My wife and I were blessed with the birth of our son, our first child, in May of 2021. As we prepared for his arrival, one of the primary topics of discussion was his education.
We live in the Kansas City Public School district in Missouri. Right from the beginning, we both felt the education our local public school system would provide was lacking, and were aware that the district has embraced some questionable policies.
While the district recently became fully accredited for the first time in decades, that did nothing to address some of the controversial policies in place – not to mention the myriad things public school students are exposed to daily, such as drugs and violence.
“Discrimination – Conferring benefits upon, refusing or denying benefits to, or providing differential treatment to a person or class of persons in violation of law based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other factor protected by law or based on a belief that such a factor exists.”
Further, the policy lists “Intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s or employee’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to a student or employee by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s or employee’s gender identity)” as a behavior that could constitute illegal harassment.
In the end, we both agreed that we want something different for our son’s education. But what would that look like, and could we afford it?
Our research made it clear that any of the alternatives available would require us to make some difficult decisions and significant financial sacrifices.
The cost of private school in Kansas City would amount to 10% of our income or more, and moving won’t ensure that a new school district’s policies would align with our family’s beliefs. The only remaining option was homeschool.
Additionally, most of the free curricula include free online materials for both the student and parent/teacher.
However, we still had so many questions. Who will stay home to teach him? Can we afford to live on one income?
Ultimately, the biggest question we had to answer was, what would be the best educational experience for our family, and specifically our son?
As our son’s due date got closer and we began to prepare for his immediate future, the high cost and the scarce availability of quality daycare centers made our decision even more clear. The best path for our family would be a more traditional model with a stay-at-home parent – especially since our intent was to homeschool our son in a few short years anyway.
We concluded that, instead of paying 10% of our family income for daycare for the next five to six years and then for private school, we would give up one income, or approximately 33% of our total family earnings.
In other words, sacrificing an additional 23% of our income would give us the opportunity to provide a high-quality education to our son in a way that totally aligns with our faith.
Forgoing 33% of our family’s income has obviously required some sacrifices. We’ve made all the requisite changes to save money – such as cutting the cord on cable, reducing our utilities consumption, cutting back on dining out and more.
Still, to make ends meet, we’ve had to completely change our way of thinking about spending. We used to be able to spend without much thought to what we needed, versus what we wanted. Now we must frame all our purchases in that way.
Admittedly, when we first started to make these changes, it was difficult. Now, almost a year later, they have become second-nature, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
When it comes to homeschooling, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Our story is just one of hundreds of thousands across the country. Some parents will sacrifice more, and some less, to homeschool their children.
What we all have in common though, is the shared belief that no sacrifice is too great to ensure a quality education for our children that is in lockstep with our faith and our beliefs.