Why you need a homeschooling budget

Many homeschooling families are one-income families, so it would be quite natural for them to not have unlimited homeschooling funds. But even if you aren't limited by income, there are a few reasons you might want to establish a budget for your homeschool.

Important reasons for setting a homeschooling budget - it's an important step in your yearly homeschool planning.

3 reasons you should have a homeschooling budget

On a homeschooling message board I frequent the question is often raised - 'if you had $1000 for your homeschool this year what would you buy?' It's fun to dream about those expensive purchases and high-priced programs. And of course, it would be amazing to have unlimited funds for your homeschooling dreams.

But we live in the real world. And there are a few reasons that it's absolutely okay to stick to a budget.

Curriculum junkie

If I had an unlimited supply of homeschooling money I would definitely overspend on homeschool curriculum. There are just so many amazing programs available to us today.

I remember during my first few years, I had grand plans of buying THREE different history programs and somehow combining them into this ultimate program that would be just so amazing.

Yeah, right. While all three of those history programs were great, trying to use all three at once (to teach the same subject!) was really a bit too much. Thankfully, I didn't try. I limited myself to only two programs...

And still ended up ditching one of them after only 9 weeks. {I don't like talking about my expensive curriculum mistakes... but I bet we've all made a few.}

...but that new program looks so fun!

While the number of great programs available to homeschoolers today is wonderful, there's also another downside. It can be tempting to try different programs - something that might earn you the label 'curriculum hopper'.

When that math book starts to get a little hard, or you're just not that into your science program, sometimes it's too easy to quit the program and try something new and shiny. I'm not saying there's never a time to ditch what isn't working. But don't do it just because you're ready for something new.

You are not helping your child by switching math programs every month. Now, if they are crying over their math lessons, by all means, find something that doesn't cause that daily grief! But just remember there is no such thing as a "perfect curriculum". You're just wasting your time and money ditching and switching those perfectly fine programs.

Related: How to Choose the Right Homeschool Methods for your Family

Homeschool burnout

One of the pitfalls of over-scheduling {and trying to combine those three history programs like I tried to do!} is the dreaded homeschool burnout.

While tying those multiple history programs together might sound like the perfect idea, are you still going to feel that way after 20 weeks of school? {I certainly didn't.}

By overspending and trying to do too much you are setting yourself up for burnout. And you're setting your kids up for burnout as well.

I'm not saying using multiple programs is wrong all the time {we use 2 different math programs}. But if you are just using multiple programs because you are nervous that you don't have every contingency covered, you think you can create that PERFECT program or because you are overcompensating for your lack of skill in a specific subject {I really stink at math}, there is a better way.

Related: Homeschool Realities: The Truth About Homeschooling

The importance of homeschooling goals

This is where goal-setting is so important. When you know what skill areas and content you need to focus on each year, you can use those goals to find the programs that will help you meet them.

Instead of trying to use three different history programs and tie them all together in one PERFECT program, focus on how you can use those history lessons to meet your goals. What books interest your child? What types of writing assignments do they need to learn this year? How can you use history to meet your overall homeschooling goals?

By creating a concrete set of yearly goals, you can stick to a budget, find programs that will set you up for success, and have a wonderful, peaceful homeschool year, proving that you can homeschool well on a budget.

Sure, an unlimited homeschooling budget would be lots of fun {I can count another trip to Disney World as a field trip, right?} but there are some very good reasons for sticking to a budget.

New to homeschooling? Find everything you need to know to get started: How to Homeschool.

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.