Why homeschool?

Homeschooling empowers parents to shape their children's education.  Education that is planned and implemented by parents allows families to maintain high standards for their children and ensure that each child receives the attention and focus needed for their success. Curriculum that is not featured in public schools can be added such as handling money, character development, and whatever else is important to your family.

Homeschool involves the entire family

Both Mom and Dad are important parts of success

Homeschooling goes more smoothly with team effort. However even single parents can manage homeschooling with the right support and resources!

There are several tasks to coordinate for homeschool and the responsibilities can be shared or rotated between parents as family needs and dynamics shift.

  • Set the learning goals for each year and plan the subjects that you will cover
  • Help children with learning (remember you do not need to be a subject matter expert to be a great teacher)
  • Gather materials and resources
  • Find outside classes and/or sports
  • Make daily and weekly schedules allowing enough flexibility for breaks, meals, and the inevitable unexpected

Homeschooling on a Budget

Many people don't realize that even public school has it's expenses. In fact, costs for public school may be similar to that of schooling at home. When you add up public school expenses such as fund raisers, activities fees, school lunch convenience foods, etc, you can see that is not actually free. Private schools carry additional expense with tuition fees.

So how much DOES it cost to homeschool?

Home learning does not need to break the bank. The cost depends on how you choose to obtain curriculum and materials, as well as whether you choose to use services such classes outside the home, tutoring, etc.  As you will see below, homeschooling can cost anywhere from zero to over a thousand dollars per school year.

Below are some tips to help save money while homeschooling.  Some specific sources for curriculum are linked here. Valley Oak Family does not receive any incentive for recommending these.  There are many sources out there and we encourage families to do their own shopping around.  However we have included some sources that we have had good experience with.


K-3rd Grade: 

Learning at this age can cost next to nothing. Remember that for the younger years, PLAY is learning.  Experiencing daily life, exploring their world, even helping in the kitchen are all part of the learning experience for these youngsters. 

Visit your local library regularly and choose age-appropriate books in the subjects of science, literature, social studies/character development/history, even math!  Read to your children daily and make this time relaxed and enjoyable.

Enrich your child's environment by providing plenty of reading materials in easy-to-access places in your home. Keep those baby board books as they make great reading practice later!  

Math can be taught with a simple pencil and paper, as well as counting manipulatives such as blocks, beads, beans, etc.  When the child is ready, helping in the kitchen is a great way to learn fractions and units of measure such as volume and weight. 

Opportunities to learn scientific concepts abound in the home! Check out this site for fun science experiments you can do at home with your child: https://www.weareteachers.com/easy-science-experiments/

4th-8th Grade:

Field trips are a great learning tool for this age group.  Remember to look for deals such as special "homeschool days" at local museums.  Road trips can be a time to learn! 

Used books and curriculum can be a great way to save some cash.  There are vast warehouses full of used books for a few dollars each. Most subjects haven't changed considerably in the last decades so older academic books are still an amazing resource.  Look in your local thrift stores and see what they have and consider using some of the online used book marketplaces like abebooks.com or the suggestions above.Sources such as The Backpack or Abebooks can help reduce the cost of curriculum.

Workbooks can be an inexpensive addition to free resources such as library books or low-cost resources such as used textbooks.  Sometime they function as standalone curriculum as well!  Check out Evan-Moor, they offer workbooks in all subjects as well as bundles.  Spectrum has several colorful fun workbooks in the $10 range.

Don't forget about printables (you'll want to invest in a printer).  Free and low-cost sources for printables include TeachersPayTeachers and Education.com

This is a great time to start teaching a second language if you have not already started. There are many free resources available such as free printables or sites/apps such as Duolingo.  You can also begin language you can start with used textbooks and low-cost workbooks.

9th - 12th Grade:

Textbooks for these grades tend to get a little more costly.  Used books and bundles can really help the budget. Again, check out the BackPack (linked above), and if you have a specific textbook title or ISBN # you can look it up at AbeBooks to see if they carry it.  

If you are interested in checking out some online lessons or classes for your high schooler - Kahn academy, Hillsdale and many others covering a wide variety of subjects offer lessons and classes for free!


Have a plan

Make a homeschool plan for each year showing what resources you will use for each subject you plan on covering, and sources for each.  The plan should include estimated costs for each subject as well as general homeschool costs (paper, pencils, printer ink, etc).

Make a budget or add homeschool costs to your current budget for your family. You can learn more about budgeting here on our budget page

Budget basics 

  1. Write down all your income (take home pay) from all sources
  2. Write down all your expenses
    • bills, rent/mortgage, health care, insurance, etc
    • groceries, take-out, coffee/snacks on the go
    • gas and other car expenses
    • scheduled savings
    • all other expenses: donations, tithing, pets, miscellaneous
  3. Subtract expenses from income
    • this is the amount you have left for a potential homeschool budget
  4. Next estimate what you would like to spend per semester on homeschooling
    • if this is greater than the amount above, examine your optional expenses and plan what to cut out
    • for more money-saving tips see our budgeting page

You can also try a budgeting tool such as calculator.net  


Hearts at Home Grant 

If you are struggling financially and need help with homeschool expenses we may be able to help.

See Heartsathomegrant.org for more details and application.



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