homeschool budget

Amy’s Homeschool Budget: August and September

Really useful actual dollars and cents breakdown of one homeschooler's budget for classes, curriculum, supplies, etc. #homeschool

My ankle tragedy may have made me slack about posting my August budget, but it certainly didn’t make me slack about stocking up on school stuff. I’m lumping my August and September purchases together in this post so that I can catch up. You'll notice that paper is something I splurge a bit on—it's one of my little homeschool luxuries, and I like having the good stuff to work with. Usually I would have spent a much bigger chunk of my budget at this point, but we decided to forego official classes this fall (see below).  

  • 12 Miller’s Notesketch books, which we go through like candy. I love that half the page is lined and the other page is blank—perfect doodling while writing or taking notes.
    12 @ $3.99 each = $47.88
  • 2 Bare Book bundles, which are beloved by my children. (Two of them are already in progress—a book containing the perfect Pokemon team and a story about a bird who is afraid of heights.) The packs come with three big and three small blank books, which seems to be a good variety for us.
    2 @ $19.99 each = $39.98
  • 5 Create-a-Cover Sketchbooks—I really love the paper quality of these and have been known to steal one from the shelf for my own personal use. We use them for art—the pages are sturdy enough for light watercolors and acrylic painting or for collage or just for drawing.
    5 @ $3.99 each = $19.95
  • 12 Palomino Blackwing Pencils, as part of our continuing quest to find the perfect pencils. (These were pricey, but so far, they are definitely the best in terms of holding their points, especially for writers who tend to break into artwork mid-paragraph.)
    $23 for 12 = $23
  • 3 packs of Oxford multi-color index cards for Latin vocabulary cards. We use different colors for the different parts of speech, which is handy when we want to do a quick declension drill.
    3 100-card packs @ $5.49 each = $16.47
  • Annual membership to our homeschool group. (The price increase for classes this year meant that we couldn’t afford to sign up for classes, so my daughter opted to sit in on my publishing class and my son is “auditing” Philosophy for Kids, which is conveniently taught by my best friend. It’s possible that we could have figured something out cash-wise, but with my unexpected broken ankles, we decided to just sit this term out. We’ll sign up for “real” classes during the January term.)
  • Independent reading books from our library’s book sale—I picked up 30 new-to-us books (including three Edward Eagers, David Macaulay's Castle, and Five Little Peppers and How They Grew) for super-cheap.

Total spent inAugust/September: $232.28
Total spent this year to date: $391.28
Total budget for the 15-16 school year remaining: $3,409

Total budget for the 15-16 school year: $3,800
(You can read more about our budget breakdown here.)

Amy’s Homeschool Budget : July

A dollars-and-cents breakdown of one family's homeschool budget. #homeschool

So you know how any time you start to think, hey, I’ve kind of got this together, something comes along to knock you back to the starting line? I had my budget for the coming year all neatly planned out when I got the email that our homeschool group is increasing registration fees by a pretty hefty amount this year — such a hefty amount that signing our kids up for their usual classes there isn’t an option for us if we also, you know, want to feed them this fall. So it’s back to the drawing board to sort out some outside-the-house classes for the kids. I’ll let you know what we figure out. In the meantime, back-to-school shopping has begun. We don’t take a summer break, but we don’t officially start our new school year until after Labor Day, so I still have some time to make my mind up about a few things I’m dithering about. I haven't really drilled down to my final list yet. There were a few things, though, that I knew we’d want, so I went ahead and made a few purchases. Here’s what I’ve bought:

The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way for my almost-8th-grader. (Rebecca’s review totally sold me.) $15

I also picked up the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra set for her. I’ve mentioned before that my daughter has struggled with more traditional math programs, so it’s great to see her making progress with Life of Fred — but even more, it’s great to see her feeling confident about her ability to do math. (I borrowed a copy of Fractions and of Decimals last year but decided to buy the whole set so that we could work back through anything we wanted to.) $125

The next level book for Miquon Math for my almost-2nd-grader. If you have a math-y elementary kid, you should take a look at Miquon — it’s been such a good fit for us. $9

Handwriting is something we want to work on this year, so I bough a pair of lined whiteboards to practice on. (If you use dry erase boards and don’t know about this site that sells discounted seconds, you definitely should check it out.) 2 x $5 = $10

Total spent in July: $159 Total spent this year to date: $159
Total budget for the 15-16 school year remaining: $3,641
Total budget for the 15-16 school year: $3,800
(You can read more about our budget breakdown here.)


In case you’re interested, here are a few things we’re using that we didn’t have to pay for, either because they are free or because we already owned them:

Eighth grade is state history here, so we’re taking advantage of the free textbook available online from Clairmont Press. I don’t love textbooks, but I figure we can add enough fun field trips and conversation to make this one work — and free is my favorite price.

The Brief Bedford Reader (I picked up a copy of this last year for an essay-writing class I taught, and I liked it so much I'm planning to use it for our 8th grade writing spine)

ECCE Romani I and II (I talked a little bit about how we study Latin, including why I’m not buying a new book for Latin this fall, in this blog post from last spring)

Story of the World, volume 2, which we didn’t quite finish this year

My Pals Are Here Science 2A (I bought this when we first started thinking about homeschooling but never actually used it — I figure this is its chance!)

Oak Meadow 2nd grade (it’s an older version hand-me-down from a friend)

At Home With the Editors: Amy’s Homeschool Budget

A dollars-and-cents breakdown of one family's homeschool budget. #homeschool

When we started homeschooling, I had no idea how much money it would cost and the uncertainty was kind of terrifying. Jason and I both operate our own businesses, which is awesome when it comes to structuring our days but less awesome when it comes to knowing exactly how much money we will have coming in every month. And, of course, you can spend an infinite amount of money on homeschool materials if you don’t check yourself — there is so much fun stuff out there! I think I’ve landed on a budget that works for our family, and I thought I’d share our homeschool spending here over the next year, both as a concrete example of the kind of expenses you may run into as a new homeschooler and as an accountability tool for myself. Plus, I’m nosy about what other people buy for their homeschool, and you may be, too! My homeschool budget runs from June to June. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • $500 for curriculum per kid = $1,000 per year (This includes class materials, like lab kits or workbooks. I say $500 per kid, but this year it’s probably going to be more of a $350/$650 split since I already have some of the materials for my 2nd grader and 8th grade stuff can be more expensive.)
  • $500 per semester for outside classes = $1,000 per year (This works out to about one class per kid at our homeschool group.)
  • $500 per year for museum memberships and activities = $500/year
  • $100 per month for books, school/art supplies, etc. = $1,200 per year
  • $100 per year for starter school supplies (new notebooks, pencils, art supplies, etc.) = $100/year

Total Homeschool Budget for the 15-16 year= $3,800

I spend the bulk of our budget in the summer, as I’m gearing up for the year ahead and signing up for fall classes. Then there’s another expensive little burst in January, when our homeschool group’s spring semester starts. I roll over any unspent money into the following month’s budget, so if I have an itch for something pricier I can “save up” budget dollars for it.

Some people spend more than this and buy all the nifty things that make me jealous. Some people spend less and still seem to have plenty of good resources. This is just how much our family has budgeted for homeschool expenses. As I like to remind my husband, it’s WAY less than a good private school.