Part of the challenge of homeschooling is to find budget-stretching solutions!.
Most families that choose to keep one parent home to homeschool feel the squeeze financially. As costs spiral, it is worth looking at how you can achieve more affordable homeschooling.
Scan through my list of ideas for cheap homeschooling - and see which ones you could adopt to help you budget better.
Cheap Homeschooling Solutions
Using expensive equipment and curriculums do not guarantee a successful homeschooling experience! But making imaginative use of your supplies and resources - in a way that suits your family - will make it a rewarding experience.
Stick to a Budget. It is impossible to keep a track of your spending if you don't know how much you have available, and how much of that you have used. I find a monthly educational budget works best for me. If possible try to regularly seperate this money from your main account. Placing it in an account of it's own will help you save for bigger items. The key to affordable homeschooling is planning ahead and shopping around for what you need. Spur of the moment decisions are your enemy!
Take avantage of the opportunites for Free Homeschooling. The more you can eliminate costs altogether, the better. Any resources you can replace with free ones gives you extra to spend on the things you have to buy.
Take time to evaluate possible homeschooling methods. Homeschooling curriculums can be expensive - but not nearly as expensive as making the wrong choice. If you are not sure if a curriculum is for you, try put other methods (like my One Hour Homeschooling method) - or one of the free curriculums available.
Create simplicity. Homeschooling doesn't have to be complicated. Resist the urge to buy stacks of books and equipment. Paring down to the essentials will allow you to find the time and space for the simple pleasures of life. You know the saying about 'giving a child a cardboard box'! Well the same applies to homeschooling. Sometimes something simple works better than a complicated (and expensive) piece of equipment.
Use your imagination. Creative homeschooling ideas don't have to be expensive. Most of the ideas on my Homeschooling Ideas page need little or no equipment. Recycle where possible - the photograph is of some artwork made using old plastic bottles by some homeschooled children.
Borrow and Share. Homeschoolers are a generous bunch! If you are thinking of buying something new to add to your homeschool resources, see if you can borrow it first to try it out. Libraries are a great place to find books you require - keep a book list in your purse for reference.
Buy Used. Thrift shops and yard sales can be treasure troves to homeschoolers. These are usually a great place to pick up classic books and craft materials. Books can be bought used from online suppliers, and homeschoolers often sell used curriculum online at places like ebay.
Another great resource if you have one in your area, is a scrap store. Each one operates slightly differently, but you normally pay a membership fee that allows you to take a certain amount of scrap - and then buy more at a discount. The UK has an online scrap store as well as local ones.
Declutter. This might seem like a strange piece of advice for cheap homeschooling! Frugal people tend to be hoarders, thinking that 'I might need this one day'. But, it's no good having stuff it you can't find it when you need it. Or even worse - forgetting you have it and buying it again! Keep your homeschoolling stuff organised and tidy - it WILL help you to save money.
Create Rituals. Rituals are an important way for you to center your homeschooling life, and bring order into our hectic lives. And great rituals should be inexpensive or free. We have a regular quiz time during our morning cookie break, which the children love. How about creating a regular board games evening - or a regular time to work on a family scapbook.
Thinking up and implementing rituals that will strengthen the family bond is one of the best 'cheap homeschooling' tips I can give you!
Oh my goodness! I am a home schooling mum of 4 and I have NEVER found a better site! Thank you so much.
Blessings, Jenny (New Zealand)
I wanted to say THANK YOU for your fabulous website. I found your website, and finally I have the confidence to take the plunge and take my daughter out of school and educate her at home, thank you, thank you. Marina (UK)
I cannot get over how much great information and super ideas you have here. Fantastic! Ruralmama (USA)