Back to Homeschool on a Tight BudgetAmy Schaffner
Yesterday, in the middle of a television show, my son and I viewed a commercial for back-to-school sales at a local department store. I laughed at how juxtaposed our reactions to this commercial were.
His first reaction was, “What? Back to school already? NO!!!!!”
My reaction was, “It’s beginning! Yay!”
I wasn’t necessarily excited because I am ready to jump back into the school routine, I was excited because I love school supplies.
Since I was a small child I have adored picking out new notebooks and pencils and all the amazing things that my soon-to-be teacher listed on the required supply list. I still remember the first day of school in many grades when I got to pull out my brand new shiny (affiliate link) Lisa Frank notebooks and clicker pencils.
That being said, beginning of the school year preparations are very different for a homeschooler. With a school supply obsession (because it is obsession level) like I have, it is easy to go overboard and break the bank when you’re preparing for a new year. After all, I’m not checking off someone else’s list. It’s hard to know when I’m done shopping when I have the urge to buy all the things!
Overspending does not have to be the case, though; you can easily prepare your homeschool list on a tight budget. You simply have to know a few tricks of the trade.
Don’t Be Overly Ambitious
Make a list of the essential subjects you need to cover and the actual budget you have to purchase these. The 3 R’s—reading, writing, math—should always be your starting point because they are the essential components of a good education. After you secure those foundations, see how much you have left in your budget for adding in other curriculum choices and fun extras.
Look For Ways You Can Teach Subjects For Free (Or Super Cheap)
Yep, I said free. Yes, you could purchase that curriculum company’s amazing (but expensive) set for the year with all of the those exciting read alouds, or you could lean on your public library for free.
Handwriting? Just search on Pinterest, and you’ll find a million free copywork printables.
Or if you have older kids and want to teach them creative writing, Bright Ideas Press has a very affordable ebook titled Writer’s Workshop that will give you easy step by step instructions. That’s what I’m using this year.
Shop Your Own Bookshelves
Did you purchase a geography book last year that you didn’t finish, even though you had great intentions? There is no need for a new one, just pick up where you left off. We have to get out of the mindset of brand new curriculum every single year.
In our homeschool we use The Mystery of History, and we definitely don’t get through the entire curriculum in a year, so we continue where we left off. History for the year = free.
Avoid Stores Until After Public School Begins
Homeschoolers have such an advantage when it comes to low cost supplies because we set our own timetable. If you are patient about your supply list and a little flexible with styles and patterns, you can stock your homeschool cabinet for a fraction of the cost.
Look For Local Homeschool Groups On Facebook
Not only can you generally find low cost used curriculum through online forums, but you are also kept in the loop on cheap or free community activities for your homeschoolers!
I could probably continue this list for days with suggestions like using your Netflix account to your advantage, shopping Dollar Tree and Target’s dollar bins, and on and on.
It is doable. It is. You merely need realistic expectations of your year and a desire to get creative. This year, commit yourself to not being stressed out about homeschool costs. With more digging and creativity you can pull together curriculum and the supplies you need to have a fabulous homeschool year while still having a little extra for that Starbucks habit that keeps you sane.