This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2. That’s Sarah and her husband in the photo.

I don’t think homeschooling has made me poor, but it depends on who you ask.  For some strange reason I seem to have people in my life who feel like they must tell me how to live my life.  Over and over.  You would think after 9 years of homeschooling they would realize I’m not going to listen to them.  It always makes me wonder the intelligence I am speaking to when they lecture yet again.  Seriously, do you just not know me?  Why do you not shut up?

Today, I had a friend (I am seriously reevaluating that relationship) come and lecture me for 45 minutes about how I need to go to college and get a job.  A job?  I have a job.  It’s not the job you want me to have.  So I nod my head and say, “That’s nice.” Because I am polite.  I once was told this joke, about a southern wife who always said, “I don’t give a fuck.”  Well, it embarrassed her husband to no end so he sent her to refining school.  After she returned home, she was having tea with the other women, and kept saying, “That’s nice.” The other women commented on how pleasant she was to be around, and asked what she learned in refinement school.  She replied, “To say, ‘that’s nice’ instead of ‘I don’t give a fuck.'”

I have homeschooled while being poor and on food stamps, and while having money for nice vacations every year.  It isn’t homeschooling that has changed our financial life— it was our overall life choices.  If I had worked when we were poor, we would not have felt the gravity of being poor, but we would not have learned the lessons of being poor:  the value of money and appreciating the small things, of not needing nearly so many things that you think you need.  Your character changes when you have to focus on your survival instead of luxuries.

If I worked when we had money, I would not learn how to stick with something I am tired of doing.  As I listen to my friend tell me I need a job, I semi-agree.  I would like to change my career from homeschooler to “someone important.”  But I can’t, because this is important.  This job just has a relatively small group of people who agree that’s it’s important.  Homeschooling is more about, “Do you do something even when it’s not the majority view, or do you follow the crowd?”

So, when I am lectured for various reasons on why I should not home school, be it money or my sanity, I just reply with, “That’s nice.”

104 replies
  1. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    If you makes you feel any better Sarah there are plenty of people who sends their kids to school and do not work. You are probably just hanging out with too many “good people”.

    I try to limit my exposure to the “good people of the world”, they just stress me out and you are right, they never shut-up about it.

    • Kim
      Kim says:

      Agreed, Jennifa. This includes not taking advice on homeschooling from those who appear to have it altogether and don’t believe parenting should come before anything. I like what @GSElevator says…the grass is always greener on the other side because it’s covered with bullshit.

      Suddenly, everyone’s life is in order when it comes to giving you advice on yours.

  2. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Here is how homeschooling can make you poor(er) in income. One of my closest friends is a lawyer, she was the bread-winner and commanded a huge salary. She sacrificed all that to be able to stay home and unschool her children. So while technically they still have a huge single income, they have had to downsize to afford this lifestyle. No, they aren’t poor by any stretch of the imagination, but when you take a hit that big to your income your lifestyle does change.

    Now, I can’t imagine why this friend of yours felt like lecturing you. What a prick. To be clear though, my advice can be just as harsh (not malicious) but it is usually asked for, or else I just make a quick comment of my perspective and move on to more interesting topics.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      Thanks for sharing about your friend, YMKAS. Those stories encourage me. I am a lawyer, and I wonder if I am crazy for what I am trying to do. I don’t make a huge salary; never have because I follow my husband all over the country and move fairly frequently. But, I have always worked and made a decent salary. We are getting to the point where we discuss whether or not I should continue to work. Such tough decisions.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Emily,

        Yes it is tough, and it is one of the things people don’t like talking about. The sacrifice that is involved. She could go back right now and make an astronomical salary and is still working with individual clients. She also talks about taking over during someone’s mat leave and other options. Living in LA is expensive and not a place that is easy to walk away from since it offers so much value to our lives.

        • Emily
          Emily says:

          YMKAS,

          Thanks for the additional info. Do you know anything about how she works with individual clients? Does she say: my hours are only this, now, and I work from home? And then she works when her kids are napping or are otherwise engaged with something else (schoolwork, playing, etc.)? Or maybe she has a sitter? Just wondering how she makes it all work because I would love to do something similar (I think). Hard to say for sure because I have not yet been down this road myself. My husband is soon to be a full-time-student, and if I can still have somewhat of an income, it would really help us.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            She doesn’t do legal work from home that regularly where she would need hours, but she has created other avenues of income for herself. I think with her being an IP attorney in the entertainment industry some clients only want to work with her and so it is just a fraction of her time. She is a radical unschooler so her kids are able to do their own thing and she is able to do her own thing, much like we do in my house. She blogs as well, it is an unschooling blog.

            You guys sound young! Plenty of time to figure things out while your husband is back in school. If you are anything like me (INTJ) then I’m sure you are researching every possible avenue you could take. :) You seem like someone who would be very successful at unschooling their kids and working from home.

        • Emily
          Emily says:

          YMKAS,

          I had to reply to you this way because there wasn’t another “reply” link under your post to me. Thanks for answering! I think I found her blog! Not to be a stalker, but to get ideas. I really need them.
          Like you, I am an INTJ, and I am researching every possible avenue out there that might fit our situation. We are mid-late thirties. My husband is about to make a major career change right now. We have some time, but I like to be somewhat pro-active due to the dynamics in our family (family members who feel very strongly about certain methods of education).
          I hope I can figure out how to do some work and homeschool/unschool. Definitely trying to find a method that might work for us. I have been looking into the Oak Meadow program discussed in the comments on this blog.
          Thank you again! Your info really helped me today ….

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            Oh really? How funny. Her name is Amy Harrington if that helps find it and she is one of my closest friends and our kids are friends.

            If you are an intj you aren’t a stalker, you are just thorough. ;)

            What is oak meadows?

          • Emily
            Emily says:

            Thank you! I found her website! Will definitely add it to my list to read.

            Oak Meadow is a homeschool curriculum. I think it might be a good way for me to ease into homeschooling and then go from there. I have a few more years to think about it, though.

            I had never heard of Oak Meadow, but I read about it in someone’s comments on this blog. I learn so much through this blog!

          • Zellie
            Zellie says:

            Oak Meadows! It’s a nice thought. We had a few years’ worth of curricula but my child would never use it. It is programmed to make it seem like you have wholesome activities, creativity and choices but to an unschooled child it just doesn’t make sense.

            One useful idea we adapted from Waldorf was I read part of a book aloud each day, child would draw a picture and copy her own (dictated) summary sentence. We ended with a beautiful book and a child who could read. Not every child loves to draw.

            So much more economical to admit you’re unschooling and forget buying things you don’t need.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            We create our own curriculum, or course of study. Most of this does not include purchasing pre-made textbooks that cover snippets of topics. All my kids pursuits lead them to go deep into topics which includes books, youtube videos, netflix/amazon prime videos, Ipads, games etc.

            Depending on a formal type of pre-set curriculum hasn’t worked out for us. Want to buy some unused, pre-made curriculum from me??? ;)

            Since you are an INTJ you will eventually build up your IDGAF mindset when the time is right.

          • Emily
            Emily says:

            YMKAS,

            Well, if you still have the curriculum in a few years, I may be interested! My son is only 2, so we have a little while.
            I thought it would be easier to use a curriculum – less planning on my part. But, maybe I am wrong. Using a curriculum was one way I thought I might also be able to work part-time while also homeschooling because it would take a lot of the planning off of me (at least that is what I was hoping).

            Zellie – Thanks for the feedback on Oak Meadow! I appreciate it. I love the idea of making a book! We’re still a few years away from needing anything, but I feel like I do need to research some of these ideas earlier rather than later.

    • Stephanie
      Stephanie says:

      Someone once told me to beware of the “golden handcuffs” in life. Which is where you get so accustomed to making making a high income …that things like job switching (or in this case…homeschooling) feels terrifying or like a non-option, because you feel you can’t survive on less.

  3. Kristin
    Kristin says:

    I wonder why people think it is so strange to quit your job to homeschool, but they think it is wonderful to quit your job to stay at home with the children and be a SAHM? It makes absolutely no sense to me. I know more than a few lawyers who quit their jobs to stay at home with their kids, volunteer at school, bake cookies, etc. and they don’t get any crap for it. Why is that so different, and why do people even care so much that they have to impose their unsolicited opinion?

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      What, exactly, about having kids makes you poor, really? Clothing and food doesn’t really cost that much. This website is all about preaching about living with less to afford homeschooling, so what do they need that costs so much?

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        We eat organic food, we are a family of 5. We spend around 2k just on organic groceries every month. If it was just two of us… it would be around $800/month. Clothing, shoes… especially when they are growing…sigh. Art supplies + art tutor = $500/month. I could go on but I don’t want to look like an ass with my budget.

        • Kristin
          Kristin says:

          I agree. Lots of people (especially these days) spend lots of money on their kids. When I was a kid after school activities and other extracurriculars were not in vogue. Now, even if you are not homeschooling, parents are spending A LOT on their children. Ballet, baseball, gymnastics, karate, swim team, uniforms, art, electronics, books, on and on and on. Maybe you haven’t caught onto this craze, but everyone I know has.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            These comments don’t at all seem to be in the spirit of the post as far as being independent and not being a follower.

            It’s true homeschooling doesn’t make you poor, but not having a job and having 5 kids can make you poor. And they look so young!

      • Gretchen
        Gretchen says:

        I guess when you only have one child, the additional costs are marginal. She doesn’t eat that much more food that we would eat without her being her. Food and clothes for one little kid are pretty nominal costs, IMO. What costs is summer camp and after school care, which I wouldn’t have if I homeschooled. (But that nowhere near matches my salary, so don’t all be like…see…you CAN afford to homeschool…)

        • Kristin
          Kristin says:

          Gretchen, nobody can analyze whether or not you can afford to homeschool. We don’t know what you do or how much you make or what other income you have or what your debt or expenses are. I believe you have your priorities. If homeschooling was of utmost importance to you, depending on your survival skills, you could do it. But, you have looked at what your lifestyle would be if you quit your job (which you may or may not have to do to homeschool) and decided that lifestyle is more of a priority. Not a big deal. People do that all the time.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        They DO look young. Very vibrant and fresh looking. I know she has a middle schooler, so I secretly was wondering what she uses on her face. :)

        What do you mean by spirit of the post? I was offering up a contrary point to her post.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            LOL….touche!!!

            My mother is a crafty lady and gave me face cream that is homemade. Organic coconut oil and shea butter. I love it. I don’t think it will make me look ten years younger though, I’m waiting for Google’s Calico to come up with some breakthrough ;)

          • Karelys
            Karelys says:

            I am replying here to YMKAS because I can’t under the comment.

            I am okay with wrinkles and all that. Now, if I could age like Helen Mirren I may consider paying money for that!

        • Gretchen
          Gretchen says:

          What I meant is in response to the “lots of people…” with the kid activities and whether I’d “caught onto the craze”…

          Maybe because I was an art major, but I can’t imagine paying for an art tutor..art is just so….not something to be tutored? I don’t know. Not meaning to specifically criticize, it’s just very unusual to me. I don’t even steer my own kid’s work very much… it’s ironic to me that an unschooler would pay for an art tutor… oh well! to each their own…

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            For learning video game design that my 8 year old is interested in required something more than YouTube videos and books. We have several tutors for many things. I’m not sure why that is difficult to understand.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            Not to be nit picky either, but you were an art major? I would think paying for a degree in art makes you able to understand why I pay for an art tutor, in fact, I would think that is something you would understand very well.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            Interesting…well, video game design is more than just “art”…and yeah, I guess you have a point about the degree…though I don’t know that I’d go that route again.

          • Kristin
            Kristin says:

            I pay for an art tutor too and have seen fabulous results! Most of the classes out there do cutsie projects and aren’t serious about technique. When you have a child that really wants to improve, you have to get a real tutor. I too would think you knew that as an art major. People are not naturally born being able to do art. They need to learn technique before they can branch out. And unschooling doesn’t mean letting the kids run amuck all day. It means listening to your kids, helping them to find their passions, then bringing them resources that enable them to become successful at the things they love.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            Technique is really not so important. It’s about the ideas. You don’t get those from a tutor.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            “They need to learn technique before they can branch out.”

            This actually sounds very mainstream and traditional-school-ish…

          • MBL
            MBL says:

            For me, the key phrase in Kristin’s comment is “When you have a child that really wants to improve, you have to get a real tutor.” I think the whole concept of tutors vs schools can be quite different. I would expect a tutor to start with finding out the child’s goals and current level and tailor their instruction to that. Schools generally cannot do that. It is a numbers game.

            When you have a particularly creative child who is getting really frustrated that they can no longer create what they envision, there is no reason for them to reinvent the wheel. Thus far, we have managed to get by with books and videos, but if they no longer suffice, we will go from there.

            My daughter has taken art classes through co-ops that she enjoyed. But they were super open ended. They learned about an artist or a culture and then had a ton of leeway after that. Sometimes the new stuff showed up in her at home work and sometimes it didn’t.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            OK…so now I am going to ask for advice.
            What do you do with a child who does NOT want instruction, but for whom you see an interest, a promise, but not really knowing what they’re doing. My girl is “writing songs” on her electronic keyboard, but she does not really know how to play, there’s no real structure to her songs, etc… How much does one push for “official” instruction? vs just letting them “play”? I thought about maybe just kind of starting with learning ourselves via books, DVDs, etc. and keeping it kind of casual (rather than actual lessons…) and see if that helps. I mean, as it is, I am happy she is being creative, but the songs are songs only a mother could love.

          • MBL
            MBL says:

            We have that going on here too! For me, I have to let go of the whole “potential” thing and what I think could be and just let her lead.

            I would say to just let her know that you are happy to help her with resources IF she wants them. For us, the second I pounce on an opportunity for her “run with her bliss” :D she backs off.

            My daughter writes songs with my husband. He does the guitar and she does the lyrics. Some are awesome (to us) and some are ones only a father can love.

            She has been doing a LOT with scratch and flockmod for drawing. She has learned so much from others. When she finds art and styles that she really admires she asks what programs they use an such. She has gone through a number of styles in the last few months. At first it really bothered me that she was adopting the style that others were doing. I was afraid that she would lose her hallmark whimsy. She hasn’t. and I am so relieved.

            She has made a couple of tutorials for some of her drawings and I have been amazed at how good the instructions are.

            It nearly broke my heart when she started saying that she was “bad at art” because her dragons weren’t as good as other people’s. I had been suggesting that she draw more with, ya’ know, good old pencil and paper and she resisted for quite a while. Then I showed her a tutorial through Mark Kistler and she was amazed at how realistic it was. She then transferred some of that to scratch and conceded that perhaps I was right.

            Had I pushed it more, it would not have gone well. At all. As it was, she wanted to sign up for a subscription with full access. I had gotten one when she was 7 and we had just started homeschooling. She liked it okay, but didn’t use it much. This time it was $150 and I asked how much she was willing to pay herself. She said $70 so I said okay. (I would have accepted $40.) But this time it was her idea, so I don’t feel invested in it.

            Also, she knows that she would see better results if she put more time into some of her projects. She would laugh and say that she knew they could be better but she didn’t care. I had visions of “dilettante for life!” but she has recently concluded that it is worth it to her to sacrifice some quantity for quality and is pleased with the results.

            This has been such a relief to me because sometimes it is hard for me to “trust the process” and trust that she will get to where she wants to go and I can’t make it happen no matter how good my intentions are.

            But that doesn’t stop me from looking to things and checking out things on my own. It is surprising how interested she is in watching whatever video or reading whatever book I am.

            Wow! Sorry, that was probably a bit more than you were bargaining for.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            No, very interesting! Thanks!

            It’s funny, because you’re exactly right about it needing to be on their terms.

            She said a few weeks ago to me, after she’d asked me to teach her how to play something on the keyboard and she was practicing again and again “See, Mommy, when it was your idea for me to learn, I didn’t want to do it, but when it was my idea, it was a good idea!” (I’d signed her up for lessons the school was offering a couple years ago and she didn’t really take to it…)

            I remember I learned just by playing around. Of course, I am not at all “accomplished”…and can’t play much now. I am hoping there will be something she asks for more instruction on, instead of thinking she is naturally awesome at : )

            It seems this age (7-8) is great for them being super confident because I hear similar things from friends with kids the same age.

      • Amy K.
        Amy K. says:

        We’re first-year homeschoolers, and it’s making us a little poor. That’s because we all felt super isolated and lonely when we started, so we’ve signed our kids up for 2 days per week at a “micro-school” and then my older son goes to an outdoor education program on a different day. The good news, though, is that I can now begin to look for part-time work.

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          Ooooo, please elaborate on the Microschool!

          Here’s our schooling journey so far:

          Prek- 14k per yer (5 days a week, 3 hours a day), soccer $600 per 15 week course, music/dance class $500 per 15 week course.

          K- public, free/ private, 40k (!)/ moved to England (public- very advanced, operated as private in US)

          Now we unschool. Our costs for unschooling include courses/classes/workshops/lessons, occasional child-care related expenses, materials and healthy food (YMKAS elaborated on that cost!).

          My kid likes more expensive hobbies and sports at the moment including ice skating and sailing, so I would put our figure and related expenses around 10k a year.

          • Amy K.
            Amy K. says:

            It’s run by a former public school teacher who wanted more flexibility and freedom in her professional life. It’s housed on the 2nd floor of a store front, with a decent sized backyard. Max. # of kids is 8, age range is roughly 7-11. It’s not unschooling; there is a curriculum that is project-based and flexible enough for kids of varying ability levels to work together.

            I basically hated homeschooling before I found it… just way too isolating for my taste. This is great because we’ve found a community, but don’t have the commitments of traditional school–homework, volunteering, etc. (I loved being involved with my kids’ former public school but burned out and needed a break).

          • jessica
            jessica says:

            Ah gotcha, I understand.

            I know a couple of families in BK that employ 1 teacher for 6-8 kids and set up a psuedo-school in their townhouses. I think it’s a great idea to spread the cost and have a more efficient child-care setting. They do group park days and wander the city exploring. The families are all pretty close.

  4. Ms L
    Ms L says:

    We’re living in Malaysia, where 99.999% of population sends kids to school. I have 3 boys; 8, 6, 5. Once i understood the implications of the traditional school & the great benefits of homeschooling, i felt a huge pull to homeschool the boys myself.

    But, there are several major obstacles to do so. One major problem is that my relationship with the hub is unstable. Over the years, i realised we have very different values & principles/perception about family & growing up children. We haven’t really talked about things (he dislikes to even think much less discuss about family or even any/world events) & yes, he has no idea & is against any form of homeschooling. Additionally, he runs a struggling small business that we also fight about money. Since he can’t totally provide (i work fulltime 5.5 days per week) & is unsupportive to home causes (e.g. engineer hubby continually refuses to fix the Flowing kitchen faucet for 2 years & counting!! & emotionally checked out as a so-called husband & father, what choice do i have to remotely consider homeschooling?

    Kids are expensive, with all their hobbies, tuitions, extra lessons, music, insurance etc. They are my priority, yet I can’t imagine if i drop my good-pay job & end up having to beg $ from a man who doesn’t love me. Even now, with me working fulltime & contributing to household & kids & washing/cleaning the house – already don’t appreciate my sacrifices & stays away from home. And yes, I feel like i’m a single parent most days.

    From a resource point of view, for me alone to do homeschooling is not only it is money suicide, it’s likely going to be energy suicide as well. I love my kids, but oh boy, they make me burnout… And knowing me like no other, i’m not a kid person & i have issues with anger management.

    And oh, i’m ISTJ.

    Any ideas? sigh.
    Thank you!

    • MBL
      MBL says:

      Oh! That sounds so hard. I am so sorry things are so tough.

      I have no idea what you should do. But I am wondering about your “energy suicide” comment. Do you think it would be the same if you didn’t have to expend some much energy dealing with conflict with your husband? Again, I am not suggesting anything in particular, but just wondering if, by some miracle, he could get on board or you could both agree to homeschool, your ability to manage it might not be as hard as you think.

      I am wishing you the very best of luck!

      • Ms L
        Ms L says:

        Hi MBL & Penelope,

        So thank you for your understanding & advice. Somehow i feel better knowing someone understands & emphatizes with my personal situation.

        Yes MBL, you are right. I noticed when i am working on with kids & getting things done, the resentment i felt towards the absent father zaps my mood & sensitizes me to the challenges of raising them. Hence, a major factor in the so-called “energy suicide”. :P

        Penelope, you are right about the issue being more of marriage. And judging from most success story of homeschooling (including this post with the cheerful wife-hubby picture above), the adults need to work it out, especially the relationship part.

        Thank you very much also for sharing about your tough times & how you coped with it. Reading your blog is something i look forward to, every time. You are amazing. And you are a great mom!

        God bless you all!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi, Ms. L.
      Things sound really hard for you right now. And I’m really sorry. But I don’t think they are related to homeschooling so much. It sounds like you are not getting enough from your marriage. And it sounds like you are not getting enough down time — time to just stare at the wall or whatever.

      It took me a full year of homeschooling before I could start to address that stuff for myself. I spent my first year being totally overwhelmed and some days crying. But then I started to figure out what I wanted. I was able to ask for what I need from my husband (I have to be VERY specific with him) and I got what I asked for. And I learned to just ignore the kids and the messy house and dinner or whatever I need to ignore in order to read a book.

      Actually, it took me a while to be able to calm down enough to read a book. I looked at a lot of pictures! But keep trying. Keep working on the stuff that is not homeschooling and the homeschooling will feel better when the other stuff feels better.

      Good luck.

      Penelope

  5. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    Nobody who homeschools is poor, they just are managing some long-term investments that haven’t matured yet.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      I really hope you are right, Jennifa, about the long-term investments. That is a concept I am REALLY struggling with right now. How do we know if homeschooling is worth the investment? Someone I am close to was homeschooled, and this individual has made some really poor choices lately. Has a decent career, but personally, made some really poor choices. I was also homeschooled, and I *think* my parents would say I am an investment that has successfully matured. But, if your kids turn out a lot differently than you would like, was your investment worth it? They could always turn out poorly from attending a public or private school, too, but then you might still have the career you like because you were able to keep working while they were in school. Or, maybe you would be sad you sent them to school because you missed the good years with them before they became complete jerks. I wish I knew the answer, but I guess it is different for everyone. Maybe I am asking myself the wrong questions.

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        Don’t doubt yourself so much. It just sounds like you are struggling between success for yourself and success for your kid. It’s not an either/or.

        Your kid is two right? Give it a few years! It will all be ok.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Emily,

        We are radical unschoolers that allow our children to make decisions for themselves, setting them up for success early in life. We help guide them to making healthy choices. We trust our kids. A good book to read would be Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.

        Don’t try to compare your situation to others or how others turned out. I know many public schooled individuals who make poor decisions in life or have no idea how to even make a decision.

        I’m not sure about the whole investing thing. I see it in terms that I am not willing to sacrifice my children, it isn’t fair to them. There are already many tangible, healthy results from turning our backs on the traditional path.

        p.s. I was joking on the curriculum ;)

      • Commenter
        Commenter says:

        Emily, I don’t think even the questions have to be the same for everybody, let alone the answers.

        If giving up a career you enjoy, and which is your only apparent road to fiscal security is necessary to homeschool, that’s a big cost indeed. If it’s a second career the family doesn’t really need (or which is even an impediment), the equation is radically different.

        Likewise, staying at home with kids out of grudging obligation isn’t the same as staying at home because that is also your road to fulfillment, nor is it the basis for a joyful home life.

        Our children are new people, not our projects, and the last thing they want to hear about is how much we sacrificed for them. The time we spend with them is a gift, not a loan.

        It’s an investment only in a very strange way, like a deposit in the bank of happiness, which keeps no records.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      That’s a clever turn of a phrase, but when you think about what it really means…kind of creepy and not on point. Our children are people. They are their own people, separate from us. I don’t know about this “investment” business…what is the expected return?

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Gretchen,

        I am replying down here since I can’t reply above.

        Have you heard of hoffman academy? I have had people recommend it to me for online piano lessons. I haven’t tried it out yet but I am considering it, my kids are asking for something like that as well.

        With the art tutor, they help provide ideas and their expertise. For instance, Savannah has been working on one painting for a month. It is nice to have an expert discuss ideas for shadowing etc. I am not an artist so I can’t really explain much more than that. But she gets a lot out of each session. Also, anyone I pay for their expertise I consider a tutor for my kids vs a mentor who invests themselves without any payment.

  6. Kristin
    Kristin says:

    Yeah, I would say the biggest benefit I saw after one year of unschooling (or apparently doing nothing) is my son started telling me he loved me and started snuggling. That never happened before. He had just finished third grade when I took him out .

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Ditto here. I get little love letters every single day. I get lots of hugs and told how awesome I am, which feels pretty great.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      This is indeed very heartwarming.
      My kid goes to public school and does this too. Every. day. No joke. True story.

  7. marta
    marta says:

    Not necessarily to do with personal finances while (home)schooling our kids, but completly spot on: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/our-push-for-passion-and-why-it-harms-kids/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog Main&contentCollection=U.S.&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

    It bugs me to read so much here in this blog and other blogs (homeschoolers or not) about their authors’ 5 or 8 or 12 year olds’ passions. These parents are mainly talking about the insane hours/funds/space their perceived children’s interests take in their daily lives.

    I’m sorry, but when Penelope drives so many hours each week for her 8 or 9 year old boy’s cello “passion” and then complains about the insane amount of hours, the yelling to make him practice, the price of the cello, the driver she employs, the anxiety all family members seem to feel and the therapy sessions they go to, it all seems… mad, really. (I don’t want to sound disrespectful; PT is very lucid about this contradiction but most commenters on this blog aren’t)

    I know several older kids and adults who were allowed (encouraged, cajouled, left-to-their-own-devices, depending on the parents they had) to pursue one very intense interest from an early age. Those who already have a job are professionally respected and some earn good money.

    Most of them, because of the very strong focus on that exact thing for most of their lives, lack a lot in most other social/emotional areas. C’mon, we all know them: the extremely self-absorbed artist, the a-social computer geek, the almost non-verbal jock…

    I can only hope these specialists can find people like them and build lasting relationships.

    My 4 kids have some strong interests, some talents and abilities, like all normal, healthy kids, and although I like to see them excel in what they like and in what they’re good at, I despise specialization, prodigy and precociousness.

    Yes, they go to school, but all the specialized, passionate people I was talking about went too, as did the vast majority of the western world’s population – geniuses and normal, happy people alike. It’s not a matter of schooling environment.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      I’m not sure what Penelope’s cello situation has to do with this post or any of the comments. This seems like a rant against specialization.

      I’m not a fan of conformity, authoritarian ideas, and everyone fitting in the same box. Not everyone is like you, or your children, or these people you know. I welcome outside the box ideas, unconventional methods, and embrace intellectual and creative freethinking. Maybe the self-absorbed artist is really a shy introvert. Maybe these people have been hurt or misunderstood by people so often that they crave to be around other people like them. Not everyone is an extrovert and loves being around people and making others happy 24/7.

      I also hope that my children will find others like them….oh wait, they have! They cultivate friendships very easily.

      It’s so much easier to ask questions about these topics to get some clarity instead of ranting about the few tidbits of information you get reading homeschool blogs. Are you homeschooling by the way?

      Cheers!

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Oh, your kids are in school! Missed that one part. That explains the traditional mindset. There are so many paths to consider….and geniuses or gifted children do not belong in traditional school imo.

      • marta
        marta says:

        YMKAS,

        Yes, it was a ranting against specialization, and I’m sorry if I kind of hijacked the conversation, but from my perspective a lot of specialization and this “passion” conversation about 6 year olds is making people invest money and energy in a chimera.

        You can homeschool and be poor and you can school and be poor. But if you want the 5 tutors, the array of materials and activities and endless pursuit of your progeny’s interests, you definitely have to be rich.

        As for traditional vs freethinking mindsets, it’s all a matter of cultural perspective.
        I guess Europeans are less into individuality and standing out, more into equality and social commitment. It’s not better or worse, it is just a different ideological starting point that accounts for a lot of different social, economical and cultural outcomes. But we also have painters and writers and mathmaticians and philosophers, mind you.

        After a semester in NYC and some travelling in the US (which she knows fairly well), my friend was telling me the other day: “They’re all so keen in being out-of-the-box that I felt I was the only one in the box. Now, that was radical!”

        Cheers

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          Cultural vs. traditional….

          I lived in Europe and I know what you mean about the social aspect far outweighing individualism. Everyone is on the same sort of timeline. Long holidays are expected, etc. I think the best part of the US is being able to create your own timeline.

          We don’t have a culture that dictates how fast you can go (neither does Europe, but from what I noticed it’s much more difficult to live outside the system in place due to the expectations).

          My MIL is English and it completely baffles her that my kid wouldn’t be in school (he needs to learn proper english! proper maths!) even though he is grade-levels ahead. My in-laws get really upset over it. They are completely ingrained and have faith in the ‘govt’ systems set up over there. She was even baffled that I went to the NHS for a health issue and wasn’t happy with the service (wait times), so I paid private and got immediate care (which is becoming quite common there!).

          She calls every so often offering to pay for a new ‘schooling’ experience. I politely thank and decline, but let her know she can contribute to his lessons of sorts.

          It’s definitely a huge mentality shift.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          Marta,

          Our family isn’t looking at specialization right now either. We are just enjoying life, living in the world and trying new experiences. Like others have said, some turn into passions, some activities are just a one time deal. I don’t force my kids to work on what I feel they are best at, but I certainly encourage it. We work really hard at some things, and others are purely entertainment. My line of thinking is that if specialization happens, then great! If it doesn’t then my kids, even with unschooling, are still getting an education that they can’t match at public schools and that I still wouldn’t get at private schools. It’s all trade-offs. I’m not spending 40k on private school tuition, but I am definitely spending a good deal on this unschooling journey.

          I’m not trying to have my kids be the best at something, or be better than everyone else. What I am doing, is creating an environment for them to learn about whatever they wish without restraints. A love of learning is being instilled, organically, without coercion. My goal has already been realized with unschooling.

          I don’t say to others “Well my kids are gonna be better than yours because I unschool and they specialize.” But I do say “Unschooling is what my kids need in order to learn more effectively, they need freedom to explore and discover. If this leads to a passion then I will support it.”

          You can still be well-rounded AND specialize. Think of a comb that is long and the teeth are the depth of learning, creating depth and breadth. We can go at our own pace, this can create a lot of specialists and entrepreneurs, and there isn’t anything wrong with that because there are plenty of non-specialists.

          Cheers ;)

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        You don’t know how many parents I meet that say the same thing, “When I was a kid we had to do _____, I don’t understand why my kid would be doing something differently”

        ….it boggles my mind that a parent thinks that since they lived one specific way growing up, their child will automatically experience the same thing.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          I have wondered the same thing. People are comforted by the familiar, by the traditional way of doing things. I like finding others like me who look for ways to move humanity forward, to evolve. The old way of learning, factory model style, is ineffective and futile for many in today’s world.

        • Gretchen
          Gretchen says:

          Not me. I strongly appreciate the way life is so much different for my child than it was for me. Many of the school scenarios that are bad that people describe here sound like when I was a kid, 30+ years ago. My kid’s school is much more attuned to individualized stuff, how the kids are feeling, etc…

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            I’m not saying this is happening with your daughter or her school, but maybe you don’t know everything that goes on, or why she needs to do special “huddles” so she doesn’t get anxiety. For my daughter it took a good year for her to tell me what really happened, and then another year for her to tell me about how her teacher treated the class. This is a kid who has an excellent working and long term memory. There *might* be more going on than you are clued into.

          • jessica
            jessica says:

            Gretchen,

            I have to admit your responses and defiance of the subjects presented always confuse me.

            Are you for homeschooling/unschooling or not?

            You seem to say your daughter would prefer to be homeschooled, but xyz about your current situation with your husband and your own goals.
            You then express that it doesn’t matter because the lives you’ve set up is the one you wish to live here on out, homeschooling be damned.
            Then I get a sense that you do wish to homeschool, but find reasons that make the present situation OK ignoring the benefits of a possible shift in mentality for yourself and your daughter.

            It does leave me baffled at times.

    • Commenter
      Commenter says:

      Thanks for the link, Marta. I liked that article, and I found some truth in it. Being able to restrain oneself as a parent, and just let kids be kids and try then quit things, can be hard for parents these days. It seems like the stakes are higher somehow. Perhaps the growing income polarization and death of the middle class makes the dream of an Ivy League transformation seem like a winning lottery ticket we can get if our kid is just passionate enough. I wonder if parents are even aware they’re distorting their kids’ childhood by trying to game the college application from age three.

      I recall reading another Times piece warning against prodigy some months back, and feeling happy my kids don’t show any.

      My son quit fencing; he wasn’t that good at it anyway, too slow. He hated the swim team, but quit quickly enough that he still loves swimming. He’s not great at BJJ but he loves it and works his ass off to get better. He’s probably never going to be a soloist on violin, but loves music and will play for life, like his mother and his uncles and grandparents. My wee girl is brilliant in many ways, and so I expect her childhood to be a parade of unimportant achievements and set-aside competencies. The last thing I’d want is for her to show an overwhelming passion for dance or gymnastics at age four; being stuck in a gaggle of preening dance moms is not how I want to spend the next decade.

      The lack of prodigy, or lack of a passion, doesn’t mean my kids lack passion. They’re just finding out who they’re going to be in their own time, rather than being crated up and labeled before they even hit puberty. I feel comfortable imagining my kids will still be growing into themselves in their twenties. And I’m not the least bit worried about their college applications. They’re going to own their choices, and they’re going to own their campuses.

      It does fascinate me how what once seemed insightful and clever so quickly becomes the new common wisdom. Maybe “every kid needs a passion” will seem, a decade from now, like “conventional thinking” or a “traditional mindset,” and we’ll be able flippantly to dismiss the ideas of people who repeat it.

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        Exactly, Commenter.

        I think the most important aspect of unschooling or homeschooling is being able to try and fail and the ability to focus time and resources in a deliberate manner.

        We spend $$ trying and failing at different things. I look at it as compounded growth.

      • Gretchen
        Gretchen says:

        “Perhaps the growing income polarization and death of the middle class makes the dream of an Ivy League transformation seem like a winning lottery ticket we can get if our kid is just passionate enough. I wonder if parents are even aware they’re distorting their kids’ childhood by trying to game the college application from age three.”

        People would do well, if college is important to them, to limit themselves to the number of kids they can afford to support (and support includes sending/paying for college, if that is important to you) and then saving, from birth, to pay for it. It seems like this is a better strategy than trying to prune a prodigy or create passion enough for Ivy Leagues or something. I am confident we will be able to afford to send my daughter to any state school, many of which are highly esteemed, all of which are just fine. If she gets into an Ivy, great, we’ll work that out, but given our priorities and her personality, I’m not counting on it. Also, I’m not impressed by the Ivies, if one must generalize…People make their way in many ways.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      I think you missed the part in which globalization is a thing for our kids and wasn’t so much for us. Specialization is a requirement.

      As for passions developing at certain ages, I don’t know anyone that can’t identify what exactly they knew they wanted to become and really start working towards at 8, 10, and 12. Unfortunately, many didn’t get the opportunity to continue developing their strong interests due to the one-size fits all, time-wasting, education of the past.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        I used to write short stories as a little girl all the way till middle school when I was told by the teacher to stop and do my school work, what HIS agenda was. My love of writing died that day. It only resurfaced after I deschooled myself and began unschooling. Kind of sad that schools kill creative thinking instead of letting kids work on things they are engaged in.

        The other sad thing was that I was months ahead with all the schoolwork lessons and assignments because I did them on my own at home. So now I had to be bored in class being “taught” stuff I already knew. There is a lesson there somewhere.

      • Commenter
        Commenter says:

        I suspect that the number of 8 year olds who know exactly what they want to do when they grow up greatly exceeds the number who actually end up doing that. Hindsight is so much clearer.

        • MBL
          MBL says:

          Do you think something like unschooling will change that? Perhaps many got derailed and headed down a different track when they were not just told they couldn’t, but actively stopped from pursuing the initial path.

          • Commenter
            Commenter says:

            No, MBL, I don’t. I suspect the world just doesn’t need that many astronauts, firemen, athletes, or veterinarians – unschooled or not.

          • MBL
            MBL says:

            LOL, although… today we watched SpaceX’s Dragon launch which included firefighters scurrying in to sweep the launch pad. So there may be a new market opening up.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            SpaceX and others will have their own astronauts as well… ;)

            When my husband was 8 years old he wanted to be a horse trainer. He wrote that every year in those class photo question things. He actually did end up working with and owning horses as a young man, but now he is an engineer with an affinity for horses. ;)

    • MBL
      MBL says:

      I found the article to be kind of following the natural progression of backlash against whatever the latest trend has been. It seems like the problem is when a parent pushes a kid to find or have a passion. Not that if a child is intrinsically driven, then it is bad to support that. It says “Pseudo passions can eat up our days and lay waste to any chance of finding a real ones.(sic)” Thus, it is still listing “finding ones passion” as good thing.

      Marta, I think the anti-‘everything but what I deem normal and healthy’ tone (via “I despise specialization, prodigy and precociousness.”) coupled with “PT is very lucid about this contradiction but most commenters on this blog aren’t” is a bit provocative.

      I, too, count myself as lucky in that my daughter doesn’t have an innate talent AND intrinsic drive to accomplish a certain goal that requires a great deal of sacrifice. If she did have that combination, then I know I would be torn between potentially stunting her growth in other areas and creating a diva and possibly preventing her from reaching her potential. It would suck.

      I think there are two separate things here–child led or parent driven. And I think to someone outside of a particular family, it can be hard for some people to discern the difference.

      I am reminded of the post on Tribal Shaming by Elizabeth Gilbert.

    • Teryn
      Teryn says:

      I think you make some good points Marta. I always wonder if people who excel at things were completely inwardly motivated or if they were pushed by their parents at times. My son is good at the piano but he doesn’t want to practice. I’ve been struggling about if I should let him quit. Then I think I doubt that Bach or Bethoven ever had to be forced to practice. Do we really need to help our kids find their passions or just let them find their passions and pursue them on their own? I’m not even sure we should be funding all of our children’s ideas or likes without making them work for it. Kids are motivated to do the things they like and will go to great lengths for those things. My boys save up for the games they want and to do fun activities. They could just as easily save their allowances for a tutor or work for lessons to pursue an interest more fully. I’m discovering that I don’t need to be the one initiating and making that happen. My job is to be passionate about my own life and learning.

      • Amy K.
        Amy K. says:

        Plenty of examples of people who were mostly pushed by their parents… Serena and Venus Williams, for example. Their dad Richard presented tennis to them, I don’t think they had much choice in the matter.

        But what’s interesting to me is the longevity of their careers. They are both well in to their 30s. Straight-up old by tennis standards. Many of their peers have retired and had kids. But they are still going, totally determined, even with health issues for both.

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          I’ve read a lot about them. The dad decided they would become great at tennis, and they did. It is a little weird. Not many people are close to the family.

          He also had a son recently, and gave an interview in which he stated he will not be pursuing tennis with him and thinks the girls worked too hard for too little money. He wants his son to go into business, because that’s the route to becoming a billionaire. I wonder if those girls ever felt *good enough*.

  8. Amy K.
    Amy K. says:

    Replying to Gretchen’s query about piano, above.

    I’m in pretty much the same situation–my 8-year-old is interested in the piano but I’m pretty sure he’d hate piano lessons, and we don’t really have the budget for it anyway.

    The internet is your friend. I have always struggled with reading music so I printed out some blank staff sheets and just looked up what middle c looks like, and on from there, educating myself. My son was curious and did the same.

    Then we took painter’s tape and put the names of the notes on each key.

    My older son plays clarinet so he has a book with simple tunes that everyone knows. Jingle Bells, Oh Susanna, London Bridges etc. But really, all those tunes are available online. So, I just started playing them and then of course my kid wants to, as well.

    He’s not particularly dextrous so he’s resistant to using multiple fingers–haven’t figured that part out yet. Maybe it’ll happen over time, but he’s stubborn.

    • sarah faulkner
      sarah faulkner says:

      On the piano/talent conversation, I have a son who should have been born to some one like Penelope, who really commits to talent. But, he was born to me, and I live life on the fly. What I did was pre think about what he needed in an instructor, and waited to find the right one. His teacher is teaching him to read music (he is on year two, but calendar wise completeing year 1), she lets him set the pace, but at the same time is teaching him advanced songs by ear to keep him challeneged. As he writes music she works on it with him. She told me to look for a tutor who is passionate about their teaching and you will find one that will grow the child. :)

  9. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    I think it’s bizarre that we live in a world where we can be in the top 5% of earners in the world and still have to defend why we haven’t chosen to make more.

    I am glad you don’t give one f-

    • Teryn
      Teryn says:

      Ha! Yes! It’s all about perspective. We have 4 children and when they were younger we were often asked, “How can you afford to have so many kids on one income?” I was honestly confused because I didn’t feel like their care added very much to our budget apart from my daughter who has significant health issues. Then my son went to private school for Kindergarten…along with tuition he had to have nice clothes, and he wanted to do all the activities his friends were doing, and he was invited to a lot of birthday parties. I started thinking, “Kids are expensive!” When we decided to home school life got a lot simpler and less expensive. I do know home schoolers who only eat organic and have 5 tutors and extra activities every day but none of that is really necessary to homeschooling. It’s just the way those families want to do it. This homeschooling life can be as expensive or inexpensive as you choose to make it.

  10. MBL
    MBL says:

    Free financial tip of the day for Gretchen:

    Based on “See, Mommy, when it was your idea for me to learn, I didn’t want to do it, but when it was my idea, it was a good idea!” and how oh-so-familiar that sounds to me.

    It looks to me like you have not just a budding homeschooler on your hands, but a bonafide unschooler. When you take the plunge you are going to want to find the mostest bestest curriculum out there. Don’t. Take that money and put it into your retirement account. The curriculum “won’t be a good fit” and you are going to think you just picked the wrong curriculum and you will spend more money on THE mostest bestest curriculum. And “educational” subscriptions to online sites. Don’t. Go ahead and put that money into your retirement account when you put the other money in so it’ll start compounding earlier too.

    As a little incentive, we will all pledge to subsidize your local museums so you can go all day every day. For free. It looks like “The Smithsonian’s fiscal year 2015 federal appropriation totals $819.5 million. It is $14.5 million above the FY 2014 budget of $805 million.” Let’s all pledge to give a little (or a lot) by the end of, oh, say, this Wednesday. The 15th. Of April.

    Enjoy!! :D

    Truly, it does sound like you have a natural born unschooler on your hands. The force is strong with this one.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      Oy vey! Thanks for the thought, but I don’t think I would take “financial advice” from these comment threads. Yikes. ; )

  11. Kim
    Kim says:

    Thank you, Sarah. I will refer to this page every time I get lectured by someone be it my unstable mother or a bored and lonely stranger.

    Bottom line, the only reason homeschooling is unpopular is because it’s unpopular.

    School has made people afraid and terrorized by the thought of being unpopular.

    I also find it very amusing how people continue to ask you if you are homeschooling after so long as if you are simply going to change your mind because of their existence.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      “I also find it very amusing how people continue to ask you if you are homeschooling after so long as if you are simply going to change your mind because of their existence.”

      I lost a new friend recently to this. She simply stopped associating with me, when after a short email exchange in which the purpose was to verify if I was going to start sending my child to the nice private school at the bottom of my building I replied that I am fine with unschooling my kid and it works for us.
      I was looking forward to maintaining our friendship even though we had differences in lifestyle, but it seems like it was too much for them to grasp. Her husband is an exec at Scholastic.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Really?! Someone stopped associating with you because you are unschooling? Wow. Sorry you had to experience that, but good riddance. She doesn’t sound like someone who would be a good friend during tough times anyway, so probably for the best. That still sucks.

      • Amy A
        Amy A says:

        It is much easier to associate with those who admire or at least respect and emotionally-support how my kids and I live. That is my requirement now for anyone I hang out with and talk to (beyond my general public part time gig–and there I don’t get into debates about my life. I can sense who has an open mind and who doesn’t when I answer their question, “Where do you work during the week?” (Homeschool.) I need to be able to do the same for people who want to hang with me.

        I wish I would have learned this when I was a kid. My life is so much better as a result.

        So I think your friend was wise to back off since she couldn’t be supportive of your choices–plus, she saved you from having to do the walking-away.

        P.S. I can say all this with surety because I have a mother and a couple siblings who think I am a nut job for being there for my kids, homeschooling, being in touch with emotions, etc. I learned the hard way by putting up with ridicule for about 40 years–with relatives and many others along the way.

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          Ah,

          The concerned relatives. We have a few of those. Their kids go to PS, so it makes sense.

          Yes, it’s a short lived loss really. It’s made me appreciate other friends that much more and connect deeper, which is fantastic.

          I tend to speed-date my friends, just for this purpose. I can tell pretty early on if we are clicking or not. With this particular friend, it had been several months and many get-togethers, so I admit I missed the cues until that email and lack of contact. She had been holding out hope the entire time that I would send him back into the system, which is ridiculous and funny if you think about it. Oh well.
          Regardless, thanks for the responses. Time has made it a bit better.

  12. MBL
    MBL says:

    I just read a really outstanding, apropos (to the comment stream) story that includes:

    “Following passions, no matter how unconventional or non-academic they seem at the time, can get young adults to exactly the same desirable places that other kids spend all of high school nose to grindstone trying to achieve, with all the attendant pressure and stress.”

    kidswhomake.blogspot.com/2015/04/your-childs-interest-can-form-basis-of.html

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      My husband and I went on our nightly walk just a few minutes ago. At the bottom of our building is a nice school. We peered in and saw all the science fair boards and copious amounts of proper English lessons written all over the walls in different formats. It seems they were concerned that children were writing in proper sentence format. I was wondering aloud to my husband, “what for?” Couldn’t they just hand the kids a bunch of cell phones with each other’s numbers on them and require they spend an hour chatting via text, or have the kids read and share stories via Tumblr, if they wish? Like an organic following of interests throughout the room. Their written language would probably develop a lot faster. I guess it just had me questioning the purpose of what children were doing in the class all day…Write this, create that. It seems the overall goal is to make the kids do what they want them to do all day, under the guise of learning things they will need for their ‘future’. My husband remarked that it looked like they were teaching the kids to be teachers. I found that funny as most kids I went to school with as a child became PS teachers! Anyway, it was odd to look into a classroom after withdrawing ourselves for so long.

  13. Amy A
    Amy A says:

    I think a large food expense would still exist even if my kids were in school. Though if they ate the school food, it would be cheaper than lunch at home.

    We save money by my kids not needing to have all the “right” clothes for school, or a lot of them. No one cares if we repeat outfits during the week. The same goes for my only working weekends rather than a full time job. Granted, the ideal is to not give a rat’s ass how anyone is dressed but I wouldn’t want my kids to stand out too much in school (I was bullied for not wearing the right brand etc. in school).

    Like with clothes, we don’t have the pressure to keep up with the Jones’ in technology, knowing what is on TV, activity and class enrollment, busy-ness, Facebook, and owning stuff because we aren’t surrounded by superficial relationships. No cable or internet bills even.

    As I pointed out in a comment above, we don’t hang out with people who don’t feel good to be around. This saves on health expenses. Also, my kids aren’t locked up with hundreds of strangers which also saves on health expenses.

    I don’t put much wear and tear on my car and don’t spend much on gas due to homeschooling.

    The library has free books, DVDs and CDs. Amazon has inexpensive test prep workbooks by grade so we know what to research more extensively in order to do okay on the state-required annual test.

    If my kids are really wanting a class or activity, I find a way. But usually they don’t want to be bothered with having such a structured schedule. Living in the moment is inexpensive for us.

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