A real-life friend and fellow blogger Katie over at Outside the Box (hubby and I chatted today about how we are living very much outside the box but that's another story!) did a brilliant blog post about the economics of home educating which I found fascinating, so when she suggested we do our own post about it I thought it was an interesting idea so here is our own version:
We have been home educating now since January 2008, having made the decision in October 2007 to home educate after reading an article in the Sunday papers. Back then Bailey was 9, Piper 7, Cordelia 5 and Ruben 4. I have been a SAHM since Bailey was born, having had him at 17 I was at college before he was born studying English and Law. Hubby and I both decided it was important one of us was at home as we didn't want other people bringing up our children. Therefore its hard to compare a salary before children for me because I didn't have one. With four children in five and a half years it would have been very expensive in childcare. In fact I'm not sure whatever I did would have been able to pay for that much in nursery fees!! And being with my children has been beyond priceless anyway.
School uniform wise, now with Cordelia entering her first year at Secondary school that would mean three children in Secondary school. At a rough estimate using the school uniform website for our local comp I'd say it would be at least £285 each, so that's £855. Ruben's uniform costs would be around £150. Grand total £1005. School trips would inflate that price hugely for 4 children. I'd estimate at least £100+ for minimum school day trips not including residential visits which can cost as much as a family holiday. Not to mention that we'd still have to buy clothes/shoes on top for weekends/holidays etc...
Our holiday accommodation this year in September has cost around £450 for two weeks for the two weeks before it is £2018 so that's a saving of over £1500! We simply would not be going away in the school holidays but given how difficult it is to have holidays term time that would possibly mean no holidays...
Food wise, school dinners would cost around £2 per child per day so that's £40 a week but I spend around £100-150 a week on food anyway so probably no difference there.
As for resources we pay £36 a year for our NT home ed membership, we had IXL maths for a few months at a cost of £15 a month but have cancelled recently. We use bbc schools website for maths, there are lots of free sites though. We bought a years membership for the royal palaces which cost £86. Sports, the younger two have started climbing which is £9 each per month. Horse riding costs £50 a month for two lessons. Both of which I think we'd be doing even if they were at school.
Books wise, we use the library A LOT, we do buy lots of second hand books and the occasional new books but think this would be the same if the children were in school.
I think we probably spend more on petrol simply because we do go out a lot during the week, that and food costs are probably higher than if the children were at school.
Maybe if the children were at school we would need to spend more on "branded" clothing/footwear, its not something that our children are really bothered about tbh but then neither are most of their other HE friends so that probably helps too.
As hubby and I chatted in the car today on the way to Newark we talked about how things that are important to us such as quality family time together are worth not having more material things. Since hubby left full time employment back in April to start up our business we have had to be more careful with money but we both agree that being home together with the children and spending time as a family is afr more important than us having two cars etc. Hubby worked away frequently in his job before which none of us enjoyed and it is so lovely having him at home every day, no amount of money would make me change my mind.
I like that our time is spent as a family and with the children, there are no panics about how will have the children for the 6 week holidays or working out what to do when one of the children is unwell. I don't think I have ever relied upon any family member to look after our children. When any of them has been unwell I have been there.
Home educating four children is a full-time job, its not for everybody and its not always easy. I rarely have much time to myself or even go out by myself but then I didn't want/have four children thinking that would be the case either. I love our life, I love how close the children are to their siblings, how they are having the chance to enjoy their childhood, how they are finding their own paths/journeys without pressure and how they are being allowed to grow up with confidence in a very happy home. All of that is priceless.