There are (at least) two reasons a person might believe that they can’t afford to homeschool – the cost of materials and the necessity of having two incomes.
First, let me address the latter reason.
My husband and I both work. He works “regular” business weekday hours at an office. I am a nurse, and I work nights. One of us is pretty much always available to be at home (or on the go) with the kids. Shift work is not just for nurses, either – there are many other jobs with second- and third-shift schedules, from retail to factories to lots of other, non-medical healthcare positions. There are many online jobs available these days, as well. If you’re creatively inclined, you could always open an etsy shop to showcase your wares. And there’s always domestic jobs like babysitting, house cleaning, being someone’s personal shopper, etc.
So, if you MUST work, there are options for continuing to work while homeschooling. Remember that one of the perks of homeschooling is that you can flex the schedule to meet your family’s needs. If your work schedule dictates that you need to teach your kids in the afternoons or evenings – as long as the kids aren’t tired, who says you can’t?
You might want to re-think your “need” to work as well. What can you live without? Cable? A land line? A second car? Fast food? Even for the things that you can’t cut out completely, you can usually negotiate a better deal. Like car insurance, for example. Shop around, find better rates, and then try going back to your insurer and asking them to drop your insurance rates if they want to retain your business. Maybe you won’t cut out the need to work completely, but if you try hard enough, I bet there’s a chance you could at least cut down to part-time.
Can you save on grocery costs through sales, budget-friendly meal planning and coupons? What about buying necessities in bulk? What about switching to store-brand food? And how about no-frills, bargain grocery stores like Aldi?
You can enlist your kids in your penny-pinching ways, too. Not only does it teach them to be a good steward of their money, you can turn it into a school lesson. I am planning to take Gabriel to the grocery store with me soon and let him figure out and compare unit prices for a variety of items.
Homeschooling itself can be a money-saver. There’s no need for expensive school wardrobes, endless school equipment and supplies fees, school lunch costs, daycare costs, etc.
As for the cost of curriculum and school supplies, if you don’t mind investing some time and elbow grease, you can homeschool for nearly free. I could write all about it, but there’s already some good articles and links to resources out there:
Truly Free K-12 Homeschooling
Easy Peasy – All in One Homeschool
Ambleside Online – Free Charlotte Mason Homeschooling
I understand that many families need two incomes – ours does. But if you can be creative and flexible, you can still homeschool your kids. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth it. Pray and ask God to give your family wisdom, direction and provision in this area and He will not disappoint.
Finally, when considering whether you can afford to homeschool, you have to ask yourself one question: what do you want to invest in?