I haven't figured out how to home school for free. Since the beginning we have spent money on materials for our daughters' education. Some years we spend more while other years we have spent less. Homeschooling can cost as much or as little as you need it.
How much do we spend on curricula each year? As of now, we spend approximately $700 on curricula and supplies alone. This does not include field trips and outside classes. I don't spend this amount in one shopping experience, but instead it is stretched over the course of the year. For some this may seem like a small amount for two students, but for others it may same like a large amount. For us, it is a good amount. Our needs could be more if was not for the curriculum we receive throughout the year to review. This has helped keep our curriculum expenses lower.
How do you home school when you don't have a river of money flowing to purchase curriculum?
- Write a list of the subjects you want your children to learn. It is always a good to start with a plan.
- Shop your current resources first. There are several subjects that I don't always buy for each year because I have materials from on hand from past years.
- Buy used. There are several Facebook pages for buying used curriculum, and if you are lucky there may even be sales in your area. You could also buy curriculum from your home school friends who are no longer using the non-consumable parts of a program.
- Buy early. When I know the subjects I want to teach the girls and the subjects that they want to learn, it makes grabbing things at used sales easier even if I am not planning to use the materials in the current year I can purchase for future use. Buying early helps keep my budget low for years to come.
- Explore different curriculum options. When we began home schooling, I used fewer materials. I did not make everything, but instead I used Kumon and Evan-Moor books which I purchased from Barnes and Noble and Borders (oh, how I miss them). We also used lots of library books too. When I began investing in math and language arts curricula, I went with Christian Light Education because it was budget friendly, easy to use, and got the job done. We still use CLE. I didn't get this recommendation from another parent. I searched and searched until I found something we would enjoy. I learned that I didn't need to used the curriculum that a majority of home educators use.
- Take advantage of educator discounts. Joann, Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million offer discounts for home educators. I also purchase new curriculum from Rainbow Resource or Christian Book Distributors because they tend to have lower prices than the publishers.
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Home school expenses can rack up, but as long as you are honest with yourself about how much you can invest you shouldn't empty the bank. Be intentional and don't get distracted by the shiny, new books.
Share some of your budget saving tips in the comments.
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