7 Reasons I Didn’t Buy Homeschool Curriculum This Year

spent no money on homeschool curriculum

As a frugal mom of 11 kids- 10 who are actually being homeschooled- I’ve turned my money-saving skills into an art. I mean, really, who actually wants to spend thousands of dollars on curriculum each year if they don’t have to?

Of all the years I’ve been homeschooling, our second year was the year I spent the most money because I was going through the “homeschool has to look like school” phase and bought individual boxed curriculum sets for each kid. 


Thankfully, I learned my lesson after that, and I’ve successfully managed to spend less and less money each year, until this year when I finally spent no money at all.

I’m so proud of myself.
proud of myself

It was so much easier than I ever thought it would be, so today I’m going to share with you:

7 Reasons I Didn’t Need to Buy Curriculum This Year

1. It’s cheaper to write my own.

If you would’ve asked me a few years ago whether I believed I’d ever be writing my own unit studies, I would’ve laughed. I never realized how simple it could be. Yes, there are some intricate curriculum resources that I wouldn’t have the time to write in a million years, BUT the nice thing about unit studies is that they can be as basic or as involved as you’d like. I’d rather spend a day or two writing up some activities than spending loads of money needlessly.

2. I learned to stop looking for the next best thing.

Let’s face it. It is fun to shop for curriculum, and there are so many choices out there. Unfortunately, this can lead us to drop a curriculum that has been working wonderfully for us with the notion that maybe there’s something even better. It’s kind of like people who keep upgrading their phones. We keep “upgrading” our curriculum, while, meanwhile, our kids are our guinea pigs who all too often just want to stick with what they know works.

With this in mind, this year I will be using the tried and true resources that are already on our bookshelf.

3. Notebooking requires no curriculum.

Our homeschool has gone through some pretty drastic changes this year with our introduction to notebooking (Click here for a video I made describing how we notebook.). One nice thing about notebooking is that it doesn’t have to be accompanied by any curriculum. You can use library books, read-alouds, inspiration from hands-on activities, and even movies/documentaries as a jumping off point. With notebooking, anything goes.

4. I stopped buying consumables.

I honestly don’t know why I ever thought this was a good idea. Yes, it’s convenient to have your kids write directly in a workbook, but if you have several kids, boy, does it get expensive. Since I bought all non-consumable curriculum for the past few years, we already have everything we need. Yippee!

5. The library is free.

If you live anywhere near a good library, I beg you, use it. Library books are so much more enjoyable than textbooks, and the choices seem limitless. Not only that, the library can be used for so many things beyond just borrowing books. I am fully confident that it is entirely possible to homeschool every single subject just by using the library. Make sure you check yours out ASAP!

6. Life presents ample learning opportunities.

Why learn everything from books? Life offers so many choices for real life, hands-on learning. There’s just no comparison between getting dirty in a creek or just reading about frogs in a book, is there?

7. There are too many free resources available not to take advantage of them.

The internet is filled to the brim with free homeschooling resources. Use them! That’s why they were created! No matter what topic you’re looking for, I can almost guarantee you’ll find it with just a bit of browsing.


There are really so many options out there when it comes to homeschooling. Always try to remember that it’s not the curriculum that makes a homeschool successful, but what you do with your fleeting time together. Remember that, and you’re well on your way!

Happy homeschooling. 




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.

35 thoughts on “7 Reasons I Didn’t Buy Homeschool Curriculum This Year”

  1. You’re so inspiring. I love reading all your posts about homeschooling. When I got pregnant I was very passionate about my desire to homeschool. Some people still think it’s a bad idea but it doesn’t deter me. Reading about how to switched from the “homeschool should look like school” model was also eye-opening because I always imagined that’s how it should work. Please keep on sharing your experiences because I love reading them. Thanks for linking up to #fridayfrivolity! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This fall will be my first year to “officially” homeschool so I have invested in two curriculums (math and spelling/reading) that will be our spines. If we can successfully use the spelling/reading curriculum I won’t need to buy another one until third grade. The math curriculum is expensive to me but after the first year where we have to purchase the manipulatives, the other years should be cheaper. I love the idea that some years I could homeschool for free, I’m sure my husband would appreciate that too.
    To cover our other subjects through the end of my son’s second grade year I plan to use the various unit studies that have been written on The Little House on the Prairie books. These were some of my favorite books as a child and I love the idea of learning through activities/lessons based on reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We loved the Little House series, too, which is how I ended up writing that unit study. I saw how much my children related to the books, so I knew using it for school would really hold their attention.


  3. I still don’t feel confident to write my own lessons, but homeschooling has gotten cheaper over the years – if only because I know what we like and don’t buy stuff that won’t work for us so often anymore. I can’t wait until the year that I can recuse more curriculum than I have to buy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I tend to lean on the school at home side so we use some curriculum. I have been lucky enough to be able to use some of them (like Singapore Math and Teaching Textbooks) for multiple children. I LOVE unit studies and notebooking but I have one child that just doesn’t work for. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m definitely going to keep it in mind. Right now, we’re really liking what we’re using, but I hear so many great things about TT. If we ever do need to move on to something else, it’ll be TT.


  5. That’s great that you don’t always have to buy curriculum. I’m the same way, since I do unit studies. It gets harder when kids reach high school, but there are frugal ways to homeschool even in high school.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The only textbook my 16 yr old uses is for algebra. We use the library and notebooking for everything else. My 15 yr old is the same, but her algebra book isn’t even technically a textbook!


  6. I am so right there with you on the free homeschool thing! I keep telling my friends that they don’t have to spend all that money each year. They just want something they can go buy that will “take care of everything,” but I’ve told them that there’s no one program that covers everything…(they’re starting to realize that, because I’m doing their homeschool evaluations and so they’re learning about all the gaps in their “programs” now) I take the same stand on co-ops, because they’ve all spend a ton of money this past year joining several each and when I hear about them, I’m shocked because we’re getting more out of our free weekly programs at the library and parks – and ours are FREE! (I do realize that these things could change a bit as kids get older, but for these little ones, I really think FREE is thte way to go!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes! I agree. I see prices for curriculum online, even used and can’t even begin to fathom how we could afford it. I use a lot for free from the Library as you said! I also love going to used book sales, thrift stores, and used book stores. Also many library book sales do a bag sale at the end. It is amazing what we have found for just a few dollars! I have gone to book sales and lefts with bags full packed full of leveled readers, entire curriculums, workbooks, and teaching kits all for less than $20. I just supplement things I find cheap with free resources online and things I make myself! You definitely don’t have to spend a lot of money to homeschool! Thanks for the post! Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow 11 children!!! You are so lucky and blessed. I will be homeschooling my 4 year old starting in August. I look forward to becoming as confident as you are! Thanks for the ideas. I’m going to look into notebooking now!

    Liked by 1 person

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