I homeschool for less than it cost me to send my kids to public school. Since I just invited someone to visit my blog for that very reason, I thought I'd go into more detail.

My kids went to public school for one year. They had to bring everything on their supply lists - including wet wipes and Kleenex (things I never buy), and of course they each had to have a box of crayons, map pencils, folders, rulers and so on. Now, our public school doesn't let you actually keep these supplies. They go into the community bin to be doled out - as needed. This means at the end of the year you get nothing back and have to provide new supplies again at the beginning of the following year. Plus, all through the year we were told this or that ran out and we needed to contribute more.

We didn't just have to pay for field trips themselves,(including one to Build-a-Bear!), we also had to contribute an extra "fee" for transportation costs because the district couldn't afford to just send the buses. These fees were always $10, much more than it costs us in gas to go to the exact same locations ourselves.

Our room moms were constantly sending letters home telling us we needed to contribute $2 - $5 for teacher gifts. As near as I could tell, we apparently needed to shower our teachers with appreciation at least once a month.

Then there were PE uniforms, fundraisers, and extra fees for various clubs, snack contributions, party contributions - because we had to have a huge party for every single holiday, of course - and more.

If you take a look at my "Totally Free Curriculum" links, you'll see how I build my lesson plans from free sources. The only subject not there is math. I happened to luck out and find used Saxon math books and teacher manuals for less than $4 each. I purchased them and have math covered for several years.

We have the same box of crayons I bought three years ago, and my children share. I haven't bought wet-wipes since that one wasted year. I don't have to buy a rainbow assortment of folders, or expensive foam board. No one keeps our scissors or tells us we need to keep buying new markers to replace ones that dried out. I buy notebook paper and spirals in July when Wal-Mart has them for 10 cents a piece, and that's all I've had to buy for a couple of years now. It's not like pencils have a shelf life!

Our food costs are down - it's easier to serve a nutritious, hot meal straight from my kitchen at lunch than to try to provide a boxed/bag one.

We don't have PE uniforms.

We don't have fundraisers that either force us to contribute lots of baked goods or demand we buy terrible-smelling candles or World's Most Gosh Awful Chocolate.

Thanks to the internet - which we'd have regardless of whether we homeschooled or not, so I'm not counting that cost - yes, for us, homeschooling really is cheaper than public school and it can be for any family willing to put in the time and work of building their curriculum themselves.


Anonymous MommaKnows said...

Shouldn't that be World's Most EXPENSIVE Gosh-Awful Chocolate? :D

I hate school fundraisers! Folders that come here go straight to the trash. (I have a couple kids in school & some home, so it comes up from time to time.) And WHO in their RIGHT MIND would pay $25 for a batch of cookie dough they could make for $1.50??
Our costs for the FIRST TWO MONTHS of 7th grade:
PE Uniform $13
Yearbook $15
ASB Card $15 (required to play sports and be in performing choir)
Volleyball pictures $15
Volleyball court shoes $25 on sale
Volleyball shorts $18 (they generously provided a loaned uniform jersey)
Choir pictures $15
School pictures $30/package deal
Required school supplies: $30
All this was after buying SCHOOL CLOTHES.
She's been home now, since February. :)

June 10, 2007 at 2:31 AM  
Blogger Daryl Cobranchi said...

Can I surmise that the kids do their lessons au natural? :-)

June 10, 2007 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

mommaknows: Oi! Yes, I should've included "expensive" in that title! That horrible chocolate! And looking at your list reminded me of *other* expenses I'd forgotten about.

daryl: LOL! Um, sometimes it sure is hot enough here that I think we'd all be happier in our bathing suits if nothing else, but no, my kids aren't - *ahem* - naturalists! Guess you didn't read my garage sale post. ;)

June 10, 2007 at 6:18 PM  

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