Homeschooling does not have to break your budget! The range of families who homeschool varies from the wealthy movie stars to low-income families that must be careful with every dime. Keep in mind that although you may be spending money to homeschool, you will save money by not having your child in a public or private school.
Older clothes work fine for the home setting, where more stylish (and expensive) clothes are desired for school. It is far cheaper to make lunch at home than to buy a school lunch every day, and that money can add up to a significant amount that can be used for homeschool resources. There are no book fees to pay to a school so that money can also go into your homeschool fund. School fundraisers are avoided and the money spent on them goes in the pot as well. By the time you add up all of the school expenses that you have saved, you might be surprised to find that homeschooling isn't as expensive an alternative as you thought it would be! It is entirely possible to successfully homeschool without spending a fortune, and below are some great resources to add to your budget homeschooling toolbox.
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Homeschooling on a Budget Blog Posts
"I am a homeschooling mom from Minnesota. My brother-in-law told me that he knows of homeschool families in North Dakota who get paid $1500.00 a month to homeschool. Is this true?" Get paid for homeschooling? Sounds good, right? Find out more about the circumstances in which there might (or might not) be money for homeschooling.
In much of the U.S., the spring and summer seasons also bring yard sale season. Where you live, it might be known as a garage sale, rummage sale, or tag sale, but whatever the name, buying used items from families who are ready to let them go can be a boon for your homeschool budget. Here are some great homeschool supplies to search for at yard sales.
Sharing audiobooks is a great way for kids and parents to learn together. Hearing the same material at the same time means that moments for discussion are well-synchronized, and kids can ask questions or ponder meaning in real-time—leading to all kinds of opportunities for inquiry-based learning. Best of all, you can access many audiobooks for free!
LibriVox is a great online source for free audio books. This means you and the kids can listen to lots of well known classic fiction, nonfiction, and children's books -- at no cost -- right from your personal computer, smart phone, or tablet. The books available on LibriVox are books whose copyright has expired, meaning LibriVox volunteers can record them without violating copyright laws, and you can listen without paying a purchase price.
Homeschooling is an economic challenge for many families, including mine. Sometimes it takes extra creativity to make it work. I've had to adjust my habits and expectations along the way. The two most important things for me have been crafting a realistic budget and being clear about our family's priorities. Making homeschooling work is non-negotiable in our family, so we make adjustments in other areas. I've learned that courage and creativity can enable a sense of richness and abundance while keeping things economically balanced. Here are some of the things that I've learned.
Holiday celebrations are important. Over the years we've focused mainly on simple, handmade, joy-filled ways of celebrating. Our crowd's favorite kind of birthday party typically includes a special birthday snack, a gaggle of kids, and a fun place to run around. I encourage my children–and their friends–to give gifts of the heart: treasures from nature, homemade goodies, special handmade items, lovingly selected hand-me-downs, thoughtfully chosen items. We've stepped away from commercially prescribed traditions and created our own. We have consciously shaped many heartfelt traditions that we can replicate year after year even when the budget is meager.
Our family is homeschooling for — nearly! — free this year. I have four kids ranging in age from 5-12 and I’ve pulled all of their core curriculum from free websites, only supplementing with paid subscriptions and resources for some of the “extras”. Is it possible to homeschool a large-ish family on a shoestring budget? You betcha! Below, I’ll outline why we’ve chosen to go the free route and what resources I’m using with my kids (links included!).
Back-to-school is firmly established in the seasonal section of the big discount stores, and the mom and pop shops do their part to stock up on the awesome pens, backpacks and planners families need or want on hand to prepare for school. But what does your homeschooling family need? None of the above? All the things?
Sites with Extensive Free Curricula
- Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool
A complete, free online Christian homeschool program for Preschool - 8th grade that was designed by a mom for her own kids
- Easy Peasy All in One High School
From the creator of Easy Peasy for Preschool - 8th grade, the high school site is set up similar to the lower school, except that there are no levels
- Ambleside Online
A complete, free online Charlotte Mason styled homeschool program with a corresponding discussion forum
- Khan Academy
Khan Academy now contains over 4200 free videos for K-12 in mostly math and science topics; some videos reach into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer. Playlists are available to help progress through a topic in a logical manner.
- An Old Fashioned Education
A portal site for out of copyright resources linked by subject
- Enchanted Learning
Over 35,000 web pages of free printables for younger students (a small optional annual fee removed the advertising banners and supports the site)
- Crash Course
Engaging video courses (from John Green and his brother Hank) designed to be review courses for AP exams; topics available are US History, Chemistry, World History, Biology, Literature, and Ecology.
Alison offers free courses on a variety of topics. All content is free, with the site funded by optional purchases of certificates and/or diplomas. Groups of courses are organized into Learning Paths, which allow students to work their way through a logical progression of course material.
Saving on Homeschool Curriculum
- Used Curriculum Resources
Our list of popular sources for used curriculum
- Homeschool Buyers Co-op
(Affiliate/referral link) HBC negotiates excellent deals with curriculum and resource providers based on quantity purchases.
Affordable or Free Online Resources
Printables and a spelling curriculum for younger students for a small annual fee
- Math Worksheet Site
Free worksheet generator
Extensive site with resources for a reasonable annual fee
- Math-U-See Free Resources
Drills, worksheet generator, and webinars
Free online reading/phonics program
Extensive collection of carefully designed printable forms and resources
- Clever Dragons and Always Icecream
Although these sites want to separate the interests of boys and girls along gender roles, the sites are good quality learning games for younger students and could be be useful if your child enjoys the themes.
- Homeschool Share
Unit study printables
- Education World
Free online printables
- Learning Page
Free online printables
Free online learning games