Okay. Repeat after me…
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.
Did you say it?
Bigger question- do you believe it?
You know, I’d been planning on writing on this particular subject again for a while, when, lo and behold, this question was posed on a search engine that brought someone to my site today:
Why is homeschooling expensive?
I guess now’s a good time to tackle this topic, and I’ve got an easy answer to that query…
Or, more importantly, it doesn’t have to be. I can see why people think so. I’m pretty sure that a good portion of homeschoolers today are using some form of boxed curriculum, and, yes, these curriculums can be expensive. Yes, most of these curriculums are of a good quality, but does that necessarily mean that they’re better than those that are less expensive, or, dare I say it, free?
In my experience, not at all.
I think the main reason people turn to these is because:
- They usually have everything laid out for the parent.
- There’s little to no preparation.
- It’s familiar because it’s the format most homeschool parents grew up with in school.
- It’s easier than researching hundreds of different homeschooling resources.
If you’re dead set on finding a curriculum that possesses all of the above qualities, then, yeah. You’re probably going to have to shell out some bucks for those books. That doesn’t mean that you have to, though.
Homeschooling well can be done on a limited income. It just takes a little resourcefulness and a little know-how. To tell you the truth, I actually enjoy all the research and trial and error it takes to homeschool frugally. It adds an element of excitement, and, hey, I’m all for excitement. (I have to be. I have 11 kids.)
With that being said, today I’m going to share some tips on…
How I homeschool frugally:
1. Using the book lists from literature-based programs for a jumping off point.
There are several quality literature-based homeschooling programs out there that are, unfortunately, also quite expensive. I don’t let that stop me! I usually either order the catalog for access to the book lists or I go to the website and copy the titles down. I really trust the selections these publishers make because I hear nothing but good things about these programs, so I simply use some of their selections and either use them as read-alouds or silent reading for my kids. Then we notebook them, of course!
2. Taking advantage of all the online freebies.
There’s just so much stuff out there that we have free access to. Why spend money if you don’t need to? And the best thing about these resources? They’re usually written by, and therefore tested by, actual homeschool moms who know what homeschooling is all about.
3. Writing my own unit studies.
4. Notebooking, rather than using textbooks.
I’m fairly new to notebooking, having just started it last July, but I am convinced that this is the best thing that’s happened to our homeschool, and there are so many free notebooking pages available online. (For more on notebooking, click here for my Notebooking Playlist on YouTube.)
5. Using the library.
Other than higher math, it is my firm belief that you could homeschool through graduation using only the library. Yes, it’s that good. Give yours a try!
6. Embracing interest-led learning.
Kids- especially kids under 8- learn phenomenally just by playing. Even after they get older, kids who have grown up with the mindset that they don’t need others to show them what to learn are fantastic at using what they find to quench their curiosity. Today, my 9 and 12 year olds spent hours outside planting seeds from some green peppers we had in the fridge and tending to the plants in my oldest daughter’s greenhouse. Learning happens all the time whether we parents plan for it to happen or not!
My final thoughts:
I guess you can definitely say that homeschooling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t hem yourself into thinking that there’s only one way to learn, and expensive textbooks are it. There is such an abundance of excellent and, dare I say it, interesting materials out there for us to find and put to good use with our kids.
Don’t be discouraged by stories of the high costs of homeschooling. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of families out there who can tell you otherwise.