7 Tips for Frugal Homeschooling
This is a guest post by Anna of Molding Minds Homeschool.
What if I told you that you could homeschool your child very cheaply, or even free, without compromising on the quality? It definitely takes a little more work and time, but it is possible! Here are a few tips for my fellow frugal homeschoolers.
1. Have a Plan.
Having a plan allows you to map out exactly what you need and what you want for your upcoming school year. I plan out 6 weeks worth of lesson plans, but it is a good idea to have a general idea of what your entire school year is going to look like. This allows you to be on the look out for your curriculum and gives you a better chance of being able to wait for that bargain find.
2. Get Organized.
How many times have you gone to your supply box to look for something and after not finding it, have repurchased it only to find it as you are putting away the new one? Or, did you purchase something so excited to use it, only to forget about it after it gets buried under other supplies? Being organized cuts back on the chances of losing or forgetting about items and just makes your day run more smoothly.
3. Ask Around.
You would not believe how many parents, homeschoolers and public schoolers alike, have offered me their child’s unused workbooks. I cleaned off my shelves yesterday and found 4 full sets of public school reading, math, and writing texts for k-5. This is stuff that I have gotten for FREE! Ask friends and family for their unused items and I think you will be surprised at how much you get!
4. Utilize Local and Online Resources.
Libraries, museums, the internet- each of these can be a great resource. Libraries often offer special events for homeschoolers, and most museums have educational programs available. The internet is an endless resource where you can find everything from completely free phonics sites, such as Starfall, to complete online curriculums, such as Ambleside. Other sites, such as Currclick, offer a weekly free unit study.
5. Participate in Curriculum Swaps and Buy Used Curriculum.
Okay, I admit to being a sucker for new curriculum, but if new is not in your budget then there are some great resources for finding used curriculum. Homeschool Book Swap is a great place to find new and used curriculum for sale and trade. Ebay and Craigslist are also great resources for used curriculum.
6. Create Your Own.
Time consuming, yes. But, I know several parents who create their curriculums for the cost of printer paper, ink, and a library card.
7. Finally, Know Your Budget and Stick To it!
It is so easy to get carried away with all of the neat products there are today. If you have ever been to a homeschool book fair then you know first-hand that there are literally hundreds of products marketed toward homeschoolers. Set a budget and stick to it! If you are afraid you will go over, take out the cash and use that to pay for items. This way you have a visual of how much you are spending and how much is left.
There is no doubt about it, left unchecked, homeschooling expenses can add up quickly. But, with a little ingenuity and a lot of planning you can cut those expenses to practically nothing!
Anna is a homeschooling mommy of three who blogs at Molding Minds Homeschool.