Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keeping the Cost of Homeschooling Manageable

I have been asked a few times about how much we spend on homeschooling supplies and what we do to keep it affordable.

To be honest, for the last 2 years of schooling we used some money we had saved for a "rainy day"... birthday and Christmas money! And unfortunately didn't really pay attention to how much it really costs all together. We're super fortunate to have that available to us. This year Brian budgeted some money, like $300 and so far we are under:)


I've also been asked if we set aside a certain amount for each child. I remember my parents doing that for Christmas when we were kids... we could ask for whatever we wanted, but my parents were clear that they only would spend "X" amount for each of us:)

It's hard to do that for homeschooling... at least the way we are doing it! Thankfully MOST of the materials I purchase each year are non-consumables and can be handed down to the next kid!! Saxon Math is one example....  they can all use the teachers guide and I purchase their workbooks each year!
And yes... we do have to collect all of Anna's curriculum each year:) So those materials are usually the biggest expense!

These are what work for us in trying to keep the cost of homeschooling manageable...

1. Using our public library - we are soo fortunate to have an amazing Children's Librarian who has been such a HUGE resource for us, even offering to request books for us from other branches... providing great resources and really cutting some of my preparation time;)

2. Purchasing USED books at homeschooling consignment shops and local online sales.

3. Ollies..... crazy some of the fun stuff we have found. Especially the DK readers on history topics!


4. Asking for specific books or things that fit into a certain topic for birthdays and holidays. Seriously, how many toys do our kids need??? We get soo much more use out of science encyclopedias, art supplies, readers, even PAPER:)

5. Being mindful of when we purchase curriculum the TOTAL cost of using it and who can use it. I think our biggest and BEST purchase thus far has been Spelling Power. Anna is in her 2nd year using it and I am tailoring it to fit the middle two. Spelling Notebooks can be purchased each year for it ($5 each) but other than that it's been a ONE time purchase and will be useful through 12th grade (unless they finish it.... I could even benefit from using it!!! LOL!!)

6. Amazon Used... I have noticed that Amazon is starting to offer USED books that qualify for their free shipping deal!! So a used book at a used price and NO shipping!! Works for me;)

7. We also use a credit card (responsibly) that earns points that can be cashed in for money or Amazon credit! Nice to get a little money back from normal (think groceries/gas) card purchases and be able to use for schooling!

8. I have loaned out school books/curriculum to others and have benefited from others loaning/giving me things, too:) Even just looking through the materials before you invest in them is a huge savings;)

9. Sliding "consumables" in plastic page protectors so a couple of kids can use it! Or having the kids do simple assignments (I'm NOT planning to save) on wipe boards. They like using different things besides pencil and paper all the time. I had my youngest schooler do a spelling test verbally the other day.... I could hear the Lorax cheering... ha haa!!

10. I need to be better about doing this.... but having a running list of "book needs" so when we do see a stack of books on sale I have a "cheat sheet" of topics, specific books,etc to make solid choices of items that we really will use.

So even though most have already stock piled their materials for the school year. Hopefully these ways we keep homeschooling within the budget (at least in these younger years,... b/c that's all I know about right now) can be of some value when you're ready to stack pile again:)

Linking up to Works for Me, Wednesday:)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Great post. I don't really have a budget, but I'm mindful of what I'm spending.

That is so great that you have a wonderful librarian. I bet she loves looking for stuff for the kids.

I'll have to look into the Amazon used book thing. I hadn't seen any for free shipping. Cool!