Homeschool Budgeting-Find Cheap and Free Curriculum
In today's public school of metal detectors, gangs, and extreme peer pressure regarding things like sex and drugs, it appears that we can't afford NOT to keep our precious gifts at home.
The family and I have been homeschooling for nearly five years now (has it been that long?), and we have found ways to give our children a fantastic education while not spending their inheritance!
Frugal Homeschooling Ideas
- Library - Whether you homeschool or not, you probably already know that the library is a wonderful resource. With the advent of internet technologies, libraries have gotten even better as many borrowers have access to the books from all the libraries in their county! Ours is one of them! I am so glad I don't have to drive to the other side of the county to borrow a book. These are some thoughts on how you can use the library:
- books about how to start homeschooling
- Free Online Resources - There are hundreds of websites dedicated to crafts, lessons, hands-on experiments, text about all the subjects for every grade. It will take you hours to navigate all the sites that come up for just one search! Here is just a tiny sampling of sites that I use:
- DLTK's Printable Crafts for Kids
- Used Resources - There are several ways to purchase books and materials that have been used. The obvious reason is that you can pay a fraction of the cost of new materials. But, another reason is that used materials are often loved materials. If you can find a homeschool family that is selling their resources because they've graduated their youngest, you will be in homeschool heaven! Here are some places you can find used curriculum:
- Curriculum Sales
- Dollar Stores - During back to school time, you can find tons of school supplies for excellent prices. It may not be the name-brands, but you will be able to find the things you need for a good bargain. Just remember to shop the sale ads and price-shop. Sometimes, dollar stores draw you in with lots of really well-priced items and then "get you" on other things that are more expensive there than at your regular grocery store. The cheap stuff is called a "loss leader," and they get your business with loss leaders and keep their doors open with the other stuff. Here are a few of the dollar stores in my area:
- Dollar Tree
- Walmart Books - When my son and I started homeschooling, I didn't know what curriculum to choose. The more I research I do, the more confusion I create. So, I sat back for a moment to think about it. In the meantime, I went to Walmart to get a large handful of their School Zone workbooks. They cover all the Pre-K through 4th grade or so, and the pictures are colorful and interesting, and the lessons are very well laid out. We worked through many of those books, and I was able to see how my son liked to learn, what things he knew, what things he didn't know, and more. It was a precious time for us.
- Create Your Own - You know your kids the best! Sometimes, nothing else out there fits exactly the way you want it to. Trust your judgment and make some of the things up as you go along. One way we have done this is with a dry erase board, and lots of different colored dry erase markers. I really wanted a very expensive (nearly $300 expensive) Bile story felt set to teach my children Bible stories in a way they would remember forever. Instead, I use the dry erase board and draw as I tell and read the story. I use my everyday Bible and read straight from the text. They love to watch my very amateur drawings unfold!
- Free Events and Classes - Join a local homeschooling group or watch the paper and fliers at the library for any free events or classes in your area. My county puts on an "Outdoor Education" class. Once every two weeks to one month, they take us through a different park with a different lesson in mind. There are usually crafts and a hands-on portion to go along with what the kids are learning about. Everyone has a great time; I met lots of other homeschoolers that way, and it's all free!
- Homeschool Budgeting
- Homeschool Group - Speaking of homeschooling groups, not only will they help keep you "in the know" on happenings in your area, sometimes local businesses will offer a price discount to the members of the group. You can also connect with a family that has been homeschooling longer than you and glean TONS of encouragement and advice. On one particular occasion, I was pretty down-in-the-dumps with how our homeschooling was going at that moment - it just didn't seem that everything was coming together with the way I wanted. I happened to attend a home-meeting for the homeschooling group, and there were lots of ladies there, specifically two veteran moms. My daughter said when she got up was, "They will learn - just appreciate them while you have them." She was beginning her last year of homeschooling. I can't tell you much her advice has helped me along since she said it. Join to be encouraged and to encourage!
- Educational TV and Videos - We don't have a TV in our home, and when we did, it was only used for videos borrowed from the library. We do, of course, have a computer and the internet. You can access all sorts of educational audio and video content on any subject you might choose!
-The Greatest Adventure: Stories From The Bible (Use that title on a Google search and then select Video at the top of your page.)
- Homeschool Budgeting
- Your Closet - I had always loved to do crafts with my kids, even before we were homeschooling. Before we started on this journey, I had two huge bins full of craft supplies that were only used once or twice for a project or a handmade gift. I am still using that supply of goods to supplement our needs and our hands-on activities.
- FreeCycle - This is an internet group moderated by a few volunteers where all members may post things they have and no longer need that they are giving away for free. Members may also post about things they need. This system is quite abused as many are asking for high dollar items, and sometimes, there are far more "wanted" posts than "offer" posts. Just remember that the point of this group is to keep things out of the landfill. For instance, I asked for any used magazines appropriate for children. Generally, after you have read a magazine once or twice, it gets stacked in a corner, ready for trash day. I use them with my preschoolers for making collages and helping them "exercise" their word usage by describing pictures and more.
- Find your local FreeCycle group.
I hope these ideas and resources help you to feel much more confident that you CAN homeschool on a budget and still give your children a wonderfully enriched education that they will thank you for every time!