Friday, July 20, 2012

Homeschooling on a Budget


Homeschooling can be expensive.  There are so many wonderful games, manipulatives, books, lesson plans, and supplies that it can be an overwhelming task just figuring out what to use.  Whether you use textbooks, living books, or a combination of the two, the figures can easily add up.

Earlier this year, I started compiling a list of ideas focused on homeschooling for less money.  Here are just a few ideas I came up with:

1.  Use the library.  We live in a rural area with a very pathetic library system.  Even the libraries in surrounding towns don't have many classic children's books.  However, there is a larger city that we travel to about once a month to visit my husband's parents.  They allow patrons to purchase a library card for a once-a-year fee.  We decided this might be a good idea, as we make it there regularly, and we would then have access to many books we would otherwise need to purchase.

2.  Buy used books and manipulatives.  There are many online options for buying used books: Ebay, Homeschool Classifieds, and VegSource, to name a few.  We've used all of these to obtain books and supplies.  We also regularly trade books at a local used book store.  They allow you to bring in books you no longer need or want, and they will give you store credit or cash for the books they want.  We have often been able to get our school books for free this way!

3.  Use Paperback Swap.  We love Paperback Swap!  I love the idea of getting a book and getting rid of a book at the same time.  We've found lots of children's books here, most in excellent condition.

4.  Laminate some worksheet pages so they can be used more than once.  You can use a laminator (this is the one I have), contact paper, or page protectors for this.  Then use a wipe-off, dry-erase or overhead marker to write with.  It can then be wiped clean.  Our children love the worksheets I've done like this.  Something about using the  wipe-off marker makes it seem more fun.  Here are some examples of worksheets I've laminated:


5.  Sign up for Swagbucks and you can use the Amazon gift cards you win with Swagbucks to get school items for free!

6.  Check out the free curriculum at Ambleside Online, An Old Fashioned Education, Hubbard's Cupboard (my favorite!),  Letter of the Week, ABC Jesus Love Me, and Lesson Pathways.  Also check out the free curriculum guide at Simply Charlotte Mason (love SCM!).  SCM also has other free resources here.  

7.  Yard sales and thrift stores are great sources for inexpensive materials.  We've found lots of curriculum, manipulatives, and items for preschool/montessori trays here.

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How do you keep the cost of homeschooling down?  I'd love to hear your money-saving ideas!



Save money by buying a homeschool planner that can be used year after year!



Related Posts:  Our Homeschool Room, Circle Time, Planning a New School Year, Keeping Little Ones Busy (Preschool Ideas)

Linking to:  The Modest Mom, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Cornerstone Confessions

20 comments:

  1. I think that I have less of an issue with the cost of home schooling because I only need to teach one. Having said that I usually buy books and workbooks when they are greatly reduced even if they are for subjects we won't cover for a year or two. That way I always have a stash waiting for the next stage. I don't like to use too much paper for environmental reasons and also print cartridges are very expensive so alot of our writing and notes are done on a computer (apart of course for the times when what we are doing is learning to write neatly etc.) I buy crafting supplies when they are greatly reduced to and, again, stash them for future use. xxx

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    1. Thanks for sharing such great ideas, Lily. Buying in advance when things are on sale makes so much sense. Oh, I know what you mean about print cartridges, too. Thanks again for sharing!

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  2. I have got a lot of my homeschooling books from former homeschoolers, (including my mom hee hee!). Some great reference books from the thrift store and free worksheets from softschools.com Of course you do pay for your paper to do this.

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    1. That must be nice to have a mom you can get books from! Were you home educated? I have had a few friends give or lend me things from time-to-time, but not very often. I've heard of that free worksheet site, but I've never tried it. Our printer never works right, so I often can't print anything. :( Hope you have a great weekend, Josette!

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  3. Anonymous7/23/2012

    I just love your ideas. Do you think it is possible to homeschool an only child? I have one daughter age 4 and have infertility. My husband worries about her social skills develop[ment and becoming lonely. I however, still have this strong urge/ longing to homeschool her and not send her to preschool this year. I would welcome any thoughts you have. Thank you, Alissa

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    1. Dear Alissa,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, it is definitely possible to homeschool an only child! In fact, even if I only ever had one child, I would still choose to educate my child at home.

      I'm sure your daughter would love to have your undivided attention as you teach her at home. I think children in general (especially those of preschool age) feel safest and happier with their own mothers at home. You could have a fulfilling time together, doing simple chores in the morning, reading books together, doing a bit of preschool work/craft projects, playtime outside together, rest time, etc.

      The preschool age is one of my favorite ages, and I have happy memories of spending this time with my little ones.

      We have a young lady at church who just turned 17, and she is an only child. She has been homeschooled her whole life, and she has not been hindered socially. She is very outgoing and friendly, she relates well to people of any age, both young children, kids her own age, adults, and the elderly. She has a very caring and loving personality, and she also has a beautiful relationship with her parents. She is especially close to her mother, who has invested her whole life in teaching, loving, guiding, and just being a friend to her.

      She is involved in 4-H, and has won many medals for raising and showing animals, sewing, knitting, crochet, baking, and so many other crafts. She also writes songs and plays the piano. She sells her crafts to sponsor a Compassion International child, and she was recently interviewed by a local newspaper about her ministry.

      So, all-in-all, I think the young lady in question has only benefited from being homeschooled, even though she has no siblings.

      The "socialization" that occurs in a school situation (whether public or private) is not true socialization. To be properly "socialized," an individual should be comfortable with and know how to relate to people of any age. This is not what happens in the artificial school environment, where children are grouped with others of the same age, day in and day out. They learn to be "cool," and how to be accepted by their peer group. (Of course, there are always exceptions to this, but this is too often what happens.)

      So, I would just encourage you that, yes, homeschooling is an excellent option (and in my opinion is the best choice), no matter how many children you have.

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  4. These are tips I definitely need to implement!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I just found your blog and LOVE it. Great tips! I just created my own blog at http://abundantjoy04.blogspot.com/ check it out. Thanks again for the tips! With having four children homeschooling could get expensive!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Tonya! And thank you for the kind words about my blog. I'll have to visit yours when I get a chance!

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  6. Great tips. I am in the process of trying to homeschool on a budget so this is very helpful. I'd love to have you link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday on Cornerstone Confessions. I hope to see you there.

    Kathy

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    1. Thanks! I'll try to link up when I get a chance.

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  7. I have always had to homeschool on a budget. I like Sonlight for one of my children and so I use Ebay to put the whole thing together. Then, at the end of the year, I sell the whole assembled curriculum on Ebay and use the proceeds to buy my next year's stuff. Works for me! August is the best time to sell homeschool items on Ebay. Love your blog--have liked it on Facebook!

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    1. Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your ideas! That is an excellent idea to buy things on Ebay and then resell. We've done that before, too. We bought a lot of our school books used this year, and it saved so much money.

      Thanks for the Facebook like!

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  8. I think this year is going to be my most creative year yet with the budget. But I am looking forward to the challenge, I think. [0; I just wished we had a better library near us. It is a good thing that I have homeschooled two boys to the end already so I have a lot of living books and other curriculum. So I hope after this week end to really start pulling together my books and make a outline of what I would envision for this coming year. It is going to be strange only schooling two boys this year. Keep sharing what you use. It would be fun to hear how you all think about what you use.

    Blessings and ((HUGS))
    In Him<><
    -Mary

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    1. It's hard when you don't have a good library nearby. That's so wonderful that you already have lots of good books to use with your younger boys. I keep thinking that one day we won't have to buy much for the new school year, but then I keep switching plans! I'm really hoping what we're using this year will be something I want to keep and use and pass down. I do hope to share our thoughts throughout the year.

      Blessings to you, Mary!

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  9. Anonymous7/31/2012

    Re public library use... You may be able to save some time and travel by using Inter Library Loan. Even small branches can access just about any title you're interested in, generally at no additional cost to the user. Public libraries are linked to a larger network--technically all the way up to the Library of Congress--in order to serve the lifelong educational needs of those whom they serve. Of course, it's not the same as perusing the aisles yourself, but ILL is a service which your Reference Librarian can help you access. Happy Reading!
    --Patricia,
    Former Librarian in my pre-mom life

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    1. Hi Patricia,

      Thanks so much for your suggestions. We have used Inter Library Loan quite a few times, but I think we would have too many requests for our little rural library to be very useful. I doubt they would like us very much if we requested all the books I'd like to borrow! When we lived in a slightly larger town, we sometimes requested books we really wanted to borrow through ILL, and they were always happy to comply. So, it's a great option for some to consider.

      Thanks again for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  10. Thanks for the great suggestions! This post was great!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!