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Homeschool – Planning for Next Year


I was so grateful that Walnut gave me some writing prompts this past week.  Since we have CHOSEN to live on a really tight budget for the next few months AND we have CHOSEN to save our spending money for a mini vacation next month, there isn’t a lot of financial activity going on.  We are saving everything towards the goal of 1) living on last month’s income beginning in May and 2) paying off all consumer debt by July.

So all I am doing aside from working and schooling the kids is thinking and planning for the future…and one of the big things for us is school expenses.  This year was the first year that all four of my kids participated in our homschool co op all year.  History Buff did almost all his school work via the classes available, while Sea Cadet just took electives.  The Princess took some heavy classes which weren’t supposed to be her entire curriculum but really ended up consuming her time.  And Little Gymnast just took some electives that I don’t teach.  The cost of this was HIGH money wise, and I knew as of last semester that we would not do this again.

So…what are we going to do next year.  Well, a couple of things are going to be changing.

  1. History Buff and Sea Cadet will be dual enrolled in our local community college for one class.  This will cost a bit more, but allow them to get their feet wet with college level courses and layouts while I am here to hold their hands.  (Yes, I realize that I sometimes come across as mother bear, but in this case…yes, they will definitely need some hand holding.)  We are going to start with one and if that works ok, will consider additional ones for the following semesters.
  2. I am going to be teaching at our co op!  I am uniquely qualified with my Masters degree and corporate experience to teach high school level computer programming, Ap computer science and advanced computer application, and am thrilled that what I can offer is something they need.  Currently, I will be teaching all three courses but that could change this summer once enrollment settles down.  I won’t do more than three but would ideally like to drop to two.  The entire goal in teaching is to pay for the kids’ homeschool co op.  This will be a huge coup as far as the kids tuition costs being covered and I’m super excited about it.  I will know in May which of my classes make it and have the summer to plan the curriculum.   The lectures will be once a week and back to back, that was my one condition in taking this on.  All other interaction will be online which works well since I am always at my computer for work and an avid multi-tasker.
  3. After 6 years of homeschooling, I know my teaching/planning style. And I know my kids’ learning styles.  That makes a HUGE difference in being successful.  For the first time, I will be selling off curriculum that I have accumulated over the years at a curriculum sale in May.  And then based on the kids co op schedule, my teaching schedule and the monies I earn from selling some of my stuff, I am going to pick up some new items at our statewide homeschool convention.  If you have ever been interested in homeschooling, I suggest you check out a convention, they are AWESOME!

So the financial summation of these changes….

  1. I will be paying for 1 college course for each of the twins.  Estimated cost $800 for both.  This is ballpark, I won’t have the real cost until we register this summer.
  2. I will NOT be paying for any of our homeschool co op classes and may in fact make a little extra money from teaching depending on the number of students who enroll in my class(es.)  Something else that will firm up in May.
  3. I will be selling some of my used curriculum for the first time this year and am hoping to make enough money to buy a few new things at the homeschool convention.  At this time, I have no other monies budgeted toward homeschool supplies, so am really hoping that my curriculum will sell!  Another update on this in May when the dust settles.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I make enough from teaching that not only can I cover our homeschool co op classes, but also the twins college class!?  Only time will tell, but that is the plan right now.


  • Reply Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore |

    Hi Hope,

    A little off-topic here, but this post prompted my thought. I’d love to hear about how you got started with bartering as a way to save money. I’d like to do more bartering but am just not sure how to go about getting started with it. Thanks!

    • Reply Hope |

      I think that’s a great question and certainly one I’ve been asked several times in person. I will try to put together a post on it in the next week or so.

  • Reply Walnut |

    What a great plan all around! I think it’s great for the twins to get a taste of college courses early. College classes have very different expectations than high school and many college freshman waste big money figuring this out later!

    Teaching for the home school co-op in exchange for tuition is also a great plan. If you’re already driving kids to and from the co-op, it only makes sense to contribute your time and talents as well. My school didn’t offer any computer classes back in the day, so I attended a local community college to learn a variety of programming languages. These types of elective courses spoke to me in a way that art and creative writing never did.

    Feel free to share any tips and tricks you learn while selling curriculum later. Surely good information for the community to take away.

  • Reply Meghan |

    Hi Hope-

    I think it is great that you are able to cover all the homeschooling costs by teaching some courses there, even without the bonus of it covering your costs it is a great way to give back to the students of all the other parents who teach classes your kiddos take at the co-op.

    It might also be time for the twins to learn the benefit of applying for grants and scholarships, especially if they are on a college path. There are lots of opportunities to get these community college classes covered, a quick thing to look into might be whether the school offers any discount to homeschooling students who are ready for college courses; I have a friend who home schools her children (not in Virginia) and her local community college waives all tuition for home school students who have not yet reached college age but have advanced to college level courses in their subjects. With the cost of standard college tuition these days it is almost a requirement to learn to apply for scholarships, with such comparatively low tuition rates the boys are experiencing now they can focus on applying for smaller dollar value scholarships that others do not think are worth their time. Your local library should have a book of available scholarships (there are a huge variety of them that have specific requirements – I once applied for and received a several hundred dollar scholarship whose sole requirement was having red hair!), usually with study guides for tests like the lsat, gmat, etc.



    • Reply Jen From Boston |

      I second this. It would also fit in with you teaching your children about money.

      I was lucky in applying for financial aid because my mother was a CPA (she went back to school when I was in grade school and became certified when I was in high school!), so filling out the FAFSA didn’t intimidate her. Sadly, though, it initimidates many people who would qualify for financial aid, but because they don’t understand the form they either don’t fill it out, or they fill it out wrong and don’t get as much aid as they could.

  • Reply Jen From Boston |

    Maybe you’ve answered this before, but I’m curious: how does the homeschooling co-op work? How much does it cost, where is it held, etc.? My enquiring mind wants to know 🙂 I had just assumed the kids were home all day with you teaching them. I didn’t know you drove them someplace else and another parent taught them stuff.

    I’m also curious about the electives, and presumably, the required courses. I don’t know anyone who homeschools so I don’t know all the nitty gritty details.

  • Reply MW |

    $800 for two college courses? That seems really high! What is the per unit cost at your local community college system?

    • Reply Hope |

      This is just an estimate based on what other’s have said and does include a supposed amount for books. I won’t know the true cost until this summer when they are registered. I prefer to estimate high and then be pleasantly surprised when it’s lower rather than vice versa.

      • Reply Walnut |

        Based on community college costs in my area, $800 seems reasonable. Nothing about college tuition is cheap anymore. Not even the “affordable” option.

        • Reply MW |

          It’s $46/unit here (in San Diego), so a 3 unit class would be $138/kid. Times two, you’re still at less than half this estimate. Books obviously increase the price by quite a bit, but hopefully the kids can check the books out of the library or at least buy used!

          • Meghan |

            Tuition can vary greatly though. I live in Northern Virginia and the local community college is $161.75 per credit, times three is $485.25 for one course at the local community college. And according to the school website, the “Tuition rates are set by the State Board for Community Colleges and are subject to change.” I mention this because Hope has mentioned that they live in Virginia.

          • Walnut |

            That may be the base tuition rate, but have you factored in the cost of mandatory fees? There are usually combinations of flat per semester fees and then per credit hour fees. These support student organizations, the library, technology, printing, facilities etc. Most tuition bills include a laundry list and are not optional.

  • Reply first step |

    Does your local public school system have a formal dual-enrollment agreement with community colleges? In NC, juniors and seniors (public, private & homeschool) can take community college courses for free during HS as long as they meet certain requirements. Check with your local schools to see if this is an option and check with the community college to see if the twins qualify for any reduction in fees because of their adoption. If not, complete a FAFSA, to see if they qualify for any financial aid. Also, check local high schools’ websites for scholarship and summer educational opportunities or to see if there are any special internship programs offered by local businesses.

  • Reply Hp |

    I teach at a cc in Florida and have lots of homeschoolers. There is some aid out there. I do caution you to make sure your children take the lead on communication. The professors will not be able to talk to you about your children without their permission. See if the school has a dual enrollment office to help you plan for their course.

So, what do you think ?