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Is Public School Cheaper than Homeschooling?

I remember the first time I met a homeschool family. I thought they were nuts. This was for a variety of reasons, but one of them being the fact that they would PAY to homeschool their kids. I wondered why people would pay to educate their kids when they could send them to the nearby public school for FREE. It made no sense.

Fast forward a few years, and my oldest was in public school preschool. I realized early on that public school was FAR from free. In fact, I doubt that public school is cheaper than homeschooling.  Let’s take a look at some of what I had to spend when my daughter attended public school.

Is public school cheaper than homeschooling? Let's break down the expenses of homeschooling vs. the cost of public school.

School Fundraisers

Nothing irks me more than a school fundraiser. I honestly think they should be banned. Schools are given budgets. Just like we are. A child should not have to sell overpriced merchandise so they can go on a field trip, have a new playground, or some other random “experience”.

School fundraisers cost parents AND kids. If parents don’t sell the items their kids are left out. If they do then they know they are selling items that cost twice as much as they would in the store. Oftentimes schools offer a buyout option for the parents. This ranges from $25-100 in the cases I know of.  Parents with multiple children would have to pay that amount by the umber of children they have.

Homeschooling: NONE

Savings: $25 minimum per child (even if I didn’t do they buyout I’d purchase something from each child) $75 a year

Snacks and Other Donations

Every single week that my child was in public school she came home with a list of items that the school desperately needed. This list included snacks, juice boxes, hand sanitizing wipes, cleaning solutions, paper towels, napkins and other miscellaneous items. It was a normal occurrence to spend $50 a month donating supplies to the school. After all, no one wants to be the parent who doesn’t care right?

Homeschooling: Normal household budget

Savings $50 a month or $450 a year

Keeping Up with the Jones’

Back to School shopping. It is a time of year that public school parents dread. The one year my daughter attended public school I shelled out a couple hundred dollars easy just buying clothes to make her “acceptable” for the Jones’. That isn’t counting the new things she “had” to have because her friends had them.

Homeschooling: A few new items per child each year as they need them. They still fit in just fine with our homeschool group :)

Savings: I would estimate $600 a year based on the price of an extra $200 a year per child at back to school season.

Gas Money

My daughter attending public school was a HUGE hit on my gas budget. Yes, she could’ve ridden the bus, but that required her leaving 30 minutes earlier and getting home an hour later each day. So, I drove back and forth every day. This easily added another $100 a month to my gas budget. I am basing that on $5 a day at $5 days a week.

Homeschooling: No school transportation needed. However, we do probably spend around $25 a month driving to co-op and/or field trips.

Savings= $75 a month

School Supplies 

Most parents whose kids go to public school complain each year about the school supply lists. They get crazier and crazier each year. I have heard on average, that parents spend $50-100 per child JUST on must-have school supplies. This list includes many household items like tissues and baby wipes, as well as name brand school supplies, a certain type of backpack, binders and other items.

Homeschooling: I spend around $100 a year for all three kids. This includes notebooks, crayons, glue, and other items we need and lasts us all year.

Savings: $50-200 based on three kids and depending on what the school required.


Homeschooling does require you to purchase homeschool curriculum. However, many families still find ways to homeschool for free. The library offers many valuable resources. Also, many homeschool families are happy to sell their used curriculum or even give it away. Homeschooling CAN be affordable depending on what you want to spend.

However, this post is based on my experience on homeschooling vs. public school. I budget each year for $200 per child, so a total of $600. I have found that the bulk of that budget goes towards the oldest children because I normally only have to buy consumables for the younger ones. Many families spend more than that each year, and some spend less. Buying used, and reusing curriculum has helped us keep the price down.

So, is public school cheaper than homeschooling? 





Homeschooling Public School
School donations


0 $450


$225 $900


0 $600
School supplies


$100 $200
School Fundraisers 0 $75
 Curriculum $600 0
 Total $925 $2225

Now, I am not including things on this list like field trips (because we still do those), school lunches (because we still have to feed our kids).  But, even if I did, I still believe that for most families homeschooling would come in at or below the cost of the FREE public school.

If the cost of homeschooling has kept you from giving it a shot, I encourage you to truly count the cost. Chances are, for most families, public school is NOT cheaper than homeschooling.  Don’t believe me? Check out these other posts on the same topic:

Misty Bailey planned on being a public school teacher, not a work at home, homeschool mom to three. But in 2009 God changed her plans!  She now LOVES helping and encouraging new homeschoolers, and sharing everyday tips and encouragement on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Bazooka Ball

NEW IN 2017!

Bazooka Ball is active sport that is fun & exciting! Bazooka Ball is great for team work. Children learn to work as a team, work within pairs, and help build self-esteem while having a blast! Children must be ages 7 and up and a signed waiver is required. Bazooka Ball has a nominal fee to participate and children play first-come, first-serve.

Bazooka Ball is located at the back of the Southeast Homeschool Expo. To access, children must be accompanied by adult with a complete registration to the Expo.

Jenny L. Cote – Epic Order of the Seven

Award-winning author and speaker Jenny L. Cote, who developed an early passion for God, history, and young people, beautifully blends these three passions in her two fantasy fiction series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz® and Epic Order of the Seven®. Likened to C. S. Lewis by readers and book reviewers alike, she speaks on creative writing to schools, universities, and conferences around the world. Jenny is excited about making history fun for kids of all ages, instilling in them a desire to discover their part in HIStory.

Tutor Doctor

Tutor Doctor is the leader in providing affordable one-on-one tutoring to students of all ages. We offer in-home tutoring and help students in all subjects, including math, language arts, science, foreign languages, and more. In addition, we have highly successful test preparation tutors and Study Skills programs.

The Benefits of a Boxed Curriculum

Homeschooling is full of choices, you choose why you homeschool, you choose how you are going to homeschool, choose a schedule, and then you choose a curriculum. The curriculum choice is one that many second guess themselves on. It is such a HUGE choice to make.

We have looked at curriculum choices here before, but today I want to take a look at boxed curriculums. In some homeschooling circles, boxed curriculum gets a bad rap, in other circles people love it, and that’s how it goes. Most LOVE it or HATE it.

I have been on both sides of the fence, and after taking 2 years off, am back to a boxed curriculum. I have found there are many benefits of a boxed curriculum, and you may too!

In homeschooling circles many will love or hate a boxed curriculum. However, there are many benefits of a boxed curriculum.

Ease of Use

Boxed curriculums are literally open and go. There is little to no prep work required by mom. Some planning may be needed depending on which option you choose. However, most boxed curriculums include teachers guides’ with lessons planned out for you. They also include all five subjects and in some cases even your electives.

Choices are made for you

Not sure what math to use? Boxed curriculums tend to come with a math. Does grammar have you down? Don’t worry! Boxed curriculums can choose that for you as well. If you are on the fence and overwhelmed at all the choices out there, a boxed curriculum can help make the decision for you. So, you don’t have to!

Still Flexible

Many boxed curriculums are still flexible, so while they may recommend a certain math or grammar, you can easily substitute your own. This means that if you choose a boxed curriculum and a particular subject doesn’t fit your child, you can swap it out for something else. You aren’t necessarily “tied” to the box.

Teaches to multi ages

Boxed curriculums tend to teach to multi-ages. Some may span all the ages of your children, some may allow you to combine one or two of your children. Regardless, most boxed curricula DOES allow you to teach to multi-ages. This makes it easier for mom because all children can be taught together regardless of their ages.

One supplier

When you use a boxed curriculum you get your entire curriculum in one spot. This means one purchase, one “box day” and less stress as to whether or not you have ordered everything you need. With a boxed curriculum gone are the days of shopping multiple curriculum suppliers and scanning retailers for sales and discounts. One purchase. One curriculum company. Your shopping is done!

Boxed curriculums can be a huge benefit to new homeschoolers. The ease of it being open and go and having everything in one place makes it super easy for a new homeschooler who is overwhelmed. As a work at home mom, I have also found it to ease my mind as I have little to no time for planning ahead.

Boxed curriculums aren’t for everyone, but if you are considering one, I encourage you to check out these companies.

Heart of Dakota

My Fathers World




Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


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