In looking around (and being a bit behind the curve — ‘life’ sneaks up andÂ does that to you), I see that Daryl already blogged the article Google found for me.Â I mention it here becauseÂ it deserves whatever the blogosphere can come up with.Â
- BestSyndication.com, 13 August 2006,Â Home Schooling – How to finance HomeschoolÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
At Daryl’s, one of his commenters said it looked as if this article was taken from another one, and indeed it seems that way.Â Because of this, the one (above) that appeared in the Google alert isn’t worth fisking.Â Â Doing that would be like dynamiting fish … in a barrel.
The second is more blog-worthy.
- Bankrate.com, North Palm Beach, Florida, 9 November 2004, Adding up the cost of home schoolingÂ Â Â Â
This original article provides a much more reasoned analysis of the costs of homeschooling than the cheap knockoff version, but the downsides are still overdone.
- 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.
Other than that first year with the packaged curriculum, we didn’t use textbooks, our “library of other learning materials” was already well under way long before homeschooling came to our attention, andÂ our “computing equipment” collection also began before ourÂ homeschooling.Â Even if we did upgrade during our homeschooling years, it isn’t as if we would still be using that Commodore 64 if we hadn’t homeschooled.Â
As for “ergonomically designed furniture,” what is that about?Â Desks?Â Like the missing textbooks, we didn’t use them.Â We used (and still have) a particle board table with metal legs that we bought from Ikea.Â No big deal.Â We got chairs from the Thrift Shop. Â And as for additional “light, heat and air conditioning,” oh, come on.Â How many working people let the house go cold in the winter just because they’re not in it?
- He also points out that families with more than three children almost universally give up on home schooling and opt instead for public schools.
The rest of the “Adding up the cost”Â article does give a balanced look at what some homeschooling families do (no, I don’t include the public-school-at-home stuff as a homeschool-solution), but no matter how you look at it, if you have kids, you’re going to spend money.Â If they’re in school, you spend the money on school trips, gym shoes, backpacks,Â lunch boxes, combination-locks,Â specific notebooks, specific erasers,Â boxes of tissues, user-fees for activities, andÂ (many more) fashionable clothes — or uniforms that kids won’t wear anywhere else, plus a larger variety ofÂ outerwear.Â
- Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California, 10 August 2006, Back-to-school shopping: A study in cost of fitting inÂ Â Â Â
Back-to-school shopping will cost the average family about $527 this summer, according to the National Retail Federation. Overall, Americans are expected to spend $17.6 billion on school-related items.Â Â Â
…Â Â Â Â
Not everyone can afford to start school with a new Juicy Couture wardrobe. But one or two trendy items — which sometimes cost no more than less-cool alternatives — can help kids get through the day, said one longtime educator.Â Â
“School culture is cruel. Kids are truly fearful they’re going to be picked on. Parents forget this,” said Ava de la Sota, a safe-school specialist at Seeds University Elementary School, a laboratory school at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
If people don’t spend a lot of money on ‘back to school,’ why are states proclaiming tax holidaysÂ for school supplies?Â It’s a big marketing ploy around here.
So, do families spend money on homeschooling?Â Of course they do.Â Most things worth doing cost something, and homeschooling is no exception.Â The pots you put the ‘homeschoolingÂ money’ into are probably a little different than theÂ pots you put them into for mass-schooling, but you put the money in them either way.Â
If money is your hang-up, don’t have kids.Â They’re expensive.
Oh, and about that lost second income?Â Some of us decided (long before we heard about homeschooling) that the cost of the second job in terms of money andÂ stress on the familyÂ wasn’t worth what it brought in.Â If we’d stuck with the job, yes, we would have eventually been making ‘real money,’ but at what cost?Â Been there, done that.Â Working away from the familyÂ fits some folks,Â but notÂ others.Â Why the emphasis, again, on homogenizing the people of theÂ nation (everyone, everywhere works)?Â If we wanted to be like everyone else, do you think we’d homeschool?