How Much Does It Cost To Homeschool In The UK?
With homeschooling in the UK becoming more popular every day, families considering homeschooling are looking for accurate information on the practicalities: the law surrounding home education, whether or not you need a curriculum, how many hours children are supposed to work for and how much UK homeschooling costs.
Today I’ll be talking about finances, how much UK homeschooling costs and how you can keep the costs down. After you have read this article you may wish to check out 100+ brilliant UK homeschooling resources (many of which are FREE!), the answers to the most frequently asked questions about UK homeschooling as well as 10 things I recommend considering before committing to homeschooling your child. We have a full library of all of our UK homeschooling blog posts here.
How Much Does UK Homeschooling Cost?
I’ll be clear from the start- there is NO obligation, legal or otherwise, for UK homeschooling families to follow the national curriculum, or indeed any curriculum (for more info on this and the different styles of home education see here.) There are absolutely NO compulsory purchases to be made when you home educate your child, so technically the answer to ‘how much does it cost to homeschool‘ could be £0.
I hope that brings a sigh of relief to families considering home education, as many parents I have advised in the past worry that they would need to purchase schoolbooks and resources to essentially recreate school at home, and that is absolutely unnecessary (and I would say inadvisable- don’t recreate school at home!) I wrote a post a while ago on everything we learned in one homeschool day and it pretty much cost us nothing, so that might be of interest to take a look at.
Of course, anyone with children knows that they cost money- to feed, clothe, buy toys and books for, etc. How much it costs to homeschool your child depends on a number of factors:
- How much money you have (ie, if you’re loaded then you could spend a ton on special classes, trips abroad, tutors, expensive books and toys etc- if you are on a less extravagant budget, like we are, this simply isn’t possible so you have to think outside the box).
- How creative you are. You could buy your child a toy theatre, or you could grab a cardboard box and some scissors and get to work. You could buy flashcards, or you can pick up a pen and paper and do it yourself. You could order new books from Waterstones, or you can get on second hand websites and charity shops and libraries and get the same things for cheap or free. You could buy full-price tickets to local attractions, or you can cut coupons from cereal boxes or wait for deals or ring up and ask for homeschool discounts. You can do anything you want to; you just need to figure out how.
- Your expectations (and teaching ability). If you are expecting your child to read fluently by the age of 6 and you don’t know how to teach them, you’ll have to fork out for a tutor. If however like us you are happy for children to develop at their own pace, paying other people to get them to a certain ‘level’ by a certain time is a waste of money. By the way, that’s not to say children can’t learn to read (or whatever) at a fairly early age without a tutor- of course they can- this will just take more input and time from you to facilitate it.
- How many children you have. This is a no-brainer, the more kids you have the more expensive life is. You can however buy in bulk and get savings on food, art supplies etc.
- Your ego. If you are wanting to project a certain image and have certain material or academic gains to feed this, you will end up spending more money. If you are confident with what you are doing and you lessen the need to impress others, you will spend less money. This is applicable in every area of life- cars, holidays, homes- and homeschooling!
How Much We Spend On Homeschooling Our Children
Because of the way we homeschool, the costs of our lifestyle are pretty much the same as if we were on one long constant summer school holiday. That is to say, we pay for clubs, books, some toys, petrol to get places and entry tickets. The current things we pay for that I consider a ‘homeschooling expense’ are:
- A monthly pass to our local farm (£40 for the family)
- A weekly homeschool group where the children learn art, literacy, science, technology and maths. I swap helping at the group every other week in return for the kids attending, and the other weeks are paid (£30 per week so £60 per month).
- A monthly Lego masterclass for Esmae (£8)
- Cubs and Beavers membership for Esmae and Eira plus any associated costs (camps and equipment for camping etc)- membership is £65 per term for them both.
- Entry to various museums or workshops (the Horniman museum for example, or Corfe castle museum when we frequently go to Dorset) probably works out to £30 a month
- Art supplies (paper, pens, paints, little projects like paint-your-own piggybanks, Hama beads, beading kits, sewing supplies etc) which is probably £20 a month
- Books and any other things we find at charity shops such as puzzles or science experiment kits, or plants for the garden, probably another £20-30 a month
That’s a total of around £145 a month- however MANY of these things would be bought if the kids were at school (art supplies and books for example) and we would be spending money on after-school clubs, uniforms, school trips etc so I don’t think there is much, if any, saving for a child going to school compared to home educating.
How To Save Money Homeschooling (Compared To School)
An estimate by a research company found that the expenses associated with sending a child to school from years 1-11 was over £22,500- almost £2000 a year, which is more than our homeschooling expenses.
We could technically reduce our homeschooling expenses of course, by not having the farm membership and only ever getting books from the library and not having loads at home, but the benefits of having these things far outweigh the financial cost and the value is brilliant- for example we got 10 Horrible History books for £1 at a charity shop the other day, and one visit to the farm if we paid the normal ticket price is £50, so we get a lot of value out of what we pay for.
It’s also worth saying that my Mum is very generous in supporting the girls and she pays for several things for them (such as half the farm membership and the weekly homeschool group as well as loads of art supplies for her home) which we are extremely lucky and grateful for.
How To Reduce Your Homeschooling Costs
I will do a thorough post on UK homeschooling on a budget but for now here are my best tips for reducing homeschooling costs:
- Don’t buy a curriculum. They are generally a waste of money, they are unnecessary and expensive and will add pressure that neither you or your kids need! For more information on this check out my post on the 6 types of homeschool curriculum.
- For attraction and event tickets, ask for the schools or educational rate. Most places allow homeschoolers to take advantage of the same discount that school groups get; sometimes you’ll need to go with a group of homeschoolers but often you can just go as a family and get the discount. It makes sense; homeschool families provide business during the week when most kids are at school!
- Get a library card, and a toy library card if there’s available. There is almost certainly a library near you and borrowing books is free; you can also sit and read with your children as an activity (duh). Libraries often also have things on such as writing or drawing workshops, especially in the school holidays, and these are usually free.
- Get together with other homeschooling families to create a little club or group, either purely for socialising and playdates or based around a theme. If one of you is talented artist perhaps you could run a little art workshop; the next time another parent could bake with the kids or do some gardening or drama, etc.
- Get a subscription to Twinkl for free printable activities and look on Pinterest for free printables too. Colouring sheets, maths and English worksheets, even board games- all for the cost of some paper and a bit of ink!
- Visit your local charity shops when you feel that your kids could use some new activities such as puzzles or books. We save an absolute ton by shopping second hand, and it’s a good way for children to learn about charity and the eco impact of purchasing second-hand too.
- Don’t compare yourself to other homeschooling families. There will always be families who go to every class, have loads of tutors, have the expensive ‘educational’ toys and resources… so what? That might be the way they want to do things but there is absolutely no reason to think you can’t create an equally or even more rich homeschooling life on a budget. It just requires a bit more creativity!
Do You Get Paid For Homeschooling Your Children?
This would be amazing, wouldn’t it- but no, of course not. Think of homeschooling like private education- if you choose not to opt in to the national school system, you are responsible for funding whatever method or style of education you choose for your family. Interestingly the cost to the taxpayer of sending one child to primary school is £4,700 per year so that is a considerable amount of money that the government does not need to pay for each child that is home educated.
Are There A Grant or Financial Help For Homeschooling?
Unfortunately not- there is no financial assistance available for homeschooling as it is private education so parents have to fund it. However homeschooling parents are just as eligible for tax credits and benefits as any other parent, and home educating your child is not a barrier to work- most homeschooling families either have one parent working and one at home, or have flexible work that allows them to earn money around homeschooling their children.
Our family do both- Patrick works full time plus as a health club manager and I work flexibly as a writer and marketer from home. If you’d like to find out about flexible working you may wish to take a look at some of the ideas in this article about jobs suitable for people travelling, as there are some work-from-your-computer ideas in there.
Is It Possible To Homeschool And Work Full Time?
Absolutely, although of course if you are the parent both homeschooling and working full time, you will have a lot on your plate! In the UK there are no set hours that children need to do homeschool work in, so you are entirely flexible to work when and how you want. You are allowed to use childminders, friends or family as childcare for homeschooled children.
This can allow you to work and this may be a good option for you if you need to work and want to homeschool. Depending on childcare you may want to consider night shifts to maximise time together, or working from home as I (and many others) do. Parents can also decide to both work part-time and share childcare, or create any number of the work-childcare combination to fit your homeschooling family.
Can I Write Off Homeschooling Expenses As Part Of My Business?
In short, no. I suppose if you had a business that sold, for example, homeschooling resources to other parents and you used some as testers for your children, that might be allowed (I don’t know, I’m really spitballing here) but generally no, homeschooling expenses are considered a family expense.
Cost Of Homeschooling Conclusion
I hope this article has cleared up some concerns and questions about the cost of homeschooling in the UK. If you have any questions please pop them in the comments section below or message us on Instagram! Please consider sharing this post by using the Facebook icon at the top right of this page or clicking the images below to share on Pinterest: