Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Home Education Budgeting
I've often wondered what other people spend on home education and those around me IRL seem to be quite random with it, no set figure or plan other than 'as little as possible' or 'whatever I need to'. Glad that works for them... neither would for me LOL
I have a budget of $200 a month - most of those that know this, before I've now shared it with the world, are a bit gob smacked by it and indicate they think it a great & generous amount. I'd guess though, that it's about what they're possibly spending themselves and they're just not as aware of it.
So where does $200 go every month and super fast at that?
A year's maths materials for Melinda (8yo) will cost me $208, so there is one month gone. In the last 6months, I've already had a similar outlay 3 times (approx. $150 each time as I already had a reusable part, which this time I need to get a duplicate of)
Thankfully from now on Melinda is the only one I need to outlay for at that cost and once a year should be plenty. It buys the teacher book, test book & dvd as well as the student work book. For each of the other children I'll only need the to get the student workbooks each year at about $60 per child per year.
Swimming - yes, all activities have to fit into the budget as well... and so they are well thought out. Most I know don't count the activities i.e. gym, ballet, music lessons etc as part of their home education expenses.
I've chosen swimming to focus on, because I believe it to be an important life skill and the lack of can have life and death issues as well as social issues. Things like ballet are nice but not something I could fit into the budget along with swimming, piano and curriculum! Swimming costs approx $200 a term for two children (no rebate available as I mention below). That's up to 1/4 of the year's budget! We won't be doing it this next term as a new baby will take priority but I hope it can be managed for the remaining 2 terms of the year - the children love it and seem to be doing really well.
Our English curriculum (Language Arts) costs about $100 for teacher and student books but then only about $40-50 for the student books which is all I'll need for the children that follow. After this initial lay out, I've added in 'optional but recommended' books - about 10 I think for the grade 2 level and only 4-5 for the grade 3 level. With clever use of booko these don't cost a whole lot. And remember, in Australia, we get the educational tax rebate of 50% on all books, curriculum, computers, stationary, internet etc so any of these extra books end up costing me even less.
We use Apologia science - again, about $40 for a year's curriculum, when bought carefully regardless of number of children, and 50% of that comes back to me at tax time too.
Books books books. I love books. And this is why it's good my budget is capped LOL
I want my children to be influenced by great books. Godly books. One can't readily access these without owning them. Even recently I went to the picture book shelf and put all the godly books on one side and the secular books on the other. I was devastated to see that less than 10% of books that are influencing my 1-5 year old's, point them toward God and to God's way of doing life. We're now working to rectify that!!!
Thankfully internet access doesn't have to fit into my monthly budget, but I'm sure glad I get the 50% back on it at tax time. It's not part of our home ed budget because we'd have it anyway - even if we were childless!
Tax time is around the corner and you know what? I've already 'spent' the rebate in my head. A lump sum of $500-$750 is the best time of year for me to be spending on computers don't you think? So this year the rebate will go towards a new laptop for the older 2 children to share. The bonus being that in the following year, I can claim 50% of that back too LOL
So why have a home ed budget?
I don't need to run each and every item past hubby! The budget as a whole was run through with him in the first place and he trusts me with our children's education needs - and LOVES browsing the home ed shelves for something to read himself *grin*