Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Homeschooling on a budget

"I can't afford to homeschool."

I've heard this many times.  And I am here to tell you, you can homeschool on a small budget.  You can homeschool one kid or many kids and still be frugal!

So here are 10 ways to be a frugal homeschooler!

1.  Public Library.  Use it!  You can get all the free reading material you want on any subject you want.  My daughter uses our local library for their free e-book library.  There are days we come out of the library with bags and bags full of books.

2.  Used curriculum sales.  One of the joys of homeschooling is when a curriculum doesn't work for your family you get to choose a new one.  This also means that for those of us looking for a bargain, these are for sale.  Check craigslist, check online sites, check local homeschool groups.  We have several curriculum sales in my local area where you can find excellent bargains.

3. The internet.  I know people who homeschool with out the internet, its not a must.  But it definitely makes it easier!  There are free sites galore for learning games.  There are entire free curriculum out there for all kinds of subjects.  There are websites for homeschool parents sharing ideas.  You get the picture, homeschooling and the internet are a wonderful combination!

4. Hand me Downs.  Yes these happen with homeschooling in addition to clothes.  Recently a friend gifted me 3 different years of a $1500 curriculum.  I was ecstatic.  So ask around, you never know what someone has laying around that they don't use anymore.  They get to declutter and you get to save money!

5.  Make your own craft supplies.  Google or pinterest is your friend here.  There are recipes out there for everything from model magic to playdough to sidewalk chalk.  Some are cheaper to make and others are just fun to make and not at all cheaper!

6.  Buy in bulk, at discount stores, or at back to school sales.  Whether it's the dollar store, Discount School Supply, or Rainbow Resource. These are the Costco of the homeschool world.  Glue in a gallon jug?  Markers for a year.  Yes, thank you!  Back to school sales are not just for public school families. I go every year and get ten cent notebooks (3 cases of them), 25 cent crayons, glue sticks, pencils, etc.  My kids like having their own marker box and I like only spending 20 cents on them.  I try to stock up for the year at this time.  When I shop this way only a small amount is put out at a time and my kids know when they are gone, they are gone.  If they leave all the lids off the markers then they will just have to use crayons for the rest of the year.  Yes I am that mean.

7.  Memberships to local attractions.  As a homeschooler you can go to the zoo or museum any time you want.  Go in the morning, have a picnic, and make it a field trip!  If your family is larger it often only takes one or two visits to completely pay for your membership.

8. Get outside, go to a park, go on a hike.  Nature is free (unless you have to pay to park!) and kids love being outside.  Grab a bird watching book from the library and see what you can spot.  Get one of your 10 cent spirals and make yourself a nature notebook.  Draw some pictures of plants and try to identify them.  Grow a garden or get some chickens!  The possibilities for outdoor learning are endless.

9. See items as an investment.  Yes that microscope is kind of expensive.  How many kids will use it, how many years of homeschooling will it be used, can you sell it when you are done?  That microscope might not sound so expensive when you realize that 4 kids will get many years of use out of it!

10.  Photocopies.  If you can, buy items that can be copied.  Some cannot so make sure you check the copyrights.  Some say may be reproduced for classroom/homeschool use.  So that book of blank maps can now be used for all of your children.  As long as you have a great printer that is economical this is an excellent option for money saving.

What are your favorite ways to be frugal in your homeschool?


Dawn said...

Hi Lally! I am not a homeschooler, wish I could. I actually highly respect homeschooling mama's. I was poking around your blog and love it! I will be back!

Allison said...

Thanks Dawn!