Paying for homeschool

Brandy asked in a comment about funding for homeschooling, so I shall tell you what I know.  (If you are considering homeschooling, please do your research on what the current situation is in your state. The things I’m saying were true in CA in 2012. I can’t speak for anywhere else.)

In California, money is allocated from state taxes for each child that attends public school. Private schools do not receive funding from the state, and they don’t have some of the same oversights from the state (I think. I’m not sure because I didn’t look so much into the private school option.)

When you choose to homeschool in CA, you can either affiliate yourself with a charter school or declare yourself a private school. If you declare yourself a private school (by filing an affidavit) you forfeit the money allocated to your child from the state. You also then are responsible for keeping all records about your child’s education and documenting their progress in relation to the state standards. The extent to which people do this varies quite a bit, I’m sure.

We chose to affiliate ourselves with a public charter school geared for homeschoolers. We registered Z with them and she was enrolled in their school, and as such,  they claimed the money allocated to her by the state. They managed those funds, but I was able to choose specifically what it was spent on- I would tell them what curriculum or supplies or classes we wanted to use the money for, and they would facilitate that. Because the money was connected with the school, we either used up the supplies or gave the non-consumable items back when we moved or Z leveled out of them. Anything that I knew we would want to keep, like the blocks for the Math-U-See curriculum, I bought myself.

For the sake of completeness, I’ll add in that through the charter school, we were assigned an accredited teacher who met with us every 30 days and went over Z’s work and counseled me in any thing I needed. She was the one who placed the orders for curriculum etc, and who tracked and documented Z’s progress. If Z had been old enough for standardized testing, that would have been done through the school as well at a testing facility.

Now, in Japan, we have no funding. We have no anything, because they don’t really pay attention to what we’re doing, which is a blessing because we don’t have to conform to any Japanese standards or regulations. Any cost associated with school  is paid by us. I try to minimize costs, but it’s not cheap. This year both girls leveled into new Math-U-See books ($30 each) and each have a new spelling book ($30 each). The curriculum I bought for geography, music, and art totaled $40. The science book we’re using was $10, and the books and sticker activity books we’re using for Shakespeare probably came to around $50.  I had the other curriculum books already, or we opted out of using a book (for writing, for example). We also spent around $100 for a subscription to Discovery Education Streaming Video Plus, because that service is amazing and we use it all the time. We have a $20 subscription to Facts First, a website where the girls practice their timed math facts. We have subscriptions to both the Reading Rainbow and Epic! apps so the girls have access to lots of books.  We pay for the girls’ weekly Japanese lesson, and if they start any new classes next year (they’re thinking about aikido), there will be that cost. There’s also any costs associated with paper, pencils, art supplies, binders, printer ink, etc. It’s not cheap, but it’s their education, so it is what it is.

I’m sure there are people who make more expensive choices, and people who spend almost nothing. There are definitely ways to do both of those.  There are very expensive curriculum that exist. There are also lots of less expensive curriculum that add up if you get a lot of them. Libraries are a gift to homeschoolers, and you can save so much money by visiting your library on a regular basis. That’s not an option for us, so we have to work around that. If you have the time and inclination, you can create your own lesson plans and curriculum for any topic, saving yourself money but costing yourself time. It’s all a balancing act.

Hopefully that all made sense, let me know if you have any other questions!


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