Our topic for the homeschool blog cruise this week is homeschool budgets. Do you set a specific budget for homeschool supplies and books? Do you just wing it and pay as you go? I do a little of both.
As far as curriculum goes, I do have a budget. Currently, my budget runs about $1200 per year for two kids, although I expect that will go up as my oldest enters high school next year. Yes, I know that is a lot, and there are a LOT of people who homeschool for less, or free. I have a hard time spending hours searching for freebies and stuff like that. I do buy used whenever I can, and I utilize our library a LOT, but when it comes to curriculum, our budget is pretty generous (about $600 per child).
I would say I spend the most money on science, history and reading. We use a combination of lit-based history programs (Winter Promise, Time Travelers, and Notgrass). When possible, I buy the guides and exclusives from the company, and then fill the rest in with library books. We use a mix of things for science. This year we are studying the human body and forensic science, and I did splurge on items for experiments and things like that, because my boys love it!! I don’t have a problem with spending more, if I know it’s something they will really enjoy.
We use a combination of textbooks/workbooks for most other subjects, and I buy used whenever I can. I also like to use inexpensive curriculum for some basic subjects, like CLE for math and ACE for grammar. I find these curriculums are very thorough, and I think they are a good buy for our money! My older son is using Lial’s pre-algebra this year, with the DVD’s, because I just don’t feel comfortable teaching the upper level maths. For me, I will spend extra on higher math and science to have a DVD that I can also use with my younger son, because I just want to make sure they don’t miss anything!!
I hit the dollar store for basic school supplies, but I do buy the more expensive colored pencils, because my boys like those better. Also included in my budget are the classes my boys take at our homeschool group every year. This year my oldest is learning computer programming and working on a video yearbook, while my youngest is doing classes on Missionary Geography and Contenders of the faith.
So, living on one income (and a fireman’s income at that!) how do we pay for all this? Well, I am fortunate that my husband is an excellent budgeter. He saves a little each month to give me the money I need to buy curriculum each May. We also skip cable TV, fancy cell phones, eating out and things like that…and I coupon a lot to save money on groceries. We are fortunate to live in Florida, where the weather is temperate and we have access to plenty of beaches, parks and other free (or very inexpensive) outdoor entertainment! We also have a really good library system in our county, which doesn’t cost anything and lets me check out as many books as I want at one time, and gives me access to hundreds of books through ILL.
The great thing about homeschooling is that there are so many ways to do it! If you are great at finding deals and freebies, you can homeschool on a really tight budget. We likely spend more on curriculum than a lot of people do, but that’s what works for us…and since we decide how we homeschool, that’s all that matters!