Is Home Schooling More Affordable Than Traditional Schooling?

I’ve decided to do a series on home schooling as I research the various options and work through our thoughts as a family. A lot of people have mentioned that they are also debating the issue and I hope that these blog posts will be helpful.

SPOILER ALERT: Education is expensive.

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This week I’ve begun doing research in earnest, and one of the obvious starting points was to compare the costs of home schooling versus traditional schooling. I didn’t bother asking about private schooling because what I’d heard was that one year of high school cost the same as two years of my university degree. That’s just crazy.

I asked my Facebook friends what they would pay for an average school year, and the consensus was around R20,000 for a good government school. That’s excluding the extras like civvies day, fundraising, field trips and the like.

Even at a preschool level, I have realised that schools have “hidden” costs. School photos, market day, concert tickets, concert costumes, dress up day, spring hat day, and so on.

The curriculum I’m leaning toward costs about R23,000 for grade one. Slightly higher than the average mentioned above, but when it’s time for Emmy to do grade one, it would only cost us R3,000 for the extra workbooks. So we would be paying R26,000 for two years of grade one, or R13,000 per child which is well below the average. The rest of their schooling costs would be similar – almost a “two for the price of one” deal.

Obviously, this does not include extra mural costs which I haven’t even begun looking into – that’s a subject for another blog post.

Also, we would not have to buy school uniforms or school shoes. The girls could wear fairy wings and tiaras to school – for that matter, so could I. It wouldn’t matter if their hair was unruly – as it usually is – or if their fingernails were multicoloured – also a strong possibility.

We have not yet decided to go the home schooling route, but from a purely financial point of view it is extremely appealing.

What do you pay, on average, for a year of schooling?

Comments 11

  • My eldest is in a good government school and we pay R8000 a year.

  • Hi Melanie,

    We’ve got two kids in a very good government primary school. For both of them our school fees is +- R 18700 (p.a) That’s without the stationary and textbooks they have to buy at the beginning of each year and ALL the other hidden costs you were talking about. I think it will be scary if I start keeping track of those! We also pay round about R 8360 for aftercare.

    Which curriculum are you looking at? I never thought of homeschooling myself, since I’m a full time working mommy, but I find this topic very interesting.

    Good luck with your decision!


    • Thanks for your comment. I’m looking at the Love 2 Learn curriculum ( One of the things I find so appealing is the Christian basis for the curriculum, but also the extensive range of subjects and the provision of tutors once the children hit high school.

  • I am getting heart palpitations looking at primary schools for my daughter for grade R in 2016. The closest school to us(walking distance) is a private school and grade R there is R54 000 a year. Had to strike that one of my list. The public school in our area is no longer a good one and are crowded. We are looking at moving next year to a area with better gov schools. I wish I had the option to home school

  • Wow; this is an interesting topic and I’ve enjoyed hearing your perspective.

    We live in the US, so things run a bit differently here. Public school costs pretty much nothing, unless you take into account the ‘hidden fees’; given those, you probably spend about $200 per year per student.

    Homeschooling, at that rate, actually costs a little more. With field trips, supplies, curriculum, and a legal defense fund, we probably spend approximately $300-400 per student per year. However, that also depends on how many field trips we take and our budget. If I cut it down to bare bones, we spend about $150 per student. Which isn’t bad, really.

  • […] But, there are other less important reasons. One of these is: no more rush to get them ready for school. If Angie wants to sleep in, then I can focus on Emmy in the mornings. When Emmy crashes later in the day, I can focus on Emmy. We won’t have to fight the morning traffic. If it’s pouring with rain, as it is right now, we don’t have to get wet. (Unless they want to re-enact certain scenes from Singin’ in the Rain.) We won’t have to stress about stationery shopping and buying uniforms and packing lunches and school fees. […]

  • Hi Melanie!

    I have been reading a few of your posts, and love your blog.
    I too have started looking at different school options including private which is scary expensive.
    I am concerned that certain government schools just wont live up to what they should be delivering in terms of a sound education.
    I envy the fact that you have the choice to home school. Good luck with all the prep, I will be following you to see how it goes.

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