Homeschooling budgets can vary wildly depending on the number and age of your children, their interests, individual learning needs and the approach or method you choose.
You might choose to develop your own learning plan or buy an off-the-shelf curriculum. You may construct a dedicated homeschooling space or make do with an existing study area. The Great Outdoors might be your main resource, or you could budget for all sorts of learning materials. There are activities (museum visits, extra tuition) which can quickly add up.
At the end of the day (or school year), the price of homeschooling is really up to you. That said, there are a few essential costs which any prospective homeschooler will need to consider.
Homeschooling setup costs
- Establishing a homeschool curriculum
Off-the-shelf curriculums such as Apologia or Charlotte Mason will cost around $60-$80 per subject, per year. This includes some resources, but additional support materials will most likely need to be purchased.
Many homeschool parents choose to design their own curriculum at no cost based on the Australian National Curriculum or their state requirements. Some take a mix-and-match approach, selecting elements of paid and free curriculums to design a learning plan which meets their individual needs, budget and registration requirements.
You can learn more about how to choose the right homeschooling curriculum for you here >>
- Essential learning resources
Homeschooling requires a few essential learning resources. These include a computer or tablet, printer, internet connection, stationary and things like dictionaries, readers, English texts and other reference materials. Subscriptions to online platforms such as Reading Eggs or Mathletics might also be something to consider.
Given the number of resources freely available online, most families don’t bother investing in encyclopedias anymore. However paid access to news media or journals might benefit older children.
Depending on whether devices and an internet connection already exist in the household, this might only come to $200-$300 per year for subscriptions and resources.
- Creating a learning space at home
Your learning environment can be anything from an existing desk or study area to a dedicated sensory education space. As mentioned, students need a few learning essentials, such as stationary, a computer or tablet, printer and various craft supplies. Depending on how much of these resources already exist at home, you might spend between $200 and $500 creating a learning environment in your first year of homeschooling. This is significantly reduced in subsequent years or for multiple children.
Paying for tutoring support
Most adults are more comfortable teaching or helping with certain subjects. Some of us stumble when it comes to things like Maths or Science while excelling in English or Music, for example.
This is a difficult reality for homeschooling parents, who are expected to support their children across the entire curriculum. What’s more, some parents find that teaching their children certain subjects is complicated by emotion, especially if the child is struggling or reluctant.
Paying for extra tuition can remove some of this pressure and provide your child with expert teaching which aligns with your method and approach. Private tutoring can take many forms, including one-to-one or group sessions at home, in a learning centre or online.
Depending on the subject and year level, these sessions can cost between $25 and $120 per hour.
We’ve already seen that homeschooling costs can differ depending on whether you purchase a curriculum, and whether you have an existing learning space and resources. This varies even further by the number of children you have and whether you can reuse learning plans and resources. Subscriptions can be shared and things like household internet or printers are one-off costs.
That said, activities, events and tuition can become considerably more expensive with multiple children.
Tips on saving money when homeschooling
- Explore free resources before spending on a curriculum
The Ministry of Education provides access to the New Zealand Curriculum for free if your child is granted an exemption from attendacne at school. Unless your educational philosophy greatly deviates from these learning outcomes, this is a cost effective place to start.
- Do your research before buying educational resources
The amount of money you could spend on learning materials, worksheets, books, videos etc can skyrocket pretty quickly! So it’s important to do your research, find the content which comes recommended by reputable educators and spend money on a few good resources. Finally, the homeschooling community is always willing to help, so ask your network before you buy brand new copies of support materials.
- Become familiar with your local library
Your community library is a treasure trove of reference and fiction books, as well as the latest editions of educational journals. You can even book computer time for research or writing at your library.
- Buy second hand books
Before spending big on shiny new copies of the books you need, search for second hand versions via Amazon, eBay, local homeschooling networks and Facebook Marketplace. Buying (slightly) used copies can often come at a fraction of the price.
- Make group bookings
Museum trips and other outings are usually made cheaper with group bookings so best to liaise with your homeschooling network when planning your next outing. You can even ask for a school discount when booking.
Cluey also offer small group tutoring, which is more affordable option than 1-to-1.
Learn more about private group tutoring here >>
Homeschooling costs comparison
This table represents the average spending for one child in their first year of homeschooling. Please remember that costs are variable based on the number of children, their year level, personal interests and individual needs.
Learning space (desk,
Tuition (based on $50