For homeschool bound parents, one of the biggest concerns is the expense of providing materials, toys, workbooks, and other essentials for their home learners. You may think that, since schools receive funding, you will too. Regrettably, this is not the case. Public school funding goes to those schools. Meanwhile, private school funding comes from income generated by paid tuition. There is no funding system for DIY homeschool because it’s a choice you make to step outside the traditionally funded systems. While some programs help homeschool families, few or none offer any cash assistance. Instead, you can get discounted internet service in some areas or free online learning materials. I will show you how to get some aid in creating your homeschool and discuss the possibility of applying for government grants for additional materials. However, if your grant proposals are accepted, you must use them to purchase supplies, and they are not a paycheck.
Do you get paid for homeschooling? You do not get paid for homeschooling your children. At the same time, it is a parent’s right to take charge of their child’s’ schooling. When you accept that responsibility, it comes with financial responsibility as well. Parents not only teach but also pay for the materials in their classrooms. This may seem unfair, but keep in mind that degreed teachers also pay for their classroom materials other than desks, a few essentials, and whatever they require parents to send with their children.
Why Don’t Homeschool Parents Get Paid to Teach
It may seem unfair that homeschool parents receive no pay when they save school systems thousands of dollars by not using their resources. Think of this as a metaphorical hot lunch where schools are the restaurants. If you don’t eat lunch they make, it is still there.
When you don’t like it, can’t make it to the restaurant serving the food, or have some other reason for not eating, that lunch is available to you. However, if you are allergic (have a special need), then that foodservice location may have to offer you reasonable accommodation. Otherwise, you can take a free lunch, pay for a more exclusive lunch, or you can make your own lunch.
The place making the lunch still bought ingredients. It pays cooks, and janitors, managers, and others to help operations go smoothly. You didn’t do anything to earn pay from that restaurant, and the places serving lunch don’t owe you grocery money to make your own lunch. They certainly won’t pay you like a kitchen worker if you go home and make a sandwich instead, because that doesn’t make any sense.
You are welcome to accept the restaurant food, or not, but you can’t take their raw ingredients home and make a different meal out of them. It doesn’t matter how amazing your sandwich-making skills are. You’re using them to benefit yourself (and your kids). Therefore if anyone is to pay you, it needs to be you. Likewise, if you want other people to pay for your sandwiches, you have to make sandwiches for other people (become a teacher).
In short, refusing a product or service does not obligate the provider to pay you to create a replacement. You must create and provide a service or product of your own and market it to an audience of purchasers for their use if you want to be paid for your time.
Paying For Homeschool
For many homeschool families, the idea of getting paid to teach your own kids is enticing because it can be a burden to pay out of pocket for education. Depending on your approach, a homeschool parent can teach for free or pay as much as college tuition for a year of K-12 education. Books, manipulatives, educational games, basic school supplies, and more are all necessary items.
Field trips cost money. Prefabricated worksheets and guided lessons, tutors, and projects all come out of your budget. Since you will not get paid for providing these things, I’ll walk you through how to cut some of those costs.
Free and Reduced Internet Costs
Many companies offer students savings on internet access. If your local provider is not on this list, you can still call them and ask if they have a program or switch to a company that has lower prices. These providers are helping families get online.
- Xfinity offers two free months for participating customers who qualify for Internet Essentials, which requires proof that you also need and have housing assistance, Medicaid, or other similar programs for low-income families.
- Google in California is setting up a hundred thousand wifi hotspots in rural households.
- Cox has Connect2Compete, which gives low-income homes two months free internet and ten dollar service thereafter.
- New Spectrum customers can get fees and installation waived along with free broadband and WiFi (up to 100 Mbps) for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students.
- At&T offers the Access program for families who meet the requirements for headstart and free school lunches.
Computers, Tablets & Laptops
Families in need will discover a plethora of free and inexpensive programs that offer tablets, computers, and laptops to qualified educational users, which includes homeschool kids. The list below are a few places to start looking. If you don’t find what you need here, there are dozens of programs, but these five all have a stellar record of aid and assistance for families who need computers and tech for schooling children.
- EveryoneOn works with HUD and has provided resources to over seven-hundred-thousand families.
- Jump On It offers $99 computers with a fifteen dollar a month layaway program if you need them.
- PCs for People offers refurbished computers for fifteen dollars per month if you qualify as low income.
- The Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse has several programs and works with other charities to get computers to needy people.
- With Causes is a strongly education-focused group supporting military families, people with disabilities, and more.
Supplies & Clothing
Many families need help with more than internet access. Pencils, backpacks, and paper all come out of pocket along with clothing and everything else a homeschool child needs to thrive. Every year charitable organizations, churches, and individuals hold hundreds or thousands of drives to help get school supplies to children in need. However, you can always contact your local area churches and charitable organizations have clothing, shoes, or other vital supplies for children’s education and other needs.
- United Way has a subsection of their website dedicated to helping school children get the supplies they need. You can find it by clicking here.
- The Salvation Army hosts a massive drive each year before school starts, but they aren’t fair-weather friends. You can inquire year-round for assistance and ideas. However, they are fairly first-come-first-served, so there may be a wait if there are many people in need in your area. They help with clothing, school supplies, and sometimes even household items.
- The Society of Saint Vincent De Paul is a massive nationwide charitable organization that aids families and individuals with clothing, school supplies, and other needs.
Grantwriting for Homeschool Parents
Homeschool parents may not get paid for their efforts, but you can offset costs for classes online, special needs, and even get assistance if your family is the victim of a disaster such as a flood or fire. Members who have been a part of the Home School Legal Defense Association for more than six months, the curriculum, and disaster relief grants are a significant boon. You can become a member through their website, and you do not need to be a homeschool family or a lawyer to join.
Many churches and religious groups also offer assistance in the form of grants to families. However, your best bet is to start by contacting those in your local area. Be aware that traditional grant writing isn’t necessarily the same as requesting these special grants from homeschool and religious organizations, so you will need to ask what the requirements and limitations are for each place you find that offers assistance. Additionally, struggling families can apply for other assistance. Programs like LiHeap can keep the heat running in the winter if your budget is strained beyond its limits.
For most homeschool parents, working remotely from home, freelancing, or running a small online business while you teach is the best solution for long term financial solvency.
You can work from home while homeschooling your children to generate income. Sadly, simply being a homeschool parent comes with expenses but no paycheck. If you want to get paid to teach, you will have to get a teaching degree and work as a tutor or school teacher instead.
The other issue with funding homeschool families is that the more involved funding agencies become in your private life. You would inevitably be required to show your results and methods to those funding sources to prove how you are using the money. Getting paid for homeschool would likely result in losing many of the freedoms associated with choosing your child’s education.
Essentially, paying families to homeschool is an unsustainable and impractical business model. However, you can still offset some of the expenses if you’re willing to do the research and put in the time contacting the companies and organizations that help homeschoolers.