Homeschooling can be incredibly expensive, and we often justify the expense as creating value for our children. Overcompensating for taking them away from mainstream education or for our fear of being a bad homeschool parent.
However, quality homeschool education on a budget is possible. For everyone. Regardless of whether you’ve been homeschooling for 1 week or 10 years.
An while homeschooling on a budget tends to get easier over time I don’t want the cost of homeschooling your children to be a barrier for entry to anyone. Which is exactly why in this article I’ll be sharing the 9 ways you can homeschool on a budget.
1. Buy Used Books
If you need to purchase textbooks or reading books for your homeschool then a great way to save some cash is to purchase used instead of new.
A lot of homeschooling families and students will sell their old books and they get resold at a significantly lower rate than used. Great resources to find these discounted books include Amazon, Thriftbooks.com and Half Price Books.
However, you might also be able to get the digital copy or rent a copy from the library at an even cheaper cost – or for free! Not every book will be suitable as a digital copy.
I tend to find it depends on what type of learner your child is – instead, consider introducing them slowly and seeing how your child finds learning from a digital copy instead of a physical book.
2. Sell Your Old Books
As I briefly touched on above, selling your old books is an incredibly easy way of generating some money which can be spent on additional books you require in your homeschool.
While this might not always be suitable for homeschooling families with more than one child it’s certainly something to consider.
In many cases, you can opt to get an additional 20% of the sale price of your book for store credit allowing your old books to go further when it comes to buying new.
If you want to cut out the middle man then consider connecting with other local homeschooling families and setting up a book exchange.
Not only is this a great way to save some cash it also builds valuable connections within the community which will no doubt benefit you as a homeschooling family for years to come.
3. Utilize Online Resources
The birth of the internet has been incredibly valuable for homeschooling families and has opened up a world of online resources – many of which are completely free.
Some great options include YouTube educational channels, Scholastic Learn at Home (offers a lot of reading materials on various educational topics), BBC Bitesize (offers educational resources for kids of all ages on all sorts of topics).
Just be sure to integrate these online resources with physical work to minimise the amount of screen time your children are having.
4. Google Classroom
If you are one that is going to be creating and facilitating an entire curriculum Google Classroom is a fantastic resource that Is relatively affordable to use.
Licenses are as low as $4 per user per month but it has so many fantastic resources for having a very successful homeschool program and curriculum.
There’s a whole host of tutorials online which can guide you into the specific benefits and drawbacks of Google Classroom as well as how to set it up for your homeschool family.
5. Use Household Items For Supplies
Crafts and experiments can really take a tole on your homeschooling budget. However, there are plenty of alternative experiments and creative projects that you can complete with a similar end result/methodology which don’t require specialist items.
While this does require a little more research it can save you a significant amount of money over the school year.
This is certainly one of those tasks that becomes easier over time as you get more confident and creative in your teaching style and find the resources that work best for you.
6. Lookout For Teacher Discounts
Public school teachers aren’t the only ones to get a discount on school supplies. In many cases, homeschooling families can also take advantage.
While this does vary between stores it’s well worth discussing with other homeschooling families in your local co-op or in your local resource store too.
If you do find a store willing to give you a discount then be sure to share it with other local co-op homeschooling families so they can take advantage of the discount and the store can benefit from additional sales too.
7. Virtual Field Trips
Field trips are a great way to enhance the learning of a particular topic in your curriculum in a really fun way for your children and in most cases, the whole family.
However, the vast majority of field trips can come at a high price and many field trips are simply unobtainable and unrealistic in the sense that they require you to travel cross-country, stay overnight etc.
Luckily a lot of parks and museums also have virtual experiences that you can use for free on their website. While these won’t replace all your field trips they’ll certainly make the impossible ones, possible.
It’s also worth noting that we use places such as the grocery store as a field trip location when it comes to basic life skills and math.
Simply getting out of the house and into our real-life environment is a fantastic way for children to practice what they have learnt in a fun and engaging way.
8. Utilize Other People’s Ideas
It’s so easy to want to completely reinvent the wheel as a homeschooling family. Whether that be doing things completely different from mainstream education or completely different from a homeschooling family.
However, some things just work.
An while we want to reinvent the wheel, we don’t have to. At least not for everything. Don’t be afraid to create a curriculum is not your forte there is no shame in utilizing someone else’s capabilities to ensure that you have a successful homeschool program.
Some great resources for finding curriculum or ideas for inspiration include Pinterest and teacherspayteachers.com.
9. Stock Up on Supplies
Perhaps my favorite tip when it comes to homeschooling on a budget is to stock up on supplies.
School supplies are always super cheap just after the start of a typical school year to flush out inventory. This is a great time for you to stock up on affordable supplies to use for the future.
Just be sure that you’re only purchasing items that you’re going to use. It can be incredibly easy to purchase 20 gluesticks but if you don’t use glue sticks then you’re simply wasting money that could have been spent on other products elsewhere.
Another great idea is to purchase supplies at cheap prices, to begin with, stores like your local Dollar Tree have great options for school supplies (from both the student and teacher aspect) at incredibly low prices.
Again utilize your local co-op and share discounts and deals information and in some cases resources. Working together as a team on this will reduce the amount of time you have to spend searching for deals but still allow you to maximise the savings.