10 Ways To Save Money On Homeschooling

homeschool materials

More and more parents are deciding that homeschooling is the correct choice for their kids. Those that do decide to homeschool soon discover that it can be an expensive endeavor. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to reduce the cost of homeschooling. Here are a few that should be consider:

Set a Budget

Homeschooling is a big decision for some parents. You might choose to homeschool your kids for various reasons, but one thing you need to consider is how much you’re willing to pay for materials. While many things can be found online for free, you will probably need to spend some money on books and other materials. The best thing you can do to save some money is to research the cost of certain items and then set a budget for each year. This will allow you to stick to a certain amount (or range) without overspending.

Use Free Online Materials

Each year there are more and more online teaching materials published for free. These can range from textbooks to supplementary materials to traditional classroom projects. Finding free online materials is a great way to provide your kid with a great education for next to nothing!

Keep it Simple

Many classrooms have a lot of extra materials to help kids learn such as flashcards, video games, movies, or audio or computer programs. While these are great teaching materials, they can quickly become very expensive. Do you really need to spend $15 on a set of laminated flash cards? Of course not, especially when you can make some yourself with materials you already own. You can easily make your own worksheets or other materials, as well. It might take more time, but it’ll save you some money.

Attend a Homeschool Curriculum Fair

There are many homeschool curriculum fairs throughout the year, and if you’re homeschooling your children, you should consider visiting. Not only do many of these fairs provide great information about homeschooling materials, but they sometimes offer discounted prices on textbooks and supplementary materials. Of course, remember not to buy something just because it’s on sale or discounted, but it’s worth it to check out some of the deals anyway.

Back to School Sales

Just because you’re children are homeschooled doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of back to school sales! They’re probably going to need just as many notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, and glue as any other kid in school. So when that time of year rolls around again, check out the flyers to see what store has the best deals. Also try buying these materials at the end of the school year since they’re occasionally cheaper then, too.

Share with Others

If there are other people in your town or city who also homeschool their children, why not share the cost of some of the textbooks, programs, or materials? Or you can swap materials between everyone. Not only will you save some money, but you’ll get some different programs and teaching materials you might not have otherwise considered.

Discount Programs

Have you ever been to a bookstore and seen special discounts for teachers? Well, don’t just ignore those signs and flyers! You’re considered a teacher, too. In case you didn’t know, both parents and children can receive homeschool IDs. Once you have an ID that marks you as a homeschool teacher, you’re eligible for all those teacher discounts. So go and take advantage of them and save money on books and supplies!

Buy Used

There are plenty of sites online, such as eBay, Amazon, or BookMooch, that allow you to buy used teaching materials. Don’t be worried about being too frugal or not getting the best materials for your children. Used textbooks, workbooks, or other materials are just as good as new ones. They might be a semester or year out of date, but if you’re buying for something like English grammar or European history, you shouldn’t worry since that material rarely changes.

Community Programs

Since your kids are homeschooled, they might be missing out on social interactions or field trips. Consider checking out what community programs are available in your town or city. Some libraries offer book clubs for children while some communities cater to homeschooled kids and offer them free or discounted admission into museums, theatres, or zoos. Not only will your kid get to experience visiting museums and other attractions, but they’ll get some great interactions with other kids their own age. There are always options to consider and these are activities you definitely want to add to your kid’s schedule.

Use the Library

If you really want to save money, use the library. A lot of people forget about the library now that we have the internet at our fingertips. While you can find plenty of great materials online, there are some great books that you can still online find in the library. Consider making the library an important place in your child’s education. Not only is the library free due to taxpayer dollars, but it has almost anything you could ever want for your child’s education. If you happen to live in small town, see if your library has an interoffice program that allows you to receive books from larger libraries.

Are there other ways that you have found that save money when homeschooling your kids?

(Photo courtesy of Lyn Lomasi)

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12 Responses to 10 Ways To Save Money On Homeschooling

  1. Joan says:

    “Since your kids are homeschooled, they might be missing out on social interactions or field trips.”….I always thought that kids who are in school are lacking in social interactions and field trips. Homeschooled kids can go places and be with interesting people any time, any day.

  2. Petunia 100 says:

    Joan, when I see that standard remark, I always immediately know the person who made the remark has never homeschooled. :)

  3. Petunia 100 says:

    I think the best way to save money when homeschooling is to get hooked in to the homeschooling community in your area. Swapping materials is only the tip of the iceberg. Even a loosely organized “group” will typically have a newsletter and all sorts of ongoing activities, usually at a very low cost. There are a lot of vendors willing to cater to the ever-growing homeschooling market, offering their services at a discount.

  4. Gail says:

    When I homeschooled my son one year, I wish I had known about the resources avialable and, of course, much more is available in this point in time. Never ignore the power of free trips. My son always ended up accompanying me grocery shopping. He learned how to bag groceries properly, where things were in the store, how to compare prices, etc. Before he graduated high school he had a part time job at the store and today is in his 4th or 5th year as the frozen food manager (has worked there something like 11-12 years total). Considering he is autistic this is tremendous as at one point in time I wasn’t sure he would ever be able to do any job or live independently. Those trips to the store turned out to be the biggest learning experience for him and helped him have job skills for the future. And it was free except of course the cost of the groceries! Don’t ever underestimate what a learning experience can be is a huge way to save money when homeschooling.

  5. Sheri says:

    4H is a great place to get great educational experience for very little expense. So many options of what to get involved in as we’ll as learning character and developing hobbies that last a lifetime or eventually a career or business if they choose. Can’t say enough good things about it.

  6. janieinMN says:

    we also used grocery shopping … i used to split my shop list (canned, boxed, etc) and would give the older 2 their own list & money to pay for it, and the youngest helped me with produce, dairy & frozen. @gail – congrats to you & your son :-)

    we homeschooled 15 years and learned to make the most of EVERY opportunity for a teaching/learning experience. field trips?? no shortages there. we did the local sheriff dept, newspaper, field museum, museum of science & industry (check your museums for their “free” day!)… parks, nature walks, animal ‘tracking’… it was great!

    *disounted textbooks & teacher books
    *homeschool curriculum fairs (great way to review textbooks to decide which route to go!)
    *planning ahead!! purchase enough ‘workbooks’ for all your kids. that way if they redo their curriculum, you don’t have to buy another teacher’s book!! (especially for math, english, etc).
    **USE GAMES to reinforce skills taught (math, reading, history/geography, science, etc)… hands-on games involving interaction & participation of family (not just computer stuff).
    *JOIN library summer reading adventures!
    *utilize homeschool ‘groups’ for things like sports, talent shows, etc
    *get together with other family friends and host a spelling bee!
    *take a karate ‘self-defense’ class together with your kids
    *REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!! incorporate art & music into your studies

  7. Vincent says:

    “But what about SOCIALIZATION?” LOL!!!!!
    (You know…like passing notes in class, kids saying “you’re dead after school”, class clowns disrupting the class constantly…and teachers who have NO DESIRE to teach but just want their paycheck (not all, but a good deal of them anyway). Man, are your kids missing out!

  8. Fay Clegg says:

    Our library is not free! It is $65/year. Bummer. We don’t live in the same county that is why. They have tried to make it so that people who don’t live in the city limits have to pay.

  9. Jessica says:

    We couldn’t live without the library! We use living books. Thank goodness for interlibrary loans also (most of the libraries in Georgia are in the same system so we have access to MANY books)!
    I also buy everything used on ebay and Amazon!

  10. Chris Barnes says:

    My advice is to NOT make picking (or buying) a curriculum the first thing you do/think about. It is NOT the most important part of education (it’s not even 2nd or 3rd). Seriously – if you have other issues taken care of, pretty much any curriculum will do just fine.

  11. Kate says:

    Missing out on social interactions and field trips? Haha. My kids have been involved in more social settings than any ps kids we know. Our local districts take 2 field trips in 12 years, while my kids took about 30 per year! Our local home school organization has over 400 families and there are many social activities and classes going on. My kids have been on 6 out-of-country mission trips and have done community volunteer work for years. They have helped in the political realm also. They both played sports and have lots of friends who are in all educational situations. We also host international students. I know there are families who can’t or won’t do many out-of-house things, but most we have known over the past 14 years of homeschooling do have a real life that includes real socialization. All-in-all…good article with good advice.

  12. Maureen says:

    As a veteran home schooler of 20+ years, I feel it needs to be said that used and cheap are not always the best way to be frugal. With many hands, eyes, and brains using the materials in my household, we have found that in *many* cases it really does pay to buy new. “Buy new, or by twice”, is often my mantra Yes, used and cheap saves money in the short run, but when you have several children needing to use materials, buying second-hand very often just doesn’t make “cents”. So choose wisely what you will put your money towards, but also be flexible and know that what works for one, or two, or… likely won’t work for everyone. When I am considering purchasing something new I always track down someone who has that particular material, ask what they think of it, and look at it myself, then I decide.
    We have purchased most of our text books new. I do not share them with other families until I am certain I am finished with them, because with every set of hands bindings are weaken, spines broken, pages torn.
    Laminated flash cards mean long-lasting flash cards. And yes, you can make them yourself if you have the time (with many children and other responsibilities, you may or may not). I purchased a small laminator years ago and made many of my own flash cards, then laminated them. These have been used now by at least 7 of my kids, and I will have them to share with grandchildren!

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