Monday, June 11, 2012

Why I think home educators should get more credit (tax credit, that is)!

Before you read this post, please know that I support public education for those who want and need it, though I may not support all individual programs of a school system.   I also support freedom of choice for those who don't want or need public education.  I have many dear friends who are public school teachers, and I joyfully substitute in our local schools, so this is not a reflection on their ability to educate the students.


I love homeschooling.  The only thing I find frustrating about homeschooling is having enough money to buy the materials that I need or want. I found our current home school curricula because I was searching desperately online for a less expensive way to home school. I find this especially frustrating when I think about how much would be spent on my children if they went to PS.

New York state spends around $18,000 per student per year, and Utah "only" $6,000.  Here is one of the many articles I read on the cost of public education.  Just to make it easy, lets assume that it is $10,000 per child on average which is probably pretty close, will be easy to calculate,  and will certainly demonstrate my point!

I have 4 children (4 x 10,000) so per year the state would pay $40,000 to educate my children.  Did you see that number??  I could pay completely (with some left over) for a new van for the price to educate my children for one year.  

Okay if that isn't mind-boggling enough, let's see how much the state (taxpayers) would pay to educate my children for all 13 years.

 $40,000 x 13 = $520,000

WOW!  The state is going to spend over a half million dollars to educate my 4 children and my girls won't really be able to get more than a minimum wage job when finished.  I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.  I am just still reeling from thinking about all the money that the state must pay each year for all the kids in VA alone!

Okay, back to my little world. LOL
One of the best all-in-one-box, Christian curricula that I have seen is Sonlight.  This program averages $800.00 per grade level. I would need to buy it each year for the oldest, but then I could reuse it mostly for the others only having to buy replacements for workbooks and such.

Let's assume I would spend an extra $200 per year following the first year to buy the consumable parts.  Let's just round up to $1000 per year for the entire 13 years of educating all 4 of my children using Sonlight.

$1,000 x 13 = 13,000

Did you see that?  I could buy 13 years of a read-set-go curricula for all of my children for the equivalent of a year and half in public school.  If the state would pay me for just one year what they would pay if my children went to public school, I could easily fund all the years my children will be home educated.

So what do families that sacrifice to stay home and educate their children get from the state or federal government?
 Tax credits?  No!
Vouchers?  No!
 A thank you?  Not even that.

Usually we get suspicious looks that we are abusing our kids or teaching them some harmful ideas.  Occasionally we get mild curiosity mixed with statements like, "I could never teach my kids." Or "Don't you think a qualified teacher would be better?" or "What about socialization? (which translates "Your kids won't know how to be normal because you don't let them in the real world.  As if a room filled with their peers and one adult is the real world, but I digress.") 

I have never had anyone thank me for taking on a job that they would have to shell out big bucks to do for me! 

So on a modest single-income, we needed to find a way to afford the materials.  As much as I loved the looks of Sonlight or Veritas Press, I just couldn't swing the costs.  As I was searching, I found this wonderful site, AmblesideOnline and discovered that some other dedicated moms had been in the same situation.  They collected and organized these resources outlining a program for K-12th grade.  The charge?  $0.00  Nada!  Zilch!

Okay, nothing is free really, is it?  Here is the nitty gritty:
* you need internet to locate many of the resources they use, but most families have that anyway
*you need a computer to be on the internet
*most of the books are either in the public domain and therefore free to read from the internet (and now the Kindle or other e-readers) or they are classics that are easily found at thrift stores, book sales and especially at the library
*you must have the time to locate these resources
*math is separate though they do make recommendations

As I researched this site, I realized that it was very reasonable for us to use this each year.  Again, like other programs, my largest expenditure would be for the older girls materials that would be reused for the younger girls.  I am thankful to say that we have never spent more than $250 per year (not including internet service or computer replacement). 
 Not only were these materials affordable and lesson plans free, but the methods and style of a Charlotte Mason education were a wonderful fit for our family.  I will share more of this in a future post.

So do I wish that home school families would get a portion of the taxes collected for education? YES!    If anyone ever proposes a bill to give home school families a tax credit for expenses incurred homeschooling, I will vote for it! :)

But I am okay without it too.  I know God will continue to supply our needs!

With All My Heart~

Did you notice the new reaction buttons?  You can respond without actually leaving a message.  :) 


  1. I selected the reaction, "I made it to the end." Thought you would get a kick out of that. Did you select those reactions from a list of choices or did you think of those yourself? Oh, I really enjoyed the post. Are you voting tomorrow? Remind your friends and family!

  2. I did think of them myself. I am usually so long-winded that I thought that might be a funny choice. :) I saw you shared the link. So you liked what I said?

  3. Yes, you had some great points!

  4. Wonder why home schoolers get no help in any way, shape or form from our ("helpful govt." , for all the people!).....tongue in cheek. You are voters, too! You are productive members of society and tax paying individuals. Maybe you could all ban together, get petitions and send to govt. representatives in all the different states. I would happily sign one for you! I will share your link, and hope it gets some other people thinking of ways to help this issue!

  5. Hi! Thanks for sharing, Anonymous! I think maybe some of it is that for many of the early years of the modern homeschool movement the parents were fighting so hard to be allowed to teach at home, they didn't want to rock the boat to ask to be paid for it! I think another reason might be because the financial needs to run an institution are so different from running a home education. It really wouldn't be fair to give homeschoolers the same amount of money because we don't have to pay teachers insurance, or cafeteria or busing services. Things like that are partly due to trying to teach so many people in one area.

    However, the point is still valid that some kind of tax credit or voucher would be appropriate since we are in effect saving taxpayers money.

    A lot less money would go really far for home school families! I may need to contact the VA homeschool association to see if anyone else has though this through!

    Thanks for sharing the link though! Blessings

  6. Hmmm...some more observations from me:

    1. The tax #'s from NY - $18k a year/per student. Yup, believe it. Epic win leaving yankee-land for me! Want to know how they raise that money? Property taxes - even those that haven't had a kid in school for 50+ years, or even had children at all. Gotta love rabid socialism, comrades!

    2. It's a love-hate thing: the school system wants the federal money that they get when your kid 'warms a seat' at a desk, but the Feds love the fact they get to keep the money for 'useful' projects - like the EPA!

    3. Agree with the fact that many homeschoolers do not want to 'rock the boat' where asking for some >>>gasp<<< tax breaks. I am sure they would just love an excuse to force our children into...

    4. ...indoctrination. They make it needlessly hard on those who want to do right by their kids by trying to hit us in the wallet. "Sure, go ahead! Take your son/daughter and home-school them...we'll just jack your taxes up and give you no lee-way. Over time, you'll be sending 'em back..." Well, you hit it right on when you said that God will provide what we need - they won't win...but we sure can count on the fact that He will!! And finally...

    5. When a person asks the question, "What about socialization?" the reply now is, "We aren't interested in raising a socialist - and neither should you. That's one way this country is in the mess it's in!!"

    I'm done...thanks for listening to reason!

    Brother Dano

  7. Thanks for sharing Dan! Very true!


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