If you're homeschooling on a budget (and let's face it, most of us are!), there is ONE resource that you need to be using - the local library. Your local library is the best way to save money - money that can be used for other homeschooling expenses.
Homeschooling on a Budget
Libraries are fabulous resources and something that homeschooling families should be taking full advantage of. If nothing else, you can find plenty of picture books, books for history and science, and audio books to listen to with your kids. But many libraries now offer even more reasons to stop in for a weekly visit. Make the library a priority if you're homeschooling on a budget.
What can you find at your library?
Besides all the books, there are many other resources available (as if lots of books weren't enough of an incentive!). At our library, we have magazines, DVDs, audio books, even some video games! The library is also a great place to find free group events and classes - reading times and special activities for kids. When we first started homeschooling those weekly library visits were the highlight of our week.
Now that many libraries are online, there are even more resources available for homeschoolers on a budget. We've been able to access World Book Encyclopedia online as well as many foreign language programs - all for free! Now there's access to even more books via download - ebooks and audio books that we can check out and download right to our devices.
I once joked that other than a math textbook I could probably homeschool using just the resources available at our local library. Not that I want to, but I probably could if I had to! Libraries are wonderful free resources that homeschooling families should be using. If you're homeschooling on a budget your library card can be a very valuable resource.
Get organized to avoid overdue fees!
The one problem with that huge stack of books that you carry home are those pesky overdue fees - something that can add up quickly if you check out large stacks of books. But I have a few tips for managing all that bounty from the library:
Visit on the same day every week
If possible, visit the library on the same day each week. That way you'll know that all your books are due on that one day of the week. It's much easier to manage that long list of books if the due dates aren't spread out through the week.
Make a note on the calendar about due dates
A second way to keep track of all those books is to note the due dates on a calendar or your weekly to-do list. This is handy if you visit a few times a week and books tend to get checked out during all those different weekly visits.
Use online tools to stay organized
Many libraries now offer online resources that allow you to reserve and renew books right from your phone or laptop. Once a week I check our list of check out books and renew what I can. Then we gather what couldn't be renewed and what we finished using to drop off.
Keep books in one central location
Books can scatter quickly - especially if there are many people using them in your home. The best way to keep track of the is to have one location for all library books - either a shelf in the living room or a book basket. It's much easier to find books that need to be returned if you don't have to search the whole house to find them.
Kids need a little library inspiration?
Kids not sure about what they want to read? I have two free printable bingo pages to give them a little inspiration! Click the button and watch your email for your free download.
Do you have some tips and ideas for getting the most out of your library time? Leave me a comment and tell me about your trips to the library! How are you homeschooling on a budget?
Find more tips for using your library with the iHomeschool Network.