The Cost Of Homeschooling:
Is It More Expensive Than School?

So which costs more: homeschooling or sending your child to school? To find out, I asked my 19,000 Facebook fans to share their experience.

Cost of home schooling

What you'll find is that, to a large extent, the cost of homeschooling is similar to all lifestyle choices.

The amount you spend comes down to your own priorities, how much you want to spend and how tight your overall budget is.

Drawing of a rocket car

My son William’s drawing of a fancy rocket-propelled car illustrates the point beautifully.

Who wouldn’t want to own a car like that?

Our real version has done over 100,000 miles, is 12 years old and has lichen growing round the window seals. But we still get reliably from A to B.

So far anyway!

What more do you need?

"Private school was way more costly for us!! Homeschooling needn’t cost a lot of money at all. Fancy curriculums usually are the reason it goes up in my experience."

~ Heidi, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

And that's a very important point.

There are plenty of brilliant free on-line homeschooling resources for you to use to teach your child right through high school.

To prove the point, this infographic features the best free educational websites so you can see for yourself that teaching your child at home doesn't have to cost much - and is also far more effective and successful.

Free Online homeschooling

Which Costs More: Homeschooling Or Sending Your Child To School?

Quote marks

"For us it's public school. Honestly. My kid carried her lunch and we had to provide our own snacks so that's a draw but my curriculum is less than the fundraiser fees that were pretty well mandatory.

I buy supplies as we need them instead of having a set list that ended up being returned because they never used it or they changed it from class to class so my supply list is much less. And that doesn't mention school clothes.

What it does cost more of, my time."

~ Eva, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

"We've done Private, Public and now, homeschooling. Private for us was most expensive, almost $10K, plus uniforms, plus supplies, other fees not included in tuition, the gas to get there, come home, go back pick-up and come back home.

I can't put a price tag on homeschooling though, my children are my everything. As parents, we don't get very much time with them before they become adults. I want to be a sponge, very much like they are and soak up as much time with them as possible. You just can't put a price tag on that."

~Kim, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

What Are The Costs of Public School?

It's easy to forget what you have to pay if your child goes to public school:

"Public school was way more. New dress code conforming clothes and shoes every few months, fundraisers, class parties, constantly supplying things like paper towels/wipes/etc, lunch money or sending lunch daily, new backpacks, gas money or bus money, after school care.

Not to mention the emotional toll it took fighting every single morning to get them out of bed at 530am so we could get breakfast, dressed, to school and parked by 730 because school started at 8 and they had to be there by 745. They had to be walked to the classroom every morning and picked up in person every afternoon. It was a nightmare."

~ Lindsey, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

Beba goes on to give even more detail:

"For me school cost more and stressed me more. Public school is not free.

  • You have to buy a list of supplies at the beginning of the year for around $100-$150.
  • Every week they ask for something else, you have to budget at least $10 more a week to be covered.
  • Lunch if you child doesn’t bring from home $3-$6 a day.
  • Shows $500 each for participation.
  • Rental of chorus uniform $89 per year.
  • Locker $50 a year.
  • If they participate on any program (like theater) that's $150 per participation plus they expect your child to help with fundraising.
  • If they compete local, state or national is another $$$ depending on where they go, stay, clothes and food. Being a chaperone also costs money because you have to pay for you too.
  • Fieldtrips $$$( my son went out state that was $1,300) just for that fieldtrip.
  • Gasoline to take and pickup my son to school, 2 hours a day = $$ to me wasted waiting on the school line for him to get out.
  • Donations that they always ask for.

Yearly we budget $2,500 -$3,000 for my son to go public school and always we had to put more money to be covered. I'm talking Middle school and High School.

~ Beba, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

If you look at the research into homeschooling, you’ll see something fascinating.

home schooling research

So you don't have to spend loads to make sure your child does well at home.

To a large extent, the homeschooling cost is as little or as much as you like.

And, of course, you don't have to pay all the bills you would if your child went to school like school supplies, field trips, special programs or other "extras."

Nonetheless, you need to know which bills are the ones you can’t escape.

And there is one inescapable budgetary deficit.

My husband Rob and I are living on one income.

Most homeschool parents choose to have one person at home with the children, though obviously that could be both partners working part-time.

However, that just goes to prove you can homeschool on a low income because thousands of people are doing it already.

The Cost Of Homeschooling: What You Have To Pay

stack of coins

These are the basics you can’t escape:

  • Higher home energy bills.
  • A computer (almost obligatory these days).
  • Membership of national homeschool organisations.
  • Legal association dues (US only).
  • Travel to and from homeschool groups plus a contribution to cover hall hire etc.
  • Entrance costs for educational visits to castles, museums, parks, zoos etc.
  • Cost of educational sessions run by outside organisations.
  • Stationery and, particularly, craft materials (my weakness!)

In addition, in the UK one essential cost you’ll face is if you decide to enter your child for High School exams (GCSE, IGCSE, A/As, Open University etc.)

The cost per GCSE/IGCSE varies. The average price seems to be about £160 per subject, though it depends on the exam center and you can pay half or double that depending on the school.

You also have to pay the exam centre, which costs on average £40 per exam.

It's probably best to budget £150-200 per subject for exam costs and if you find it cheaper, that's a bonus. You may also need to factor in travel costs, depending on where you live.

There's no doubt some families do find homeschooling costs more. But listen to Beth:

"Homeschooling is more expensive, hands down. But any money spent in doing so is a small price to pay for knowing your children are safe. For knowing what they're learning everyday. Prolonging their innocence and making their childhood last longer."

~ Beth, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

Other Costs

piggy bank

These will vary according to how you choose to homeschool:

  • Curriculum course fees (can be very expensive)
  • Tuition fees for specific subjects
  • Workbooks and Textbooks
  • Educational software

Finally, there’s the cost all parents incur to a greater or lesser degree:

  1. BOOKS to encourage your child’s interests - in our case anything from Asterix to astronomy.
  2. Educational activity kits and toys (blast-off bottle rockets are a favourite as well as an electronics kit and the super-inventive Lego.)
  3. Microscopes, binoculars, telescopes, sewing machine as appropriate.
  4. The cost of outside activities your child enjoys e.g. swimming, sailing, chess club, drama, tennis lessons, snow boarding…

I would add: the cost for a family pet – but maybe that’s just me!

Seriously, though, in the US:

American homeschool families say the cost of homeschooling is from between $300 and say $3,000 per year.

To give just one example, this is what Beba pays:

"Homeschool: We spend money just on extracurricular classes. Fieldtrips I have a local private group on Facebook and plan fieldtrips usually for free. Extracurricular $200 a month and she takes Acting, Dance, and Singing. Lunch we make at home. Curriculums you can resell and get part of your money back for next school year. Also the community are always giving away curriculum and games etc. to share with other families and you can find resources for free.

We budget around $3,000 a year but always we save more than the half plus our curriculum re-selling. So usually we stay will like $1,200 for next school year. So around $1800 a year."

~ Beba, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

Recent statistics show that:

Costs of homeschooling.

You can see some tips for cutting the cost of homeschooling here, including this great infographic on the best free online educational websites.

All in all you can keep the cost of homeschooling very low and there are ways to make it affordable.

Let's leave the final words to Eden about why sending your child to school is more expensive than any money:

"School costs more time away, it costs exposure to potential harm, it costs shame if kids go at their own pace, it costs kids their individuality/interests as they're forced to fit in with the group."

~ Eden, homeschool-activities Facebook fan

Pages To Enjoy

Click on the picture to go to the page:

Rainforest resource pack
Ocean unit study
Homeschooling ideas resource book

Please note that the book link above is an affiliate link so if you buy I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Love this page? Help me spread the word by sharing...

blue arrow
free homeschool newsletter

FREE Homeschool Newsletter

"Just had a look through your monthly newsletter focusing on math. Thanks so much for all the links and ideas. It's brilliant!" ~ Diana      

"Hi....I totally love all your posts and enjoy reading them....the kids love the activities and enjoy them through and through." ~ Bianka

18,000 Facebook Fans

Enjoy This Page? Please Share It....

Sonya Chappell

Free Newsletter

Homeschool activities monthly newsletter

Homeschool Secrets of Success

Homeschool Secrets of Success
Amazon review
Learn more

"With the education system failing so many brilliant children it's great to be able to have resources like your website for inspiration, ideas and just a sense of belonging. What you are doing for your children is priceless." ~ Natalija

"I really appreciate your time and effort that goes into your posts... It's nice to see that you are a 2nd generation homeschooler." ~ Teresa

"Your newsletters & book have helped us through our journey.  For that I can only thank you.
Please, please, please keep it up, people like you make our home school life so much easier." ~ Kelly

"I have joined paid sites that were not even one percent as great as this site. Really amazing what you are doing and so so helpful thanks so much!" ~ Eli