This is a guest post from Kim Bain. She has three children.
I suck at budgeting and finances but I do know this: sending kids to school has costs. I’m not just talking about field trip money and new-Jordan’s-to-impress-the-ladies type costs.
I figured this out when I decided that, eventually, I needed an income to supplement my child support payments. When I got divorced, there were a lot of people bemoaning the impossibilities of homeschooling. “You’ll never afford anything”, they’d say. They said I’d go broke trying to prioritize my kids.
So, I relented and planned on putting my kids in school. After all, I was a single mom of three kids. How could I do it all on a limited income?
It was shortly after a hot cup of tea, a quick search on the internet and a few calculations that I realized that sending kids to school has a few factors that made it unfeasible.
1. Babysitting is too expensive. When working full time and paying for after-school care costs including summer and holiday camp tuition, school would definitely break the bank. This is not to mention the loss of pay when I have to call in sick because my child broke her leg at school or paying a babysitter when she child is sick.
2. School hours are inflexible. Homeschooling cuts out all of those hidden costs. Employers love homeschool parents, too. Flexibility is very important to employers and if parents can homeschool and have someone watch their kids during the hours that they work. Especially if they work part-time, filling in for the hours that no one wants, they can make themselves more desirable than parents who have to be somewhere at a certain time to pick up their kids from school.
3. School hours limit work hours. Parents with kids in school can forget working evening shifts and nights. By the time they get home, their kids have spent the whole day somewhere else.
School takes away the precious time that makes work doable. The structure of school robs parents’ time that they can be spending with their kids making it almost impossible to structure work around the limited time parents get with their kids.
4. College savings is unimportant. I figured out, a long time ago, that I probably wasn’t going to be able to afford to send my kids to college. It was then I realized that the only kids that should be going to college are the ones that are smart enough to be there. After all, I was a college fund kid who had no business being in college.
Having enough money to send your kids to college is a pipe dream for most single parents. So, I am deciding to trade the money for time I spend with my kids helping them pursue their interests so that they will be prepared to go to college and maybe even earn a scholarship to pay for it.