Homeschool an Option for Tough Times

Spouse out of work? Can’t keep up private tuition for the kids? Try homeschooling:

Christopher Klicka of Warrenton, Va., senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association and co-teacher along with his wife of seven homeschooled children, says hard times enhance homeschooling’s appeal as private school tuition becomes unaffordable and some public schools contemplate cutbacks.

“People are looking to homeschooling as an alternative more now in light of economic circumstances,” he said, citing its low cost and potential for strengthening family bonds.

At Allendale Academy in Clearwater, Fla., which provides resources for homeschoolers, enrollment has risen 50 percent over the past two years to about 900 students as families desert private schools, says academy director Patricia Carter.

“Often one parent has been laid off,” she said. “That makes private school tuition impossible, and they don’t want to send their kids back to public school.”

Her academy charges $65 per year to support students through 8th grade, $95 for high school students, compared to private school tuitions often running many thousands of dollars per year.

For frugal families, homeschooling can be a good fit. Used academic material is available at low cost; free research resources are on tap on the Internet and at libraries.