The Finances of Homeschooling Your Kids: What It Costs, Tax Breaks, More

If you’re contemplating homeschooling your children, consider all the ways your expenses can add up -- and the special savings vehicles and cost-cutting tips to help offset them.

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A fresh surge in COVID-19 cases across the country as we head into 2021 has many states rolling out new restrictions on public and private gatherings, as well as strictly enforcing the wearing of face masks. President-elect Joe Biden even announced during a CNN interview that he plans to urge Americans to wear masks during his first 100 days in office.

Will parents want to continue sending their children into schools that remain open? Is distance learning working for your kids in districts that offer or mandate that approach? Throughout the holiday break, many parents will be exploring a variety of options -- from homeschooling their kids themselves to forming small co-ops with similar families and hiring a private tutor -- to educate their children during these challenging times.

Homeschooling is neither cheap nor easy. The average cost of homeschooling ranges from $700 to $1,800 per child per school year, according to, an online resource for homeschool families. This includes the cost of the curriculum, school supplies, field trips and extracurricular activities.

Traditionally, families with two working parents that decide to transition to homeschooling will need to determine which parent is better suited to switch from the 9-to-5 office life to being a stay-at-home parent. Some factors to consider include: Who is the higher earner? Whose job offers the better health benefits for the entire family? Which parent actually wants to take on this huge responsibility -- and will be good at it?

Parents who can’t afford to homeschool full-time but want to play a role in their kids’ education during evenings or weekends can turn to online support groups for families in similar financial situations to share lesson plans, ideas for low-cost extracurricular activities and other educational resources, recommends Waetie Sanaa Cooper Burnette, a Weymouth, Mass.-based independent homeschool coach and founder of

As you weigh the pros and cons of homeschooling for your family, here are 10 things that may affect your budget -- from surprising costs to potential tax breaks. Take a look.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Contributing Editor

Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.