One of the most surprising comments I hear from people is that they can’t homeschool because they don’t have the budget. They truly believe public school is the “cheaper” route. And while I’ve never had my children in public school, I know there are families who have homeschooled on both sides of the coin.
Some families like using an all-in-one curriculum, that quite frankly can be costly (some are, not all). Some like a lot of extra curriculars, classes, co-ops and field trips, which again…all bulk up the budget. But on the flip side, there are many families, mine included who homeschool on a budget, and a tight budget, at that.
Throughout our entire homeschool journey, we have done so on a single income. That meant we needed to find every way possible to save money on curriculum – without compromising the quality of education we wanted to give our children. These are three surefire ways we’ve found not to homeschool on a budget.
You Can’t Homeschool on a Budget without…a Budget
Yes this seems redundant, but it’s true. Our first year homeschooling I was so excited and set out to find anything and consequently every thing I could. I thought because I was shopping at garage sales I was doing great, but it turns out, that first year cost me more than our second and third years combined!
I didn’t have a budget, nor did I think it was necessary, because I was “shopping smart.” However, my husband soon informed me that was not the case. From then on, I realized we needed to set a strict budget based on the curriculum we wanted to use. In my third year, I set two budgets, our goal budget and our max budget. This gave me some leeway in my search for curriculum, but a nice buffer should I not be able to find what we wanted as cheap as I hoped.
You Can’t Homeschool on a Budget without a Plan
Not only do you need to plan what curriculum you want, but also how you will find it. There are a number of great resources out there where you can find them used. There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to the resale of homeschool curriculum, even some just for specific products.
You can find used curriculum on Amazon, Timberdoodle, Christianbook.com and Facebook Groups/Marketplace and more. But going in without a plan can be a recipe for disaster. So what should you plan for?
Plan for curriculum you can resell. Reselling curriculum is one way to cut down on your budget. When you search groups to buy used curriculum, you can make note of the prices for the next year. This will also give you an idea of whether or not it’s worth reselling. There are many buy and sell groups on Facebook that you can list your homeschool curriculum. If you can keep them in great condition, reselling is a great way to recoup some of your budget.
Plan for curriculum you can reuse. With 6 children in our family, we tend to lean toward non-consumable curriculum. At least for the elementary years. I would much rather pay for copies than a new geography curriculum every year. Finding an online or digital curriculum and only printing the pages you need is another way to save money and keep it for the next child.
Plan for curriculum you can borrow. If you’re lucky enough to be near a large homeschool community, many of them offer a library to lend out curriculum. This is not only a great way to “test” out a new curriculum before you purchase, but also to cut costs by simply “checking out” the curriculum for the semester or year.
You Can’t Homeschool on a Budget without Patience
Normally I will tell you that patience isn’t required to homeschool, but when it comes to finding your curriculum on a budget, patience is most definitely necessary. As you go through the year, be sure you watch for sales. Frequent Facebook groups that allow you to buy and sell curriculum, so you can watch for good deals.
The websites that carry homeschool curriculum often have sales at least several times a year. Ask around or simply watch for them to come around and you can save a bundle! Speaking of bundles, watch for homeschool bundle sales throughout the year. My favorite, of course, is the Build Your Bundle sale, which typically happens in May. Bundle sales allow you to get a large quantity of curriculum for a minimal price.
There are many reasons someone might believe they “can’t” homeschool, but a budget shouldn’t be one of them. With these three simple steps, anyone can homeschool on any size budget – no matter how tight.
What ways have you found to homeschool successfully on a budget?
This post is part of a Homeschool Myths BUSTED series by the Homeschool Blogging Connection Team. I encourage you to read all of the posts, which you can find HERE or by clicking the image below.