Yes, it’s possible to save money by teaching your children at home. In fact, you might even spend less than you would if they were attending a “free” public school. No mandatory school supplies to buy. No pressure to purchase new clothes just for school. No gas from commuting to school or extra curricular activities. It can really add up.
You might be thinking “But homeschoolers have to purchase their own curriculum!” So exactly how can you save money?
Buy Used or Borrow: There are tons of places to find good used textbooks: yard sales, Ebay, Amazon, library sales, and homeschool fairs and conferences. There’s no requirement to buy new or have the very latest edition of a book on hand if an edition that’s a few years old would work just as well. Wouldn’t you rather spend $5 than $50?
Don’t overlook opportunities to borrow, either. Chances are you have a friend, neighbor or family members who might have homeschooled at some point. Ask if they are willing to lend you some books. They might even give them away. My sister had a set of old readers that she used for her daughter, an only child. She was more than happy to lend us the entire set, saving us a bunch of money as the readers encompassed all the elementary years.
Enroll in a Virtual School: Don’t overlook this growing trend! Online schools like Connections Academy offer a complete curriculum for your child and the cost ranges from absolutely free to just 40 or 50 dollars for the entire year. And some schools even lend you a laptop for no charge! It’s not all online, either, so don’t worry that your child will plant himself in front of the family PC and grow roots. Most virtual schools have both online and hands-on components. That means you’ll most likely get a box of beautiful textbooks, supplies and learning aids mailed right to your door and your child will use the computer only part of the time, for quizzes, enrichment and contact with certified teachers.
Connections Academy is national, but you can also find many options for your particular state. These virtual schools are usually tied to a local school district, yet you don’t have to be in the district to enroll. Just Google a phrase like “Missouri Virtual Schools” and see what comes up. Or contact your state’s Department of Education.
Do it Yourself: You can create your own bare bones curriculum to save a lot of money, although this option takes a lot of time and dedication. But it might appeal to those parents who have that “pioneer spirit” and possess a lot of natural creativity. You can create your own worksheets in a word processing program. Or print them for free at homeschooling websites. Use books that you already own as primary texts (storybooks, dictionaries, Bibles, encyclopedias, etc.) and add resources as needed.
Sell or Swap: Look around your house. You might already have some things you can sell or swap for needed books and materials. Don’t just limit yourself to educational items, either. If you have a bunch of DVD’s that no one watches anymore, sell them on Ebay and then use the credit in your Paypal account to buy a few things you need for school. Or visit sites like Homeschool Classifieds to buy, sell and trade.
Homeschooling does not have to be expensive. In fact, it can be quite cheap! You’ll feel good knowing you’ve not only given your child an excellent education, but saved the family money in the process.