Are you considering diving into the world of homeschooling? Have you already started homeschooling but aren’t sure how long you can afford it? If you need to homeschool on a budget, you’re in the right place.
Here are a few tricks I’ve learned for homeschooling on a budget:
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A Little Advice
Before we dive into homeschooling on a budget, let’s start with a few tips. First, make sure you know your state’s homeschooling laws.
Once you’re covered in the legal department, see if you can locate what your children would be learning if they were in public school.You could even contact the local public school system and ask for a print off of state standards.
This is a personal preference, but it’s my approach. I chose this approach because if something were to happen where my children had to go to public school, I want them to jump in pretty close to where others in their class would be.
However, I do change out certain parts of our curriculum based upon our beliefs and preferences.
All of this is a “tip” and not a “rule.” This is the great thing about homeschooling. It can be modified for any family, and you can use the tips, curriculum, etc. you love and change or drop what you don’t.
Now that we have a few of the basics covered let’s dive into how you can homeschool on a budget.
1. Use What You Have When Homeschooling on a Budget
The first rule to being frugal in any situation is locating what you have and figuring out how to use it. If you have magnets at home, you could have a wonderful tool for math or spelling.
You could use pasta or beans to build words or for counting. If you have a dry erase board and a marker, it could be helpful with schooling your kids.
When teaching science, you probably have many ingredients to make wonderful homemade science experiments. The possibilities are endless, and they all begin with you doing a quick search around your home to see what tools you have available.
2. The Library is Your BFF When Homeschooling on a Budget
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, when I began homeschooling I was a library snob. When you research around the internet, the general consensus is either you love the library or you hate it.
Instead, take some time to get organized. At the beginning of the year (I mean January, not the school year) I begin planning our next school year.
Many of the libraries are connected with each other. Therefore, if one library doesn’t have a book, they may be able to find it at another and have it shipped to your local library.
Once you locate the books you need, put them on a suspended hold. This is why it’s vital to map out your school year ahead of time.
You’ll have a general idea of when you’ll need the book, put it on suspended hold, and pick the book up when you’re ready.
If you’re running ahead or behind schedule, update the suspended hold. This helps to avoid playing the waiting game for books while also avoiding purchasing them.
3. Create Your Own Curriculum to Homeschool on a Budget
If you’re new to homeschooling, you may be a little nervous about creating your own curriculum. I was too, at first.
The problem is, if you pay for a premade curriculum, you’re going to pay for a premade curriculum.
Therefore, if you’re working on an extremely tight homeschool budget, I highly recommend doing some research via Google and Pinterest to get a general idea of what your child should be learning during your current school year.
From there, you can piece what you need together and save a bundle of money in the process, usually.
4. Homeschooling on a Budget Requires Shopping Sales
It goes without saying, if you want to save money, be sure to only shop when you find what you want on sale or if you have a coupon/ promo code.
Some years, my kids will work through a lot of workbooks. I don’t take this approach every year because my kids don’t need it every year.
For example, when my middle son was going through the earlier years of middle school, he had a tendency to be a little lazy. He wanted to be a more independent learner but didn’t care for me having to closely monitor him while he was reading to make sure he was actually reading.
To make us both happy, I purchased literature kits to go along with the books he read.
This way, he could work more independently, but he had to read to be able to answer the questions, write the essays, and complete the projects that came with literature kits.
As he got older, we didn’t need the literature kits to ensure he was reading. We could do more fun projects because he discovered he loved reading and stopped fighting it so much.
Either way, if you decide to purchase a book or workbooks make sure you shop sales and look for promo codes to help you homeschool on a budget.
Also, be sure to shop around. Amazon isn’t always the cheapest. (Gasp! It’s hard to believe, right?)
I purchase many of our books from Christianbooks.com, and they’ll often beat Amazon’s prices when they have sales. However, they rarely offer free shipping so be mindful of that when you’re budgeting.
5. Use Free Websites
The first year we homeschooled, we were flat broke. Our family was going through a difficult time (to put it mildly), and we had no money.
Yet, homeschooling is what our kids needed. I had prayed and prayed over it, and it was what we were supposed to do.
Therefore, I had to figure out a way to make it work because I didn’t know much about the library, and I couldn’t afford a premade curriculum.
I turned to the internet and found Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. Our first year, we used the all online curriculum because it was completely free.
The next couple of years, we ordered the books so we didn’t have to be as attached to a computer. From there, we branched into the Genesis Curriculum also available through Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
It’s a great website, faith-based, and free. It goes all the way through high school and is a tremendous blessing to the homeschool community, especially when you’re trying to homeschool on a budget.
Over the years, we’ve branched into making our own curriculum to cover topics closer to our state standards and to follow my children’s interest.
During this time, we’ve discovered a few other amazing websites that make learning easier and affordable:
There are also other resources you can use which have a small price tag but are online and do make homeschooling easier:
Plus, you can utilize certain apps to help you along the way such as:
6. Pinterest Please to Help You Homeschool on a Budget
Pinterest is a huge asset when homeschooling on a tight budget. Many bloggers (and teachers who are also bloggers) share their ideas, pin complete unit studies, offer printables, and share links to their Teachers Pay Teachers accounts.
All of these resources can save you a ton of cash and a large headache. My youngest son has struggled with reading. With many of the ideas I found on Pinterest, he’s thriving. The funny part is that most of the things that helped him were free.
7. Teachers Pay Teachers Can Help You Homeschool on a Budget
I mentioned Teachers Pay Teachers briefly in the last point, but it deserves its own place on this list. This website is where educators create and sell many useful materials, lesson plans, and PowerPoint presentations for a reasonable fee.
When I stopped purchasing premade curriculum, I started shopping on Teachers Pay Teachers. My experience as a whole has been positive, and I’ve been happy with most of the materials I’ve purchased.
8. Join a Homeschool Group
I waited a few years to join a homeschool group, but it was one of the best decisions I made. However, I must offer a word of caution. Use discernment when finding the group for you and your family.
Not all groups will be a perfect fit. Yet, when you find the one that is, participating in a homeschool group can provide your kids with social skills and experiences no other curriculum could provide.
Most groups have an affordable yearly fee, but again, use discernment in this area as well.
9. Look for Local Deals to Homeschool on a Budget
A big part of homeschooling is taking field trips. I didn’t do this much in our early years of homeschooling because I was just trying to keep up with everything I had to do to make sure my kids were learning enough.
Then I relaxed, and we started incorporating field trips. Check around your area because you’ll be amazed at how many businesses offer certain days for homeschoolers and even a discount in some cases.
10. Digital Libraries Are Awesome
I didn’t realize how wonderful a tool this would be for our school, but I love how my kids can change out books as frequently as they desire without us ever having to leave the house.
11. Dolla, Dolla Bill Ya’ll
I teach at a Co-op our homeschool group offers. Our classes meet weekly, but it has been an amazing experience for the kids, and the adults too! It helps that we get to see our mom-friends on a regular basis. Woot!
When I need materials for teaching my classes I head to the Dollar Tree. They have an entire aisle for neat teaching materials and crafts.
Who would’ve thought your local Dollar Store could be a gold mine for homeschoolers?
12. Get Creative When Homeschooling on a Budget
If you have an idea for helping your kids with a certain subject, go for it. Make your own worksheets, games, or any other resource you think may be helpful.
13. Skip the Cute Stuff If You Need to Homeschool on a Budget
I hate to ruin the Pretty Parade here but not everything that’s adorable needs to find a place in your homeschool, especially when you’re homeschooling on a budget.
For instance, it’s becoming all the rage to have fashionable homeschool rooms. If this works for you and your budget…GREAT! If not, your kids can learn just as effectively at the kitchen table or in the living room.
Check out my video on homeschooling essentials!
14. Share Among Friends
Do you have friends who homeschool too? This not only serves as an amazing two-way support system, but it can also shave curriculum costs.
I have a friend who homeschools, but her kids are younger than mine. When I finish a school year, I’ll box up any curriculum we’re done with and send it her way.
I have other friends who do the same for me. Friends help friends save money on homeschool essentials.
15. Creating a Christmas Wish List Can Help You Homeschool on a Budget
Many people spend a lot of money on Christmas gifts. Books aren’t super expensive so you could end up with a good chunk of what you’ll need for the school year by creating a “homeschool Christmas list.”
16. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to Homeschool on a Budget
Are you homeschooling multiple kids? Don’t EVER toss curriculum until the youngest is done with it.
To go a step further, if you order a product that includes consumables order extras of the consumables to make sure it can be reused, or don’t write on the consumables to make reusing them easier.
17. All-in-One Curriculum
All-in-one curriculum workbooks probably aren’t the best way to run your homeschool on a long-term basis because they aren’t as in-depth as your kids might need.
However, they are an affordable resource that could be an amazing jumping-off-point.
Couple this style of curriculum with a few DIY school projects, using the library, and a few inexpensive field trips, and you’ll have a well-rounded school year.
18. Resell for Cash
If you’re working with a minimal homeschool budget but would like a premade curriculum, one of the best moves you can make is to find a second-hand homeschool curriculum Facebook page. Sonlight Curriculum fans created one on Facebook.
Purchase the curriculum at a discounted rate and when you’re done, resell it to the next person on the same page you purchased it from.
It may take some time to track down everything you need, but you’ll spend less money and can make some of it back once your year is complete.
19. Free is Great!
These resources can be instantly yours, cost nothing, and make for great hands-on materials. Again, they’ll need to be pieced together but with a little work you can create a great curriculum for your kids that costs you next to nothing.
20. Affordable Premade Curriculum
I know I said it was hard to find an affordable premade curriculum, but there are some options available.
My family has recently decided to start homeschooling using SchoolHouseTeachers.com. I mentioned it briefly in one of the above points, but it really deserves its own section in this post.
They provide a variety of class options, all the lesson plans are provided, scope and sequences are provided, and so much more!
If you’re looking to homeschool on a budget, I recommend you check it out to see if it’s a good fit for your family.
I’m so excited about this option, I wrote an entire post about it. Check it out!
Hopefully these options will give you a strong starting point when you’re trying to figure out how to homeschool on a budget.
Do your research, make a game plan, and start saving money while educating your kids at home.
Need help choosing books when designing your own curriculum? Check out my book lists!