One of the odd things about home education is how many myths surround it. For example, there is often this theory that only the rich can do it, that it’s out of reach of ordinary families as they can’t afford for one parent not to work. In my experience that’s just not true, though certainly life was more luxurious with one child and two salaries 😉
The thing is that much of home education can be done on a budget. And as with everything in life, it depends on your priorities. When we both worked and the then two children were in Montessori school *that* was costing us a fortune. Prior to the school, childcare for Big as a baby and toddler took a very sizeable chunk out of my wage. No call for childcare means that those wages aren’t missed quite so much.
School, even state school, comes with overheads that home education doesn’t. There’s no uniform list for children at home, no expensive PE kit that all needs labels so that it doesn’t disappear. We don’t have to fork out for school trips or holidays which as I understand it can cost hundreds for one child. All of these savings can be offset against the unearned salary, if that makes any sense.
Obviously you can spend as much as you like on educational resources. But you can also use ebay, secondhand books, free downloads and so on. In the past we’ve had national trust membership from Tesco vouchers, I scour charity shops for children’s novels, and many online resources like mathletics do home ed discounts – it’s always worth asking. And I forgot the many free ones – one of the widest ranging probably being the BBC education stuff (thanks Jan), incredible amount of things there. So we do lots of historical outings to National Trust or English Heritage properties to get value for money out of membership, and club together with other families from time to time to pool our knowledge, reducing our need for specialist input.
Other cutprice offerings – worth checking if your local area has a county music service. Big is getting bassoon lessons for £43 a term, plus a bassoon free on loan, definitely not to be sniffed at. And if you’ve any other hints or tips to share, I’d love to hear them.