Friday, April 14, 2006

Tax Time, Homeschooling Expenses and Planning

This week I finally got my taxes done. In my state, we get to claim the cost of the majority of homeschooling expenses. It can’t be religious stuff though. So the only thing I couldn’t claim was my Rod and Staff English program.

I spent over a $1000 on homeschooling last year, which was up a few hundred from the year before. This year I bought tons of books because I hate relying on the library. I guess in reality I can’t compare 2005’s expenses with 2004 because ’04 was the first year we homeschooled and only covered Sept – Dec.

I noticed a pattern starting. It seems in the spring, when spring fever was high and I felt like climbing the walls last year my spending went way up. I started ordering this spring as well. So I’ll be prepared next spring to not spend so much money.

I will continue to use Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year by Year and Doc’s secular resources as my guide. Kixque shared an email from Doc with some additional links. I hope that Doc comes back to blogland because I miss her terribly.

Doc wrote an entry about goal planning versus scheduling that I printed and have read many times. What a great resource that is. Doc also wrote a big list of what should be studied. I can’t find a link to it on her site or else I’d place it here. I printed that out as well. Finally, she had a link to a high school 9th-12th grade planning sheet. I adapted that and made my 5th-8th grade plan. Well, I’m still working on it, but I have the outline and am happily filling it in. What a valuable resource that is. I had never thought to do that before and it has helped me tremendously.

Thank you, Doc, my son’s education has been touched by you. You’ve helped me tremendously.

As for upcoming expenses, I have decided to set a $1000 budget for the next year. I will continue to buy used, haunt Ebay and This summer I will again go to garage sales and make a bee line toward the books. I’m learning a lot about smart choices and spur of the moment mistakes. An ink cartridge for my laser printer is $90 and will print thousands of pages. Last cartridge lasted about two years. I can buy a ream of paper for $2.99 at Kmart or splurge and buy pretty pastel paper at Office Max for $5.99 a ream. The internet has tons of free teacher’s guides and lesson plans on almost every subject imaginable. Unless I buy a lot of reading material again, or go hog wild at Carolina Botanical’s website, I can’t foresee spending $1000 next year. For that, my husband will be thankful.

If I were really good, I'd take this year's tax refund and put it in a separate account for our homeschooling expenses. I'm not that good, though, and would rather play with that money now.

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