Is homeschooling expensive? Crack open a catalog with homeschooling supplies and you might quickly get the impression that homeschooling is going to cost thousands of dollars.
While you may opt to go this route, it’s not necessary. There are options for the frugal moms and homeschooling parents who are searching for homeschooling supplies inexpensively. Here are a few tips:
Is Homeschooling Expensive?
Set A Budget
Just like anything else that involves finances, it’s wise to set a homeschooling budget for the year before you begin purchasing supplies. If you see some awesome math DVD or fancy chemistry set, you’ll have to see where you’re at, budget-wise, before you make the purchase. Just doing this might keep you from buying a lot of unnecessary stuff that will end up in the closet.
As a frugal mom, you must decide on your homeschooling method and test-drive curriculum and other tools before you start buying. One of the reasons buying homeschooling curriculum can be so expensive is because most of the time you’re buying it sight unseen. It may not be right for your child so you end up selling it at a fraction of retail on eBay.
To avoid this problem, get with other homeschooling parents in your support group. Ask them what they like and dislike about curriculum they’ve purchased and used. Read messages on homeschooling support forums online. Deciding in advance what your method/style will be means you can adapt the tools to the method/style, not the other way around.
Once you have decided, however, curriculum in a box programs may be cheaper than obtaining everything piecemeal.
You can find great deals at swap meets organized by homeschooling support groups. Hooking up with your local group also means discounts on field trips.
Yard sales, thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, “for sale or trade” message forums for homeschoolers online are some more places to find cheap supplies. Public library sales is another place to find inexpensive books to fill out your family’s bookshelves.
Nowadays many frugal moms are getting creative and opt to design a curriculum. You can create unit studies, you can go for a “living books” curriculum by making lists of reading material and getting these from the library. You can print an almost infinite number of free online worksheets. I’m compiling a list of free online worksheets (by subject) and will be adding it to this website, hopefully, in the very near future. Thanks for being patient.
Math manipulatives can be frugal. Instead of buying fancy things, use stuff you have around your home to teach the kids math – dried beans, dried macaroni, Lego toys, wooden blocks, etc. can teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and basic geometry.
Did you know that many office supply stores host teacher appreciation days once a year around August? These are a source of free and discounted items and giveaways. Many larger bookstores also offer discounts to teachers throughout the year, including homeschooling parents. They also have free book giveaways in the summer.
Public libraries are a never ending source of free homeschooling materials. From the obvious – unlimited free books – to educational DVDs, music on CD, arts and crafts activities open to the public, symphony days, storytime, and even continuing education for older teens and adults. Public domain books can also be downloaded and printed freely from the internet (Gutenberg Project). Click here to check out the Gutenberg site.
With a little creativity and time, you can homeschool frugally – saving not only money but also allowing you more flexibility in the educating of your kids; and for the eco-conscious, homeschooling is green!
For some other great resources on frugal living, be sure and check out Living On A Dime Resources For Saving Money.
Is homeschooling expensive? Yes, it can be, but as homeschooling, frugal moms, we still need to eat and feed our families.
By Carol Henderson
Carolann Henderson, homeschooling mom, website editor, researcher, student of graphic design, and musician in our family bluegrass gospel band, The Hendersons. You’ll find some more homeschooling curriculum reviews, general homeschooling information, free resources, tips and encouragement on my website. I also have a free gift for you that you will find instrumental in getting and staying organized in homeschooling and all areas of your life along with a free ebook to help you homeschool holidays. You can claim your free gifts by visiting my website http://www.homeschooling-road-map.com and signing up for our free newsletter.