KidsPrimary School

Exploring the hidden costs of homeschooling

Many parents are surprised when they discover the many hidden costs to homeschooling.

It’s a sad fact of life: COVID-19 has changed the way kids are learning, but the costs of teaching a child from home are nothing like school fees.

How Covid-19 has affected education

Delays in the reopening of schools forced many parents to reconsider traditional schooling. For those that can afford to, online learning and homeschooling have been the norm. Homeschooling, however, requires more than what parents have to contribute when children are in the classroom.

Let us look at some of the additional requirements of schooling your children at home. 

More food

Making three meals a day not only takes a lot of planning and effort but a lot of money. Somehow, kids are more hungry when they are at home than at school. School requires breakfast at home, a lunchbox, a snack, and dinner in the evening. Homeschooling requires a morning snack, breakfast, snacks, more snacks, lunch, more snacks, and dinner.

For parents who do not want to get up from their home office to make sandwiches, cooking early in the morning is an option. Girl mom Lethu Msomi has two girls in primary school, and she has rice and stew cooked by 10 am. This covers lunch and supper and they can reheat the food themselves. The requirements for food are increasing, and this creates pressure on the household budget for many families.

More electronic devices

On the morning of online learning, Michelle Neville and her son in grade 7 realized that they had the wrong laptop, and the headset they had was not compatible with the online application they will be using to learn. They had to rush that morning to get a new laptop, headset, and a device to help the wifi run during load-shedding. André Wentzel, Solutions Manager at Sanlam advises that parents should consider getting the required devices that will make learning subjects such as computer science, robotics, and coding seamless.

Wi-Fi & connectivity

The high prices of data were a sore point once in South Africa, and people were protesting to drop them. The reality is that getting a wifi connection in your home is not a cheap endeavour. You get a line, and you need fibre and a good data package that will not deplete during a lesson. Controlling schooling and personal usage will also be challenging, and this is why an uncapped line is a feasible option. An uncapped line can cost you anything from R700, depending on which provider you use.

Electricity & Water

Whether you are using metered electricity or prepaid, chances are that your bill is not going to look like the other months. You will cook more, have more devices plugged in at once, and the fridge will be opened ten to 20 times a day. Load-shedding might just save you a few hours of spending.

Time spent entertaining kids

Parents are forced to keep their little ones entertained in between classes, and this will require both creativity and money. Whether or not you choose to leave the house to go to a museum, or stay at home and create some crafts, you will have to cough out money.

Mental health support

According to Wentzel “many children are battling the emotional fall-out of COVID-19 and may need professional support.” Some teachers are equipped with the skill to identify and assist children that are struggling emotionally. At home, mom and dad need to take up this job. If they can’t, they will have to refer the child to a professional.

Clinical psychologist Irene Streeten explains that the COVID-19 pandemic has created various levels of anxiety. Some kids have become more withdrawn, and some are more prone to depression. A psychologist can cost anything from R750 – R1200. per session.    

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