Curious about what your homeschool expenses might be for your first year of homeschooling?
Take a detailed look into our first-year homeschool expenses to get a feel for the money you could be spending as a homeschooling family.
I have read that the average homeschooling family spends, on average, $700 per child on homeschool expenses. We have two children and “on average” we spent more than that.
I am going to not only show you the how much, but also the what for, and the “if I had only known” savings tips.
I am not sure how the “average homeschooler” divides their costs, but I have split the details of our homeschool expenses into 5 categories:
- Field Trips
- General School Supplies
- Activity Supplies
- Reference/Resource material
Keep reading to find details of real-life homeschool costs and must know tips for saving money on these items!
Drum Roll Please…. Total Homeschool Expenses For Year One
With two children, our total cost was……… $1,771. 😮
Okay, okay….before you freak out, please let me break that number down. Am I allowed to say that I was a little shocked when I saw total?
Homeschool Expenses By Category
|Year One Total Expenses||$1771|
|Resource and Reference Material||$100|
Curriculum Expense Details
So how did I spend $544 in curriculum costs?
Below is a table, sorted by grade, that includes every piece of curriculum that I invested in for our 2017-18 school year. I do not want to bore you, but I really wanted to show you ALL of the details of where the money was spent.
|Resource Title||Which Student||Note|
|School Zone - Beginning Reading Grades 1-2||Pre-K ||Future Use|
|Bob Books: Set 1||Pre-K|
|School Zone - Reading Readiness K-1||Pre-K|
|School Zone - Manuscript Writing K-2||Pre-K||Future Use|
|School Zone - Kindergarten Super Scholar||Pre-K|
|School Zone - Big Workbook Alphabet - Ages 3-5 (P)||Pre-K|
|School Zone - Big Preschool Ages 3-5||Pre-K|
|The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading||Pre-K|
|Mudpies to Magnets: A Pre-K Science Curriculum||Pre-K||Did Not Use|
|Handwriting w/o Tears: My First School Book |
Pre-K Activity Book
|Pre-K||Did Not Use|
|Dot to Dot Workbook #s 1-20||Pre-K|
|DK K Math Made Easy||Pre-K|
|Book of Crafts for Kindergarten||Pre-K||Did Not Use|
|Usborne Architect Academy||Pre-K||Did Not Use|
|Usborne Story of Astronomy and Space||Both|
|DK First Human Body Encyclopedia||Both|
|Story of the World Textbook |
HB - Vol 1
|Story of the World|
Activity Book - Vol 1
|Bible Study Guide for All Ages - Unit 1||Both||Did Not Use|
|Animal Science Book||Both|
|365 Days of Science Experiments||Both||Did Not Use|
|Usborne Coding for Beginners Using Python||3rd||Did Not Use|
|MCP Spelling Workout 2001 Homeschool Bundle C (Teacher & Student)||3rd|
|Math Mammoth Grades 1-7||3rd|
|Our World Workbook: Space and the Solar System||3rd|
|First Language Lessons Level 3 Instruc. Guide||3rd|
|First Lang Lessons Well-Trained Mind L3 Wrkbk||3rd|
|More Mudpies to Magnets||3rd|
**Note: This is a complete list of what I purchased, some of these items were never used.
How can you save on curriculum expenses?
I spent $125 on curriculum items that we never used and that we will not use in the future. Learn from my mistakes…..
I could have avoided making these purchases by simply following these simple rules:
- Buy Used Materials
- Find used material at significantly reduced cost on eBay or at local homeschool group used curriculum fairs.
- Avoid impulse purchases
- Consider and plan how you are going to implement the curriculum before you purchase it.
- Preview material and look for notes about additional guides or supplies needed
- Read the preview, reviews, and additional information to avoid making a purchase for what you think is a stand-alone product, but actually requires additional resources to implement.
- Be realistic about what you can complete
- It is easier to add material as you go along rather than feel guilty about dropping a curriculum item.
- If a curriculum is working, don’t purchase additional items just because they look “pretty.”
- Make sure it is age appropriate.
Field Trip Expense Details
Our total field trip expense of $554 tops our curriculum total. Why?
Field trips align with our homeschool goals. We want our kids to learn by experiences and we want to make awesome memories while they are at home with us.
So where all did we go this school year?
- Live Charlie Brown Christmas Tour
- 2017 Solar Eclipse
- 2018 Lunar Eclipse
- NASA – Houston
- Houston Zoo
- Kansas City Zoo
- Houston Children’s Museum
- Local Children’s Museum
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
- Houston Aquarium
- Local Farm and Pumpkin Patch
- Trampoline Park
- Local State Zoo
- Local Parks
**Note: The total expense includes only the basic cost of entry fees and tickets, this does not include our actual travel (hotel, gas, food) cost.
How much could I have saved?
We could have spent nothing in this category if we did not have the budget for it or if it did not align with our goals.
However, I don’t regret or feel we wasted any purchase we made in this category. We love field trips!
As a homeschool parent, you have the luxury of deciding how much you spend on field trips.
Supply Cost Details
As homeschool converts, I was super excited to not hand over supply fees or spend time shopping for the traditional school supply list. 😄
But even though we avoided the traditional school supply list and supply fees, we still managed to spend $230. How you might ask…… well, below is a list of what $230 got us.
Note that most of these items are simply one time purchases and things you may possibly already have around your house. For a full list of items to consider for your new homeschool check out Must-Have Homeschool Supplies.
|Card Stock Paper||Glue|
|World & US Maps||Labels|
|Fun Craft Supplies||Markers|
|Notebook Paper||White Out|
|Electric Pencil Sharpener||Paper Cutter|
|Printer Paper||Wall Putty|
|Double Sided |
Chalk & White Board
How much could I have saved?
The only item that I purchased that we never used was the abacus, for $11. However, could I have saved money by watching sale papers or shopping at a discount store? Probably, but I did the best I could at the time.
Tips for Saving on Homeschool Supplies
- Purchase items at your local Dollar Store (everything is $1) when possible.
- Purchase basic school supplies when they go on sale at the traditional “Back to School” sales.
- Flag larger purchase items on your Amazon wishlist with a price tracker app like Honey.
Special Activity Supply Details
So what are special activity supplies? The supplies needed for all activities, costs, or projects outside of the curriculum worktexts and basic school supplies.
The majority of the $343 that we spent was for supplies to complete activities from our Story of the World Activity book.
Please understand that you can spend as much or as little as you want on special activities. As a homeschool parent, you control your budget and your priorities, so you get to decide where the money goes!
Because this was our first year homeschooling, and I am not really the crafty kind, we didn’t have many craft supplies on hand. So we were kind of starting from scratch. If you are the crafty kind, you could totally already have the items you need.
We took every opportunity to have fun in history with food, so a good bit of activity money was spent on food. Check out the picture from our Celtic Feast! Too bad we did not capture our messy hands and faces when we were done. 😝
To sum it up though, below is a table to show where all the activity supply money went.
|End Of Year Show Off|
|Story of the World|
History Activity Materials
|Homeschool Group Activity/Outreach||$40|
|Lost Library Book||$18|
How much could I have saved?
I spent about $35 on puzzle activities that we used only 1-2 times, and the $18 lost library book…. I am pretty sure my daughter had to reimburse us for that one….
But otherwise, I was happy with the supplies that we bought. However, just like with the basic school supplies, I could have probably saved by being a smarter shopper.
I did purchase the majority of supplies at our dollar store, but there were times when I waited until the last minute and instead shopped at Michael’s for convenience.
Tips for Saving:
- Realistically think about how your kids will use the item(s).
- Consider if the item(s) really has educational value.
- Resist the cutesy items at Target dollar bin unless you will truly use them over and over again!
- Plan ahead and purchase items on sale.
Resource & Reference Material Expense Details
Last but not least, the beginning of our homeschool library. These are the items that I invested in for this school year for reference books for the kids and for myself.
- The Well Trained Mind
- 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum
- Children’s Dictionary
- Day Designer for Blue Sky 2017-2018 Academic Year Daily & Monthly Planner
How much could I have saved?
The largest homeschool expense in this category was actually on a planner ($30) that I ended up not even using. 😞
This was a BEAUTIFUL planner that I just knew was going to make all the difference in our homeschool. It would allow me to plan out our days by the hour and keep track of everything we had to do. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a beautiful planner that sat on the shelf mocking me because realistically it just did not work for us. Sometimes, we might just have to learn the hard way how we could have saved.
For Major Savings on Reference Material Apply this Handy Tip :
- Purchase Used Books
- Homeschool Group Used Book Fairs
- “Hand Me Downs” from other Homeschool Friends
Real Life Homeschool Expenses Year One
As Eclectic homeschoolers, in our first year, we spent nearly $1,800 on our homeschool expenses. However, nearly half of that was for field trips and activity supplies. This was completely in line with our homeschool goals.
The average homeschool spends around $700 per child per year.
You can spend AS MUCH or AS LITTLE as YOU CHOSE!
Your homeschool is your homeschool and you get to decide your curriculum and your budget. The vast world of homeschool will welcome you and offer you a multitude of resources for free AND try to sell you a nice stack of resources for hundreds of dollars. Either way, it is your choice.
I have shared a look into our first year to give you an idea of what real life homeschool expenses can look like. This does not mean that the costs will be the same for you.
Know your goals and what is important to you and your kids. Then when it comes to spending money on your homeschool, you will know what feels right.
If you are new to homeschooling or just considering it, you may also enjoy:
- 10 Fundamental Questions to Ask Before Homeschooling
- Should I Homeschool: Our Homeschool Decision Story
- Why Not Consider Year-Round Homeschooling?
- 8 Must Watch Homeschooling TED Talks
- New to Homeschool: Making Sense of Homeschooling Styles
- A Week in an Eclectic Homeschool