First Person: Saving Money by Homeschooling Our Son

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My son, Ryan, turned 13 in April -- an awkward age for anyone but more so for him because Ryan has Asperger's. Brilliant at math, a fantastic artist, Ryan doesn't do well with strangers. For years, my son had attended a private school that loved Ryan and the entire staff was familiar with his challenges. The first half of the first year was truly difficult, but after a few years, my son loved going to school.

When we discovered that the school was closing, Ryan (and his Mom) were devastated. I immediately began to search for alternative schools, hopefully to find kind, caring staff that would love my son as much as his former teachers did. Public school wasn't an option. The middle school he would have attended was a failing school and also know for bullies and fighting. I could just picture what his days would be like and they weren't happy images.

Ultimately, we opted for homeschool and it looks like we have made the right decision. Each day, we log on to our online classroom, moving from classroom to classroom, and he is happily learning. We have a homeschool covering and we belong to a group of active homeschoolers who take field trips and group visits to local learning spots like museums. I get to customize his curriculum to suit his needs which, by the way, I love!

How much is all this costing me? Well let me explain first what our private school costs were. Each year, we had to pay regristration and administrative fees totally $720. Add an additional cost of $500 for uniforms plus another $150 for a mandatory physical and proof of immunization. For the entire year, the cost of tuition was $2500. That's not including other costs that came up like computer lab, PE uniforms and field trip fees. I loved the school but the total cost was $3870.

Compare that to the homeschool. I pay $150 for the homeschool association fee, $150 for registration, $40 for field trip T-shirts, and $40 a month for online curriculum. I spent roughly $100 for a year's worth of school supplies. This equaled a grand total of $880.

I'm sure during the course of the year I will spend a bit more of museum fees, picnics and books but even if I spend another $1000, I will still be good on the cash side. I suppose this is the one upside to losing one of the best schools in our area. I realize that not everyone has the time to homeschool but if you do you can expect to save some money. With the money we save, we can sock away funds for Ryan's college fund. We totally believe he can do it!


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