Looking to homeschool on a budget? Being a homeschooling family on a single income can be very challenging even when it is clearly the best choice for your family.
As homeschool parents (new homeschoolers or veterans), we must consider the total cost of homeschooling. We have to calculate how much money school supplies, the best deals for the new curriculum, and how to maximize our kids’ educational experiences.
In this post, I will provide 14 tips and advice on choosing affordable curricula without breaking the bank. Times are hard and homeschool families know that every penny counts, right?
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #1: Determine Your Educational Goals and Priorities
To choose affordable curriculum options, it’s important to determine your educational goals and priorities. Consider what subjects are most important to you and your child, what teaching style works best, and any specific learning challenges or preferences you need to address.
By understanding your priorities, you can narrow down your choices and focus on the options that best meet your family’s needs.
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #2: Research Curriculum Options
Once you’ve determined your educational goals and priorities, start researching curriculum options. Look for options that are affordable, effective, and engaging.
Some options are:
Free online resources:
Many websites offer free educational resources, including lesson plans, worksheets, and interactive activities. Some great examples are Khan Academy, OpenStax, and CK-12. Crash Course is also a great place for homeschool moms on a tight budget to check out.
You can often find used curriculum options on online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, or Craigslist. Also, check out local homeschooling groups, consignment sales, and curriculum swaps.
Curriculum that can be reused for multiple children: Some curriculum options can be used for multiple children or can be resold after you’re done with them. Be sure to check out homeschool classifieds to find pre-loved curricula from other homeschoolers.
You can create your own curriculum by combining different resources and materials from various sources.
Some curriculum providers offer bundles of curriculum options for a reduced price.
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #3: Consider Digital Options
Digital curriculum options can be a great choice for families on a single income because they often cost less than physical books and materials. They allow you to save money on printing costs and storage space.
Some digital options to consider include:
eBooks and audiobooks:
These are often less expensive than physical books and can be stored on a single device.
Online courses and classes:
Many websites offer online courses and classes, which can be a great way to save money on curriculum while still providing quality instruction.
Some subscription services offer access to a wide range of digital resources, including educational videos, interactive activities, and more.
Using artificial intelligence programs to either supplement or be the spine of your child’s curriculum. AI programs for now are generally low-cost and can be a great option for homeschooling families.
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #4: Take Advantage of Free Resources
There are so many free resources available online that you can use to supplement any curricula you may be using.
The only danger to be aware of is accumulating too many free goodies and never using them. I know I used to be guilty on that end. However, that’s not a problem now that I have established our go-to curricula 🙂
Below you will find resources to help you stretch that buck and your homeschooling budget further.
- Public libraries: Your local library offers a wide range of free resources, including books, DVDs, and educational programs.
- Printables: There are websites that offer free printables and free books that you can use as is or with unit studies
- Local museums and cultural centers: Many museums and cultural centers offer free admission or discounted rates for homeschooling families.
- Online communities: Online communities, such as homeschooling forums, Facebook groups, and blogs, can be a great source of free advice and resources.
- Government resources: Some government agencies offer free resources, such as the Library of Congress and NASA.
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #5: Evaluate Curriculum Samples
Before investing in a curriculum option, it’s a good idea to evaluate samples to ensure it meets your family’s needs. Many curriculum providers offer free samples or trial periods, allowing you to try before you buy.
Another way to see if a certain curriculum may be a good fit is to borrow from other homeschoolers. Go through the pages and get an idea of the layout of each lesson: is it open-and-go or do you have to do some prep before each lesson?
Homeschool on a Budget Tip #6: Consider Group Buying
Another way to save money on curriculum is to buy in groups.
Consider joining or creating a homeschooling co-op or a group of homeschooling families and pooling your resources to purchase curriculum options in bulk at a discounted rate.
Sites like homeschool buyers co-op are perfect for accommodating this.
Additional Tips to Stretch Your Homeschooling Dollar
Here are a few more tips and ideas to think about when you are planning your next school year.
If you can, open a bank account dedicated to online classes, next year’s curriculum as well as any other great resources you may come across. You can fund this with a tax credit or get creative with whatever extra money you come across.
Consider Online Libraries
Many public libraries now offer digital resources that you can access for free with a library card. This includes eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and even movies and TV shows.
Be sure to use these awesome resources to supplement your curriculum and save money on books and other materials.
Look for Free Trials and Samples
Many curriculum providers offer free trials or samples of their materials. You can also see if there are any yard sales or dent sales that offer homeschool materials.
This can help you save money and find the best fit for your family. And be sure to check out your nearest homeschooling convention as publishers and curriculum companies tend to give a discount when you buy there.
Join Homeschooling Facebook Groups
Joining homeschooling Facebook groups (or other social media groups) can be a great way to connect with other homeschooling families, get advice, and find free resources which definitely help your homeschool budget. You can also buy and sell used curricula in these groups.
Use Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OER) are free educational materials that are available online for anyone to use. These resources can include textbooks, videos, and interactive activities.
You can search for OER by subject and grade level, making it easy to find materials that fit your needs.
Consider Unconventional Learning Materials
Learning materials don’t have to come from a traditional curriculum provider. Consider using unconventional materials such as board games, puzzles, and educational apps to supplement your curriculum.
These materials can be fun and engaging for your child while also providing valuable learning opportunities.
Incorporate Real-Life Learning
Real-life learning opportunities can be a great way to supplement your curriculum and save money.
This can include activities such as cooking, gardening, and home repairs, as well as field trips to museums, historical sites, and other educational destinations.
Save money on homeschool supplies by shopping at thrift stores! You never know what treasures you’ll find with a little digging, from gently used textbooks and workbooks to educational games and manipulatives.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and repurpose items, like using a muffin tin as a math manipulative or turning a globe into a geography lesson. Plus, shopping at thrift stores is a sustainable option that helps reduce waste and support your local community.
When homeschooling parents take advantage of free resources, evaluate curriculum options carefully, and think outside the box, they can provide their child with a quality education without breaking the bank.
And don’t forget that the best homeschool curriculum is the one that you use with your kids.