7 Ways to Save Money as a Homeschool Family
If you are considering your options for schooling your children, or if you already homeschool, one factor that will always come up is finances. Homeschooling can be an expensive venture, but it doesn’t have to be. You can provide your kids with a high-quality education without breaking the budget. Check out these 7 ways to save money as a homeschooling family.
1. Pick a style.
Before you jump in and buy materials, you want to make sure the style of curriculum matches how you want to teach and how your child learns. Most publishers offer free samples and placement tests on their websites. Think of this like trying on clothes before you buy them. In most cases, publishers of homeschool curriculum do not accept returns. So, this step is crucial for saving money.
2. Avoid the flash.
There are hundreds of options for homeschooling. This can lead many families to spend more than they intend. It can be easy to see the full color, flashy, school-in-a-box curriculums as the best option. While those curriculums certainly have their place, rest assured that your child can learn just as much from the other options. If you are really drawn to the visually exciting curriculums and feel they are the best option for your child, consider purchasing one subject from that publisher instead of all your subjects to save money.
3. Buy used.
Just like buying a used car, it can be a good idea to purchase used curriculum and books. There are multiple Facebook groups, many of them publisher specific, just for this purpose. eBay, Thriftbooks, and Paperback Swap are also great options. Be sure to check publication editions to ensure that all materials for a subject match.
4. Be generous.
Being generous may not be your first thought when it comes to saving money, but generosity is a great way to keep the cost of homeschool down for the entire homeschooling community. When you let another member of the local homeschool community borrow your old books, you will begin to build, or join in with, a great money-saving network. Generosity is contagious! One thing to note here is copyright law. It is a great idea to share a non-consumable curriculum but most all consumable curricula do not allow for copies to be made or for the material to be used by more than one student. Be sure to check with each publisher for the copyright on their specific material.
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
As you go through your homeschooling journey, it can be tempting to buy new supplies each year just like your public and private school counterparts. Everyone loves a fresh box of crayons. One of the best ways to save money homeschooling is to avoid the school supply isles in August. Before buying any supply, ask yourself if the item is a need or a want. If you have a needed supply, get creative and think about how you might reuse something you already have to fill that need. Once a year, go through your supplies so you know what you have and what you might need.
Another way to reduce materials needed specifically for school, is to incorporate school into family life. Are you studying people and cultures that helped in the development of the railroads in America in your history book? Let those cultures influence your dinner menu for the week. In this way, you enrich the learning and save your budget because you were already going to eat dinner. Looking for teaching moments throughout your day you can reduce your need for additional curriculum and supplies.
6. Ask for the discount.
Seriously, just ask! Many retailers in-store and some online offer discounts that are available to homeschoolers. These discounts aren’t just available on curriculum, but also on items like craft supplies, books, and even Macbooks. If there is no publicly available information about a homeschool discount, ask if the teacher discount extends to homeschools.
7. Use dual enrollment for high school.
If your child is in middle school or high school you are probably looking ahead to college. If you have a college bound student, or just want help teaching that elusive high school math, consider using dual enrollment. The rules and regulations on this vary by state, but others in your homeschool community can help you navigate the system. Check out homeschoolingforcollegecredit.com to find an abundance of resources that will help get you started.
Whether you are on your first or tenth year of homeschool, it’s always a great time to save money while still providing your student with a high-quality education.