10 Ways We Homeschool 10 Kids for Under $1000/Yr.

low cost homeschool
Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The high costs associated with homeschooling are often one of the reasons people choose not to do it. We can’t afford it. We only have one income. We have too many children. 

It’s true that there are a good many homeschool curriculums out there which are high quality, with the high price tag to prove it, but today I’m going to let you in on how we homeschool 10 kids for under $1000/yr.

Since we are a one income family of twelve, it is absolutely necessary that I am resourceful enough in acquiring materials so that homeschooling will not be a financial strain. At this point in time, we plan on homeschooling all of our children through high school, so it is crucial that I find something affordable that works for our family.

Believe it or not, this is easier than you think. In fact, $1000 is actually a high number. I believe that this year we were able to keep our costs to below $500 for curriculum for all 10 children, but I’ll say $1000 just to be conservative!

In no particular order, here are the 10 biggest tips to homeschooling effectively, but frugally.

1. Take full advantage of your local library. I cannot stress this to you enough- the library is probably the biggest asset any homeschooler can have, and it’s free! Besides having oodles of books that cover just about every topic known to man, most libraries also offer an audio/visual section with DVDs, CDs, and audio books, children’s programs, and free classes in everything from photography to computers to gardening. I am confident that you could homeschool using just the library up through high school and quite possibly all the way through.

What’s more is that the library contains thousands of living books and trade books- not dull textbooks which often are too boring to pay enough attention to in order to actually learn anything. While we do have some workbooks and curriculum here, the bulk of our learning happens through library books.

Even if you live in a smaller town without a large library , for a small fee out-of-towners can acquire a library card from one in a nearby city- a small price to pay when compared to the average price of most curriculum.

2. Buy used if you can. Don’t automatically assume that you must buy your chosen curriculum straight from the publisher. Always, always check Amazon, eBay, curriculum fairs, etc. first. I don’t think there’s been one book I was looking for that I didn’t find from one of those sources.

Of course, you do want to be careful and read the description to make sure that the books are in good condition and have not been written in. Also remember to see how much positive feedback a seller has before purchasing anything from them. My rule of thumb is that I will not buy from someone with less than 98% positive feedback.

3. Ask around to other homeschoolers to see if any of them have any curriculum they are not using that you can borrow, or can even keep. Several years ago when I decided to start using unit studies, I had decided upon saving up for the Konos curriculum. I mentioned to a friend that I was hoping to eventually purchase it but would have to wait until I saved up for it because it was over $100 (This was before I knew about Amazon. Hooray for Amazon!). She laughed and said that a friend of hers has that curriculum and was looking for someone to give it to because she no longer uses it.

Lesson learned? Always communicate your plans with fellow homeschool travelers. You never know what resource may just pop up!

4. Buy reusable curriculum. I realize that most curriculum is headed towards the use of consumables, but I highly recommend looking for textbooks that can be passed down the line. Consumables may seem cheaper at the outset, but keep in mind that you have to replenish them year after year. Reusable curriculum is recyclable!

One important note: If you buy a reusable textbook, and it does not work for the child who it is being passed to, do not feel obligated to force it on them. Either save it for the next child or sell it. The curriculum has got to fit the child.

5. Use unit studies. Unit studies are awesome for so many reasons. Besides being a time saver because they are designed to be used as a multi-level resource, they are a huge money saver, as well. Since they are cross-curricular, they take away the need to buy books for each child for every subject. Instead of each student having a science book, a math book, a reading book, a writing book, a social studies book, etc., these subjects are covered by unit studies using activities, field trips, and-yes- library books. With unit studies, at the most, you will only need a math book and a language arts book, and even that is questionable because any subject can be incorporated into unit studies.

In fact, if you’re interested, I have three free unit studies here on my blog:

Free Famous Inventors/Invention Unit study

Free Little House Unit Study

Free 12-Week Greek Mythology Unit Study

Try them out! These unit studies will easily get you through at least 22 weeks of school- and they’re free.🙂

6. Take advantage of all the free resources the internet has to offer. There are thousands of free unit studies, free copywork, and free notebooking pages. I would be remiss to leave out Khan Academy, which is mainly math but also covers a host of other subjects, and YouTube, which, when monitored, has a huge array of educational videos to browse.

7. Don’t forget about Netflix and Amazon. Learning doesn’t only happen with books. My 16 yr. old son hates to read and has learned all about military history through documentaries and historical fiction movies. There is a worldwide misconception that books are the best mode of education, but this simply isn’t the case. I often find that some of my kids are better able to retain information they watch on TV.

8. Take advantage of the world around you. Life is a wonderful curriculum. Take your kids to the grocery store, the bank, the park, the creek, a neighbor’s house, the local fire station. This is a huge advantage that homeschooled children have over school students because they are actually learning in the real world– not a replication of it! Homeschooling is preparation for adult life. What better way is there than to include them in it?

9. Apply for a teacher’s discount at participating stores. Barnes and Noble and A.C. Moore offer educator’s discounts to homeschooling parents along with school teachers. Research it. Find out which stores in your area provide the same courtesy.

10. Stock up on supplies over the summer. Even if you plan on homeschooling year round, this is the time you should head to the stores to purchase any stationery supplies you’ll be needing because this is when stores will lower their prices on these items in preparation for back-to-school shopping. Just last week we were able to get crayons, markers, and colored pencils for .50, folders for .15, binders for .97, and spiral notebooks for .17. Timing is everything.

 

I hope these tips have been an encouragement to you. You do not have to be super wealthy to homeschool, but super resourceful, and with practice, that’s something that we all can achieve.

 

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

69 thoughts on “10 Ways We Homeschool 10 Kids for Under $1000/Yr.”

  1. I always enjoy finding ways to keep homeschooling on a restricted budget as that’s what we’d like to do for our children. They’re still really young, but it doesn’t hurt to look and gather information early!🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I could imagine! I used to always think I’d send my kids to montessori (when I was a teen), but then I got wind of the word homeschooling. Once Hun and I met, we knew we’d do something ‘different’ when it came to our children’s learning and thus my gathering of info on homeschooling began!🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Love these tips, thank you for sharing them! Asking others what they like is a great way to save money AND sometimes tehy will give you the ones they are done with. I always send a basket out to family that homeschool. They are a few years behind us which works great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We made the “drastic” decision this year to not buy a boxed curriculum and are going to try unit studies and living books. So far, it’s been going great, but I didn’t prep as much as I wanted to so we are going to take it a day at a time. Like you, I am trying to take advantage of all the free resources out there (found some great kids language courses at our library), but would love a way to keep track of/organize all the resources I come in contact with so I don’t forget them. You know what I mean? When you randomly come across a website or book and you think, that would be great for…, but then you forget when you need it? Any suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a notebook that I keep track of books and so forth in so that I don’t forget. If I come across a website or something that I’d like to use in the future, I either make a not of it with a star next to it in my planner and then I check that section every time I write my plans for the next week. For websites, I usually boomark them and then periodically go through it to remind myself of what’s there. I hope that helps!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I bookmark as well, but end having TONS of bookmarks to go through.🙂 I just wish that someone would invent a planner that has space for all that, you know? Like you, I started using a notebook to track websites now and keep track of all the books we read together. We’ll see how that goes.🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good advice!
    We use Netflix a LOT! My 16 yo is a visual/spatial learner, and learns best through what she can see. If we add reading to that, she will almost always make the connection between what we read and what she saw in the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. YES!!! Homeschooling is so economical when done well! And Netflix – that’s a great suggestion, especially for kids who hate to read. So many good history lessons there. I bought a lot of curriculum on Ebay and also swapped and shared with other homeschooling moms! It was the best. So good!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t think of homeschooling as expensive, knowing that I’m spending far less per child than the public schools do. And since we have a couple of kids in private school, I know that I spend a *lot* less on my home students than we do on their tuition. When I made a list of all I want to purchase for my kids for 2016-2017 school year, it came to $553. I was able to get one book from another homeschool mom at a discount, and I was able to get a review product that will cover another $100+ in subject matter that I won’t have to spend. So, not counting all the extras that I’ll be adding in throughout the year, I’ll be homeschooling 3 kids for under $500. And I’m not thrifty or conservative in my spending at all. I buy what I want to use, what I think will work well for us. I think homeschooling is very budget friendly, when you consider the alternatives. People say Public School is free, but they don’t count transportation, school clothes, backpack, supplies, field trip fees, fundraisers, lunches, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that too many people assume that they must use the most expensive curriculum in order to be successful, which just isn’t the case. Doing some research proves that there are so many great resources that are low cost. More expensive doesn’t always equal better.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it more work to pull units together on my own, but I can better match my child to what works for them. I so agree with documentaries and movies sticking so much better than texts. The whole text thing takes us right back in to public education anyway. I love your tips. We were always able to stay under $1000, even through high school. Once you get one child graduated you have everything and the price goes way down. I always love your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Perhaps I can ask a question here that is somewhat related to your blog. I am seeking reviews for the (free to reviewers) 24-page pdf of “Marie and Mr. Bee,” a picture book for children 4 to 8 years old. Some moms have had their children write short pieces about the book; perhaps you would consider that. Here’s a bit about the story:

    Marie is a happy little girl who lives in a cabin in the woods, working and playing with her forest friends . . . until a not-so-busy bee entices her to neglect her work! Compassion, forgiveness, restoration, and a forever friendship ensue.

    By the following summer, Mr. Bee is too old to fly. But every night, Marie lifts her little friend onto her lap and reads to him from the Bible (Proverbs 12:14b version), or their very own storybook (regular version).

    Marie uses a wheelchair, which is clear from the pictures. However, there is only one reference to the chair in the text–when she wheels the ailing Mr. Bee back to her cabin after his expulsion from the hive. Some people appreciate the fact that the disability is present without being the focus. Others are pleased to see someone with a disability in the role of rescuer.

    If I may send you the pdf for your consideration, please e-mail me at margaretwelwood (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes! Yes! Yes to the library… other than math workbooks and a cursive/ handwriting book we don’t buy much of anything else. If our local library doesn’t have it we can usually request it from another one. We love learning through life too; just this week my youngest son was offered a free class in making stained glass crafts by a neighbor because she wanted to share of love of stained glass!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Believe me, my patience had to grow, and I still have my impatioent moments. I found that the more I’m with my kids, the better my patience is. It seems counter-intuitive, but that’s how it works for me! Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! I am amazed by home-schooling in general and find reading anything about it fascinating. I think it’s because I can’t imagine being able to do it myself. Kudos to those of you who can. Interesting blog.
    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Once again a great reference guide for anyone interested in homeschooling. That’s quite a way to budget. I love our local library as they have a basement where the “kids” section is. That way they don’t have to disturb the rest of the library because they can’t always be quiet. They also do lots of summer activities for the kids which is great on days that I need to get them out of the house but it’s hot and we’ve already been to the pool 3 or 4 times. Thanks again for linking with #momsterslink.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Some super helpful tips here. I agree the Library can be a great resource for anything and I imagine it’s so helpful for homeschooling. We are able to access a lot of free information and support groups through the internet now too. Thanks so much for sharing with #KCACOLS hope to see you back next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi there! That’s wonderful that you can homeschool on the cheap like that for all your kiddos! This year we are using allinonehighschool . Com for my (freshman)son, as it has ALL the main subjects and Much more. I checked it out in depth, before deciding on it as our curriculum this year and it seems like a great fit and BONUS, it’s free, like Khan Academy. Yay free!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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