HE on a budget, is it possible?(11 Posts)
I have 2 DS (4&7) who are currently in pre-school and yr 3 respectively. My eldest struggles with social aspects of schooling (suspected ASD, currently on waiting list for assessment) but is fairly bright academically (not top of class but above average). A few times I have been tempted to HE but I keep loosing my nerve.
I have just applied for a school place for my 4yo to start this September. Despite being an October baby (so will be one of the oldest) and also bright he is emotionally really not ready for school.
Every time I drop him of at pre-school he breaks his heart. All he wants is to be at home with me. I feel so so so guilty but also want to prepare him for potentially starting full time education in 9 months time.
I would love to have them both at home but as a one income family we have no budget for clubs and activities at all. I would have to do everything for free or very very cheap.
It would also prevent me from thinking about starting work again, which was always the plan once both boys were in full time school.
I just don't know what to do.
It is possible, just IMO a little harder as you need to be more organised and stricter about what you do spend your money on. I'm a single parent so we have to manage on my part-time wage only.
That's encouraging, thank you. Do you do many clubs/group activities?
The clubs my children do are Cubs/Scouts, swimming and violin lessons. They did all of these when in school though. They would love to do more- IT/robotics club and art clubs to name a few, but I just can't afford them at the moment.
We don't often go to any HE specific clubs or meet-ups anymore as neither DC was particularly interested in the activities there or made any real friends. Tbh at £4-5 a time, a couple of times a week, those costs really add up. Not worth it if the children don't get anything from it IMO.
However, my job is actually working for an after-school club (also holiday playscheme) anyway so the DC come to that with me most days, so they have plenty of opportunity to 'socialise' with lots of other children.
museums often free
Lots of home edders in our city do meets at the parks in the summer, and museums in the winter
People get a season ticket to one really cool attraction for the year
people do playdates with other HE families, or meet for walks in the woods or whatever.
Yes, there are home ed meets that cost £4 or £5 per family per time, but you don't have to go to those if you don't have enough money - there are always ways of making friends that don't involve forking out (the home ed meets are just convenient if your children gel well with the other ones there, yk?)
You'll be fine educating your kids on a tight budget. Lots of people do. Sure, there are plenty of things you CAN spend your money on which might be nice to have, but there are also cheap and free things. Ask on your local HE list and you'll find others in the same situation who will have ideas for you.
The big cost of course is the continued loss of your income. You say that your family's long-term plan invovled you returning to work while school provided free childcare, and that isn't on the cards now. There may still be other ways to bring in some money, such as you working during hours when your partner can look after the kids, but it's undoubetedly harder.
Still, you've survived on one income for a while now, I guess? So unless you've been using up a big chunk of savings to augment your partner's earnings, you know that your family is able to live within your means and you could just carry on as you are.
What does your partner think?
Thank you for the replies. It's great to get another perspective.
I am on a local HE Facebook group and there seems to be constant course and groups arranged at £70/£80 a time (forest schools, archery, blacksmithing etc etc) which I would love to do for them but with 2 kids it's just not financially viable.
We can manage on 1 salary and like you said we have done for 7 years now. I would go back to work for the luxuries like a new car, holidays abroad etc. But not essential!
My DH would be very supportive and like you say I could get an evening job which could be used to fund HE.
It's very tempting to me as it just feels right to have my kids with me.
(I do worry I would be a terrible teacher, but that's another post altogether!)
I'm in similar position but I'm already working PT. I'm a lone parent so it's just my income. I've decided that DS will have to go to childcare. I can't give up work. I can't afford to and actually I don't want to. Nor would I even be able to as there are no benefits for parents who just want to HE. I've applied for a job that is just two days a week and I'm also brainstorming about how to make extra money evenings and weekends. Then I have to find a childminder that will take a 7yo with suspected ASD and encopresis all day. It's scary TBH, I know it's the right thing for DS and I've put it off for too long already but it needs to happen.
I taught DD for about 6 months and it was fun it didn't cost loads. Because it was just a short time we didn't join any groups we went swimming once a week and did a museum or aquarium etc each week
It doesn't help that I won't have access to a car either, we can only afford 1 and my DH needs it for work so everything will be on foot or public transport. I wish we could get reduced bus passes!
I was going to say after the obvious lack of earnings transport is the biggest cost a lot of the time. Our groups are a mixture of activities like you list, cheaper things on a pay as you go rate (ice skating, swimming etc) cheap volunteer run groups where it is hall rent and materials split, and free out door stuff like country parks and adventure playgrounds. So something for all budgets, the problem is if you can not afford to get there.
I think it is worth looking around for evening jobs as I think some budget however small for getting out and about is important. Not necessarily to groups, for yourselves.
That said there are ways and means, I run a small fortnightly group from my house, have the beach one side and country park another which are popular for meets, good places when we need to escape the house and mean no transport fees. We also have a good handful of HEing friends within 30 min walk or cycle. So much will depend on where you are, whether there are others local that you gel with, what facilities there are (if you have a decent library within walking distance and a small museum with visiting exhibitions) and whether you can set up things that work for you.
One possible option to consider is there are always home educators looking for childminders. Home educating child minders are in high demand if it is something that may work for you.
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