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Copyright by Christian Keepers Homeschool Fund, Inc., 2011
Copyright by Christian Keepers Homeschool Fund, Inc., 2011

Top Tips on How to Homeschool
on a Shoestring Budget

When it comes to homeschooling, having enough money in the budget is certainly one of the biggest concerns many parents face. For those who may have been paying upwards of $10,000/per year for private schooling, the choice to homeschool may be a much more affordable option. However, for those in a conventional school setting, taking on the full cost of educating your children may feel a bit overwhelming. Today, the average cost of homeschooling a child is about $500/per year, depending on the type of program selected. But keep in mind that this amount may be much less for any additional children in the home since books and supplies can be shared among siblings. For most families, learning to live within a budget is well worth the rewards of choosing to educate their children in a safe and friendly environment. Homeschooling can certainly be accomplished even on shoestring budget by learning some simple tips that will significantly reduce the cost of a homeschool education.

The main component to homeschooling is the curriculum, whether it is in the form of textbooks, software or online virtual lesson plans. Curriculum expense is generally where most of the budget will be used during each academic year, but this is also the area where the greatest amount of savings can be achieved.

Here are some budget-friendly suggestions
to get you started:

  • Check out your public library. Not only can you check out books and videos for free on just about any subject you desire, but you also have the expertise of the library staff to help pinpoint you to find exactly what you may be looking for in a particular subject.

  • Borrow textbooks from other homeschoolers. If you know of another homeschool family in your area simply ask them if you can borrow, swap or buy their used books once they are finished with them. They might be very appreciative to get rid of the extra clutter in their schoolroom.

  • Join a local support group for homeschoolers. Many local homeschool groups conduct yearly book swaps and/or yard sales where you can find lots of used and low-cost curriculum.

  • Use the Internet. There are literally thousands of online materials and worksheets you can find for use in homeschooling that are completely free, minus the cost of printing any of the materials out. The easiest way to find what you need is to do a search by grade and/or subject. Places like School Express, TLS Books, and's Guide to Homeschooling offer hundreds of worksheets to get you started. Also, don’t forget to search for materials under local or national museums, such as the Smithsonian Education Website, which offer numerous printable activity sheets.

  • Concentrate on the three-R’s (Reading, Writing & Arithmetic)!
    Focus your attention on the basics first, then as the budget allows add extra subjects throughout the year.  A good way to get started is by purchasing materials like the grade specific Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills workbooks, which you can easily find at most of your local big-box stores, including places like Costco, Wal-Mart and Staples. These books cover the basic skills needed for each grade level, and it is also a great way to assess exactly where your child may need additional help.

  • Ask your local school district for their discarded textbooks. Although some of these books may be slightly outdated, the basic concepts in subjects like math and English have changed very little over the years.

Once you have your curriculum set, there are other supplies you may need as well in order to set up your homeschool class room.

Here are some additional tips to help stretch out
your homeschool budget:

  • Buy the majority of your school supplies in August! This is the time of year when the big retailers market school supplies at major discounted prices in anticipation of the new school year. During this time of year is when you want to purchase all your basic supplies, such as paper, folders, glue, scissors, crayons, pencils, etc. You will be amazed at the significant price difference of these items compared to buying them later on.

  • Use the classifieds! If you are in need of a home computer or furniture, such as desks or tables, this is an excellent place to come across items that fit in your budget. Also don’t forget to check out online yard sales, which you can find close to home. Many local groups are popping up all over on places like Facebook and Craigslist.

  • Last, but not least, use your own resources! You might be surprised on what you already have around you if you put your mind to it. Science projects can be easily accomplished even in your own backyard or at your local or regional park using the materials nature has already provided. Teaching kids to cook not only helps them to become responsible, but it can help them in their reading and math skills as they learn to read recipes and measure ingredients. Participate in local church functions, like VBS or sports programs. This is also a great opportunity for kids to get out and make new friends, while learning new activities or exercises. Another tremendous resource might be grandparents, or the elderly couple next door. Not only are many of them well experienced in various subject matters, but they may be more than eager for the company and the opportunity to share their life experiences and skills with the younger generation.

 Copyright, by K.Thurston, 2011 - 2014

Copyright (c) 2011 - 2014
Christian Keepers Homeschool Fund, Inc.
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