This post: Is homeschooling expensive?
Today I’m tackling another Homeschooling Q&A:
Is homeschooling expensive?
I’m going to unpack my response in this post, but the short version is both YES AND NO.
Yes, homeschooling can be expensiveif you purchase the curriculum packages + buy all extra supplements.
Yes, homeschooling can stretch a particularly tight budget.
Yes, homeschooling curriculum can get expensive when you have a large-ish family.
No, it is not expensive if you compare with lots of other options (such as private school or even some homeschooling co-ops).
No, it is not expensive if you shop around on curriculum forums, used book fairs, etc.
No, it is not expensive if you save your non-consumable books for younger children to use.
Personally, I do not compare our family’s budget with what other families are spending on homeschool curriculum.
The reason is because every family is going to deal with different financial resources, limitations, and preferences. We have our budget, our income, and our preferences.
Our expenses for the upcoming homeschool year (2015-2016) were $550, and that includes everything we needed for our four school aged children: a 6th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader, and kindergartener.
That amount may look astronomical to a mom who is basically homeschooling for free, and it may seem like a tight-wad to the mom whose financial budget is quite generous.
I’m not really worried about what another mom is spending or not spending; I know this budget worked for us, and I feel good about sticking with the money figures that we, as a couple, set for our curriculum goal.
Here are four ideas for saving money on homeschool curriculum —->
These should be helpful regardless what your financial budget is. 🙂
1. Buy used, if you can.
I saved a lot of money on our homeschool curriculum last year by purchasing both the My Father’s World units I needed on an online curriculum forum.
This takes a little extra time, because I had to tally up the cost of my used curriculum purchase and figure in what I would need to purchase new (work books, etc). In the end, it was totally worth the time and effort because I saved several hundred dollars on curriculum!
My favorite places to shop for used homeschool curriculum:
2. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to get a little crazy with curriculum! I mean, there are some pretty awesome books, hands-on manipulatives, learning games, software and just about anything a mom could think of.
If you’re using My Father’s World, don’t feel pressured to buy the deluxe curriculum packages unless you can afford them. I’ve used both the deluxe and the basic packages, and I honestly prefer the basic.
With curriculum, less is usually more. If you’re on a budget, invest wisely in books and resources that you know for certain your family will need, use, and enjoy.
3. Take advantage of free (or very cheap) resources.
A great way to curb expenses is to be on the look out for freebies and cheapies. 🙂
Here are a few ideas that work for me:
- The public library is a great place to enjoy lots of free books… as long as you don’t incur overdue fees!
- You can swap curriculum (or books) with a homeschooling friend.
- Look for museums, parks, and other field trip ideas that are free or inexpensive.
- Take advantage of “homeschool days” at the zoo, museums, etc.
- Check out library sales, garage sales, and thrift stores for super cheap books.
- Stock up on school supplies during back-to-school sales at the end of summer.
- If you’re a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, Ambleside Online is a great resource for freebies like lesson plans, online books, and more.
- Use free sites, like Smart Apps for Kids and Free Homeschool Deals.
4. Print your own curriculum instead of buying consumable workbooks.
I realize that this can get expensive quick if you’re printing an entire curriculum. However, if you’re choosy about what you print (and limit it to a subject or two) then you can save quite a bit of money in the long run.
An example that has worked for me is Write Through the Bible, my favorite Scripture copywork curriculum.
I can buy these printable sets pretty inexpensive and print them off for my kids to use, year after year. I also love the softback workbooks, but the printables are the frugal route to go if I’m needing to save extra money on curriculum.
What’s your best tip for saving money on homeschool curriculum?
I’d love to hear your ideas!