Friday, 6 November 2015

The expense of home education

This blog post is something that I need to address as it's probably the second most popular question I get asked after the 'socialisation' one. 

(You can read my response to that one here: But what about socialisation?)

So, how much does is cost to educate a child at home? 

The answer is as much or as little as you want. People live to their means so what's expensive to some might be a drop in the ocean to another. 

To educate a child at school it costs the government £4-5000 per child per year. It's difficult to get out of the government their exact budget for this but this is the general accepted amount.
Over an average school life that's approximately £60,000. (People forget that education is NOT free, we pay tax in order to provide it!)

To home educate a child the government pay precisely £0.
There are no perks, funds, bursaries, books or grants. There is no pupil premium.  It's just zero.

I guess as a parent, when you school a child,  on top of paying your taxes you then personally have to provide all the uniform, school bags, PE kit,  costumes, trips, after school clubs, donations and dinner money. This varies depending on the age of a child and (in my case!) how many weeks a pair of school shoes would last! 

For home ed the expenses can be minimal but to give you an idea here's what I've spent out on in the first 6 months: *please note this is for my budget bracket which may not relate to yours at all!

  • Workbooks - mostly unnecessary as we've not looked at the majority.  Plus we wised up to photocopying sheets early on to use as practice. 
  • Ink for the printer
  • Wet weather gear: invested in decent wellies, waterproof trousers and jacket. Good walking shoes.  The world is our classroom, being prepared is the key! 
  • Picnic items/tupperware/blanket - we spend so much time outside it was worth investing in decent stuff. It took 2 days with leaky drinks bottles and soggy sandwiches to realise this!
  • Subscription to online maths course Conquer Maths (we paid £31 for the year Home Ed discount) 
  • Home Ed groups £3-£5 per week
  • badgers (St Johns Ambulance) £6 per month
  • French lessons £28 per half Term
  • Sport club £25 per half term
  • Farm club £4 per session
  • Forest school £5 per fortnight
  • Adhoc visits: for example at Warwick Castle we joined forces with other families to secure a home ed discount so cheaper than usual but still an expense.  One day courses such as woodwork or technology club.
  • Diesel: I'm lucky to have an economical car which means we can get out and about every day.
  • Extra food - my child does not stop eating. I swear he has hollow legs.  Hence picnics are cheaper on days out! 

This list is not complete. Other people would have very different lists - as an example I've not had to pay out extra for things like craft supplies or books as we have so far had everything we need here. Others may want/need to.  Neither have my gas and electricity bills increased as I work from home usually anyway so was always here. 

I know as Barnaby gets older, if he chooses to study gcses that it will mean investment in text books.
I don't subscribe to a telly package - we have freeview and there is enough educational stuff on there for us at the moment. 
Some people make use of Edward Jenner school which is something I'd love to look into but is out of my price range at about £45 per day.
We are researching the Home Ed discount for the National Trust at the moment as the grandparents are buying that for our Christmas present. Every little helps, and despite his Christmas list Barnaby really doesn't need more toys!! :)

There are loads of free resources online, free educational day trips... The library is free. Parks and woodland are free. Our local home ed group have a 'bring and swap' session for clothes, books and toys. Reuse and recycle ♻ I say!

Overall, and I've not done the maths, (what?! And she's *teaching* her Son?! Tut!)  I'd say I've spent about what I'd send on a yearly basis if he was at school. Maybe more as an investment in things that will last.
If I had more money I'd definitely spend more on it, but probably on experiences such as trips to London without worrying about the expense.... Or I'd fulfil our dream, get a motorhome and head out on the road to see more of the world. 

In summary: how much does home education cost?  Well.... How long is a piece of string?! :)

Nb: my budget bracket is 'single-mum-running-her-own-growing-business'. Sometimes more commonly know as 'skint'
If you're in a different budget bracket your list might have a few differences.  :)

1 comment:


    I wrote about this topic a couple of years ago - there are loads of comments on this blog that may be of interest to your readers


Optimistic Owls

Optimistic Owls
Optimistic Owls