I sank slowly into my seat at class. There was a friendly atmosphere and a lot of small talk happening in the room. As I unpacked my pens and books onto the desk, the woman two chairs down chirped up and asked me a friendly question (which the whole class heard), ‘So, why are you writing a book on Christian homeschooling?’ The small group around us chattered, saying they’d had the same question.
I tried to think quickly about the right answer for this crowd – they were a different target audience to my book. ‘Well, I’m a Christian. I was homeschooled and I’m passionate about promoting homeschooling because of my great experiences – besides school teaches so much bad stuff these days.” The woman sitting next to me smiled, “My sister homeschools and I think it's a very good idea.” I perked up, “Are you going to homeschool?” She looked at the mound of homework in front of her, “No, I can’t afford to homeschool – I’d have to do without a double income. How would you answer that concern?”
The answer came naturally to me, “I guess it’s a case of priorities. What do you value more?” She shrugged and nodded in agreement. A man sitting on the opposite bench said, “But what about Christian schools? You wouldn’t have to forgo your income and they would get a Christian education.”
But, having given the answer about priorities and homeschooling, I have since come to realise it's not a satisfying answer for some people. People want to know homeschooling is affordable on one income.
While I can definitely assure you homeschooling is affordable on one income, I can also assure you homeschooling will likely make you poorer than you would have been had you sent your children to public school. If you send your children to a private school or a Christian school, you may have been financially better off homeschooling. I've thoroughly done the sums in my book on Australian Christian homeschooling if you're interested.
(Interestingly, mothers who homeschool save the government a whole stack of money by homeschooling instead of sending their children to public school if they have more than 3 children.)
And, so while the answer about priorities is a frustrating one, I think this is what it comes down to. How much do you value money from a second income? Do you think you can comfortably live without a second income, and if so, will the rewards from homeschooling be worth it?
If choosing schooling is just about the cost, parents ought to should choose public school. However, if you want the best schooling, choose to homeschool.
In my experience, homeschooled children are often very thankful to their parents for homeschooling them. They know their parents have given up money for them.
Indeed, homeschooled children know they’re more important to their parents than new clothes because those from second-hand stores are sufficient. They’re more important than movies at the theatre because rented videos for $4.99 are sufficient. They’re more important than computer games because old-fashioned board games are sufficient. They’re more important meals at fast food restaurants because home-cooked meals are sufficient. They’re more important than luxuries because cheaper versions are sufficient.
About the Author
Rebbecca Devitt is an Australian Christian homeschooling author, writer and blogger at whyonearthhomeschool.com. She is a homeschool graduate, dementia nurse, wife and mother who lives in Wollongong, Australia. If you would like to contact her with questions, please contact her on the CONTACT page.