When we decided to go the homeschool route 5 years ago, it was very carefully thought out. But one thing I didn’t really plan for was the curriculum costs and the increase our food budget would experience. If you are a new homeschooling family, you’re probably wondering how you will afford these added expenses. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert homeschooling mom, but I’ve learn a few tricks along the way to help keep our homeschooling costs low.
How To Homeschool On A Dime
I can’t stress this enough. If your budget is tight, start trimming your expenses to free up some income. Even when our income has increased, we continue to live frugally. This enables me to stay home and homeschool our kids. Not sure where to begin? Check out these resources to help you get started:
- 7 Tips For Living On One Incom
- 7 Reasons You Keep Overspending
- Living On One Income-Taking Action
- Financial Resources for the New Year
Think outside the curriculum box
I know it’s tempting to purchased a boxed curriculum when you’re starting out. If you can afford it or prefer this method, go for it! However, I personally have found that I never use all of the material. Instead I purchase from various homeschool curriculum suppliers as well as supplement with free online resources. What our family uses: For math my son is currently using GO Math! Academy along with worksheets I’ve purchased online. For history we use a Calvert textbook, Netflix and YouTube history channels. For reading material, we tap into our local library. We own a variety of textbooks for our other subjects that I’ve obtained for free or very little. It’s truly not impossible to homeschool with a limited budget. If you live in a state that offers free cyber school, you could also opt to go this route. Just be aware that cyber schools follow traditional school rules and regulations. We actually joined a cyber school in our state when we started our homeschool journey, but made changes after I became more comfortable with homeschooling. My son is 100% homeschooled by me, but my daughter decided she liked the cyber school curriculum. She will be graduating this summer.
Supplement your income
Consider adding a new income source to your household that could help alleviate homeschool costs. I prefer options that allow me to stay home with my kids and give me the flexibility to work when I’m not homeschooling. Some great choices are blogging, being a virtual assistant for others professionals or offering child care services. You can also consing your children’s used clothes and toys or find other creative ways to find money in your home.
Take advantage of homeschool discounts
Take advantage of homeschooling discounts that are available at local venues and stores. I was surprised how many places offer these to homeschooling families. It’s a great way to keep costs low and save money. Some of my favorites are Barnes & Noble, AC Moore and local museums. Most local family attractions offer a special homeschool day or discount, if you don’t see it noted on their website, simply ask. You may be asked for a homeschool ID or some form of proof that you are a homeschooling family.
Network with other homeschooling families
I can’t stress this enough. When I first started homeschooling, I personally didn’t know anyone that was also doing it. It was very lonely the first few years. I relied heavily on blog posts and online resources to answer my questions. But one day I stumbled upon a Facebook group of local homeschoolers and I joined. The group has been a great resource for our family. I find out about local homeschooling events, I can ask questions, and even sell or exchange our used curriculum. Do you homeschool? How do you keep costs low? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!