Welcome to Day 2 of the Crew Blog Hop, 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents! Today I am going to share some of the tips I’ve learned for saving money in your homeschool budget! If you’re anything like me, you probably plan an awesome homeschool year based on what you think you can have, but then stuff comes up, and suddenly, your budget gets slashed! Not to worry, there are tons of ways to homeschool without spending a lot. These are some of the tricks I’ve learned!
1. Utilize Your Library: Do you have your eye on one of those literature-based curriculums that is just chock-full of books? Don’t lose hope if the price tag is outside your budget. Download the book list and find out how many of those books you can check out at your library. In most cases, you only need each book (other than the spines) for just a few weeks. Consider simply purchasing the guide and the spines and check the rest of the books out. Even if your library doesn’t have every single book, chances are you can find a good substitute. Remember, the key to homeschooling is flexibility, so adjust and make it work for you so you can have that dream curriculum!
2. Make Big Purchases for those Items that will Last: In general, I don’t mind spending a little more on a textbook or other item if I know I can use it for both of my kids. In fact, my oldest has a running joke that he has never been allowed to write in anything ever!! While that isn’t exactly true, I have kept our more costly items clean, so I can pass them onto his brother. If you are pretty sure you can reuse an item for more than one child, then it’s an investment, and that makes it worth it!
3. Connect with Other Homeschoolers: Do you know other homeschool moms with kids just a grade ahead of or behind your kids? Maybe they have some curriculum you could use and vice versa! For the last couple of years a friend and I have swapped curriculum for a couple of our kids and it has worked out great! She has one son just ahead of my oldest, so she loaned us high school math and science, and her youngest is behind both of mine so I loaned her some stuff for him. Naturally, you only want to do this with someone you trust, so you know they’ll take care of your stuff, and you have to return theirs in pristine condition, but if you are both responsible, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship.
4. Shop Used Whenever Possible: Even if you don’t belong to any local homeschool groups, look around to see if any in your area have yearly book sales. I have at least two that I hit up every year. Also, search online if you have a particular curriculum you want. Homeschool Classifieds is a good place to start. Also, a lot of online homeschool forums and curriculum forums offer a resale board, so check those out too. Another place to look, which a lot of people don’t think of, is eBay! Search for the curriculum you’re looking for by name and see what comes up! Of course, you always want to be cautious. I look for sellers with a high rating and positive feedback. Use PayPal for any transactions as they have built-in protections, and feel free to ask as many questions as you want!
5. Take Advantage of Online Learning: A simple search of the Web can find a number of websites devoted to any kind of subject you can imagine. Some are free, some cost a little, some cost more. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box. If you find an online learning site that fits your budget, go for it! You can always supplement with library books and hands-on activities. If you sign up for the newsletter at Clickschooling you will get a daily email with a FREE web-based curriculum idea! I can’t tell you how many of their links I have used over the years!
6. Start with the Main Subjects: In those years when we’ve been extremely tight, we simply started our school with the basics, reading, math, writing, spelling. Then we took a unit-study approach to science/history/etc. with me kind of making up activities based on my kids interests and library books. We did a lot of nature journaling and experiments based on stuff I found online and in books I checked out, and you know what? It worked just fine and we had a lot of fun! If you are on a tight budget, focus on getting your main subjects covered. CLE is a fantastic no-fuss, no-frills curriculum that is also low-cost that I have used many times for my boys. It gave me peace of mind knowing their needs were being met, and didn’t break our budget. And we had plenty of free time for whatever free field trips/outside time/exploring I could find.
7. Get Creative: My final point is simply, get outside the box. Homeschoolers by nature tend to be free-thinkers. Look for a local homeschool group where you might be able to join up and get some classes for your kids that can save you money. Hit up Groupon for some low-cost field trips, then head to the library to do some research beforehand. Check out Unit Studies for science or history, Hands of a Child and Homeschool Legacy both offer great low-cost studies on a variety of topics!
The main point is, don’t let a lack of funds get you down! Homeschooling really can be done very well on a shoestring budget. Remember, it’s more about the time you are putting into your kids than anything else.
Thanks for visiting, and make sure to join me tomorrow when I share some tips for what to do when things don’t go as planned. For now, check out what my other crew members had to share on the Hop today here:
Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Latonya @ Joy in the Ordinary
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Meg @ Adventures with Jude
Megan @ My Full Heart
Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom’s Plans