Let’s face it, homeschooling can get expensive. Some science curricula alone, especially as your children get into the upper grades, can almost wipe out a small budget in one purchase! It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here are 10 ways to homeschool on a budget that I’ve learned through years of painful experience, trial and error, and great advice from more experienced moms.
Ask yourself: Do I really need it?
Seems obvious, but there are so many new products coming out all the time, and so many suggestions on forums and blogs, that it’s easy to get sucked in by the idea of a shiny new miracle curriculum that will solve your child’s hate for math once and for all. If you have a product already that’s working, even if it’s not their favorite subject, keep going with it and save yourself a few bucks.
Team up #1.
If you have a trustworthy friend who homeschools children the same age, you can arrange to alternate terms with each other. So she’d use your science in term 1 and you’d use it in term 2, for example, while you use her language arts in term one and she’d get it in term two. There’s no law that says you have to teach every subject every term, and this can save you some serious money.
Team up #2.
If the idea above doesn’t work for you, maybe you can each pick a subject you’d like to teach. Your kids go to her house for language arts lessons, and her kids come to you a few days later for their science class. This has the added advantage of giving each mom a little time alone to get other things done…or take a much needed nap!
Team up #3.
If there are several reliable homeschooling parents in your area, why not form a co-op and each parent takes one subject per day? You might each only have to buy one curriculum. Just remember to make sure you follow the seller’s rules or pay the extra co-op license fees so you aren’t breaking any laws.
Some curricula have a great resale value and are highly sought after secondhand (Sonlight springs immediately to mind.) Forums at The Well-Trained Mind, VegSource, and others as well as many Facebook groups are specifically for selling used materials. Again, just check the seller’s rules first so you don’t break any laws.
While you’re on those forums and groups, you can take a look for curricula you know you need. Don’t get distracted! It helps to have a planning list, even just a Post-it note stuck to your laptop, so you don’t get sucked in to the Vortex Of Amazing Looking Lessons.
Make your own plans.
Not every subject has to be taught with the use of purchased curricula. You can save a lot of money by making unit studies and doing your own research.
Many subjects can be learned at once by including them in a notebook. All you need are a “spine” book or two and the patience to let your kids write their own opinions, sketches, draw their own pictures, and take charge of their own learning without you trying to lead them.
Use the library.
It saddens me immensely when I hear that more people aren’t taking advantage of their library. Even if you live far away, most libraries now allow you to “borrow” e-books online, so once you have your membership you don’t even have to leave the house to get your hands on reading material.
Find it free.
There are so many amazing free curricula out there today that there’s truly something for everyone’s style. Search “free homeschool curriculum” on Pinterest when you have a few hours to surf and you’ll unearth more than you could use with your children in a lifetime.