Saturday, April 08, 2006

More on the cost of homeschooling

My previous post talked about how much you spend on homeschooling. If you haven't already commented, feel free to leave a comment there about how much you spend on homeschooling your family. So far it seems we spend quite a bit less than the $8000 average of the public schools. However, according to an economist we need to hire a better accountant.

Reader Rick provided a link to an econonomics professor who did some investigation and determined the cost of homeschooling to be not much less than the $8000 spent in public school. Here's what Clive Belfield professor at Queen's College in New York factored in:

Belfield's cost-assessment includes up-to-date textbooks and a library of other learning materials, computing equipment, ergonomically designed furniture, additional light, heat and air conditioning, as well as tutors for subjects such as higher-level science and math that parents are least likely to be able to teach.
He forgot to add in the private chef for the lunches too!

Seriously, adding in those types of expenses I could see where he would come up with $8,000. But as far as I can tell, some of those are just the cost of parenting. Or is it just homeschoolers that use heat and run the AC? And don't tell me we use more because we're home all day. My neighbors run their AC and lights even when their gone. And what's up with the erogonimically designed furniture? We call that a couch. I think most homes have those too! (Our last one was purchase at a sale for less than $100 dollars.) I do know some families who join coops for high school but few who hire private tutors. Maybe that's a New York thing. He also includes the cost of getting to and from activities. But again those are costs incurred by all parents and my neighbors with children in school seem to be on the go more not less than our family.

His assessment also included this statement,

that families with more than three children almost universally give up on home shooling and opt instead for public schools. "This suggests that the monitoring and supervisory costs of home schooling are not that low," he says.
I'm not sure that this is universally true. This suggests to me he that his sample for his assessment was way too small.

The article also highlights virtual charters that allow "homeschoolers" to dip into public funds to defray the costs of homeschooling. This is just the sort of thinking that will trap homeschoolers into increased regulation. With government funds come government strings. Better to homeschool on a shoestring than be be tied to the government's purse.

Overall, I don't think this professor's assessment reflects the true cost/benefits of homeschooling which in my not so humble opinion are priceless.

One final note, when my financial planner speaks to families, he encourages them to live life by their convictions not their checkbook. "If you really want to homeschool you'll find a way to make it happen."

Update I: Michelle Malkin's post today makes the cost of homeschooling worth the price. With teachers who show films with obscenities about the president to educate indoctrinate our children, it continually mystifies me why parents are still sending their children to these schools.

Update II: Here's some helpful websites for free or inexpensive materials.
Julie reminds us of the website Free Stuff For Homeschoolers.
Ambleside Online provides a free online curriculum in the style of Charlotte Mason.
Donna Young has lots of free printable resources and organizational helps.
Homeschool Math has free and economically priced math worksheets.
If your learning about the automobile the GMAbility website may be worth looking into.

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