Many of us are already getting excited about planning the coming school year. We will consider the needs of each of our children, what worked, what didn’t, what improvements need to be made, and how we will do it all without breaking the bank! After seventeen years of homeschooling, I can confidentially say I am an expert at homeschooling on a budget! Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Pray. Ask God for direction. After all, he created your children and knows what will work best for them.
Determine your children’s learning style. – Is your child a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Determining your children’s learning style can be half the battle AND save you a lot of money in the long-run.
Determine your family’s homeschool philosophy. Just because a particular curriculum works for your best friend doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your family. Do you prefer the traditional, classical, Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, or eclectic approach? Taking time to determine your family’s homeschool philosophy is half of the battle and will wind up saving you frustration and thousands of dollars in the end.
Make a list and stick to it. This works well in the grocery store AND when shopping for curriculum. Once you determine your children’s learning styles and your homeschool philosophy, make a shopping list, stick to it, and avoid impulse buying.
Go less, accomplish more. Homeschooling and training up our children require time and patience…lots of it. The more we go, the less we will have of both and the smaller our bank account will grow in the process.
Invest wisely. Seek out homeschool resources that teach subjects such as spelling, grammar, writing, and even math to multiple grade levels at the same time, thereby eliminating the need to purchase additional curriculum every year. You will be surprised how inexpensive they are and how much they will save you over the long haul.
Consider unit studies. Unit studies provide an affordable way for families to consolidate and weave multiple subjects into one and have everyone in the family, regardless of age, learning about the same topic and the same time. Why buy separate textbooks for multiple subjects when you can cohesively and simultaneously link Bible, history, science, literature, grammar, writing, geography, art, etc. to one unit study topic?
Utilize your local library. Unless you live in a town with a poor library system, there is absolutely no reason to buy reading books. Your library is chock-full of beautiful, living classics and Newbery and Caldecott award winning literature. Exposing your children to quality literature also contributes to improving their vocabulary and making them better writers.
Investigate free community resources. Apprenticeships, shadowing, music, drama, and community service with your local church and leadership opportunities with reputable boys’ and girls’ organizations are all great options. Free athletic, art, and quality community music and drama opportunities are others. Enlist the help of family and friends (all are experts in one thing or another). Explore free museums, historical sites, events, zoos, nature centers, and botanical gardens. Search for volunteer opportunities that exist in your community. Free community resources are everywhere, and they are just waiting for you to tap into them.
Take advantage of sales, coupon codes, and book sales. Vendors at homeschool conferences regularly offer discounts. Taking advantage of these discounts will also save you the cost of shipping. Homeschool curriculum companies sometimes offer sales and coupon codes. Sign up for their newsletter or like them on Facebook to receive sale announcements. If they align with your children’s learning styles and your homeschool philosophy, jump on it!