Monday, August 23, 2010

Homeschooling - Can You Afford It?

If you know anything about me, you know I like a good deal!  I use coupons, I shop sales, I buy used, and the clearance rack is my friend!  So why would that change when we are talking about homeschooling?  

Here are some tips to keep in mind to save money while homeschooling:

Set a Budget!  Have an idea of how much you want to spend each year and stick to it.  It can be really tempting to buy everything you see when you walk into a used curriculum sale.  Research ahead of time the prices for each item.  Write it down and bring it with you.  Just because all the other moms are equipped with roll carts and bags, doesn't mean you have to be.  Relax and look for what you need.

Make a Spreadsheet!  I started one when our daughter was in Pre-K.  I keep track of the item's retail price, how much I pay for it, and how much I sell it for. 

Borrow or Swap!  If you know someone who has what you need but they are not using it this year, see if you can borrow it or swap it for something you have for the year.

Use the Library!  If you have a well stocked public library nearby, this is a cheap way to find all those books on your reading list.  Take advantage of their interlibrary loan system.

Buy used!  Buy from friends or shop your local used curriculum sale if you have one.  This year I have had good luck with the Homeschool Classifieds.  It was pretty simple to set up an account and look for what I wanted.  I was able to buy and sell a few things, which worked out great!

Shop Sales!  Buy school supplies when everything is on sale, and during the tax-free weekend if your state offers it.

Shop Online!  I have found that if I can't find something used, I may be able to find it cheaper on Amazon or Books-A-Million.  Both offer free shipping if you buy over $25 and Books-A-Million has a 20% off educators discount for teachers.  You just have to sign up for the card and then register the card number to your account.

Join a Co-op!  Co-ops offer support and ideas that you would not have available otherwise.  If there is not a co-op near you, you could join the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, the world's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschoolers.

Hand Down!  We only have one child so we sell things after we use them, unless they would be a good resource for the future or they were consumable.  But for bigger families, hand down books and curriculum to younger siblings. 

Search FREE Sites!  If I can find a free online site that has games, resources, or materials, I will try and incorporate it into our schedule.  I try not to use too many, but they break up our day for time to time.  Here are a few that I like:

Art Projects For Kids - Free art projects for children
Donna Young - Free printables and resources
Starfall - Free service to motivate children to read with phonics
Learning Games for Kids - Free online educational games
Lapbook Lessons - Free Lapbooks and Lapbook Video Lessons
Homeschool Share - Free literature-based unit studies and resources
Timez Attack - Free online math game
Classics for Kids - Wonderful interactive site about the classics
Big IQ Kids Spelling - Free online spelling tests
Currclick - Sign up for their weekly freebie
The Old Schoolhouse - Sign up for their weekly newsletter

I hope this has been helpful!  There really are ways to stay within your budget so you can homeschool! 

3 comments:

Blossom

Great post. I have seen a few of these already but you have some really great tips for helping keep the cost of homeschooling down. You now have 78 followers :)
Thanks for stopping by my blog and entering the giveaway. :) Have a great day!

Michelle Smith

Quite a few great tips you've included here! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

One Mom

Thanks for stopping by!

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