Do You Get Paid to Homeschool? Understanding the Financial Aspects of Homeschooling or Home Educating.Oct 17, 2023
Homeschooling vs Home Educating
"Homeschooling" and "Home educating" are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they can carry slightly different connotations depending on the context and region. The main difference between the two lies in their emphasis:
- Homeschooling is a term commonly used in the United States and some other countries to refer to the practice of parents taking on the primary responsibility for educating their children at home.
- Homeschooling often involves a structured and organised curriculum, similar to what a traditional school might provide. Parents may use textbooks, online resources, and educational materials to follow a specific curriculum.
- Homeschooling may be subject to specific legal regulations and requirements depending on the country or state, and parents may need to comply with standardised testing or other educational standards.
- Home educating sometimes known as 'elective home education' is a more general and inclusive term used in some regions, such as the United Kingdom, to describe the act of providing an education for a child outside of a traditional school setting. It is a broader term that encompasses a wide range of educational approaches.
- Home educating can be less structured than homeschooling and may involve a more child-led or unschooling approach, where parents provide resources and guidance but allow the child to pursue their interests and passions.
- The term "home educating" is often used to emphasise the flexibility and freedom in how parents choose to educate their children at home. In some places, it may not be as tightly regulated as homeschooling.
For the purposes of this blog we will use the term ‘homeschooling’ but the financial aspects can apply to both.
Homeschooling has gained popularity over the years as an alternative to traditional education. Parents choose homeschooling for various reasons, such as customised learning, religious beliefs, or dissatisfaction with the public school system. The Covid pandemic gave rise to the number of families who chose to homeschool. To decide if homeschooling is the right choice for you, watch my in depth podcast video here.
While homeschooling offers numerous benefits, one common question often arises: do you get paid to homeschool? In this blog, we will explore the financial aspects of homeschooling, including potential sources of income and financial considerations for homeschooling families.
Contrary to popular belief, there is typically no direct payment for homeschooling. Unlike public school teachers who receive a salary, homeschooling parents do not get paid by the government or any educational institution for teaching their children at home.
Financial Considerations for Homeschooling Families
While homeschooling itself does not provide income, it comes with its own set of financial costs:
- Monetary Costs: Homeschooling involves purchasing educational materials, textbooks, and resources. These expenses can vary widely depending on the curriculum and resources chosen. There are also costs associated with hiring tutors or enrolling in online courses.
- Time: Homeschooling often requires one parent to stay home to teach the children. This can impact the family's income if the homeschooling parent was previously employed.
- Parental Income: Additionally, homeschooling may require one parent to reduce their work hours or stay home full-time to facilitate the education, which can impact the household income.
- Exam Costs: If you wish for your child to sit formal exams for qualifications such as GCSE's or A-Levels, this will cost you an exam entry fee. Whilst the cost of the exam themselves are not very high, most private exam centres have an additional fee raising the overall cost of each exam. Some families manage to arrange for their child to sit these exams in the child's former School or a local School where exam costs are usually lower. However, this varies widely from city to city and it can be a challenge to find an accommodating School. The best advice would be to check on the websites of the exam boards who usually have a list of all available exam venues.
Child Benefit In The UK
In the United Kingdom, families who homeschool their children are generally eligible to receive Child Benefit as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Child Benefit is a financial payment made to parents or guardians to help with the costs of raising children.
The eligibility criteria for Child Benefit typically require that:
- You are responsible for a child under the age of 16, or under the age of 20 if they are in approved education or training.
- You live in the UK.
- You are either a resident or have the right to reside in the UK.
Homeschooling is considered an approved form of education in the UK, so as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria, you should be eligible for Child Benefit. The key factor is that your child is in education or training, and homeschooling falls within that category.
It's essential to keep in mind that eligibility criteria and regulations can change, so it's a good idea to check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the government agency responsible for Child Benefit, for the most up-to-date information and to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements to receive this financial support. Additionally, you'll need to complete a Child Benefit claim form, which you can usually obtain from the HMRC website or through their customer service.
It is worth noting that if parents wish to receive child benefit for children after age 16 and their children went to School prior to this (for example if they wish to start homeschooling after GCSE’s but their child previously attended School) to check the rules. Some parents have found they don’t qualify as their young person must have been in full time approved education before they stopped being of compulsory school age.
Financial Benefits Of Homeschooling
Homeschooling can offer several potential financial benefits, although it's important to note that the financial implications of homeschooling can vary depending on individual circumstances and location. Some of the financial benefits of homeschooling include:
- Lower Educational Expenses: Homeschooling can be cost-effective, as it often requires fewer expenditures on school supplies, uniforms, and other educational materials. Families can choose to buy used or discounted textbooks, utilise free online resources, and tailor their curriculum to fit their budget.
- Reduced Transportation Costs: Homeschooling eliminates the need for daily commuting to a school, which can save on transportation costs, including fuel, public transportation fees, and vehicle maintenance.
- Flexible Scheduling: Homeschooling allows families to take advantage of off-peak pricing for travel and entertainment. You can plan vacations and outings during non-peak times when prices for accommodations, tickets, and activities are often lower. Many families contact venues in advance, who will often give discounts to homeschooled children for the entrance fee. Here are some of those venues.
- Reduced Extracurricular Expenses: Homeschoolers can explore a wide range of extracurricular activities without being tied to school programs, which can reduce the costs associated with school-related extracurricular fees.
- Lower Food Costs: Homeschooled children typically eat meals at home, which can lead to cost savings compared to school lunches.
- Clothing Savings: Homeschooled children may not require a large wardrobe of school uniforms or specific clothing e.g. numerous PE kits, which can be an expense for parents with children attending traditional schools.
- Tax Benefits: In some regions, there may be tax benefits or deductions associated with homeschooling, such as deductions for educational expenses or credits for educational materials and resources.
- Childcare Savings: For families with both parents working, homeschooling can eliminate the need for daycare or after-school care expenses.
- Economic Flexibility: Homeschooling can provide more flexibility for parents in terms of employment. They may have the option to work from home, take on part-time jobs, or adjust their schedules to accommodate their child's education.
- Grants: Some organisations and institutions offer scholarships and grants specifically for homeschooled students. These financial opportunities can help cover the costs of college or other post-secondary education. Homeschooling parents can research and apply for such scholarships to alleviate future education expenses.
- Tax Benefits: Some countries, states, or provinces offer tax benefits or deductions for homeschooling expenses, such as educational supplies and materials. Be sure to research the tax laws in your area to take advantage of any available benefits.
- Homeschooling Co-ops: Some homeschooling families participate in co-ops or support groups where parents share teaching responsibilities. While this doesn't result in direct income, it can reduce the overall costs of homeschooling.
Before choosing to homeschool, it's crucial to create a detailed budget, consider your specific financial situation, and understand the potential financial implications in your area, as these can vary significantly depending on local regulations and your family's individual needs and resources.
In conclusion, homeschooling is a choice made by many families for various reasons, but it does not come with direct financial compensation. Homeschooling parents should be prepared to cover the costs of educational materials and resources. However, they can explore other income-generating opportunities, such as online tutoring, and take advantage of tax benefits and scholarships to support their children's education. While homeschooling may not result in monetary payments, the rewards often come in the form of enriched family experiences and customised learning environments for the children.
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