The Cost of Interest-Led Homeschooling

We are getting ready to enter our fourth year of homeschooling (um, how did that happen?) and I've been lesson planning (with Agent help) the last few days. 

One thing I've been thinking about as I plot and plan is how little money we've actually spent on homeschooling materials for the Agents

I looked back on our notes for the last three years (kindergarten, first grade, and second grade for Agent E, and kindergarten for Agent J) and did a little calculating. 

Of course, we've also had to pay for three portfolio evaluations so far. (We did not need to do one at the end of Agent E's kindergarten year, because we were living overseas at the time. So, just first and second grades for E and kindergarten for J.) At approximately $40 each, that is by far our biggest home education expense.

But, for the purposes of this post, I'm thinking in terms of curriculum. supplies. stuff.

I don't count things we would have paid for anyway, regardless of whether or not they attended public school. So, we would still own a nice printer, we would still have gotten a zoo membership, we would still have Internet access, we would still travel, we would still buy too many art supplies at The Target.

Reading-for-pleasure books, something we might pick up for the Agents for a birthday or Christmas present or at a used book sale, are also not added in here, because while they may read them during the school day or even use one of them in their "studies" (e.g., reading a historical fiction book about a girl living in 1812 while we're studying the war of 1812), they aren't purchased specifically for that purpose.

This year I bought both girls nice bound journals as well, but again, that is something they would have wanted even if they weren't homeschooling. (And something their Writer Momma loves to encourage, so, win.)

I also don't include the cost of paper (even though we print a lot around here) because I had a ton left over from my work-at-home days and we're still using that stash. (In my pre-Momma life I worked as a copyeditor—editing, layout, and source checks for textbooks and academic journals—for several years, including some time freelancing from home.)

Our house also contains approximately one million random pens and pencils, so no new expenses there.

So, that leaves only purchases made for no other reason except we're using it for something specific in our homeschooling.

Here's what I came up with:

Kindergarten for Agent E
Nothing, zero, nada. We did not incur any extra costs this year.

Total so far: $0

First Grade for Agent E
We used four workbooks (space, dinosaurs, and two on the United States) this year. They were $1 each. (Love the Target dollar section in late July and August!) We also used one of those comprehensive first grade workbooks that includes a variety of sections on math, writing, science, etc., but it was a gift.

Total so far: $4

Second Grade for Agent E
This year we purchased several workbooks. (Agent E likes to have something in front of her, something tangible to look at. She is definitely a workbook gal.) We used three math workbooks (this 3rd grade one from Amazon for $3.50, plus individual multiplication and division workbooks for $1 each), two animal books ($1 each), a book of science experiments ($1), a workbook on world landmarks ($1), and a workbook about the presidents ($1).

We used a few "mini fact books" I couldn't pass up because hello! sale! (e.g., 50 states, presidents) and some flash cards (because she's into that sort of thing) for a total of $6.

Total so far: $20.50

Kindergarten for Agent J
We didn't purchase anything specific for her this year.

Total so far: $20.50

Both girls enjoyed the Liberty's Kids DVD collection (four-disc set about the American Revolution), which we found on Amazon for $6.

Total so far: $26.50

(I should add here that we also bought the complete Little Pim Spanish collection ($120 on sale), and technically we did study Spanish for a bit, but that was a Christmas present, so I'm not counting it.)

Somewhere along the way I also added some expandable folders ($4). We use binders, too, but we had those already.

Grand total: $30.50

So we're looking at $30.50 for the first three years, or an average of just over $10 per year.

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