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Cost of home edding?

(13 Posts)
mrsmalumbas Mon 23-Feb-09 21:42:18

Hi all.

DH and I are vaguely considering home edding our two girls and I am at the research stage really. For us it's all about freedom and flexibility e.g to be able to travel or go for days out without having to wait for the school hols! It feels a bit "naughty" as I have no compelling reason for dropping out of the school system, the girls seem to like school, are not SN, and not being bullied. It's just that we all really enjoy the school hols, the girls are very active and do loads, and are always healthy and happy by the end of them - it seems a shame to send them back to spend their days sitting in a classroom doing what seems to be fairly boring work.

However one thing I am wondering about is how much it costs. I realise it is a case of how long is a piece of string and that you can be as structured or unstructured as you like in terms of curriculum, tutors, etc. But I am thinking of the cost of paying for things like drama, music lessons, singing maybe, things that we get through school now and are subsidised. Would any of you mind sharing roughly what you tend to spend?

I would also have to give up my job as we have no family support nearby but as a poorly paid preschool teacher that would be no great loss, to be honest.

Really appreciate any input.

TheButterflyEffect Mon 23-Feb-09 22:04:03

Message withdrawn

musicposy Mon 23-Feb-09 22:23:40

I thik if I am honest, our costs have gone up since home educating, but they wouldn't have to have done - I know some people who do it for much less or who economise. Our costs for our girls are fairly astronomical, but most of those are for their endless dance lessons - something which we were doing in any case - so I can't really count that.
Outside of the dance and singing which we were already doing before the HE and which have remained unchanged - I will list all the pros and cons so you can see!

Costs-
Ice Skating. We go to a home ed ice skating group on a Friday. It's breath of life to the girls as all their friends go. It's not expensive - £3 a session each (there is a discounted rate for home educators). But we live 40 miles from the ice rink and that is the main cost - petrol up there. We don't go every week - 2-3 times a month.
Gym. My youngest goes to a home ed gym session that all her friends go to. If we have to cut costs this will be what has to go. It is £3 a session, but once again, 20 miles away, so heavy on petrol.
Travel. Most other home ed things we go to are free - in people's houses, walks in the park etc. But we come from a wide area so we do find costs of travel mounting up if we don't limit what we do.
Resources/ books. Surprisingly little. We over-bought at the start but are much more frugal now. You can get really everything you need on the internet if you want. My eldest (13) is currently studying for 3 GCSEs next year which will cost around £30 each to enter and cost us about £15 a subject to set her up with books - so not too bank breaking. We have been lucky enough to find a school that won't charge us for admin to enter and foolhardy enough to think we can do the tuition ourselves!

Savings-
Clothes. You can wear any old thing and we find where we used to need uniform and home clothes, we now only need home clothes. DD2's uniform was relatively cheap as hers could be got from Asda, but DD1's secondary uniform was horrendous and cost me over £100 to get just one of each item. As she has grown massively, I would have had that expense all over again this year. A big saving.
Lunches. I have been amazed at how much I save by not having to pack a lunch. I have no idea why it is so much cheaper to just eat what's in the cupboard at home, but it is.
Constant demands for money from the school. This used to drive me insane. Swimming, trips, visiting people, charity events, donations to the school fund, aaagh! Swimming alone used to cost me £66 a term fro the two girls - money I really resented. Maybe not every school is as bad as ours was, but to be free of this was such a relief.

We do find, as home educators, that we are often able to club together and get things really quite cheap. We recently went to see Horrible Histories at our theatre for about £6 a ticket. There were lots of schools there and I'm betting most of those children paid double. I think the coach hire (even if it's to go 2 miles) really whacks the price up for schools. So many things are cheaper. We can go to stuff at off peak times which also brings the price down. I can certainly do the swimming cheaper than the price I paid the school.

It's all about how resourceful you are, really. We spend quite a lot on dance lessons, but we go camping in the UK when we have holidays (one year we stayed on a friend's drive for the grand sum of £0 ). It's all about prioritising what is important to you as a family and what is less so.
People will say home ed can be as cheap or expensive as you wish, and I think that's very true. So I'm sure my examples will be completely different to other people's. But, I thought it might give you an insight into how it has been for us. grin

julienoshoes Mon 23-Feb-09 23:51:07

I agree with the others.
So many people go out and by workbooks and resources at the beginning (including us), which then sit unused on the shelf.
We buy from car boot sales/charity shops/Ebay/Amazon new and second hand.

Travel costs are our biggest expense too.
We got a family rail card and that cut costs a lot (especially as another home educator pointed out a deal and we got it for £10 for the year)
We drive a much older car now, than we used to.
I buy them for about £300-£400, drive them for a year or two and if they cost too much to repair (not dh's forte!) I scrap it and get another!

We only go on home ed camping trips (very good value, none profit making and LOADS of fun) or we take Sun newspaper £9.50 holidays, or sign up for Travelodge newsletters and get family rooms from £9 a night for up to four people.
We use Megabus a lot-book in advance and go to Birmingham-London from £1 each way.

The children's desire and demands for designer labels disappeared overnight, so we cut on the cost of clothes/uniforms and expensive trainers immediately.
As musicposy said, gone are all the demands for money from school-and the requests to supply things for fundraising etc.

We do activities of all sorts with our local HE group and get them at educational group prices. I could not believe the price of ice skating in bowling in holiday time! It was something like four ties the price we paid!
Our group got funding for their dram productions, and that covered the cos of the dram teacher, the props and costumes etc.
The children play rugby and other team games for no cost, other than the share of the hire of the room with a playing field attached. (and travel of course)
We also organise educational workshops between us and get educational rates. We too make good use of free exhibitions at museums and art galleries.

We even managed to get two kayaks to share with the group off Freecycle (another great place for other resources sometimes as well as things like mountain bikes etc). Our group now have half a dozen (battered but working kayaks) a double canoe and a Canadian canoe between us, that we use on a local groups holiday next to the River Wye in Monmouth.

We also are big fans of Scrapstores

The children all knew we are on a limited budget as I too gave up a carer to do this. They know they have to prioritise what they want.
DD knows that paying money for music and singing lessons means I can't afford other things she would like to do-but these are her choices and not mine.

I have found food is cheaper too-but only because we make food from scratch mostly now as 4 out of 5 of us are vegan. The girls have become excellent at cooking cakes etc if they want them! They know a great deal about nutrition too now. As teens they have eaten enormous amounts but I seem to remember dss doing the dame thing when he was a teen-he just did all of his eating after school!

rooftop Tue 24-Feb-09 02:47:46

Hi mrsmalumbas,
I too echo the above.
Here is a breakdown of what I spend most weeks on HE.
Mon = drum lesson £5 (teenager grade 8 is teaching ds)
Tues = Art or Drama with locaL HE group £3
Wed= variable -- often a free activity either organised by HE group or visit to Museum/Gallery/Library etc.. Cubs £2
Thurs = Piano lesson £3 with local community music school. Tennis £5
Fri = Swimming/Water Polo £2
Sat = varied sports activities £5
I also spend £ on occasional He events.
You may need to search for bargains. When ds wanted to learn Drums, the tutor's wanted £20 per half hr, same for Piano !!!

I have dozens of work/study books which I have never used. I would strongly advise you to settle into HE before you buy lots of stuff -- which in our case, has not been used.
You will get loads of resource ideas here.

poopscoop Tue 24-Feb-09 06:20:48

Agree with the above posters too.

Once you take off the cost of the school run, whether it is in the car or on the bus, plus the school lunches, uniforms, outing trips, PE kit replacement every 5 mins, and suchlike, you realise how much you are saving. Once this is transferred into 'home ed' you may spend as much or quite a bit less, but at least you choose how it is spent, books, activities, outings whatever. smile

pinkkoala Tue 24-Feb-09 08:47:30

MRSMALUMBAS-We are almost certain we will home for a while, partly because we don't like our nearest schools, partly because we want to move and also we take all our hols during school as it is much cheaper and alot less crowded with other children, i felt selfish for thinking about our hols as a reason, but my dd is 4 and she loves being out in garden, going on hols, going on trips to zoo, parks, seaside etc, i think she would gain a bit more than just being sat in a classroom, she never wants to sit still, she is always on the go and would go in the garden as soon as she got up if she had her way, i do have to consider the neighbours though.

we have bought books from a company called schofield and sims, online. she does find them quite useful if she is in the mood. I also get a lot of craft kits from early learning centre, she loves doing arty/crafty things.

I have given up my job in june last year to be a SAHM, we also have no family support as our family are out of the area, so i won't be returning to work for quite a while, if ever, we just have my husbands wages.

juuule Tue 24-Feb-09 09:02:44

To be honest we have found HE costing us more than sending to school. We do pay for things such as drama, singing, swimming lessons, gymnastics which would have been available in school at no extra financial cost. It would cost us more if we participated in the HE arranged activities as most are quite a distance from us so would entail travel costs plus the cost of the activity(x4) so we tend to go to very few of those.

If your school run is by car/bus then the cost of those could be used to travel to HE meetings but if the school run is a walk then travel costs would become extra (as in our case).

School lunches - ours usually take a packed lunch anyway.
I'm not convinced of the financial savings to be made by not sending to school that are mentioned.

If you are thinking of your children still doing singing, dancing etc then the likelihood is that you would have to pay for it. Perhaps look around now. Go to HE groups in your area and get a feel for what is going on. Ask and see what other people do and see if it would fit well with what you have in mind.

mrsmalumbas Tue 24-Feb-09 17:01:33

Hi all - thanks so much, I really appreciate your replies! So helpful. I must admit I get the impression that home edders are a helpful bunch!

I guess a lot of the things you mention we do anyway like DD1 does ballet, Brownies, we have national trust membership already, etc. I also googled and it seems our county (Gloucs) has a home ed resource library which sounds quite interesting - I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has used this and if it is as good as it sounds! We are reasonably rural so would still need my car and I can certainly see me spending loads on petrol! I already use the library a lot and am quite good at picking things up from charity shops. I agree packed lunches are expensive - soup and a bit of bread and cheese much cheaper!

DH and I are actually planning to take a year "out" as a family. We are still working out what that means but one idea is to buy a campervan and basically have an extended holiday around Europe, my parents live in France so we'd start there. We rent our house so there is nothing tying us down. So for us the first year would pretty much be focussed on experiencing that - after that maybe we would move onto a slightly more structured form of homeschooling. Or maybe not!

I am really starting to get excited now - have also ordered some books from the local library - free range education and another couple. Thanks again for the input, I am sure I will have loads more questions!

Lindenlass Tue 24-Feb-09 18:24:20

Hello Mrsmalumbas

I'm in Gloucs. I've visited the library service and found them to be very friendly and helpful, although not used it so far ourselves yet. How old are your children?

Have you joined the local email group? Maybe you'd find it helpful to go along to a local group and talk to some HEors?

mrsmalumbas Tue 24-Feb-09 20:14:38

Hi there, my girls are 4 and 7. They are both young for their year as well as they both have August birthdays. DD1 is loving school, DD2 is not so sure - I think she is finding juniors more work and less fun! I think there is a home ed group in Moreton in Marsh which is pretty close to me. I think I'll look them up, thanks.

IlanaK Tue 24-Feb-09 20:25:13

I think you can do home ed the expensive way or the cheap way. For a while we were doing it the expensive way - buying lots of resources from catalogues, going to lots of groups, etc.

Now, we are doing it the cheap way. We do not buy resources anymore. There are so many free online resources to use. We use Tesco clubcard vouchers for things like subscriptions to kids national geographic magazine and membership to gridclub website and Nature detectives. We use our local library A LOT - taking advantage of no fee for ordering children's books.

We are also lucky to live in central london so we take advantage of all the free museums. I organise a lot of educational "schools" trips to the museums for home ed families for free. We try to socialise with other home ed families as cheaply as possible - so informal play times and also we attend a parks group that is organised and meets at local parks (free).

In addition, my children attend swimming (£5 each) and drama (£9) each. They would probably do this even if they were at school I think.

julienoshoes Tue 24-Feb-09 22:27:31

I recommend meeting up with the Gloucs home educators-they are a friendly bunch!
We have lots of friends down your way.

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