If I do this “Are You Ready to Homeschool” series well, somebody might just get off the bubble and decide to take the homeschooling journey. After all, what is stopping you once you seriously consider the decision? For many, the answer is simple: MONEY.
When we began seriously thinking about homeschooling, I was pregnant with our third child. I knew I was leaving my current employer, but I was disappointed when the only opportunities that chased me—literally—were part-time. When we began to ponder how we might string together a couple of part-time jobs to at least replace some income, a seed planted when our oldest was an infant began to germinate. Could we do this? Should we do this? For a professional couple with all the material trappings to match, bringing the breadwinner home to school our children seemed far-fetched, yet intriguing all at the same time. There were a number of shifts to our thinking and consequently, our doing, during that window of time before we actually became homeschoolers. Prayerfully, our testimony will minister to you, too. Here are some considerations when it comes to your money and homeschooling.
- Be clear about where you are, so to speak, with money. One of the blessings that helped us adjust, in one of those too-coincidental-to-be-a-coincidence moves of God, was Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” course. Now, honestly, I have not fully bought into all of Ramsey’s philosophy hook, line, and sinker, but attending the course through our church helped us think long and hard about some things, like:
- The difference between a want and a need
- The blessing of being debt-free (which we are still working on)
- Delayed gratification
- Be frugal (but not cheap). One of the biggest challenges for our family, as an example, was to give up spontaneous eating out. I had to plan meals and time far more intentionally than I had ever done as a working woman. There are extravagances, whether it is a pair of shoes, or a weekly steak dinner, or even a daily trip to Starbucks that each of us may have to scale back on temporarily to see our end goal.
Similarly, homeschooling can be as expensive or inexpensive as you make it. I often quote from a homeschool speaker I saw in the early days when she said, “All you need to homeschool is a Bible, a math book, and a library card.” And to a large extent, she is right. The key is to spend your dollars wisely. Buy books, not stuff.
- Be enterprising. If additional income is required, that does not have to be the determining factor as to whether or not you homeschool. There are a number of jobs with flexible work schedules; homeschool schedules are flexible, too. I mentioned part-time employment, which was a lifesaver for us in the early years (I am also a college instructor). Amazon? Hilton? Disney? They are among several large companies that hire people willing to work from home. Here are some others, though I cannot personally vouch for any of these:
Maybe the Lord is calling you to start that business idea that keeps you awake at night.
Finally consider this: if you truly believe that the Lord has called you to educate your children at home, won’t He also equip your home financially to meet your needs?
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:26-34, NIV)
Remember, the idea here is to be a voice of reason for someone who is “on the fence,” so to speak. If you have other suggestions on helping families with the financial adjustments of homeschooling, please share!