Home Schooling

Sacred Heart Academy

home schooling a big familyWe started this home schooling adventure back in 2002, but I consider myself more a work in progress than an expert.

My oldest grew up around our dining room table. From that kinder year to his high school graduation (spring 2014), I’ve been learning right along with him.

That’s the beauty of home schooling, the family is the center of education. We experience life together which allows us to communicate about lessons in real time.

The world offers so much stimulation, so many contradictory messages, but we home schooling parents can help our children sift through what to keep and what to discard.

Home schooling has been a blessing and a challenge, but most of all it’s a vocation. If you’re a newbie or a veteran, my advice is to take one day at a time. Savor the easy days when learning clicks and go gentle on yourself during the tough ones.

How Much Does It Cost to Home School?

Firstly, I’d have to say that you cannot place a price tag on the experience of raising/educating a child. I mean, money can’t buy the ah-ha moments I’ve witnessed in my children.

Home schooling is much more than a program or schedule of lessons, it is a process of growing, correcting and inspiring a child to reach their full potential. Over the course of twelve plus years, I’ve spent my days (24/7) forming thoughtful, independent, empowered people and the value of that is incalculable.

Well, that being said, there are some real nickels and dimes to factor before you begin. We have eight children so I paid the most for child number one because all of his non-consumable textbooks got passed down from student to student after him.

Being Catholic, we initially chose a book distributor that sold curriculum which taught our faith. Catholic Heritage Curriculum sells reasonably priced textbooks and they offer a recommended guide for what to teach in grades pre-k through 8th.

Remembering back, I think I spent about $300-$400 to start from scratch with two elementary-aged students. Again, I spent a little less per child with each subsequent child and I also learned in time what I really didn’t need to waste money on.

How We Tackled High School

home school graduate
When high school entered on the horizon I had to rethink our strategy.

That’s when we looked into Seton Home Study, an authentically Catholic, academically strong program designed for home schoolers. We enrolled our high schoolers in Seton.

They choose their courses (those that aren’t required) just like in any other high school model. All textbooks can be purchased through them and they supply detailed daily course guides for all enrollees.

The tuition for child number one (as a high schooler) was roughly $900.00 including the books and new family fee. Seton actually offers a tuition calculator on their site. Our enrollment meant that I only graded about 50% of my son’s tests (they grade all papers), his quarterly grades were calculated online, he had access to counselors and he ultimately received his diploma from this accredited school.

Where You’ll Save

Keep in mind as home schoolers we don’t need to spend oodles on the latest fashions and accessories like some traditional schoolers do. However, I will say that even home schoolers appreciate some new items at the start of their “school year” and a bit of “back-to-school shopping” for notebooks, pencils and folders can re-energize everyone.

We’ve managed to sustain a household of ten of us on one income for the last 18 years and that one income has always been quite modest. Certainly, we must sacrifice some extras like fancy vacations and expensive extra-curriculars, but those things are a small price to pay for building a firm foundation for our family’s future.

Lastly, one thing that I’ve learned along the way is that many home schoolers are easily attracted to the latest, greatest, shiny new textbook and that is a pitfall both for the budget and the children. Certainly, if the math book that worked for your son isn’t working for your daughter, consider other options, but don’t waste precious resources bouncing from this year’s latest and greatest to next year’s hot-off-the- presses learning system. Find what works and keep at it.