Home-schooling can indeed be very expensive. It can also cost very little. It depends on what home-schooling choices you make in terms of materials, time, and effort. Here are some things to keep in mind as you explore the question of home-schooling expense.
* Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. When choosing a curriculum for your child, competition with other home-schoolers can be counter-productive. Just because your neighbor spent $575 on her curriculum this semester (and yes, some curricula do cost that much - and more) doesn't mean you have to spend $700.
* Think quality, not quantity. More books and materials cost more, but more is not necessarily better. Depending on your child's learning style, you may get more out of a nature walk that costs nothing than a lesson that involves multiple books and worksheets. In other words, you don't necessarily need all that "stuff." Math manipulatives, for instance, can cost quite a bit of money. But you may be perfectly able to make your own, or borrow someone else's.
* Sometimes quality does cost. If you are teaching your child art, for example, getting cheap supplies can really hamper his or her learning. This holds true for other subjects as well.
* Time is money. Home-schooling becomes expensive when the parent doing the educating is spending those hours planning and teaching rather than earning money. Some families manage to split home schooling and income earning so that both parents share in each, thereby making home-schooling a less expensive endeavor.
* Remember free resources. The internet and your local library are invaluable for saving you money for your home school. Check out as many books as you can. Ask your librarians to help you put together a collection of books for a unit study or other theme-based lesson.
Also, your local place of worship or home-schooling society may have free book giveaways periodically, where you can donate and/or collect all sorts of books and materials for free. August and January are common times for these events, but they are often held at other times, too. Get involved in your local home-school community to find out more about these types of sales and giveaways.
* Join other home schoolers in a co-op or other group. This can be a great way to save money. Think about group rates for field trips, or shaing, lending or donating no longer needed materials or curricula. They can also give you a heads-up on various books sales and events.