Friday, 12 July 2013

Home Ed v School

There is a whole long list of reasons why I've chosen to home educate my son, but I can honestly say cost wasn't ever a consideration.  This is despite a lot of people assuming it is very expensive to homeschool, whereas they seem to think sending the kids to a state school is free.  But is it?

A recent press release I received stated that it costs an average of £1,614 per year to send a child to state school, with the cost made up of items such as transport, uniform and school shoes, lunches, out-of-school care, sports kit and trips.  And we must bear in mind that these costs are over and above the costs all of us incur when we have children.  When I think about what I actually spend on home ed, I'm sure it doesn't cost anywhere near that amount.

Thanks to the internet, there is an amazing amount of free stuff out there to use in education, and of course there's the local library which is an amazing resource that's often under utilised.  Home educators often get great discounts on things too, such as National Trust membership, and educational packages such as Mathletics, and there's free educational stuff too such as visits to English Heritage sites.  And as a home educator, there's no need to worry about having to take your holidays only during the school holidays either.

My biggest, and some would argue unnecessary expense, is books.  I could get the majority of them from the library and simply download the multitude of free worksheets that are available via the web, but I love them and I hope my son will love them too, so I tend to buy quite a lot - though only from charity shops, discount stores and ebay.  There are sometimes small expenses incurred in going to get-togethers (usually to go towards the cost of a venue), but even then it's often possible to negotiate a discount because we go as a group.

Later on there may be the cost of exams, but even that may be more do-able on a tight budget due to the changes in the way education for 14-16 year olds is funded.  From September, many colleges will offer some online courses and the funding, which was formerly paid to the LEA, will go direct to the college instead, which means the children don't have to be on a school register to qualify.

What most people have to cram in at weekends when everyone else is doing the same, we can do on quieter days during the week.  In fact we probably avoid going to attractions and the like at the weekend, but pro-rata end up spending less than a family whose children go to school, so we actually save money.  And we don't have the additional £1,614 to find either.

My vote would go to home education.  Not only is it able to provide a personally tailored education suited to each child's individuality, there's none of the pressure or expense associated with going to school either.

Until next time.

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