We’re a family of two parents and 5 children aged 5 to 19. We live in Brighton, the very south of the UK.
We’ve been on our unschooling journey for over 10 years now. There is no going back or no other way for us. The inefficiencies and stress of schools are just too much for us to bear.
We do get tempted with going back to school and sometimes drool at private schools. We then figure the £3k a month it would cost (for 3 of the kids) is ridiculous. There are so many better ways to spend that kind of money.
The cost of unschooling for us
What we spend our money on varies year by year, but hopefully, this will paint a rough picture.
The numbers are rounded and also shown as a monthly cost for easy calculation. Some things we pay per session, per month or per term. It's hard to be precise with this stuff.
- Forest School, 1 x 3 hour session per week x 3 kids = £400 per term / £100 per month
- Badminton, 1 x 1 hour session x 1 kid = £60 per term / £15 per month
- Swimming x 1 session per week x 3 kids = free, a trip to a cafe afterwards £100 per month
- Swimming with a friend 1 x per week x 1 child = £40 per month (includes food afterwards)
- Football x 2 sessions per week x 1 kid = £50 per month
- Gymnastics x 2 kids, 1 session per week = £60 per month
- Annual membership to Paradise Park (play area) = £72 per year / £12 per month
- Annual membership to Drusillas Park x 3 (Zoo + Park) = £300 per year / £25 per month
- Books: Our eldest reads a lot and has access to my Amazon account to order books, I’ve lost track of cost, but maybe £150 per month
- Open University course x 2 (for our eldest) = £3k / £250 per month
- A home ed friendly education space (coming soon for us)for 1 x day x 2 kids = £70 per week / £280 per month
- Crafts and books for our younger ones = roughly £150 per month
- Misc outings = £150 p/m
💰 Total monthly cost to unschool our five children: £1382
The hidden costs of unschooling
Of course, these are just the costs of things we sign up for. What is not included here is our time as parents and the cost of driving the kids to things.
My husband and I share unschooling duties fairly between us. I work for myself and I bring my laptop with me whenever I think there will be an opportunity for me to sit down for 1–3 hours to do some work. Often it’s easier, cheaper and more efficient to work whilst I sit and wait for sessions to finish rather than going back home.
Also important to note is that as parents, we take on all the duties and don't have any hired help. We have built a small network of friends where we lean on each other for support and car sharing.
The important thing to remember here is that our kids have opted in for all these activities. We only do what they are interested in. And this is what makes unschooling beautiful.