Homeschooling takes time. And money. Some families I know set aside the same sum you would spend on a private school for materials. Others have a limited budget of only a few hundred dollars a year for resources. Some school for only pennies, using free resources online.
I look at my schooling in the same fashion as I do meals. Sometimes it’s worth it to me to take the family out for dinner so I can relax. No cooking, no cleaning, just a nice laid back meal. Yes, I’ll pay three times what the food is worth but it’s worth it for the mere convenience of it! Of course, I don’t do this every single night, just once in awhile. For the most part, I prefer spending less money on ingredients and setting aside more time preparing a home cooked meal for my family.
It’s the same with homeschooling. I am willing to pay a little bit more money for certain subjects so I don’t have to spend time prepping, printing, researching and getting things in order for a lesson. Math and English are perfect examples of this. Paying for the mere convenience of ready made curriculum is worth it. For other subjects, it’s worth it for me to save the money and spend some time getting the materials together myself. If the kids are learning about birds, for example, I might search around for a free bird lapbook before purchasing something online.
Here is a great place where you can search through thousands of free resources by grade, subject or age group.
If you want to save money on books, being prepared is key. Keep a list of what you will need for the next couple of years and keep your eyes open at used curriculum sales, thrift stores or garage sales. Think ahead. I once purchased the entire Little House on the Prairie Series at a yard sale for only a few dollars! It sat in my schoolroom for a few years but when I needed it I didn’t have to spend full price. This is an area where I like to stock up when the price is right.
Another way I like to save money is by using my e-reader for certain books or downloads. If you use an e-reader in your homeschool, then consider looking in online archives for free classics before purchasing a copy. Below are a few examples of free books online.
Check out the list below of other freebies for homeschoolers!
(Note: Some are seasonal)