Hi, I'm new to the homeschool coop. I have fraternal twin boys, 9 years old. I am a graduate of UNM College of Education and also have an Associates Degree in Early Childhood. I am licensed to teach K-8 and have been working with children since 1992, professionally. My husband and I are seriously considering whether we can afford to homeschool and survive on one income anymore. We homeschooled all last year, our first year, and have continued this year. We see many benefits but wonder if there are others we haven't thought of. Also, we were wondering if any of you have suggestions about how to live more affordably. We think we have done all we can, but there may be other areas to cut expenses and take advantage of homeschool opportunities that we aren't thinking of.
We take advantage of NM Kids Magazine, are NMBS members, shop at thrift stores, try to only buy a week's worth of groceries so we don't stock up too much, use Sam's Club but also want to buy local and organic produce and meat, my husband has a business at our home, we have all the curriculum we could ever want, utilize our neighborhood park and trail, etc.
I could make enough money, if the kids were going to public school and I were working as a teacher either in public school or at a preschool/childcare, to make sure we could move into a home with a little more space, pay off deferred school loans, etc..
I love homeschooling my kids and being a stay at home mom, wife and friend/neighbor. Help! Any suggestions about how to make this work, without me having to go back to work?
My son is only 5, but I do understand the worries of being broke. And here's how I look at it. Could we live in a bigger home and have more little "extras" if I went back to work? Most likely. But what is the cost of sending him to school? Well, for my family, it would be sacrificing all those special little moments-like being taught by my kiddo how to build a drag racer out of leggos, or spending the afternoon in the kitchen talking in witch voices and making potions out of spices and oil. It would mean sacrificing having control over who my son hangs out with and having the opportunity to immediately address behaviors that are inappropriate, getting used to the idea that I'm no longer the main character in the story of his day, and not have a clue who the people he talks about are. It would mean that we would eat fast food more and nice home cooked meals less. It would mean having to actually get us all up and dressed before 7:30, not being able to just throw a lunch together but actually pack and plan one. Every day. And it would mean having to "get used" to hanging out with my wonderful kid on the weekends and once we get the hang of being together again, it's time to head back to school and work.
The cost of homeschooling are much more palatable to me. We live in a small house in not such a gret neighborhood. We rarely eat out, I officially have zero pairs of jeans wtihout holes. My son only gets toys for his birthday and christmas, and my husband changes the oil in our car here instead of at jiffy lube. But those are all just little things, in my world view. I can get around those things, even as I'm stressing out about them. I can't get around the sense of loss I would feel if I sent him to school so we could have a more comfortable life style. When I'm feeling really down and depressed about being poor and having to eat beans for the 3rd time in a week, I step back and pat myself on the back because tough as it can be, we've successfully avoided the two income trap. That notion that we can't have a quality life without both of us working.
What do we do to save money? Well, we shop a Walmart and Costco. Sometimes I'll splurge on meat from Kellers. I buy two week's worth of food at a time and I shop only from my list. I make judicious use of my crock pot, and my husband takes leftovers to work. The only curriculum we have is one for math. The rest we piece work together. We go the the library sometimes 2 or 3 times in a week. I know this seems like spending money, but it's so worth it to us...we have a Netflix subscription and I get science and Imax movies for my son and my husband and I enjoy the closest thing we can to a date with a movie on the couch. We have museum and zoo memberships, and we spend a lot of time with friends.
In the end, nobody can tell you if it would be better for you to send your sons back to school. I know what works for me and my family, but I don't think I have the answer for everyone. This is a deeply personal decision that you and your family have to make on your own, and I truly hope you can find peace in whichever decision you make.
You are not alone. I think you have some good cost-cutting measures in place. I know several homeschooling families where the mom works part-time and trades childsitting with another mother - that might be a possibility for you.
You should come out to park day - there is an Eastside and a Westside one - depending on where you are located.
The concern that we may be short-changing our families by not contributing financially is a very common one for those considering homeschooling. It's so easy for us to see the very tangible benefits of extra money. And if one hasn't homeschooled, it's hard to assess whether working or homeschooling would help the family more, because the benefits of homeschooling haven't manifested themselves yet, they're just potential!
Maybe this isn't relevant to you, and you already feel you understand the benefits of homeschooling, but it was for me. And the only way I could feel confident about my decision not to be a breadwinner was to actually TRY homeschooling and see how it worked for our family. Maybe it's an option for you to give it a year or two, and at that point, if you feel the extra money is more important, you can always stop homeschooling.
I guess it just depends on what your definition of "cost" is. For myself the "cost" would actually be much more than money. It would be the loss of my peace of mind of knowing that they are in a safe and well cared for enviornment and that they are learning age-appropriate information from someone who always has their best interest at heart. The material things are nice, but no amount of money could ever take the place of a healthy, happy, well adjusted adult. Just my 2cents B
Before you know it, your nine year olds will be nineteen. There is time for money later. I would advise you that if really feel the conviction to home school, maybe your husband could work a second job part time, or you could work part time when your husband is with the kids. Another option might be to work at a small private school that your sons also attend.
There is no question that home schooling is a sacrifice and in more ways than financially. It takes our time, energy, creativity, and on and on. It is the reality of those of us that choose to teach our children.
Another option with your credentials is to home school other people's kids with your own. When I lived in the East Mountains there was a woman that had a one-room school house with 12 or so kids in. I'm not sure how she did it, I think probably without the blessing of the State. But she was never lacking for students and parents that didn't want their kid in public school but couldn't afford most private schools. You could also try offering classes that you have expertise in. Not all home schoolers are broke and many are willing to pay for a class they think is beneficial.
Another option might be watching some preschool kids during the day while you home school your sons.
A few ideas, anyway! Good luck with your decision! Rebecca
Wow, thank you for all the timely and passionate responses. I know I am not alone in the passion I too feel about homeschooling. I really do appreciate the advice and helpful suggestions. I will bring the boys to one of the park days. It may be good to talk to some of you and get more of a feel of how you all are doing this. The boys were in baseball last spring, they are in a club Thurs. nights all "school year" and besides that, they have a neighborhood of a few children to play with, a baby cousin about once a week and then a step brother that is in public school who comes to stay with us part time. It would be encouraging to the boys to be able to meet other children who are homeschooled as well. They were in an NAEYC accredited preschool (I recommend this for those who want a few days of excellent care and environment a week) at 2 1/2 , when I went to school full time for my degrees until 5 when they started Kindergarten. They were in public school until the beginning of 3rd grade. Talk about "unschooling"!! We are still doing it, but I can't seem to keep away from the methods I have learned over the years. They are doing well, despite my journey of discovery. They have made it their own so far.
We (all of the 4 1/2 of us) live and work in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath (thak God for the other bathroom!). It's tight, but cozy. I like being able to know where everyone is and what we are all doing and yet have a few little sort of private spaces. The boys' father (my husband is their stepfather) has stopped paying child support, which was one of the factors for being able to afford one income life. My husband has been taking that slack for a while now and works very hard already. I think it is me who needs to make the changes that are necessary. He is sacrificial and a true servant in all areas. If I can free more of his time helping around the house as much, he would be able to grow his business. We love being together every day, though, each moment, so it is a difficult prospect to think of he and I playing that "game" of "Who's had the hardest day?" when he walks in the door or whatever. I just don't want to get caught in that rat race of a stereotype relationship, neither of us do. We love working side by side, homeschooling the children, whatever. Have you all heard of John Rosemond? His 6 Point Plan for Raising Healthy Happy Children (found it on tape at the library) was one of the most succinct and healthy perspectives I have ever heard. I have adopted basically everything he advocates. Excellent advice and philosophies.
Well, just getting some things off my chest. I really do feel a stronger resolve, we both do, to "just keep swimming"(Finding Nemoment-we have them all the time in our family) and see what the rest of this year brings. I know that we are in a bit of a financial recession also, so money and times are a bit tight for many folks.
We actually sat down this morning to look at our budget, something we needed to do in the last year and a 1/2 since we have been married. It helped us get the reality of the situation into a better frame of mind. It is doable right now, unless there is a major catastrophe and we are slammed with a big bill. We will just trust that it will be fine and we can cross that bridge if and when we come to it.
Any other suggestions you all have for cutting costs and streamlining excellent experiences are very welcome to me! I would also love to hear some of your stories. I hope to get to know some of you. I will read more of the posts that are in the archives, too. I am sure I will be able to glean more advice and resolve from you all from what you have been through allready.
We own a restaurant (which has yet to be profitable - so I understand all too well being strapped financially). Luckily, though, if we both have to work, we are able to work opposite shifts. So the kids always have one of us to be with (and do the schooling, cleaning, cooking, etc). Being able to do this has saved us. If you and your husband were able to coordinate your work schedules, you could have the best of both worlds.
I agree with what everyone else has said too. DANNIE, you have a wonderful and inspiring way with words! I gotta hang with you more often girl!
Sometimes I get really down & think how nice it would be for my husband to work for some large company & get a good paycheck that we know won't bounce! But then I join reality again & realize that that would not make any of us happy.
We use the library so much that last Christmas, when we decided to buy a set of books for one of the kids in our family, the only place I could think of getting them from was the library! It's been so long since I've been in a book store, let alone bought a book.
The internet has lots of free resources (work sheets, etc). Just search for "crafts," "math work sheets," "phonics," etc.
The ladies in this wonderful group have loaned me books on occasion.
If you want to do it bad enough, you will find a way. Just find out what is right for you and your family first!
Keep trudging along. Many of us are right there with you!
Adam (12 y.o.) Allison, aka DD (10 y.o.) Ian (7 y.o.) Jason (5 y.o.)
Wow, glad to hear I'm not the only one struggling to make ends meet! I think in-home day care is a very good option. A friend of mine is doing that and makes great money! I did it about 4 years ago and it really got us through a tough timebut not I have 4 kids of my own and one more coming next May so its not really practical anymore. I am currently working an admin job from home. It's not much but it provides some extra income and still let's me be here all day for schooling, tickling, cooking, cleaning, laundry, hide and seek or whatever other thing comes along during the day. You may want to look into some kind of thing that let's you make some extra money from home. There are lots of scams out there but there are some legit things too. Just takes some digging.
I think you are on the right track and I am confident that you will make the right decision for your family. Mom's tend to have an instinct when it comes to taking care of those little ones!
We'd love to see you at West Side Park Day on Tuesdays!
Hi and nice to meet you. Until recently I've felt like the lone fish in the bowl, homeschooling twins, but I found out last week one of my 'old' girlfriends, who is the mother of triplets, started homeschooling here in ABQ. And now, you. Cool!
My own homeschooled twins are almost 11 years old now. They've been homeschooled since the second month of second grade, when I pulled them out. I'd be glad to share our story, if you are ever interested. I think it may even be in the archives.
My sons are now '5th graders' and my daughter is a pre-schooler. I cannot imagine ever making my children attend a public school ever again...and they might never forgive me if I did.
I trust with all my heart that God has us on this journey for a perfect reason. Days are not always easy. Some days can be a challenge, too. But my children were brought into this world and entrusted to me and my husband to care for, help educate, and introduce them to this world, not for us to just send them off to strangers to impart their own values, ideas, peer pressures, opinions, and dangers.
You, in the end, have to make up your own minds what is the very best for your children and for your family. Follow your instincts and your heart.
Ideas to make some money on 'one income'. You have said you have teaching credentials. Many homeshool families like hiring tutors for specific subjects. They also enjoy signing up for classes. My own children have joined Chemistry, Astronomy, Math, Writing, Music, Language, and Science classes. And we've paid for most of those classes, too. And enjoyed participating, for the educational side, as well as the social side.
Maybe you could look into teaching a class or two?
I was thinking abou t htis and not sure what's "legal" here. What about offering to tutor public school kids near your home? A lot of them are REALLY struggling and some parents in public school actually do care about their children's education and would gladly pay for tutoring. Any one know if this would be allowed? Could one advertise at the public schools? Or maybe just put flyers on the mail boxes? With your credentials you're more than qualified!
Well, my question and the answers you all supplied (or suggestions and encouragements anyway) really helped and started my family and I down a path we hope to travel.
The cost of homeschooling is worth it for us, not homeschooling is too much of a cost. We have determined to continue at any cost.
So...we put our home on the market, we have been packing furiously, cleaning and getting ready to show, looked at a piece of land in Tijeras that would be less expense if we moved a travel trailor or single mobile home on, have been cutting expenses where we can, my husband is ready to do extra side work AND we are all looking forward to the changes.
I had hoped to meet some of you at the play groups, but it has been quite busy around here and now we are moving. Not too far away, so maybe we will still get a chance to meet on a day we come into town, that is if our plans succeed. Otherwise, we may have to temporarily move into an apartment to rent until we can afford to do something else. I hate throwing money away, but sometimes it just has to be done this way.
Please, think of us in this depressed housing market (which really is a great buyer's market but not so good for sellers) as we know there is a lot of inventory out there we are trying to sell in.
I have tried to get my husband to let me watch a child or two in our home, but we just can't afford the liabilities these days and if I make any more money right now than I already am working with my husband at home, then I will have to start paying back my student loans (I am on an economic hardship deferrment while we get more stable financially), which would be more than I make and wouldn't help our current situtation any, just make it worse. We love our crockpot and all the inexpensive meals we can make in it. I too, Dannie, own maybe one pair of jeans without holes in it. But, it really is all worth it.
Sometimes a person from my family will criticize me for not working because of our current situation or they tell me I won't be able to teach them in junior high school or high school grades (and we aren't even their yet!!) and I have had to ask them to not have those conversations with me within earshot of the kids. Just after my family member left this last time, the kids came to me and asked if they could go back to public school. Ay yay yay. We had to have our "little talk" again.
I have to insist that my family and friends be behind me all the way or else keep their comments to themselves around the kids, and maybe all the time. Not everyone undestands the benefits of homeschooling or the realities of the public school system, so it is hard to make an educated assessment. I understand that and don't hold it against them (even though it can be quite discouraging sometimes), in fact, it is an opportunity to impart some insight and break down the myths and stereotypes of homeschooling in the public eye. What a tremendous challenge! I am not ready to take on the world right now, just the people I am in contact with in my life. They may not agree with me, however, at least they may gain an additional perspective from my information.
The biggest influence on my children wanting to go to Public School are the neighbors kids and family criticism. I will definitely be getting involved with the East Mountain Homeschool Group if we move there. If not, I am thankful for the potential support that is offered here in Albuquerque. I read this forum and search the website and know that I am being encouraged.