Homeschool on a Budget

It is Cruise day again.  I really like having these topics to write about.  It gets my brain thinking about something besides lunch and dinner preparations…..

Today’s Cruise topic is ” How do you afford to homeschool? What are some of the ways to save money on homeschool supplies?”  Let’s take them one at a time shall we?…….

How do I afford to homeschool?

Homeschooling isn’t as expensive as one would think.  Yes, it can be pricey if you use a DVD curriculum, or other boxed options…. but if you compare it to the cost of tuition at a private educational institution, it is still a more economic option. 

****Find low cost curriculum options.****
We use a curriculum that is posted online.  It is based on a Charlotte Mason Education ( although I do not follow all her philosophy’s to the letter).  This curriculum is free.  It is broken down into book lists, and a weekly 36 week schedule for me to follow…  I love that I don’t have to create those things, just follow the pattern and add or subtract what we need to.  This curriculum also has hyperlinked text within the book list.  All the material that is linked, can be read online ( a wonderful no cost option! )

 **** Use your library!!!****
When I am organizing a term’s worth of work, I always have my library screen up too.  My library allows me to reserve books online, and will hold wish lists for me, so I don’t need spend extra time looking up books every term.  I can enter the ones I need, and when they come up on the schedule, reserve them.  We order books on CD, videos that correlate to a subject we are studying, foreign language videos and audio CD’s.  It is the first place I start, before I buy anything!

****Look for the best deal before you buy****
There are books we buy.  We can’t get around it.  There is no substitute for a well rounded library, and the ability to take your studies away from the computer and read.  I usually purchase these books as they are needed……… and I search every website I can to find a deal. ( By the way, if you know some I don’t, pass them on! )  I will search Amazon, Half. com, Overstock.com, The Old Schoolhouse Store….  anywhere to save the dollar.  Shipping is what always kills ya on these places so find vendors that carry multiple books.  It is worth it to pay a dollar more for a book if you can save 4 dollars on shipping.  Also look for a text that might be one edition behind the newest one.  Most subjects don’t change that drastically between editions, but saving $90.00 on a Physics text…. is a nice deal any way you slice it.

****Budget and Spend where it’s important****
We do not skimp on our Science and Math curriculum.  It is pricey, but with 4 kids, I know I will eventually get my money’s worth out of that $184 Algebra book and the CD’s.  One way we try to take the sting out of having to squeeze these big ticket books out of our budget is an envelope system.  If I know I need to buy a book in August…. and it is going to cost $184.00.  I budget it over the proceeding 10 months.  If I put a $20 in that envelope every month… In August, I have my book and my shipping covered.  I go deposit the $ and order the book. 

What are some ways that I save money on homeschool supplies?

I make lots of things.  I bought a laminator….  it changed my life.  I cost maybe $25.00 at Wally World… and the sheets aren’t that expensive either.  I have reusable resources that work with any dry erase pen.
Here are some examples:

These are name cards, the ones they put on desks to tell kids where to sit.  It is lined, allows for large writing practice, and makes writing out one’s spelling words a bit more enjoyable.  I picked them up on sale at Office Depot for $3.00 for a pack of 30.
This is a clock I copied from his math book, and glued to a large index card.  He either writes the time, or puts the hands on the clock.
Typed up a bunch of words, cut them, and laminated them.  He sorts the words into the envelope.  We use it to practice nouns, verbs, proper nouns, titles…..  lots of grammar done this way.
My State flash cards that are in progress.  I copied a U.S. Map.  Cut out each state.  Wrote the particulars on the back.

There is a wonderful resource at TOS Magazine’s Schoolhouse Store.  They wrote a book called Dreams and Designs, that sells for $12.45, and it is FULL of money saving ideas.  I highly recommend that you budget for it.

These are just some of the ways we homeschool on a budget.
If you have other ideas, I would love to have you share them in the comments.  I am always looking for new ideas!

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2 thoughts on “Homeschool on a Budget

  1. Thanks for sharing your tips. I keep thinking about trying to use Ambleside Online. Several years ago I think it was far less user friendly than it has recently become now.

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