As many homeschool families survive on a single income, it’s vital to make the most of your homeschool budget. Yet, the old adage “You get what you pay for” also applies in most cases. Where does a mom draw the line between the two? Having homeschooled through high school and most often on a very limited budget, I’ve learned a few lessons about stretching those homeschool dollars.
- Use literature-based curriculum for teaching literature and history. I even used whole books to teach science through middle school. I also used literature and other whole books to teach my children about writing and spelling skills. By using literature and whole books, you can utilize your library which means your core books are free! Train Up a Child Publishing has well developed, reasonably priced literature based units and lesson plans. Full Disclosure: Beth is one of the authors of some of the TUACP materials, but I don’t receive any sort of compensation for curriculum sales.
- Check out interlibrary loan. The reference department of your library can provide the details. Did you know you can often get textbooks from libraries all over the country? It takes a bit of planning ahead (some interlibrary loans take several weeks), but you can often extend your borrowing time by telling them you’re an educator.
- If you know you or your child have a weak area, prioritize your budget to cover that weakness. This is most important in high school, where your child will receive credit, to make sure you have someone covering bases that you can’t. Many parents are finding that “free” high school classes offered by colleges and other organizations don’t actually teach their high school children, but just offer instructional information. Having a real teacher is essential in those tough areas. Accountability definitely matters when you share the responsibility of educating your children with another organization or teacher.
- Use your gifts to barter with other educators. At Classes by Beth, we currently have one of our teachers and another member of our support staff who work for tuition. It’s a win-win and allows those moms to use their budget in a more creative way. It can never hurt to ask when you’re considering using a specific company’s materials or services. You may have gifts that they can’t afford to purchase.
- Avoid impulse buying of non-essentials. I really struggled with attending homeschool conventions because I found myself wanting to buy “fun” or creative items for our schooling. Even smaller, less expensive items add up when you buy a few of them. I quickly learned to make sure I had covered all of my essentials before even considering those types of purchases. I also found that the fun items were often put aside quickly, while the essentials provided what my children truly needed.
- Check out referral opportunities for educational companies that you utilize. For example, with Classes by Beth, we provide direct tuition credit for moms who refer their friends and those friends register for class. It’s a great way to support a company you appreciate and help your family benefit as well.
- Share curriculum. If you have friends whose children are different ages than yours, consider purchasing curriculum together to share. This worked well for me with foreign language. When all of the children have finished using the curriculum, sell it and split the income. One suggestion: if you split the curriculum cost, the other mom will be less likely to decide to use something else later and leave you footing the bill.
A Special Offer For A Simple Life Too Readers
As a special offer for readers of this post, Classes by Beth will give any reader who registers for at least one 2015-16 CBB class 5 free Momshops (online live workshops covering a variety of topics). Readers who register for more than one class will receive all 10 of our Momshops for free! Just use the code simplelife in the Referral box on the CBB registration form. Remember to choose courses that will take pressure off of you and allow your child to grow by being taught by an instructor passionate about teaching. That way you’re using your homeschool budget wisely!To participate in another free course giveaway, subscribe to the CBB blog by June 30th and you’ll be entered in our giveaway of seven different gifts, including two free classes.
Disclosure: This guest post is from Beth of Classes By Beth. Subscribe to her blog and check out her Middle and High-school Homeschool classes today!