Thursday, January 22, 2009

Does This Recession Hurt Homeschoolers?

I have been giving some thought lately as to whether or not tough economic times hurts homeschooling. Aside from the obvious that a difficult economy effects every family by stressing their budget, I have been thinking about whether or not it forces families to abandon homeschooling so that both parents can work. I'd like your input.

I know that homeschooling families already make the financial commitment and sacrifice so that one parent can stay home to educate their children. That being said, there are also one parent families that homeschool quite successfully; they happen to be quite creative and extremely flexible with time.

Over the years I have observed that most Homeschooling families are also very frugal to begin with (my family included). They already figure out how to stretch a dollar so that one parent can stay home. They tend to live very simply and recycle learning materials. They get materials and books at swaps and tag sales and tend to know where to find all the bargains. They also make a lot of things at home like clothing, and foods like yogurt and bread etc. I personally know many homeschooling families that have farm animals and/or grow their own food. That can be a tremendous saving when you don't have to pay for things at the store - or at retail prices.

So I would be interested to know if you know of any homeschooling families who have had to send their kids to school in order for both parents to work as a result of this economic downturn. I'd also like to know what reductions you might have made in your own homeschooling family in order to deal with this economy and still be able to homeschool.

As for our family, I only have one left at home - and she's in her last year of "high school" and has just recently finished all of her college applications.(YAY) I've been thinking about what need to do to help pay for college. We've still had to cut back on our expenses in this economy.

So now - Comments please.


Tim's Mom said...

Isn't the problem a lack of jobs to be had, rather than a need for two wage earners? I can envision more cases where a lower paying job replaced a higher paying one, so a family needed to cut back, or even a mom finding a job because the dad was laid off and couldn't find employment, so we might see a few more homes where the dad stays at home and homeschools while the mom goes to work.

A little bit of crazy.... said...

Well I think that whether or not a family "gives up" on homeschool, if even temporarily, is more about their commitment, or lack of it, to that goal. Lack of commitment to homeschool in comparison to other things may not be a bad thing; it just depends on one's views. I understand if people are starving they have to DO something not to starve or lose their home, so those priorities likely rate higher than homeschooling and some people lack the creativity or guts to really struggle and pull it off well (me included). For instance, I wouldn't get a job where I could work nights so I could care for my kids during the day like my sister does. (She can hardly do household chores, much less read to her kids after working all night.)

Likely the majority of homeschool families are not in such straits and I think that if a family knows that homeschooling is a priority they aren't going to let anything stop them, especially not a tightening of the belt. IF a family thinks homeschooling is nice and good but not essential then things might come up that could get in the way of that. Recession or not.

Rachel said...

We are a homeschooling family living on my husband's income. He serves in the Army and has been in for 10 years now. Although we are not rich we make a decent amount of money. But there are no guarantees in life. Home schooling is a priority for us so I would give up many other things before I quit. For now, we try to be frugal with our spending and live below our means.
I also believe that if God calls a person to do something, like home school, He is obligated to provide. He may require sacrifice but He always makes a way!

christinemm said...

If there was no recession our family would be 'business as usual'. However this week I decided to make a change. If I have to go back to work I am interested in a different career than I used to do. That career also has more flexible hours than my old career which is just 9-5 Mon-Friday that would be a problem for child care and HSing. The new career requires a Master's Degree. I am applying to graduate school this month for the fall 2009 start date.

We have already HSed through unemployment of DH. HSed through underemployment. We have home repairs that need attention, a new roof, new paint on exterior, other smaller house maintenance, to replace some broken kitchen appliances, we need basic stuff that will be cost us money. With the recession and who knows what other changes to our country coming down the pike, that already directly impact my DH's career field, the future is uncertain for our family.

I do hope to somehow get the degree and HS and then work and HS but we'll see what happens.

Diamond to Be said...

We are a pastor's family of a small church, living out of the offering plate. As the wages drop, so does the giving, and our already small income has dropped substantially. We live frugally, but we lack nothing. But since God is my husband's employer he is bound to provide for us, and he is faithful. Every time. We just prayed for money for dental bills and the Lord gave it to us from a totally unexpected source. This kind of thing happens often.

I guess this is my long way of saying that I agree with Rachel -- if one homeschools because he knows by conviction that it is God's will for his family, then God will make a way for it to continue. Because my husband and I both believe my place is with my family, I am not going to find work away from home. But I'd love the opportunity to do something profitable from home and involve all my kids in it.

Did I just chase a rabbit? lol. The answer is yes, the recession has affected us. And no, I don't know of anyone who has put their kids back in school because of it.

TheTutor said...

We are homeschooling while my dh is in grad school getting his PhD. We have always been "underemployed" by the government's definition, not ours, and we have done alright. My dh goes to school full time (which includes teaching classes in exchange for his minuscule stipend- fortunately we live in an area with a relatively low cost of living). He also takes every tutoring student the university will give him. He has also taught classes at a local private school and community college over the last two years we've been here. I homeschool the kids and write from home. Not too much money yet, but the promise is out there. :-)

We just paid cash for a second new-to-us car today, and we will be debt-free in 6 months. Unfortunately, we live in an area where many feel that they "need" lots of bells-and-whistles to be happy, so both parents work even though they don't really need to. This has benefited my family as we have been able to take in two kids for daycare to make the extra money to pay-off the last of our debt (from bad decisions made during an unemployed time many years ago).

Homeschoolers are who we are. We will find a way to keep on going. We always have.

Anonymous said...

We have had to cut back on the number of external activities/classes we have been involved in. With the price of so many staples going up over the last year, our disposable income has been tightened and when that happens, classes and co-op activities, no matter how cool, get "disposed of."

skinh said...

Our decision to home school and live off one income is actually paying off greater rewards. I don't "have to have" new clothes, go out to lunch, or do many of the things I did when I worked. I use the library rather than purchase books, and we rent DVD's for entertainment. My husband volunteers at ski patrol so we can ski for free.

I also see new opportunities opening up for stay at home/home schooling families. With more 2 wage earners there is a need for daycare, house cleaning, tutoring, and perhaps others will think of homeschooling as an alternative to private school.

howdoiteach said...

Don't quit - use freebies! See: Recession Proof Your Homeschool

Cindy Downes said...

Oops - the link didn't work:

Anonymous said...

If both parents need to work to make ends meet, let the children continue to teach themselves at home, alone.
Assuming they are able to prepare their own meals and will be safe, there is absolutely no reason to subject them to public school.
We have to rethink so many beliefs because most of what we think we know is simply not true.
There are 10 year old children who behave like adults and 30 year olds that behave like toddlers.