It’s homeschool planning season! And that means it’s time to review our homeschooling costs.
If I had my way, we’d have an unlimited budget so I could buy ALL the curriculum, ALL the books, and ALL the resources there are. (Wouldn’t that be wonderful?) But we have to be responsible, so I set a yearly homeschool budget of $250.
For some homeschoolers, that may still be a bit high, but I look at the cost of attending public school and we’re still saving a ton. Between school lunches, uniforms, school supplies (which now include bottles and bottles of hand sanitizer), field trips, fundraisers, class parties, and sporting equipment, I know we’re coming out ahead.
So – here’s a look at how I keep my homeschooling costs for all four kids to $250 per year. And for even more ways to save on homeschooling, don’t miss our ebook “How to Afford Homeschooling“!
How I Reduce My Homeschooling Costs
1. Make use of as many free homeschooling resources as possible.
When I set up our homeschooling budget, I start by including as many free homeschooling programs as I can find. Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool, a completely free program, has always been a favorite in our home. I use that as the basis for a lot of our subjects and then I supplement as I see fit.
I also use other free educational websites such as Essential Skills Advantage and PBS Learning Media.
Of course, the local library has been a huge help in increasing our reading list and minimizing the number of bookshelves we need each year.
2. Decide what you’re willing to invest in.
Every year, there are a couple of items that I’m willing to pay a little more for. ABC Mouse is one of these.
Our youngest child is an insatiable learner. She wants to learn everything about everything and she wants to have it done YESTERDAY. Now that my boys are older and need more of my time to understand math skills, I like having a program she can use on her own.
And that’s why ABC Mouse has been so great. It’s designed for kids from PreK through Grade 2 and it’s not just for enrichment. It actually is a complete curriculum that kids can navigate through with periodic parental involvement.
We’ve been using it for the past couple of years and, now that she’s entering first grade, we’ll be using it again.
I set aside about $25 for normal school supplies each year. We’ve already purchased our basics for this year, including pencils, markers, crayons, notebooks, and filler paper. Back to school sales, of course, are the best for finding those items.
This year, we don’t have access to a vehicle during the day, so I won’t be purchasing any attraction memberships. However, we usually choose one attraction per year and become members. I can usually find a great deal by browsing Groupon and jumping on a family membership deal.
Since we have that extra amount available in the budget, I’m using Time 4 Learning to strengthen the boys’ ELA and math skills for a couple of months and make sure they’re ready for fifth grade this fall.
3. Buy curriculum you can use for years.
Because we have more than one child, we try to buy non-consumable books that we can use again and again. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I love anchor charts so much. I make them once and then I have them for future years.
We use Family Time Fitness for our Homeschool PE Curriculum and that’s also a program you can buy once and then use again and again as the kids grow.
Most of Tigger’s storybooks and readers were handed down to Pooh and Roo over the summer, so they’ll be using those this year. I found the vast majority of Tigger’s books for the upcoming year in the $1 bins at Target.
I also pick up a few comprehensive grade-level workbooks, and I use those for workboxes and standardized test preparation.
4. Don’t be afraid of “used” products!
I’m a total school nerd and the smell of new textbooks is enough to make me prefer to purchase a book brand new. Over the years, though, I’ve gotten over that and I’ve fallen in love with used books.
Amazon is a wonderful resource for used books and we’ve found some excellent homeschooling resources over the years by browsing the used books section. Large kids’ consignment sales, which I’ll be talking about in a future post, are excellent for finding books and textbooks as well.
Basic back to school supplies: $25
Early learning program: $59.99
Annual attraction membership: $95
(This amount is going toward curriculum this year.)
Storybooks and textbooks (mostly used): $50
Comprehensive workbooks: $20
I’d love to hear how you set a budget for your homeschooling expenses and stick to it! Tell us about your homeschooling costs and choices in the comments!
Want even more ideas for homeschooling this year? Check out these posts!
Plus, get more tips to plan your homeschool year on my Homeschool Planning Pinterest board!
This post is part of the “How Much Does Homeschooling Actually Cost?” linkup from iHomeschool Network! Stop by to see how our fellow bloggers budget for their homeschooling expenses each year!