By Betty Daley
I don’t know about you, but these days money can get tight. With gas prices soaring and grocery bills going up weekly, I have to make sure we are homeschooling on a budget that is lean.
Here Are Five Great Tips For Homeschooling On A Budget
In years past, we would spend a bundle of money on books to homeschool our children, but sadly most of those books would just sit on the shelves. We would find a few that worked for our kids, but the rest would sit collecting dust. In this article, I will share our most effective ways to shrink the schoolbook budget.
1. Thrift Store Textbooks
Many times families use textbooks for a year or two, or find out the textbooks they bought were not suitable for their family, so they donate them to thrift stores. They are usually in good to great condition and most are hardback. If you can pick up ones that are fairly new, you may be able to purchase workbooks and test/quiz booklets online for a low price. The textbooks are usually what cost the most.
If you are teaching the elementary grades, the teacher’s manuals are not always needed, but as you get up into the high school grades, you may want to be sure that you can get the teacher’s manual for the textbook you are looking into buying. I have found that when families discard their curriculum, most of the time they get rid of it all, so it is easy to find the textbooks and teacher’s manuals right there.
Another great tip for homeschooling on a budget is to build up a homeschool library by buying great little books at a thrift shop. I know having a little library at home saves on trips to the library. I get so excited when I find books that are not only educational but fun for the kids to read. Be sure to look through the books you want to purchase and check them for lost or ripped out pages or marks that make the books hard to read.
2. Yard Sale Finds
Every summer, I look forward to seeing those bright, beautiful signs that say “Garage Sale” or “Yard Sale.” I know when I see those signs that I am going to save money! My husband is quite funny too. A few years ago, you couldn’t have gotten him to stop at a garage sale, now I find him looking for them more than I do.
I have found that the best sales to look for, when searching for homeschool books and resources, are those of retired school teachers, or homeschooling families whose children have graduated. Many are actually listed in the newspapers. They are usually anxious to get rid of all the goodies they have used over the years, and are fair in price. You can find workbooks, art materials, posters, fun educational games, and much more. During our endeavors this summer, we found everything we needed to begin our school year. I didn’t have to buy one single thing at retail stores.
3. Flea Market Fun
In our area, we have a few flea markets to check out. We attempt to go to them once a month, as that is usually when they get in new goods. The flea markets are not as cheap as your local garage sales, but the fact they are in buildings and open a certain time each week is nice. You know exactly where to go and what times to be there.
Many vendors are reasonable and willing to work with their prices, especially if you are interested in buying quite a few things. This year we were able to buy like-new textbooks for our high school students. The vendor even had the teacher’s manuals and testing supplies to go along with the books. I was willing to pay a little more money to be able to buy everything right there.
4. Budget-Friendly School Supplies
I never buy school supplies after schools start. The prices are more than doubled. In July, most stores begin their back to school shopping sales and that is the best time to purchase things like crayons, scissors, glue, paper, folders, and spiral notebooks. If you are homeschooling on a budget, get your list of supplies early on, so you can get the best deals. Always buy enough to last the entire school year.
5. Online Sites
There are many websites that offer free printables that are great for supplementing materials. The key here is to find a good printer that has cheap ink. Another trick to printing from online sites is using the “fast print” or some printers call it “quick print” setting. It saves tons of money on ink. Be sure that you follow the guidelines for each site and only print materials that are meant to be used for printing.
Cheap Homeschooling With A Well-Rounded Education
As a veteran homeschooler of fourteen years, I have found that you don’t need a lot of things in order to teach your children. You just need time, patience, and some creativity. They need your focus and attention more than they need the latest and greatest educational book or computer software. You are the key to giving your child a well-rounded education. Have fun as you teach and allow God to lead you.
Betty Daley has been married to her high school sweetheart for twenty years. She has homeschooled their six children for fourteen years and believes that training our children is the most important job we have. She runs a Facebook page called “Training our Children to have Godly Character.”