Coping With the Expenses of Home Education
- Zan Tyler Editor of the Crosswalk.com HomeSchool Channel
- 2002 29 Jul
The articles on the HomeSchool Channel this week point to the success and benefits of home schooling. We have three articles that display real academic muscle: Home Schooler Wins National Geography Bee, Home School Team Wins National High School Mock Trial, and Home Schooling Works With Math, Too!
In addition, we have articles about the great advantages of the home-schooling process. Annette Friesen reminds us in her article Written on Their Hearts that the main lessons we teach our children are to love God and one another. Amy Hollingsworth provides us with great inspiration to work with our children and their God-given personalities and abilities in According to Their Step: A Philosophy of Home Schooling. And the Callihans point us toward the value of family learning in their article Learning - Family Style! (Part 2).
The evidence is overwhelming: Home schooling works - and works very well. Most of us know that, but it is nice to be reminded, especially when we start adding up the expenses for the coming school year - books, school supplies, tutors, outside classes, computer paraphanalia, and extra-curricular activities. And if that isnt enough, most home-school families are living on one income!
So, what are we to do? In todays so-called "two-income economy," how do we cope financially? The most obvious answer is that we learn to walk by faith, not by sight. We learn that God is a marvelous Superintendent of Education and provides what our children need in sometimes miraculous ways.
We must also strive to learn the lesson that Paul has mastered in Philippians 4:11-13:
For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how
to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and
going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Part of the secret in "getting along with humble means" is learning how to cut corners - how to live with less than sometimes we think we need. I have two suggestions for this. The first is curriculum sharing. I wanted to use a particular series with my daughter next year, but knew I just couldnt afford it. One of my best friends, unbeknownst to me, used this same curriculum this year, and in a conversation last week graciously offered to let me use it for the coming school year. What a blessing.
My second suggestion is to buy and sell used curriculum. Many support groups and state organizations have used curriculum sales. I have to admit that I dont think I have ever sold a book in my 18 years of home schooling. For some reason, I cant stand to part with them. Now I keep thinking I might need them for the grandchildren - even though none of my kids are married yet! (I think I need to read a Don Aslett book on clutter - but thats another article.)
I thought it might be fun for those who dont have an outlet for buying or selling used curriculum to try two different options at Crosswalk.com.
The first is to use the Crosswalk.com Classifieds. It is easy to do. The directions are fairly self-explanatory. The only other thing I would mention would be under "Category" to choose "Merchandise" rather than "Education." "Education" makes more sense, but it is not equipped to handle the choices we need. When you click on "Merchandise," you will have several choices. "Miscellaneous" is always a good choice, and there is also a "Wanted to Buy" section.
Secondly, at the bottom of this article is an automatic link to Forums which says, "You can discuss this article with other Crosswalk.com viewers here." If you click on the word "here," you will be linked to a discussion on this article. If you cant figure out the Classifieds area or you want people to know you posted something there, you can write all about in Forums.
Do you have any other suggestions for saving money and cutting corners? I know we could all benefit from your suggestions. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments in Forums (follow the same directions as above).
May God grant us wisdom and great blessing as we seek to be good stewards of both our childrens lives and our financial resources.
Zan Tyler is co-author of the book Anyone Can Homeschool and senior education editor for Crosswalk.com. She and her husband have three children and have been home schooling since 1984.