Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homeschooling an Older Child for Free

I've made the claim before that homeschooling is in fact cheaper than sending a kid to free public school.  One of the more common responses I've received from that piece is that, sure, they can see that for a younger kid, but once kids get into high school or even middle school, that isn't the case at all.  I disagree.  I firmly believe that it is especially true of older children.  As schools start demanding more expensive supplies and fees, homeschooling can remain as close to free as you'd like it.

And now I have proof.

This month, I've been homeschooling my oldest, a very bright almost 13 year old, who is doing entirely high school or college level work...for free.

How is this possible, you might ask.  Same way as it is for younger children: utilizing the library fully and internet resources.  Right now, he's studying biology using a college textbook, history using a college textbook, Algebra I, computer programming, Japanese, and literature.  The books all come from the library, mostly through interlibrary loans with colleges, and I used the internet to help me put together his actual assignments, which I found to take me about an hour per week.

Yes, eventually there will come a time when I won't be able to educate him for free any more, as things like chemistry require more equipment that maybe I won't be able to find for free, but community colleges do have such equipment and homeschooled high schoolers can enroll at such colleges from a young age (here it is 14 years old, I've heard), at which point they aren't strictly homeschooled kids anymore.  They've begun their college a much lower cost than I did.


  1. My HS daughter started taking college classes at age 14 in our state. Just one class, then it gradually built up to a full 12 hour load. The people she's encountered at college tell her she is so lucky, they wished they could have skipped public high school and taken college classes instead. I'm planning a similar experience with my youngest in a few years.

    1. That's great! I wish I had that opportunity as well.

  2. My high school freshman went to the local community college for free one summer. That allowed him to skip a class at the pricey private school. Great bargain.

  3. My oldest son Caleb started LCC at 16. (you are right, they can start at 14.) We are very thrifty and resourceful when it comes to homeschooling. The only time I really spend money is: co-op classes, field trips, math books, and hands-on kits that I can't come up with myself. It's much cheaper than "school" because we've done that road too.

    We use the library, documentaries,nature and the internet for everything else.

    Next time we meet at park day we'll have to introduce your oldest to my youngest... they are the same age.