Many new homeschoolers want to know: How do you afford homeschooling? Especially as a large family or a one income family? We asked 7 homeschool moms how they do it. Here are their responses.
1. Rearrange your expenses
- The money spent on school supplies gets spent on homeschool supplies.
- Money for “back to school clothes” gets saved or just spent when they need new clothes because they grew.
- Money for field trips stays money for field trips, but we don't have to take a bus and there's not 30 other kids around.
- Lunch money = money for the household grocery budget.
- Tuition money in the case of private school is often a direct savings.
- You also save on gas and car expenses because there's no daily commute.
You are not beholden to whatever the school wants or tells you to do; you are in charge and you can make it cost as little or as much as you want. I personally find that not purchasing a pre-made curriculum works better and costs less. I can pick and choose exactly what we need, in accordance with our budget. – Andrew Townsley, townsleytimes.com.
2. Reduce Expenses and Plan Purchases
We calculate homeschool curriculum costs and timing of purchases and put a set amount away each month so then we have it when it is time to purchase. This money comes from reducing expenses like:
- We eat out only once a month
- When eating out only meals ordered/no drinks
- We got rid of cable TV
- We reduced our cell phone plans
- We make coffee at home
- We reduced organic purchases to only what is necessary
- We sold some collectible items on ebay
And then we use the library and borrow from other homeschoolers to fill in the gaps. – Cheryl Porcha Payne
We used a literature heavy curriculum for Kindergarten. I made a list of future plans and after figuring out what our local library had, I kept the list in my purse to scour thrift stores and Half Price Books. Gradually I found every book I needed in those locations. I found a great math curriculum and more. You just have to be willing to plan ahead and be flexible in what you want to use. – Ticia, Adventures in Mommydom
3. Sell Your Curriculum When You're Done with it
My homeschool budget always depends on how much I sold from the previous school year materials. It gives me the motivation to sell and repurpose great resources to fellow homeschool moms. It’s a win for both of us. – Natalie Lynn
4. Look for Free and Inexpensive Supplements
We have a limited budget and take advantage of the many enrichment activities our local library offers for free. There are several inexpensive or free things to do, so we just learn to search those out.
We also pick and choose what parts of our curriculum we pay for. We buy used if possible, or use a free curriculum like Easy Peasy. Sometimes you have to get creative, but it’s very easy to stretch a dollar when you need to! – Farrah Elshoff
One of the best parts about being a homeschooler is that every part of life can be learning! A trip to the grocery store becomes a lesson in economics, math, colors, shapes, budgeting, and nutrition. A family road trip can be a class on map-reading, fuel consumption, reading, history, and geography. There also lots of free or low-cost field trips, which are easier for a family or small group to do rather than a class or school: backstage at a restaurant, shopping at the farmers' market, volunteering at the animal shelter, and many more. – Missy Pea, In Our Pond
5. Have a Travel Fund
For field trips, we purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks pass. For a family our size, they get pricey. I also do curriculum reviews, so whatever I'd have spent on a program or curriculum goes into our travel fund instead. l add up the money I'd have spent with all of that, and we road trip to National Parks sites.
Two years ago, we went cross country, plotting our trip from park to park. Other times we pick a spot as our hub and visit parks in the area. Last year we stayed in southern Massachusetts and visited Lexington/Concord, Lowell, Cape Cod, and New Bedingford.
We always pack food and either stay at places with a full kitchen or where we can reheat pre-cooked stuff, so food doesn't really cost us any more than if we were at home. – Meg Falciani
Are you a veteran homeschool mom? Let us know in the comments if you have found other creative ways to afford homeschooling! Sharing experiences makes our community stronger!