You don’t have to be rich…

… to provide a rich home education. But people often forget that so I thought I’d re-post this to explain

It’s so great when I get feedback on the things I’ve written letting me know that it’s helped, both here and on articles or about the book. Nothing like a compliment to urge me on. (Same with kids!) But it also reassures me that I’m on the right track (or should that be; write track). After all – that’s why I write – to help families with their home education and all parents to think in different ways about their children’s learning. To help folks see beyond the institutional box.

One of the themes that has come up on several occasions is the idea that only the rich can afford to home educate. But I want to reassure you that this is not the case.

Admittedly money can make life easier. But it doesn’t always make it better. And it doesn’t always follow that it will make education better either.

I know home educating families that manage on one (sometimes very low) income just so that they can provide their children with a happy learning experience when their school fails to do so. Many home educating families (like us) don’t use expensive tutors, don’t splash out on expensive materials, and may live in a way some might see as impoverished.

Yet they provide a rich and varied, inspirational and successful education and life for their kids by their own creative, broad minded approach. An approach that goes beyond the more traditional, often mind numbing, heavily academic one children get when confined in school.

The richness of the world is all around our children. All they need are devoted adults who have the time and energy to bring it to their attention and they will become educated. And many families go without other less important material things in order to do just that.

I do so hope that parents understand that home schooling isn’t only for wealthy families. Wealth in education is about the mind and the spirit, not about material things. And it is in the entrepreneurial spirit of home education that the wealth lies.

Educational should be inspirational, but it is not material wealth that makes it so. It is the experiences of the learners. That is the way in which home educators, whatever their income, make it so rich and successful.

(You can read just how we did that in my new story A FUNNY KIND OF EDUCATION. But for ideas on activities check out the other one LEARNING WITHOUT SCHOOL. HOME EDUCATION.)

And do please add all thrifty tips, resources and experiences for others to use in the comments below.


7 thoughts on “You don’t have to be rich…

  1. We’re one of those families! Our main curriculum (that is prepackaged so I don’t have to spend all my time planning) gets bought when our tax return comes in. It is reusable so the cost for additional kids is less than $50 a year. This money includes the preschool and phonics-type workbooks I buy at a clearance bookstore every quarter or so, which saves us well over half on consumables.
    Our science was picked up either at the same store or at thrift stores. The other week I found a brand new set of Usborne science: two for $4! The kids and I love it.
    Grandparents/relatives help us get to museums and other outings that would be out of budget. That’s way better than buying them more electronic gadgets (although the 4 battery powered learning computers they have given over the years are nice too!)
    This year we live next to the library. Except for panicky moments when I can’t find a book anywhere, it is a huge blessing.
    So far, having God as a personal shopper (God, my daughter really could use…) works amazingly well. If you haven’t learned yet, God LOVES a bargain, especially when He knows He’ll get gratitude for it!

  2. So true.

    I think the best way to deal with the frustrations of a fraying shoestring budget is to spend more time with other home edding families in a similar situation. I find that spending lots of time with those who are financially able to ‘buy in’ expensive activities/tutors/resources can unnecessarily increase my anxiety about what I’m providing for my children.

    It can be enjoyable sharing frugal tips and planning cheap/free activities with others who are on a similar budget. It also means there is no need to make excuses or explain financial limitations. ‘Days out’ don’t have to be expensive. Often all that is needed to make an excursion or activity a success is some good company and someone to ‘share the load’.

  3. So true – you’re wisdom shines through as usual. However, I am sure that you are trying to take over my mind with songs. Now I can’t stop singing that Tom Jones number “you don’t have to be rich to rule my world.” Help – stop it! Ha Ha.

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! It is a massive choice to prioritise time and nurturing over material comforts but an incredibly rewarding one. I feel richer and more fulfilled since deciding to come back to the family, back to base. Thanks Ross.

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