9 Ways to Stretch Your Homeschool Budget

Have you ever felt that homeschooling was too expensive and you couldn’t manage the costs? Has your spouse recently lost a job, and the only source of income for your family just vanished overnight? Does the thought of making a homeschool budget – or a budget or any kind – scare you?

The financial aspect of homeschooling can sound overwhelming and a wee bit scary. But stick with us, We’re here to help.

Excerpts are taken from The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas: 55 Moms Share Their Expertise on 103 Topics, a book that goes beyond the basics of academics and delves into the practical, but delightful ideas that you need in your life. The 55 experienced homeschool moms who contributed to this book don’t hold back from sharing their best advice.

Read on for nine big ideas for managing homeschool budgeting concerns and grab a copy of the book for only $3.99. 

What do you really need

What do you actually, truly, really need? You need access to books. Most everyone I know has access to a local library where you can read just about everything you’ll need to know in elementary school. You’ll also need some paper and pencils. Well, that’s what you must have!

from the chapter Homeschooling Well for Less by Beth Gorden

Build your own curriculum

It will be more time-consuming to put together your own curriculum, but by doing so you can follow your child’s interests and use the plethora of free online resources at your disposal to keep costs down. Three very helpful books include:

from the chapter Homeschooling Well for Less by Beth Gorden

Follow your child’s interests

The best part of homeschooling you can follow your child’s interests. Don’t worry about finding the perfect curriculum to replicate a little school at home. Sure you’ll want to get some math and language arts curriculum to guide you through what they should know, but you can teach your child basically everything else through the local library and field trips. For science, you could check out biographies of famous scientists, read about animals, watch Magic School Bus DVDs, visit a zoo, take a nature hike, or you can go out, look at the stars, then come home and look up what constellations you saw.

from the chapter Homeschooling Well for Less by Beth Gorden

Frugal math

I was embarking on a whole new level of math the year of my husband’s layoff. I realized I needed help, so I turned to Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a free online education program for instruction in a variety of subjects through the use of video instruction coupled with a program allowing students to practice, build upon what they learn and work toward mastery. After discovering how complete the program is, it became my exclusive math curriculum.

from the chapter Homeschooling During Unemployment by Renee Brown

The information age

The reality is we live in an age where information is easily attainable all around us. From Ambleside Online to Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool, there are many free curriculum options available at the click of a mouse. You can always use Google or other search engines to research specific topics, and YouTube is an excellent resource for finding free informational learning videos.

from the chapter Homeschooling During Unemployment by Renee Brown

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A word of caution

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Not every homeschooling curriculum is intended to be given away for free. If you find a group that shares copyrighted curriculum in a way which is inconsistent with copyright laws, you should be aware that such groups are undermining the work of publishers and curriculum companies, many of which are homeschooling families who are working to provide income to their families. Photocopying, scanning and document-sharing of homeschooling curriculum, and sharing for free or for a profit is not legal unless you have permission from the publisher or author. Please see our Honor Copyright campaign for more information about what is legal and what is not.

from the chapter Homeschooling During Unemployment by Renee Brown

A good place to start

If you have been homeschooling for a year or more, you should have a fairly good idea of what your budget should include. You can look back at your records and figure out how much you have spent on curriculum, supplies, field trips, etc. This is a good place to start. But if you are brand-new to homeschooling, you probably aren’t sure where to begin. Either way, you need to think through all of the following categories to craft a list of what you need and what you want for your homeschool for the next year.

  • Curriculum
  • Supplemental materials – science kits, maps, manipulatives, books, calendars, dictionary, etc.
  • Supplies – pencils, pens, arts/crafts supplies, scissors, binders, crayons, markers, notebooks, writing paper, drawing paper, printer paper, etc.
  • Schoolroom items – desks, tables, chairs, bookcases, supply cabinets, etc.
  • Field trips
  • Homeschool co-op fees
  • Tutoring/extracurricular class fees – foreign language classes, science classes, music lessons, etc.

from How to Make a Homeschool Budget and Stick to It by Amy Matkovich

How to find the money

You may be able to fund your entire homeschool budget from your family’s current income. If not, you need to get creative to figure out how you are going to get the money. Here are some ideas:

  • Look for creative ways to earn extra income
  • Hold a yard sale
  • Find things you can sell online
  • Participate in local consignment sales for both buying and selling
  • Find ways to reduce your current expenses in order to make room in the budget for your homeschool needs.

from How to Make a Homeschool Budget and Stick to It by Amy Matkovich

Discipline and desire

Sticking to your budget is a matter of discipline and desire. You can do this. You just have to be willing to. Review your budget periodically and make needed changes. Remember, this is a spending plan that will fluctuate.

from How to Make a Homeschool Budget and Stick to It by Amy Matkovich

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