More and more parents are deciding that homeschooling is the correct choice for their kids. Those that do decide to homeschool soon discover that it can be an expensive endeavor. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to reduce the cost of homeschooling. Here are a few that should be consider:
Set a Budget
Homeschooling is a big decision for some parents. You might choose to homeschool your kids for various reasons, but one thing you need to consider is how much you’re willing to pay for materials. While many things can be found online for free, you will probably need to spend some money on books and other materials. The best thing you can do to save some money is to research the cost of certain items and then set a budget for each year. This will allow you to stick to a certain amount (or range) without overspending.
Use Free Online Materials
Each year there are more and more online teaching materials published for free. These can range from textbooks to supplementary materials to traditional classroom projects. Finding free online materials is a great way to provide your kid with a great education for next to nothing!
Keep it Simple
Many classrooms have a lot of extra materials to help kids learn such as flashcards, video games, movies, or audio or computer programs. While these are great teaching materials, they can quickly become very expensive. Do you really need to spend $15 on a set of laminated flash cards? Of course not, especially when you can make some yourself with materials you already own. You can easily make your own worksheets or other materials, as well. It might take more time, but it’ll save you some money.
Attend a Homeschool Curriculum Fair
There are many homeschool curriculum fairs throughout the year, and if you’re homeschooling your children, you should consider visiting. Not only do many of these fairs provide great information about homeschooling materials, but they sometimes offer discounted prices on textbooks and supplementary materials. Of course, remember not to buy something just because it’s on sale or discounted, but it’s worth it to check out some of the deals anyway.
Back to School Sales
Just because you’re children are homeschooled doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of back to school sales! They’re probably going to need just as many notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, and glue as any other kid in school. So when that time of year rolls around again, check out the flyers to see what store has the best deals. Also try buying these materials at the end of the school year since they’re occasionally cheaper then, too.
Share with Others
If there are other people in your town or city who also homeschool their children, why not share the cost of some of the textbooks, programs, or materials? Or you can swap materials between everyone. Not only will you save some money, but you’ll get some different programs and teaching materials you might not have otherwise considered.
Have you ever been to a bookstore and seen special discounts for teachers? Well, don’t just ignore those signs and flyers! You’re considered a teacher, too. In case you didn’t know, both parents and children can receive homeschool IDs. Once you have an ID that marks you as a homeschool teacher, you’re eligible for all those teacher discounts. So go and take advantage of them and save money on books and supplies!
There are plenty of sites online, such as eBay, Amazon, or BookMooch, that allow you to buy used teaching materials. Don’t be worried about being too frugal or not getting the best materials for your children. Used textbooks, workbooks, or other materials are just as good as new ones. They might be a semester or year out of date, but if you’re buying for something like English grammar or European history, you shouldn’t worry since that material rarely changes.
Since your kids are homeschooled, they might be missing out on social interactions or field trips. Consider checking out what community programs are available in your town or city. Some libraries offer book clubs for children while some communities cater to homeschooled kids and offer them free or discounted admission into museums, theatres, or zoos. Not only will your kid get to experience visiting museums and other attractions, but they’ll get some great interactions with other kids their own age. There are always options to consider and these are activities you definitely want to add to your kid’s schedule.
Use the Library
If you really want to save money, use the library. A lot of people forget about the library now that we have the internet at our fingertips. While you can find plenty of great materials online, there are some great books that you can still online find in the library. Consider making the library an important place in your child’s education. Not only is the library free due to taxpayer dollars, but it has almost anything you could ever want for your child’s education. If you happen to live in small town, see if your library has an interoffice program that allows you to receive books from larger libraries.
Are there other ways that you have found that save money when homeschooling your kids?
(Photo courtesy of Lyn Lomasi)