That is a great question for any homeschool family.
I have several friends that have said in the past, ” We would homeschool, IF we could afford it!”
GUESS WHAT! YOU CAN!
Most people who don’t know much about homeschooling believes that you have to spend thousands of dollars and buy the absolute best curriculum out there. You don’t.
When we first began our homeschooling journey 5 years ago I went to my first conference. It was very overwhelming to see all the different curriculum we could choose from. Who knew there were SO MANY CHOICES!
We went from booth to booth in awe of every curriculum. We saw curriculum that was way out of our price range and some that was right in our price range.
Did you know there is even FREE curriculum you can get? Yes, FREE!
I am going to share some ways that we afford homeschooling in our one-income family.
First and foremost: I am not a huge spender. As a teen I was. I would go clothes shopping for myself with almost every paycheck. As soon as I got myself into the “real world” that changed. I do not spend if I do not have to spend. By that I mean, I don’t go clothes shopping when it is not needed. We buy the clothes we need and we don’t spend more than what is needed on clothing. My child has enough clothes for each season and so do we. I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes for him to wear once either. I buy clothes I know will last and will be useful to us. I try not to buy things we do not need.
We live in our means: We do not live in a house we can not afford. We do not have car payments anymore. My car was given to us from my mom. Our truck was paid off a couple of winters ago. Both vehicles are drivable. Both get us from point A to point B and that is all we need. I don’t want to have to buy a brand new car every other season just because someone else got a new car. I don’t work that way. Never have either. I know one day we may have to buy a new car, but it will not be new. I have never bought brand new. I am perfectly fine with buying used to get a lower payment as well. Saving money where we can. We also buy groceries every time hubby gets paid and we make our plans for lunches and dinners for the weeks. Sure sometimes we will also go out to eat, but not every day and not every week.We really want a patio in the backyard, but instead of spending the money to have someone come build us one, we are saving for one. Then we will use plans we found online and build ourselves. There are many things we “want” however, we put aside our wants and think about our needs before anything else. We know we plan to homeschool for awhile, so that comes before material objects we can do without for now.
Curriculum: This is where you can spend some money or not. When Preston was little and he stayed at home with me before starting Kindergarten, I would find ways to have him learn, but for free. Free online resources, Free games online, Sand box activities, hand games for example. Now that he is older, there are still free curriculum you can find ( for example: Easy Peasy ).
Now there are ways to get discounts for curriculum too that you want to purchase.
- Buy at convention- Most of the time vendors are doing discounts or free shipping at convention. Even the free shipping is savings.
- Buy used- Thats right. There are several Facebook pages you can find others selling their used curriculum. Also, stores like Half Price Books have tons of homeschooling curriculum you can buy used.
- Borrow- If you have homeschool friends in your group, they most likely will let you borrow their curriculum when they are done. Just make sure to return it when you are done using it.
- Price match- Places like RainbowResource.com and Christianbooks.com may have the curriculum you are wanting for cheaper than what the actual company sells it for. It may only be a few dollars cheaper, but hey, that is a few dollars saved!
- Save year round- This is something I tell myself every year I need to do and don’t. If you know you want to buy a curriculum that may be a little more, save for it. We use Teaching Textbooks for Math and that is our most expensive curriculum at $149.90 each year. Knowing this I should be saving for this. Even if you have a change jar and just throw your change in the jar each day. It will end up adding up and helping you when it comes time to buy curriculum.
- Timberdoodle.com- If you can order your curriculum from this website, they give doodle dollars. Saving these will you get money off your next purchase. I use this site for some things. Right now, my plan is to order Math from them and a container. I have enough doodle dollars for $6 off my order. It may be only $6 to some, but that $6 can go towards something else.
Field Trips: Most places like the Zoo, Aquarium, Theme Parks, have homeschool days. Sometimes, they will even give discounts. We always do the Dallas Zoo in the months of January and February because they do their penguin days and its way cheaper than a normal priced day. On of our local Museums does a homeschool day and actually plans out stations for the children to have an activity. One of our Aquarium does a homeschool week. They give discounted tickets to homeschoolers. We go during that week. Same for our local Great Wolf Lodge. They have one week they discount for homeschoolers. These are when we plan our trips. Discounts help any kind of field trip.
We also look for places with free admission. Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, Downtown Fort Worth, which is one of our favorite places. It has a ton of history, plus the atmosphere is just wonderful itself. We could literally go and spend a whole day there.
Of course, not every place is going to give discounts and that is ok. If you are willing find other homeschoolers in your area and the more you have in your group most places will give you a group rate. Which may save a few dollars again.
Again, these are just some of the ways that we save to be able to homeschool. We make sacrifices to be able to teach our son the way we feel like we were meant to teach him. I just want others to know if you are struggling with the though of homeschooling because you are worried you can not afford it, I promise there are ways to do so!