Finding cheap homeschooling materials help you stretch your homeschool dollar even further, even though compared to private school, home education costs are a drop in the bucket.
The average homeschool family spends between $200-500 per year on homeschooling, although many spend a lot less. Some years we have spent that much on all four kids, while other years, we have spent that amount on one child.
How much you spend depends on your family's income and budget. No matter how small your budget, you can still successfully homeschool your family AND have fun!
Cutting costs gets easier the longer you homeschool; you'll find there are many places to find cheap homeschooling books, curriculum, and materials.
Some simple ways to reduce the cost of homeschooling:
Free and low-cost resources abound on the internet; you can even find free curriculum, downloadable courses, worksheets, lessons, and more!
You can also find a slew of inexpensive digital educational materials online. Often curriculum companies publish materials in ebook format for digital media lovers. Although they lack resale value, many families choose digital products as they usually costs less than traditional printed materials. You will also save on shipping costs and save time as you receive your downloadable purchases immediately.
Libraries are a wonderful, money-saving resource for homeschoolers. We save lots of money on homeschooling by borrowing and inter-loaning books from our library. Some libraries even have curriculum you can check out - one of the libraries near us in Michigan, even made available an online foreign language program to patrons one year.
Many libraries also have annual or ongoing used book sales - you are sure to find some cheap homeschooling treasures there! Every time we visit our library, I take a few minutes to peruse the used books for sale; you'll be surprised at what you find. Many times I have seen and/or purchased hard-to-find books that go along with our unit studies, as well as actual homeschool curriculum from a variety of publishers.
Want an extra pair of thrifty eyes? Exchange your wanted-items list with a good friend or two and keep an eye out for the materials each other needs.
A great way to save money is to buy used curriculum instead of new. Some of the more popular homeschooling programs are easiest to find, but you can usually find a used copy of almost anything you are looking for. You can purchase used curriculum from: used curriculum sales and homeschool book fairs, former or current homeschoolers, online classifieds or auction sites, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other thrift stores.
Another way to save on homeschooling curriculum is to borrow from, or trade materials with homeschooling friends. Many homeschool families will not use a particular course for a year or two, because the next child in their family is not ready for it. Instead, some are willing to loan items out to a friend who can use it in the meantime, instead of letting it collect dust on the shelf.
If you have such a kind and generous friend, make sure you remember to return their materials when you are done, in the same condition as they were given to you. :)
If you are that kind and generous friend, keep track of your resources by writing your name inside all curriculum you loan out, and save a list on your computer. Each time I lend something out, I think I will remember who I lent the materials to, but I never do; don't make the same mistake as me, write it down!
Have you ever come across a deal but weren't sure if you had the money? I have. :( If you make a spending plan and set money aside every month for homeschooling, you will always have funds available in your homeschooling account when you come across a sale or deal.
Although this isn't an exhaustive list of places to find cheap materials, it hopefully gets your thrifty-juices flowing and encourages you in your own cheap homeschooling treasure hunt.
Do you have a money-saving story or tip to share with other homeschooling parents?
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