Home School vs. Private School: Financial Considerations

Should money play a role in our decision on where to send our kids to school? We don't feel that the public schools are an option for our children's education, so we're left with a choice between home schooling and a private Christian school. Can you help us find our way?

Finances cannot and should not be the determinative factor in a situation like this, but they do have some serious implications for the strategy you will adopt in your efforts to achieve your goals. If you honestly feel that acceptable public education is not available to your children, and if your feelings on this subject are so strong as to be non-negotiable, then a choice to homeschool them or to send them to a private institution is not primarily an economic decision. It’s a priority decision.

Allow us to explain what we mean by this. When it comes to the wise use of your financial resources, there are probably a number of things you’re attempting to accomplish. You may want to whittle down some credit card debt or make sure that you have enough on hand to pay your taxes. You may be trying to provide for the future through investments or savings programs. If you’re Christians, you are called to support God’s work with your monetary resources. You may also be attempting to maintain a particular lifestyle. And of course, you want to provide the best possible education for your kids.

What if your income and assets aren’t sufficient to cover all of these expenses? In that case, you have to weigh and balance your priorities. You have to rank them in order of importance and decide what you can live without and what’s an absolute necessity. If private schooling is a high or non-negotiable priority, and if you still desire to tithe, pay off debt, pay taxes, and save for the future, then your only option is to find a way to reduce your lifestyle. If you don’t want to give up living in your neighborhood, taking the same vacations, and spending the same amount of money on entertainment and clothes, then you may need to abandon the private school option in favor of homeschooling (though this won’t necessarily be a cost-free plan of action). It’s up to you to shuffle your possibilities and redistribute your resources in the way that best line up with your values and objectives.

Often the decisions we make seem to be strictly financial in nature, when in fact they are priority decisions. Once the priorities of life are set, money becomes nothing more than a tool to be used to accomplish those ends. Unless you have unlimited resources (and no one does), you will never be able to spend on an unlimited basis. Most of us need to realize that when money is spent to accomplish one objective or goal, it’s no longer available for other purposes. The trick, then, is to be certain that you’re making spending decisions that align with your true priorities. This, as we see it, is the most important way in which financial considerations should affect the choice you have to make between homeschooling and private education.

For additional help and information on this topic, we’d encourage you to consult the resources and referrals highlighted below. Or if you have relationship concerns and challenges associated with this situation, please don’t hesitate to give our Counseling department a call.



If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Treasure Principle

Family and Personal Finances (resource list)

Other books on Money and Finance

Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School


Crown Financial Ministries

Dave Ramsey

Debt-Proof Living

Money and Finances

God’s Big Idea About Finances

Communicating About Money

Pursuing Financial Unity

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