Planning Ahead Financially: What to Plan NOW to be a Stay-at-home, Homeschooling Mom

A few weeks ago a reader sent me a note after reading my post “Homeschooling Fears.” She asked this question:

We are due for our first baby in Sept and my husband and I are already thinking waaayyy ahead about schooling.  He is super encouraging in wanting me to stay at home and eventually homeschool our child (or children if we have more).  However, I’m a bit concerned about our financial situation.  We’re definitely okay with 2 incomes.  I’m already preparing for some changes once I stop working and we only have 1 income with extra baby expenses.  And my question for Tricia and any moms who have been through the homeschooling experience is ~ how do we prepare financially for homeschooling our children?  Are there any good solid resources out there that will help to calculate the costs involved?

I asked my friend and fellow homeschooling mom, Crystal, The Money Saving Mom, if she had any advice for this reader … and this was Crystal’s advice:

“Planning Ahead Financially: What you need to do now to plan to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom”
Considering making the switch from a working woman to a stay-at-home homeschooling mom? While it might seem daunting, it can be done — if you’re willing to get creative, put forth some effort, and think outside the box:

1) Get on a written budget.

This is vitally important. If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will just slip through your fingers like sand.

A written budget puts you in control. No longer is your money just slipping through your fingers like sand. Instead, you are telling it exactly where to go.

The beauty of a budget is that it gives you freedom. You don’t have to worry that by paying one bill, you’re not going to be able to pay another important bill. Why? Because you’ve already allotted enough money to cover both bills in your written budget.

I highly recommend checking out a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey from the library for step-by-step instructions to set up a budget.

2) Make sure yu and your spouse are on the same page.

If you and your husband are not on the same page financially, it’s going to be hard to really get much traction or to achieve your financial goals. So before you even attempt to set goals, sit down and talk openly about where you are financially and where you want to go.

Don’t nag and drag your husband along; put your heads together and find a solution that is a win-win for both of you — even if it means there’s give and take and compromise on both sides.

3) Create a game plan.

Once you’re on the same page, dream together about where you want to be a year from now and five years from now. Pick one or two big goals and break those down into bite-sized pieces — something that you can accomplish in a month or even a week.

When you break your goals down into small chunks, it makes them seem much more realistic and doable. This, in turn, inspires you to actually follow through with them!

For instance, if you want to be able to live on one income by this time next year, look at your budget, figure out what you need to cut, and how much you need to save and increase your income in order to make it happen. Having a specific number that you need to save each month will help motivate you to find creative ways to lower your spending and increase your income.

4) Set up and follow good routines.

If you’re going to be successful as a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, you’ve got to be disciplined. No, you don’t need to run such a tight ship that every 15 minutes is scheduled in your home, but you do need to set up and follow a routine.

If you’re struggling with feeling like your life is really chaotic, a routine can transform the craziness into a much more calm existence. Best of all, not only will your home and life be more orderly, you’ll also likely get more done.

Check out my post on How to Set Up a Routine and Stick With It  for step-by-step help in setting up and implementing a routine.

5) Start teaching your children from a young age. 

Before your child is old enough to officially begin kindergarten, get in the habit of taking advantage of teaching opportunities. They are plentiful and I’m constantly amazed at how much my children learn and retain when I take the time to capitalize upon learning from life — whether it’s researching a bug we find in our backyard or pulling out the globe and finding exactly where that country in our current read-aloud is located.

Begin looking for ways to incorporate learning with life — and it will make it that much easier when you begin formally homeschooling.

Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschooling mom of three, author of The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget. Visit her blog, MoneySavingMom.com, for encouragement and inspiration to get your life and finances in order. And read more of her posts on life and motherhood here on MomLife Today.

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6 thoughts on “Planning Ahead Financially: What to Plan NOW to be a Stay-at-home, Homeschooling Mom

  1. Great advice!!

    I’ve been a stay-at-home wife/mom since the beginning (we got married while I was still in college and I had 2 kids by the time I graduated) but I’ve talked to SEVERAL women who decided to stay at home/homeschool after having a full-time job and found that they actually had more room in their budget with one income than they did with 2 because of all of the extra expenses that they were saving on (like extra nights out to eat, gas driving to work, having the time to grocery shop with coupons, etc).

    There are SO many great free resources for homeschooling online so that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to do it (thus why I created the site linked to in my name above). We do buy our math workbooks, and we bought the Story Of The World history books (4 books that will last us through all of the kids and cover pretty much all of World History), but everything else we do online (or via our local library) for free! 🙂

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  2. Great post- when doing any major changes like this, planning and a little more planning is what you need. I do also agree the labels get us and mothers/wives nowhere. Whether we work outside the home, from home or don’t work at all- we all face a variety of challenges and no one’s struggles are greater per se than any others, just different.

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  3. Homemakers can use this advice as well. You don’t have to be a homeschooler for your family to enjoy the benefits of a parent staying at home!

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  4. I am a Homeschooling Researcher. I have a 2 year old who is mastering his alphabet and sounds plus numbers 1-10, shapes, etc. and a 4 year old who is a class 3 level 1 reader and much more. So I don’t have much homeschooling experience, but I do have a good amount of information and 2+ years of preschool experience(actually my 4 year old is reading, writing and spelling on a 1st grade level, with nearly as much success in Math, and at kindergarten level with all other subjects.:
    I suggest you Read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.(I have found little more than this in his other books. Though I don’t have all his products yet, I still do enjoy watching the dvds. However start with this 1 book, it has information for your lifelong financial needs.) Get out of debt before focusing on saving for homeschooling. It doesn’t cost as much as you would think. It’s a cost you could save for over a year or more if your children are younger. Or you could use a tax return in Feb. or March to buy books and order curricula to put aside until Sept. Plus this gives you time to review the material yourself and get an idea of how you will want to teach it. Plus I suggest visiting your local library and reading all books you can find on homeschooling. Some of the best I’ve read thus far are Preschool success, Kindergarten Success- both(along with more grades) by Amy James. Homeschooling For Success by Rebecca Kochenderfer and Elizabeth Kanna. Reading Rescue 1-2-3 by Peggy M. Wilber(which my 4 yr. old does not need at all, but I read to look for any extra ideas or practice I could give her. It did turn out to teach me that even though she had mastered learning it, it was time for her to master reading many sounds with an automatic response so her reading would be more fluent and easier for her to comprehend. Glad I read it before allowing her to move on to Level 2 reader.). Also a beginner book could be Homeschooling At the Speed of Life by Marilyn Rocket who I admit I skipped many paragraphs and focused on the graphs, organizational ideas and lesson of your house can’t always be immaculate if you are learning in it 24-7. Keep tidy, but don’t put yourself down if it’s not spotless all day long and get yourself in a bad mood, not good for teaching or parenting. I also recommend using Hooked on Phonics(at least their Reading boxes). My daughter loves them. I recommend searching for these items on classifieds, sometimes facebook has classified pages for towns, especially for military families to sell, buy or exchange products. Also a great beginner for pre-k, where I started with each child at 2 was very basic bland, http://www.literacycenter.net/lessonview_en.php. It is easy to learn the very basics and accomadates different languages too. The best site to move onto after that is Starfall.com. It is fun for learning letters(My child already knew them from the first site plus we watched Leapfrog letter factory and she knew it all in 3 days). They also have other topics and areas of learning free. You can pay $36 annually for even more great learning games for older kids. Bob books are the best easy readers I have found as well. I hope this information can help some newbies or enhance learning for some still fighting the homeschooling war 🙂

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  5. Also you can buy many curricula, such as Seton, books online. Ebay if you trust it or Amazon sells them used in good condition. Or you could read the other homeschooling books and realize the many other ways of homeschooling, such as unschooling. I’d give an example of a book that teaches it well, but I’ve read many and only 1 had good unschooling information. The rest seemed very, “don’t bother teaching, they’ll learn stuff.” You probably could learn all we learned in school in more depth from internet searches honestly, so if you can’t afford a great curricula, you may be able to supplement with other products, your knowledge, using an erasable board to write or draw examples or explain ideas visually. Reading these books I mentioned will also inform you of different learning styles(visual, kinestetic, auditory,), Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Domain(explains different levels of understanding lessons, recalling what was taught, comprehending that lesson, applying it, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.), plenty of examples and worksheets, and games that teach in a more fun way than just doing worksheets and problems on the board, plus random advice on discipline(problem solving- levels of how we handle situations with our kids and what level we would like to be on to get better reactions and understanding from them), etc. There are a lot of interesting things to know. When I get through the last 20 books available in this small town I intend on looking into more behavioral books, child psychology, body language, etc. I always wished I could have been home-schooled from a young age, so I may be a bit of an overachiever on gaining the most knowledge I can to best be able to teach my children. I think the small list of homeschooling books I’ve given previously should be a do-able read for many though. It’s seriously ridiculous that they don’t make these books on tape or cd…we are home-schooling with little time for our own reading, come on! It would make life easier if I could listen to it while cooking, cleaning, etc. Though I am best at visual learning(reading it), I could get by easily listening to it and taking notes on parts here and there I wanted to remember or implement.

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  6. I am considering homeschooling and trying it out for a year. My husband is concerned about insurance. We can’t afford his family plan at work . I am currently a teacher and a an 8 yr. Old and 2 yr. Old. What are others doing for insurance?

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