12 Books That Must Be Added to Your High School Book List

Do you have a high schooler who isn’t into reading?

Maybe you have an avid reader on your hands, but you’re trying to refresh their book list?

Whatever your situation, providing your children with an interesting book list is a must if you want to keep your kids reading, especially during the high school years.

Have younger readers too? Check out my elementary and middle school book lists!

As they get older, it can be difficult to discern what books are good for your high schoolers. Here are a few of the books on our family’s homeschool high school book list:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. To Kill a Mockingbird

This book deals with the harsh realities of racism while demonstrating important morals and values. It incorporates mystery, emotion, and solid life lessons in one text.

2. Lord of the Flies

Imagine you were stranded on an island with a group of friends. It would sound pretty luxurious at first, but over time you’d find you must have order and rules to survive. This text walks you through this exact situation with a few young boys who struggle to govern themselves.

3. Of Mice and Men

High school is an excellent time to discuss the Great Depression. This book could help start the conversation and makes a wonderful addition to any high school book list. The text focuses on two ranch hands who move around during the Great Depression in an attempt to find work.

4. A Raisin in the Sun

I still remember reading this book during my 11th grade year, and we watched the movie too. It’s heart wrenching, but again, is eye opening to the struggles many people face. There’s a variety of ways this text could be explored. It originated from the poem “Harlem” and was eventually turned into this play.

5. Anne of Green Gables Series

Many of the books mentioned above have covered rather heavy topics. The Anne of Green Gables series will lighten the mood a bit. These books follow the story of one red headed orphan and her journey through life as she discovers herself and love.

Buy the series and watch the movies!

6. Harry Potter Series

If you have a high schooler who loves fantasy and magic, Harry Potter could be for them. This entire series follows the magical adventures of Harry Potter and his friends. You could watch the movies to encourage your students to compare and contrast between the two.  

Buy the series!

7. Fahrenheit 451

This text may give your students a glimpse at the importance of reading and gaining knowledge. It’s placed in the future. During this time, books are illegal, and firemen are charged with burning them instead of dousing the flames.

8. The Giver Series

The Giver is another futuristic book where people live in a giant bubble. One boy dares to question life as everyone knows it. Follow along with his adventures as he questions, grows, and chooses a different path. It’s a must-read and should definitely be added to your high school book list.

Buy the series!

9. The Outsiders

This book has faced a lot of controversy over the years and most public schools don’t study it anymore. However, it gives kids a chance to glance at life from a different perspective as they follow the story of two rival gangs from two different backgrounds who face off in one community. It does have language, gang violence, and other questionable activity.

10. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Imagine being the best of friends, but you’re finally spending the summer apart. How would you keep up with your friends? In this case, the girls send their stories tucked inside a pair of pants they ship back and forth between each other. Follow along to keep up with the adventure…and pants.

Buy the series and watch the movie!

11. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Do you have a teen that loves romantic comedies? This book could be the book for them. Imagine writing letters to the boys you have crushes on only to have those letters distributed! Oh, the chaos (and love) that can bloom from such an incident.

Buy the series!

12. Maze Runner Series

If your high schooler is into science fiction, they’ll love this series. My 9th grader is hooked on it! A group of chosen kids get dropped into a maze. They must either live in it or die trying to escape. The biggest questions: who put them there and why? Find out by reading the series.

These are 12 books perfect for any high school book list. Some have heavier subjects and others would be fun when reading for pleasure.

Either way, keeping students reading is important. If the book has a good message or life lesson attached that’s a wonderful bonus!

So what are you waiting for? Follow the links, order the books, and get your kids reading through this high school book list! 

15 Intriguing Books Perfect for Your Middle School Reading List

Middle school can be tough years.

Your kids are growing into young adults and leaving the little kid stage behind. This can make it tough to keep them engaged in reading.

They don’t want little kid books but aren’t quite mature enough to handle some of the heavier reading lists.

Check out my elementary book list!

You’ve come to the right place. I’ll be sharing some favorite books from our middle school reading list we use in our homeschool.

Here’s some great books to choose from:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. The Hatchet Series

My middle son wasn’t much of a reader until we discovered the Hatchet series. These are books about survival. A young boy ends up on his own in the wilderness. Can he survive? And how will this experience change him?

2. The Giver

If your kids like science fiction, this is a good book choice for them. Imagine living in a futuristic society where everyone is in a bubble, but they don’t realize it. One boy dares to go beyond the societal norms, but how far will his curiosity take him?

Buy the series!

3. Of Mice and Men

Middle school is a good time to begin discussing the Great Depression and its impact on the people who lived through it. This book follows the journey of two migrant workers who travel around the United States looking for work during this time.

4. Number the Stars

Middle school is also a great time to begin discussing World War II and the Holocaust. It’s a heavy subject but one that should not be forgotten. In Number the Stars, follow one girls experience of living in Germany during this time.

5. Out of the Dust

Out of the Dust is another book based during the Great Depression. It tells the story of a girl and her father as they struggle to survive this difficult time. It’s broken down into smaller portions of reading which makes it a great choice for a middle school reading list.

6. Babysitters Club Series

Enough with the heavy stuff. Let’s move towards a fun series that would be perfect when reading for pleasure. Follow along with a group of young girls who run their own business known as the “Babysitters Club.” This is a lighthearted and fun book series!

Check out the movie, episodes, and entire series!

7. But Don’t All Religions Lead to God?

We chose early middle school as a time to dive deep into apologetics. We used the Answers in Genesis Curriculum for many of the obvious questions, but this book covered a heavy subject in a way that middle school aged children could understand it. Our son gained a lot from it.

8. Little Women

Louisa May Alcott was an interesting woman. She wrote this novel based around her childhood, and it has been a family favorite for years. If you want a heartwarming read (even if used as a read aloud) you should check this book out.

9. The Hunger Games Series

The Hunger Games became all the rage with the movie series released over the past few years. If your children enjoyed the movies, allow them to dive into the books.

Here are helpful lesson plans to present this reading to a younger crowd. It could be what keeps them hooked on reading during this time of transition.

10. Holes

This is another book which was eventually turned into a movie. It follows the journey of a boy who was sent to a correctional facility in the desert after being wrongfully accused. I enjoy allowing my kids to read books that are also movies so they can compare and contrast the two.

Buy the book series!

11. The Diary of Anne Frank

We used my middle son’s 7th grade year to study World War II. It was a hard topic, but we were grateful for a variety of books that helped us cover it well. The Diary of Anne Frank is one of those books, as it details her experiences during this time.

12. The Upstairs Room

This was a book we chose to help us explore the history of World War II, along with Number the Stars. I loved this book because it discusses what life was like from the Jewish perspective. By pairing these two books, it allowed our son to see what all sides were going through during this time.

Buy the series!

13. Anne of Green Gables Series

If you’re looking for a lighthearted series, consider Anne of Green Gables. It’s the story of an orphan who finds a good home and love. The series allows you to follow her life all the way through. You can also watch the movies or the new series on Netflix. They’re wonderful comparison tools to use with the books.

Buy the series!

14. Frindle

This is a fun book! It demonstrates how one kid with a sense of humor can change the world as we know it…but not without causing a little bit of trouble first. Frindle is a fun book that most students would love to see on their middle school reading list.

15. C.S. Lewis Narnia Series

C.S. Lewis was a wonderful storyteller with a way of getting his point across in a unique fashion. My son’s 8th grade year, we explored the Narnia series.

It includes the following books:

·       The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

·       Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

·       The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

·       The Silver Chair

·       The Horse and His Boy

·       The Magician’s Nephew

·       The Last Battle

Buy the complete series!

We finished it off with C.S. Lewis’ biography.

These 15 books should give you an awesome start to creating a phenomenal middle school reading list. Some are lighthearted while others can help your children gain valuable knowledge about history.

Hopefully, this will encourage your children to become avid readers.

Now that you have this book list, head to the links, buy the books, and build your children a wonderful library via this middle school reading list. 

Elementary Reading List: 14 Perfect Books

Do you need fresh books for your elementary reading list?

You’ve come to the right place. I’ll be sharing book options that are perfect for most elementary reading lists.

These books are perfect whether you’re reading for pleasure, using as read-alouds for the family, or even as part of a homeschool curriculum.

Here is my elementary reading list:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Matilda

This is the story of a little girl with some serious brain power. She reads at a young age, can do math faster than most, but she doesn’t have it all.

What she really needs is a loving family. Follow along with her adventures as she rights the wrongs in her school with her brain power and finds her way home.

2. School Story

We read this as a read-aloud during my youngest son’s second grade year. It’s a wonderful story about a young writer.

She writes a story perfect for school aged children. Her friend helps her get this book published anonymously, but they face many adventures while keeping her identity quiet.  

3. All of a Kind Family

This is a classic story of a Jewish family in the early 1900’s in America. We used it as a read-aloud during my son’s third grade year.

It tells of all the fun things a family of little girls did during this time. But will this family remain all-of-a-kind? Read it and find out!

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This book has been made into a movie TWICE! It’s a fun book to read with your kids as it’s filled with things most only dream of.

Follow along as a child gets his chance to explore the magical world of Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory. Children also have the chance to learn valuable life lessons that will hopefully stick with them a lifetime.

Check out the original movie and the newer version! There’s even a Tom & Jerry version.

5. Little House Series

The Little House series follows the story of a pioneer family. It takes you from their very beginning in the woods to life after the children are grown.

Check out the following books that would be perfect for older readers or as a read-aloud:

·       Little House in the Big Woods

·       Farmer Boy

·       Little House on the Prairie

·       On the Banks of Plum Creek

·       By the Shores of Silver Lake

·       The Long Winter

·       Little Town on the Prairie

·       These Happy Golden Years

6. Sarah Plain and Tall

My son read this as a third grader. It’s an interesting tale of a single father trying to raise two children on the prairie.

He puts an ad in the paper for a woman to be his wife and help him raise his children. What he gets is Sarah who is plain on the outside, but her loving heart is just what the family needed.

Get the series

7. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

Do you have young readers? This book is a wonderful spin on a traditional story. We’ve all heard the story of the three little pigs.

Now, it’s time for the wolf to tell his side of things. Your children are sure to get a kick out of this!

8. Frog and Toad Series

If you have early readers, this is the perfect series for them. It follows the adventures of two dear friends, Frog and Toad.

The books are divided into multiple small stories, which makes them perfect for early readers. We used these books in our homeschool curriculum for multiple years which makes them a great choice for an elementary reading list.

Interested in homeschooling? Check out the essentials

9. The 21 Balloons

We enjoyed this book as a read-aloud while my children were in second grade. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but it’s a wonderful book!

It’s a story of a retired schoolteacher who travels the world in an invention. When he crashes on an island, you won’t believe what he finds!

10. The Paper Bag Princess

I loved this book as a kid. It all starts with a princess living in a castle. She was ready to marry the prince of her dreams and live happily ever after.

However, a dragon swoops in, steals her prince, and leaves her with nothing but a paper bag dress. Discover how this princess bounces back!

11. 26 Fairmount Avenue

We found this book accidentally by reading the book The Art Lesson. My youngest son is really into art, but we loved the book so much we knew we had to read another.

This book is easy-to-read for intermediate readers, or it could be used as a read-aloud. Either way, you’ll enjoy hearing how this family worked hard and was able to build their dream home on 26 Fairmount Avenue.

12. Magic Treehouse Series

Our family is in love with the Magic Tree House series. Kids of all ages will love it because they’re easy to read and follow along with.

What I love the most is the amount of information the books present. Children are learning through a world of fantasy. It’s an amazing learning tool.

13. The Cricket in Times Square

This is another favorite read-aloud in our family. It shares the journey of a cricket who finds himself in Times Square.

Find out how he makes it home with the help of his new friends. If you love this book, you can read the entire series:

·       Tucker’s Countryside

·       Harry Cat’s Pet Puppy

·       Chester Cricket’s Pigeon Ride

·       Chester Cricket’s New Home

·       Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse

·       The Old Meadow

14. The Indian in the Cupboard Series

We read this book as a read-aloud during my youngest son’s third grade year. It’s the fun tale of how a young boy brings plastic figurines to life thanks to a cupboard with a magic key.

Learn how two plastic figurines from opposite sides can become great friends. Also, see how two young boys learn to have compassionate hearts. You can also check out the movie.  

Buy the whole set.

This completes our elementary reading list. If the books seem too mature for your children to read by themselves, consider turning them into read-alouds.

If the books have a movie option, it’s great to let your children read the book and watch the movie. It allows them to compare and contrast between the two.

Considering homeschooling? You can, on a budget, with these tips!

 However you decide to use this list, we hope you enjoy the books as much as we have over the years.

Now that you have the elementary reading list, visit the links, buy the books, and enjoy exploring these stories as a family. Happy reading! 

Homeschooling on a Budget: How We’re Homeschooling for Around $200 this Year

Are you considering homeschooling?

Many people are! I’m all about school choice, so I support anyone who thinks they might like to try a different approach to educating their children.

One of the things I hear most from new homeschool parents is, “I don’t know where to start. I’m not sure what to teach. I don’t even know if we can afford to homeschool.”

I was in the same boat. I knew public school wasn’t working for my kids, but I didn’t know where to start, what to teach, and I was definitely concerned about the added financial load from homeschooling.

Over the years I’ve found my way around the homeschool arena, and I’m going to share my latest discovery when homeschooling on a budget.

Here’s the method I’m using to homeschool the whole family for under $200 this year:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you .I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

What We’re Doing and Why

I’ve tried a variety of different homeschool curriculum over the years. We’ve used a free online curriculum, ordered from the homeschool catalogs, and piecemealed curriculum together as well.

The free curriculum worked well, but there wasn’t enough variety to keep my kids engaged on a long-term basis. Homeschool catalogs are easy, but they’re just so expensive. Piecemealing is what I’ve ended up doing for the past two years, but it takes a lot of extra time.

This year, I was browsing through social media and an ad popped up for Schoolhouseteachers.com. I had followed this site for a while because I enjoyed reading their articles and encouraging posts.

What caught my attention was the sale they’re currently running on their curriculum. I browsed the site, saw that there is a ton of variety in classes, and best of all, there is no piecing curriculum together.

It’s all laid out. They show you how to adapt the schedule they’ve designed for each course to work around your actual schedule. Did I mention the options?! Holy Moly, the options!

How Much Money?

Before we dive into money, let’s get the heavy stuff out of the way first…

Note: I will try to keep this post updated as much as I can, as sales (and other things) change on a website regularly. However, this is only meant to represent my experience thus far with this company. These are my actual opinions of the product. For any questions regarding their products or policies, please be sure to contact Schoolhouseteachers.com. Do your own research before purchasing any product. I am not liable in any way for your experience with this product or company. Thank you!

Shew…now, we can get back to the good stuff!

When you sign on for this program, you get one family log-in. Once logged in you can set up separate classes for each child.

The classes are easy to browse by grade or category. This gives you an idea of what each child’s options are per grade level.

However, if your child is more advanced or needs a little extra practice, you can choose different classes to accommodate.

They have resources for:

It’s amazing all the resources available to you.

You also get a quarterly subscription to their magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Basically, there’s loads of help to those who are new to homeschooling, or even for seasoned homeschoolers, who may need help navigating curriculum or homeschooling in general.

So let’s get down to the dollars and cents. How much does this cost?

This is what got me hooked. Usually this curriculum is approximately $225 per year. Yes, you can actually homeschool your entire family for $225 FOR THE YEAR!

But this year, it was even better. I got in at their current sale price of only $139. Again, yes, I’m homeschooling my children for $139 this year!

What I’m Loving…And More

Let me break down why I’m already loving this curriculum. There’s a lot to it, and I know how hard choosing curriculum can be.

I want to share with you the things I’m loving about this curriculum and also a few things you should be aware of before deciding if this is the right curriculum for your family.

Here’s what you need to know about the School House Teachers curriculum:

1. Oh, The Options

I know I’ve mentioned this already, but this site has so many different options to choose from with classes.

The curriculum is for Pre-K through 12th grade. It has all the basics of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

But it also includes the arts and electives. Therefore, your children can take a variety of:

·       Art classes

·       Music classes

·       Drama classes

·       Architecture courses

·       Accounting courses

·       Courses on entrepreneurship and much more!

If your kids have a variety of interests, the options are vast with this curriculum.

2. Scope and Sequence

Some states are extremely strict on their homeschooling guidelines. If you must keep a portfolio with a scope and sequence for each child and course, this site has you covered.

There’s a detailed scope and sequence for each course. You simply print it out and file it away. This saves a ton of time.

3. Lesson Plans

This is my biggest hurdle. I try to lesson plan a year in advance so I’m not scurrying each week to figure out what we’ll do the next week.

However, this takes a lot of time. Things can also change throughout the year which can undo all the work that was put in over the summer months towards planning.

This is another reason I’m loving this curriculum. All the lesson plans are done and in printable form. You simply print them off each week, fill in the dates, and your kids are ready to roll.

If you need to prolong their plans, just add different dates next to the assignments. It’s flexible and easy.

4. Opportunities

I know I’ve mentioned the variety of classes available in this curriculum, but it gives your kids so many opportunities they may not have otherwise had available to them.

I’ll be honest, my kids don’t always get to do all the elective courses I know they’d enjoy because I can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on elective curriculum each year.

We no longer have this problem. My kids will be taking art classes, architecture courses, PE courses, computer classes, and so much more!

There are so many classes that piqued their interest. I had to pace them because they wanted to take them all.

My middle child is interested in online jobs so when he learned there were courses available for podcasting and running online businesses, he was all over it.

There are even career readiness courses. This is important for older kids who need to know what jobs are out in the real world to help them map out their future steps.

5. Different Course Lengths

My children get bored easily. They like variety in what they’re learning which is why I love that some courses through Schoolhouseteachers.com last for 30+ weeks while others last for less time.

Some courses are 18 weeks, some only 8 weeks, and a variety of schedule options in between. This allows my kids to stagger out the courses they take.

Plus, the courses tell you how many days a week they’re supposed to be studied. For instance, my youngest son’s architecture course lasts for approximately 20 weeks, but we only do it one day per week.

But this leaves room for him to take Spanish and art on other days because they’re only taught 1-2 days each week.

This is the case with core classes as well. In Language Arts, my children will get variety because some courses last for less than 30 weeks. Therefore, we’ll cover literature kits for a portion of the year and take a writing workshop at another point in the year.

To ensure they get everything they need, there is daily grammar, spelling, and basic Language Arts practice provided as well.

You can take as many or few courses as you deem necessary for your children.  The staggered scheduling allows your kids to get what they need without working through a redundant curriculum all year.


When I was telling one of my mom-friends what a great deal I’d found, her first question was, “Yeah, but how many books do you have to buy to go along with it?”

That’s a great question, and I was pleased to find that you don’t have to buy any.

There are some classes which do require books, but they come with a downloadable option. You can pay less than $100 and have access to lifetime downloads through the site the class provides.

 I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking to pay anymore than what I did to sign-up, so I picked a different course which didn’t require extra books and skipped the need for downloads.

I’ve only found this on one course so far, but there are ways around having to download things.

We’re doing a literature kit course this year which I’ll need some of the books, but again, there are ways around having to purchase books.

You could sign-up with Audiobooks.com. You pay a monthly membership and can download a certain number of books per month.

But I prefer using the library (both in person and digital options) or using the free app, Best of Audiobooks. It has over 150 free audiobooks available.

If you’d prefer having books permanently on hand, you could always buy them on Amazon.com. Again, most classes give you the materials you need in a PDF form.

7. Attendance, Grades, Transcripts

With the sign-up option I chose, I got access to AppleCore. This is a wonderful site that allows me to digitally keep up with my children’s grades, attendance, and even create an on-going transcript.

Considering I have a high schooler this year, this saves me a ton of time.

Don’t get discouraged at the sound of having to keep records. It all depends upon what your state requires.

In my state, we’re only required to keep attendance, vaccine records, and take a yearly standardized test.

Most grades don’t really count until your kids get to high school, and you’ll only need a transcript once they’re in high school. This may vary by state so do your homework on these requirements.

If your state requires more, Applecore could simplify things for you.  

8. Not Solely Online

Some people may be turned off instantly by this curriculum, assuming it’s all done online. It is not. You’ll need:

You can do many of the assignments offline by printing the information. This also makes it easier for the kids to submit their work to you.

9. Variety of Ways to Learn

I love how this curriculum gives your children a variety of ways to learn. They can learn online with assignments that are graded by the computer. Your children can learn offline if you prefer. There are also options for curriculum that is video based.

Students need a variety of different ways to learn. I love that this site provides this opportunity to homeschooled children.

There’s a key at the top of the site that lets you know how each course is offered. Follow the key to decide which course options may be best for your children and their learning style.

10. Faith Based

This is a faith-based site. When I started homeschooling my kids this was a requirement for any curriculum I chose.

I don’t shy away from secular topics, but I make sure my children have the opportunity to learn the Biblical perspective to things as well.

Schoolhouseteachers.com provides a Biblical perspective to each subject, and they offer a variety of Bible curriculum based on age or grade level.

In my opinion, this is important to the spiritual growth of our children which is why it’s incorporated into our homeschool every year.

11. Lots of Helpful Options

If all of this sounds great but also overwhelming, welcome to the club! I was amazed to log-in to the site and see how many videos, online chat options, and written resources were available to help parents navigate the site.

It made getting our school year planned a piece of cake. If you hit a hiccup, there’s someone there to help! Having the right support makes homeschooling a lot easier.

12. An Afternoon of Planning

I’m happy to say that I was able to get our entire homeschool year planned out (for both of my kids) in a couple of hours.

I went through the classes, decided the ones we would use, bookmarked them to our dashboard, and figured out our calendar for the school year.

I was able to:

·       Figure out our class schedule (including the classes that don’t last all year)

·       Which subjects would be covered on a daily basis and which wouldn’t

·       Which days of the week we’d cover which subjects

·       I made a note of which classes had book requirements, so I’d know to make sure I had those books available when they were needed (i.e. the literature kit course)

Beyond that, our year was planned, and we’re ready to roll into the next school year!

13. Affordable

Affordability turns many people away from homeschooling because curriculum is expensive even if you buy it secondhand.

Schoolhouseteachers.com is currently having a sale on their curriculum. If you take this option, there are no refunds. You can also sign-up for monthly payments.

Your account will be set-up to auto renew every year, but you can cancel at any time.

They make things easy and affordable. Homeschool families need more of this in their lives!

14. Make a Commission

Our final stop on the “Things I Love” tour, is the affiliate program Schoolhouseteachers.com offers. If you try their product and love it, you’d pass on the information anyway, right?

Well, thanks to their affiliate program, you can make a commission for each person you sign-up. Think about that. You can help your friends save money, their kids get a quality education, simplify homeschooling for people who think, “I can’t homeschool”, and make a 25% commission.

This is just one final thing to love about this curriculum choice.


I realize this is a ton of information, but I had to share this good news with other homeschoolers. Homeschool curriculum weighs on me every year between the financial investment and the amount of time invested in planning.

This was truly a Godsend when this ad came across my social media account. I took a few days to view the site before I made the jump, but I’m so glad I did.

We’re excited about our upcoming homeschool year, and I’m ready for it after one afternoon! I still can’t believe it.

I hope this information will help you on your homeschool journey. Good luck to you in your upcoming school year!

If you’re worrying about missing the current sale, don’t! There’s a new one starting soon. Here are the details:

12 Essential Homeschool Items Every Homeschooler Needs

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

Are you considering homeschooling?

Summer is a time when some families decide to change things up and shift from one school setting to another.

If you’ve decided your family is ready to take this adventure, let me share with you some essential homeschool items.

It’s not what you may think. Here are the things you must have to homeschool successfully:

1. Quality Curriculum

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

Notice this heading reads “quality” not “expensive.” You don’t have to spend a fortune to provide quality curriculum for your children.

There are a ton of resources for homeschool families and many ways to create (or purchase) quality curriculum.

Homeschooling on a budget while providing a quality education can be done. Be sure to choose a curriculum that will engage your children.

If you have their undivided attention, they’re learning.

2. Library Card

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

The library is a wonderful FREE resource for homeschool families. If you have a library card, you can check out books, electronics, and participate in their fun community activities.

This is a great place for your children to make friends. It’s also a great way to instill a love of reading within your children.

A library card can unlock a ton of resources for your homeschool, and this certainly makes it an essential homeschool item.

3. Electronics

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In today’s society, kids need electronics to homeschool. Smart TV’s are wonderful for showcasing things you find on the internet on a larger screen.

Computers are an excellent resource for accessing websites and tablets are great for kids to do their individual work.

The good news is some libraries offer electronics you can rent. You can also use computers at the library.

4. Dry Erase Board

I could not do the homeschool life without my dry erase board. I know it sounds crazy, but I love it.

I can write assignments, provide demonstrations, and review things with my kids in an easy-to-see method by using the white board.  

It’s especially useful if you’re homeschooling more than one child at a time.

Consider this awesome dry erase board lap-desk!

5. Dry Erase Markers

If you’re going to have a dry erase board, you must have the markers that go with. I recommend buying a variety of colors and a quality eraser.

I use my white board all the time (for homeschool and as part of my daily routine.) This means I go through quite a few markers.

Keep a few extras on hand because it’s frustrating when you need to explain something, and your markers are giving you fits.

6. Arts and Crafts Supplies

It truly frustrates me when people assume that homeschool parents put their kids in front of a computer, school them solely online, and that’s it.

If you think this is what you’re in for, you’re wrong. Better to find out now than when you’re in the midst of homeschooling.

Homeschool kids do some things online, but they also do a lot of hands-on activities. You’ll need appropriate arts and crafts supplies for these instances.

7. Internet

We’re fortunate to live in a time when so much is available at our fingertips. The internet is a must when you’re doing any type of schooling.

The internet gives your student(s) the opportunity to do research, complete activities online, take virtual field trips, take classes online, and much more.

If you can’t afford the internet, check into your local library. Most provide internet access. You can take your electronics and stay as long as you like at the library. They offer computers as well.

8. Pinterest

Pinterest is a must if you’re any type of educator. I teach co-op classes along with homeschooling my own children.

I never teach any type of curriculum without supplementing. Each teacher has a way of adding their own spin on things.

Pinterest provides me with ideas to bring what we’re learning to life. Tap into Pinterest!

Follow me on Pinterest and YouTube for more insights and inspirations!

9. Routine

Homeschooling provides a ton of flexibility. It’s great because you can move at your child’s pace, and if life throws you a curve ball, you can adjust your schedule to adapt to that season in life.

However, don’t get too flexible. Kids thrive with routines. It makes them feel secure because they know what to expect.

Some flexibility is great when necessary but do try your best to develop some type of routine. It makes all the difference in our household.

10. Exercise

Physical Education gets overlooked a lot in homeschooling. In my case, my kids aren’t athletic. I have one who wants to be a professional gamer, and the other is probably going to cure cancer. (No joke! He’s my science kid.)

They could care less about sports, but I want them to learn healthy habits when they’re young to carry throughout their lives.

I’m on a routine where I exercise one hour a day, so my kids do the same now. They spend 30 minutes exercising on equipment and 30 minutes riding bikes or jumping on our trampoline.

My friends enroll their children in homeschool PE classes, some enroll their kids in sports, and you can also do PE online.

Find some way to get your homeschooled kids moving every day. Physical activity is an essential homeschool item.

11. Magnets

I purchased the ABC and numbers magnets my first-year homeschooling. My youngest was in preschool, and I thought they’d be a helpful tool for him.

That was the best money I ever spent. We are in our 6th year homeschooling, and I still use them. They’re wonderful for spelling and math.

My kids learn spelling through writing the words and building them with magnets. We do the same with our multiplication tables.

12. Opportunities

Kids need opportunities to learn. They shouldn’t be assigned strictly book work. Take your children to the park, let them meet people, let them ask questions, join a co-op, and take field trips.

Do anything you can to provide educational opportunities for your children. Put them in sports, dance class, art class, or in online classes.

You don’t have to spend a fortune or keep yourself on the go constantly. But do give your child the opportunity to be exposed to different things so they can figure out what they may be interested in and what they aren’t.

Homeschooling is a wonderful experience. There are many ways to go about it, and it doesn’t require a ton of materials to homeschool successfully.

But these essential homeschool items are things I think every homeschooler should have to maximize each resource and opportunity available.

Happy homeschooling!

Homeschool Co-op: Is It Right for You?

Depending upon who you talk to (and their experience) will provide various answers as to whether or not a homeschool co-op is the “right decision” for homeschoolers. 

You’re in luck. I’m going to bring you both the benefits, the disadvantages, and offer a few things you should consider in helping you to decide if joining a homeschool co-op is the right path for your family.

Here’s everything you should take under consideration when deciding whether to embrace or reject the idea of joining a homeschool co-op:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

The Advantages

1. The Load Just Got Lighter

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When you’re a homeschooling parent of multiple kids, the load can get pretty heavy. As your kids get older they want to try everything. 

This can prove difficult when fitting in the time for fun science experiments, foreign languages, coding, art, music lessons, and more.

But this is where co-op comes into play and can save the day. By joining a co-op, things you don’t have time to teach or aren’t comfortable teaching, your kids can still have access to them.

You take your kids to class, let them learn, and pick them up when they’re done. Your biggest responsibility is seeing to it that they complete any assignments between classes. 

Yep, you just created a little breathing room for yourself! Way. To. Go!

2. Chatty Cathy is On the Loose

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One of the biggest discussions about homeschooling is, “What about their social skills?” It drives me crazy!

My kids (even prior to co-op) were some of the most social kids you’ve ever seen. Can we get a new talking point, please?

However, if you’re worried your child is going to become a recluse because you homeschool, co-op does provide ample opportunity for them to make new friends and try out their social skills on a regular basis. 

3. They Don’t Have to Miss Out

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Another big concern from the non-homeschoolers and homeschoolers alike is, “Won’t the kids miss out on normal things?”

By “normal things” they mean school dances, picture days, field trips, prom, and graduation. There are large homeschool conferences in many states that offer these events for those who don’t participate in a homeschool co-op.

However, if you want a more personalized experience, join a homeschool co-op. This will allow your kids to do these things with their friends. 

4. Bring on the Mom-Friends

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This one is for you mamas. I’ll be the first to admit, where my kids are super social, I am not. Like, not at all. I could sit at home with a book from now until the cows come home and be happy.

However, I’ve realized over my homeschooling journey, I need a tribe. I need people who get what I’m going through.

Funny enough, I’ve realized I have something to bring to the table as well—support. Our co-op has allowed my kids to make friends, but I’ve made some too. This has made the journey of motherhood much easier and fun!

5. Fun and New Things

Kids need experiences. This is why a few years ago we stopped buying toys for every holiday and started sinking our funds into experiences for our kids.

When you’re homeschooling on your own, it’s hard to plan field trips because life seems to happen. 

Plus, if you don’t have anyone to go with you, they aren’t quite as exciting. When you join a homeschool co-op, there are field trips and other fun experiences that are planned for you and are super fun because you go as a group.

6. You Can Break Away from the Kitchen Table

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m tied to the kitchen table with our homeschool work.

Co-op allows you to break the ties at least one day a week. Your kids get to get up, get dressed, head off to classes for a few hours, you get to coffee-up and breathe a little, and head home. 

You can do more school work if you want or consider co-op your school day. However you choose to divide your day up, co-op helps break up the routine a little bit. 

The Disadvantages

As much as co-op can be a great thing for some families, it just doesn’t work for everyone. Here are a few reasons why:

1. There Just Isn’t Enough Time

The biggest thing I hear from families who simply can’t do the co-op thing (or can’t do it every year) is the schedule.

If your kids are already into 100 million extra things outside of homeschooling, your schedule is probably pretty busy.

Adding one more thing to the week may just be too much for some families. It can make it hard to get your other school stuff done if your plate is overflowing as it is.

If this is you, it’s okay. Co-op just may not be a part of this season (or any season) of homeschooling. You do what works best for your family. 

2. Money, Money, Money

Most homeschoolers live on a pretty tight budget. Unless one family member makes a really good living, or you have two full-time incomes and can still manage the time to homeschool, money is probably tight.

Co-op may not be an affordable option for you right now. If it’s something you’re interested in, start by tweaking your budget

From there, talk to your local co-op. They may have teaching opportunities which could offset the cost of classes. They may allow you to volunteer to help with payment and some co-ops (like the one we participate in) have fundraising opportunities to allow you to help pay for tuition.  

3. Why Leave Home?

Some people don’t see the point in participating in a co-op if you can teach the same courses from home.

They’re right in many aspects. If your kids prefer to school completely at home, are involved in other activities, and are generally not interested in joining a homeschool co-op then don’t sweat it.

You can learn most extra-curricular activities (like music or art) online, through private lessons, or even discounted classes through local art councils. 

Core subjects you can teach at home by using purchased or free curriculum. You can add to these subjects with field trips, experiments, or watching documentaries. 

4. Drama, Drama, Drama

Between social media and online games, it’s hard to protect your kids from everything. However, I know when you get kids together (especially older kids) there’s still the possibility of drama occurring.

If this has happened to you in previous co-ops (or the thought of it makes you want to avoid co-ops) then this may not be the right homeschooling opportunity for you. 

We’ve been very fortunate to have nothing but positive experiences through our co-op, but disagreements are a reality in any large group setting. 

Is It Right For Your Family? 

After reviewing the pros and cons of homeschool co-ops, how do you know if it’s right for your family? 

Begin by weighing out the positives and negatives. Follow it up by asking yourself the following questions: 

1. Are You in the Right Group?

How positive your co-op experience will be depends heavily upon which group you join. The right group will depend upon your beliefs, preferences, etc. 

In our case, we’ve found a very welcoming group. Everyone’s relaxed, and we have a good time together.

I’ll be honest, I’m a bluejeans type of gal. We have some groups in our area that feel more comfortable if the women wear skirts, etc. I wouldn’t be as comfortable in these particular groups which would obviously impact my experience.

So if you haven’t had the best experience with co-op, I’d recommend you try out different groups to see if a “better fit” might be out there. 

2. Is There Room in the Schedule?

Do you have enough time to dedicate to co-op? If your schedule is overloaded, and you aren’t sure you can get your other homeschooling requirements fulfilled with this additional commitment, co-op may not be right for you. 

However, if you feel you need to lighten your load or have some time for yourself, co-op may be the perfect solution. 

3. Is There Room in the Budget?

Lastly, can you afford co-op? If you can, it might be a great fit for your family. If not, consider some of the tips I mentioned above.

Yet, if none of those options work, as I said before, keep pushing forward. Co-op may be a better fit in a later season in life.

Hopefully these tips and considerations help you discover whether co-op would be a benefit or  hindrance to your family and homeschool routine.

Whether a homeschool co-op works for you or not, I encourage you to find a homeschool family. It has made all the difference for us. 

Happy homeschooling!  

Homeschooling:16 Pluses and 4 Minuses

I don’t have beef with the public school system. I don’t educate my children at home out of fear of personal harm, bullying, or indoctrination. (If you do homeschool for these reasons, I’m not throwing off on them. Those are just not my reasons for homeschooling.) 

I homeschool because I feel called to do it. I homeschool because I feel my children’s education is my job. Lastly, I homeschool because I love watching my children learn and grow. 

However, I’m an advocate of doing what is best for your family. If this means public school, private school, Christian school, online public school, or homeschooling

I have many friends considering homeschooling (and some who were thrown into it unexpectedly thanks to COVID-19.) I felt it my duty as a seasoned homeschooler to offer the advantages (and disadvantages) of homeschooling to help anyone considering this method of education make an educated decision.

Here’s the advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**


1. You Pick the Curriculum

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I’ve loved this advantage from the start. One of the reasons I felt led to homeschool was when my high schooler (at the time) came home and began questioning everything we’d taught him because a science teacher was telling him something else.

He told us how confusing it was to him to sort out what he was being taught between the two places because they both felt so convincing to him. 

We let our high schooler make his own decision to be homeschooled (which he decided to be), but this helped us see that our younger two children needed to be homeschooled.

I don’t avoid teaching my children things that don’t go along with our beliefs, but they’re exposed to it knowing that this isn’t what we believe, I share why it goes against our beliefs, and use it as an opportunity to reinforce apologetics. 

Looking for a fun way to teach apologetics to your kids? Try this curriculum!

We loved this devotional too!

Homeschooling allows you to decide what you want to teach, how it should be taught to your children, and allows you to buffer certain subjects that otherwise would be presented as facts. 

2. Spend Time with Your Children

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A huge advantage to homeschooling is spending a lot of time with your children. Some parents might be thinking, “Oh boy!”

But seriously, it’s great to be able to spend a lot of time with your kids. You get to know them better, do life with them on a consistent basis, and you’re there for everything. 

As my boys have gotten older, I’ve been able to be there with them through everything. I’ve seen them struggle with school, have their first girlfriends, experience their first heartbreaks, first dates, etc.

You get this when your kids are in public school as well. However, as a homeschooler I feel you’re more involved.

Because your kids spend so much time with you, it’s normal for their friends and girlfriends/ boyfriends to be around you as regularly as they are your kids.

Your kids confide in you more because you are there to help them through everything from math problems to heart ache. Homeschooling takes your relationship with your kids to a much deeper level, and I think it spawns from the fact that they’re with you so much. 

3. Safety

I know I said this is NOT one of the reasons I homeschool, and it didn’t have anything to do with why I pulled my children from the public school system.

However, I’ll be totally honest, it’s a nice perk. I don’t have to drop my kids off at a building each day for 7 hours and entrust their safety to someone else.

I took my kids to a public school a few weeks ago to volunteer for a blood drive. My youngest son said, “Mom, why do they have police cars, cameras, and automated locks on the doors?” 

It took me by surprise because I didn’t think anything of it. Yet, those things are foreign to him. He’s my only child who has never been enrolled in public school. 

As a homeschooler, you get to decide what lengths you want to go to in order to better protect your children. It’s in your control. 

4. The Greenhouse Effect

Many people (wrongly) assume that when you homeschool your children you’re trying to keep them in a bubble. I’ll never forget people telling our oldest son, when he chose to be homeschooled, that it was better for him to stay in public school so he’ll know how to deal with real life. 

I laugh thinking about this. Homeschooled kids probably have a greater chance at dealing with “real life” stuff than public school kids because they spend more time out in the real world. 

While many kids are sitting inside a building for 7 hours a day, my kids are at the library, the grocery store, the post office, church, homeschool group, etc. They’re interacting with the real world.

This is what I call the greenhouse effect. I read it a long time ago and though I’ve forgotten who wrote this idea, I’ve never forgotten it.

Basically, your kids aren’t in a bubble as a homeschooler. They’re in a greenhouse. In a bubble, there’s no chance for anything to grow.

In a greenhouse, you present the right conditions for the right things to grow. If you see a weed popping up, you pull it while it’s still small, but you cultivate the good things, the godly things in your children’s lives.

This is what I’ve always aimed to do by homeschooling my children. 

5. Exposure

When we started homeschooling, my mom was extremely worried. She didn’t know how it was going to turn out and wasn’t fully convinced it was the right choice.

Six years later, she’s my biggest cheerleader. She tells me all the time, “Jennifer, homeschooling is the only way these boys would’ve made it through school.” 

I know she’s right because my kids march to their own drum. In public school, the kids who march to their own beat usually cause distractions and get into a little (or a lot) of trouble.

Where it’s just us at home, my kids can march to any beat they want, as long as they get their school work done. 

However, my mom worried about my boys getting enough exposure to different things because homeschool sounds as though they’d be home all the time.

It’s actually quite the opposite. I tell my mom now that I wish I had been homeschooled. I wasn’t exposed to nearly enough through the public school system, and my kids have been given so many opportunities because they’re homeschooled.

It amazes me how at 9 and 14 years old, they have a pretty good idea of what they want out of life because they’ve been exposed to a variety of things they love.

Homeschoolers have so many opportunities between homeschool groups, homeschool co-ops, the local library, art classes, music classes, dance classes, children’s museums, STEM classes, LEGO groups, sports,BETA club, volunteer opportunities,  etc. to figure out what their interests are. 

It may take research, but there are plenty of opportunities for your kids to be exposed to plenty of awesome opportunities. 

6. Hands-On

I’ve mentioned this a little bit above, but I wanted to make sure you fully understand how great a benefit this is.

When you homeschool, you get to be a hands-on, in your face, right there kind of parent. This is so important.

You get to do life with your kids! This can be hard some days. Yet, when life gets tough, your kids will come to you.

There will be a bond there you never knew was possible because you are the parent who cheers them on when they tackle something you’ve watched them struggle with.

You’re the parent who has helped them through a trouble spot in school, who is there for every field trip, experience, and play date with friends.

The one who all their friends know. Your mom-friends are their friends’ moms. Your lives are totally intertwined in a unique way that kids who aren’t homeschooled don’t get to experience.

This is a huge advantage and one that can get heavy at times, but the reward is so worth it. 

7. Flexibility and Pace

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This is one of the reasons I began homeschooling. My youngest son had amazing preschool teachers that let me know there were some things going on with him that could prove difficult as he got older and in the public school system.

When he was younger he had some sensory processing issues. They weren’t extreme, but they were enough had he not had the amazing preschool teacher that he had, preschool would’ve been a nightmare.

I wasn’t comfortable leaving this up to chance when he got to kindergarten so we decided homeschooling would be a good start. Our middle son was showing he needed some flexibility in his educational routine as well. 

All of this pointed us towards homeschooling. Homeschooling allows you to create any schedule you like.

If you want to start school in the afternoon because your kids are more alert then, you can. Your school can start when you want, end when you want, and move as fast or slow as needed.

You can school 9-10 months out of the year, or you can school year-round. 

It’s up to you. 

8. Flexibility in Schedule

Your school schedule can be flexible, but so can the schedule for your life. This was one benefit I wasn’t expecting when we started homeschooling.

I loved the fact that if my kids wanted to go visit their grandparents for a week, any week would work. We didn’t have to check the school calendar.

It was amazing that we could go to the grocery store, field trips, and even take vacations when no one else was there because everyone else was in school.

9. Teach How You Like

I love this benefit. My kids are hands-on learners. This meant when my youngest was learning how to read, we didn’t sit at a table and read words.

No, we wrote words on a white board and shot the words with a Nerf gun

When my middle son gets bored with science, I go on Pinterest, find a cool science experiment, and we make something bubble, change colors, or have an eye-catching scientific reaction.

If spelling becomes boring, we spell words with magnets. When studying history, we go places.

You can teach any way you like, and you can change things up to make sure your kids get the most benefit from the chosen curriculum

10. Efficiency 

I remember when I first began homeschooling, one of my mom-friends who had homeschooled for years said, “ When we first started, we were done by 11am. I was wondering if I was doing it wrong.”

Homeschooling takes a quarter of the time it takes in public school. Why? Because there are only your kids.

This means, no waiting or busy work. When your kids are done, you move on to the next thing.

11. Skip the Drama

Again, this isn’t a reason we homeschool, but it could be an advantage to you. If your kids have dealt with negative situations in school, removing them from it could be a step towards alleviating the problem.

If you don’t monitor your children’s social media accounts, cell phones, Xbox Live accounts, etc. it won’t help.

However, if you participate in these areas with your children, you can stand in the gap for them when drama arises.

You know what I’ve realized? When troublemakers run into the parents, before getting to your kids, they have a tendency to go the other way. 

We have had a few spells of teenage boy drama, but our son came to us immediately when something went wrong. His dad and I blocked the person, contacted the adults in the situation, and the situation ended. 

This isn’t so we can dictate our son’s life or “shield him” from learning how to deal with confrontation. It was about showing him how to deal with conflict directly. You don’t run from it, but you do handle things maturely. 

That’s the only way to keep so many of the crazy things that happen today between kids and social media from escalating to places they shouldn’t go…for anyone. 

I can’t say it enough, homeschooling allows you to do life with your kids. When you do life together, they come to you easier and allow you to help them. In turn, this avoids a lot of unnecessary drama. 

12. Independent Learners

I do not “spoon feed” my kids when teaching them. When they were younger, I would do more. As they get older, I’m slowly backing away and letting them learn independently.

Why? Because if your kids can read, comprehend a lesson, and figure out how to do whatever the text asks, they can do anything in life.

I’m raising independent learners. My middle son will come to me when he’s completely stumped on a math problem, but he’s going into high school and for the most part, he does his school work on his own. He’ll bring it to me to be checked for accuracy.

My youngest is still a little young to be doing school work on his own, but he wants to. Some things he’ll do on his own. Other things, I still sit with him while he works through them so I can guide him where necessary.

When you homeschool, you have the opportunity to give your children the chance to be an independent learner. That’s one of the greatest gifts you could ever offer them. 

13. Fewer Sick Days

My pediatrician laughs at us because we’re the family she usually only sees once a year for check-ups. Why? 

Because we hardly ever get sick. Kids can create germs for two weeks after they’ve gotten over an illness.

You put a bunch of kids together in a public school setting, and it’s a tiny germ factory. When kids are homeschooled, they aren’t around a mass group of children at any given time.

This allows them to lessen their exposure to germs and maintain good health. 

14. Parents Grow Too

I’ve learned so much during my time as a homeschool parent. I was a public school graduate, and I wish I had retained everything I’m teaching now when I was younger. 

The amount of knowledge I’ve gained through teaching my kids is mind blowing. I know more about US History now than I ever have in my life. Science was my least favorite subject in school, but I find it much more interesting now. 

I’ve always been an English person, but there are so many good books I didn’t read as a child. I read them now because I make sure my kids read them. You (as the parent) will learn a lot when homeschooling.

15. Empathetic Kids 

Homeschool kids are different. They’re not usually exclusive or clicky. They don’t usually avoid people who are different. They also tend to treat everyone the same.

I love it! 

My kids don’t shy away from anyone, and everyone is the exact same to them. 

I truly think this has to do with the fact that my kids spend more time out in the real world with people of different ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, etc. To them, there is no “norm.” People are just people, and we’re all different yet beautifully unique.  

Therefore, homeschool kids have a tendency to be more understanding, accepting, and empathetic because they grow up around a variety of people instead of only kids their own age that are just like them. 

I’ve noticed, especially in my youngest child, that differences aren’t viewed the same within some homeschool kids. Where many people feel like a difference is almost a “fault” because it’s harder to fit in with a certain group, my youngest shows that he thinks differences should be celebrated.

When someone points out something about him that’s different (even if they have cruel intentions) he doesn’t take it in a negative way. He smiles and receives it as a compliment. I truly admire that about him! 

16. Don’t Miss Out on the “Normal Things”

Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the normal things of life. For instance, you can get involved in a homeschool group, a homeschool co-op, or other organizations where they host a variety of events such as:

  • Graduation
  • Prom
  • Homecoming
  • Field Trips
  • Beta Club
  • Picture Day

And many other events. These opportunities will obviously vary by location, but if you have these opportunities around you, take advantage of them. 


Though there are more advantages (in my opinion) than disadvantages to homeschooling, there are still downsides. Here’s what you should look out for before jumping into homeschooling full-time:

1. Busy Life

Your life is going to be busy as a homeschooler. If you participate in any extracurricular activities, you’ll stay on the go.

Even if you don’t, trying to juggle everyday life around schooling your children and your children being home, will be enough to keep you on the run from morning till dark. 

But at least your time will be spent with your kids instead of waiting in car line. 

2. Live on Less

Most of the time, when you choose to homeschool, you’re choosing to live on one income. One parent will go to work during the day, while the other is a stay-at-home parent.

This isn’t the case in our family because I work from home. Again, my day is full! 

However, I don’t make a full-time income…yet. Therefore, we’ve adjusted to living on less money. 

Be prepared to live on a budget if you choose to homeschool, unless you have an amazing support system and can still manage to work full-time. 

3. Self Care is Necessary But Hard to Get

When you pour so much of yourself into your family, your home, and your children’s education it’s easy to become depleted.

Self-care isn’t a suggestion. It’s a requirement, but it can be hard to find the time to fit in time for yourself.

I’ve finally learned that lunch time is my time. I fix lunch, get my kids settled, scarf down whatever I’m going to eat, and head to our gym in the basement with a book in hand.

I ride an exercise bike for 30 minutes while reading. It takes care of my body, my mind, and somehow relaxes me all at once. 

You must make the time for you because you can’t pour from an empty vessel. 

4. Juggling from Home

As I mentioned, I work from home. Sometimes I feel like my schedule is never ending. I don’t have set hours like my husband does.

I work whenever I can fit it in. It’s common to see me at my desk at 5am, 3pm, or even at night when everyone is in bed. 

It’s all about doing what needs to be done, taking care of everyone, finding a little time for me, and still finding time to make some income to help my husband carry the financial load.

I feel like a professional juggler. This can be exhausting. 

However, I wouldn’t change this life. It’s busy, it wears me out sometimes, but the benefits are so worth it. I love my children, I love doing life with my kids all day, every day. But juggling may not be everyone’s cup of tea so consider it before taking the plunge into homeschooling.

There you have it. Homeschooling has its ups and downs. It isn’t a fairytale. It’s hard work, taxing on the person who is doing it, and requires a ton of grace.

But if you feel led to take this journey, I encourage you to. Pray about it and if God says, “Go!” don’t delay. 

Good luck to you and your homeschooling adventures. 

Homeschool on a Budget With These 20 Creative Tips

19 creative ways to homeschool on a budget

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.

I’m a homeschooling mom of two (currently), but when I started I was homeschooling all three of my kids. One has since graduated high school and college. (Yikes! I’m getting old!)

Over the years I’ve figured out how to homeschool even when we had little money in the budget for supplies or curriculum.

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

Crayons for using 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.

Even with older kids, magnets are a great help. My middle child is in the 8th grade, and we still use magnets to work on his spelling words. 

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

library image for 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.

The library has come a long way over the years to help homeschoolers (and everyone for that matter.) You no longer must wait until someone returns the book you love

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. 

This is a great time to do as much research as you need to figure out what books you’ll need. When you have your list of books, start looking them up at your local library.

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

Shopping sales when homeschooling on a budget

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

Overdrive is an amazing digital library. If you have a library card through your local library, you should be able to borrow digital books through a virtual library.

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

All it takes is a quick glimpse through Pinterest, and you realize how much inspiration for homeschooling is right in front of you.

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

Is your family unsure of what to buy you at Christmas? If you’re the person who has everything (or is just really hard to shop for) consider asking for items for your homeschool.

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! 

Don’t ever overlook the free resources available to you on the internet. Many helpful people will post free downloads via Pinterest, on blogs, and Teachers Pay Teachers.

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. 

Schoolhouseteachers.com for homeschooling on a budget

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.

Schoolhouseteachers.com for homeschooling on a budget BOGO sale

I’m so excited about this option, I wrote an entire post about it. Check it out!

Homeschooling on a budget

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!

Elementary Book List

Elementary Book List to help homeschool on a budget

Middle School Book List

Middle School Reading List to help homeschool on a budget

High School Book List

High School Reading List to help homeschool on a budget

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