Homeschooling Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune – Part 1
Parents that are new to homeschooling are often overwhelmed with all the products that are now available to homeschoolers. Homeschooling has become a big industry. Open a homeschooling catalog full of curriculum and supplies and someone can easily get the impression that homeschooling is going to cost thousands of dollars a year. Some parents have no problem going this route, but others have to budget what they spend on curriculum and homeschooling supplies.
For homeschooling parents that have a more limited budget, there are many things that you can do to cut your expenses for homeschooling and not cut the quality of your child’s education. Here are a few tips:
Set a Budget
Before you start purchasing supplies for your homeschool, set a budget. Consider how many children you are homeschooling and what their grade levels will be. Look for ways to consolidate some of your teaching, like teaching the same level of history or science to more than one child at the same time. This will cut down on what you need to budget for your curriculum and supplies. Consider this your own “one room schoolhouse”. Then you may only need to purchase one curriculum or one set of supplies and use them for more than one child. This will help keep you from purchasing things that are unnecessary and keeping them in the closet.
Decide on Curriculum
Before you decide on curriculum, consider your child/children first. Write down questions and answers about their personality, strengths, and weaknesses. What is their learning style? Does you child like to do lots of exciting hands on activities? Do they love to read or not quite so much? Is character development as important or less important to you? Considering these questions will help you select the curriculum that works best for your child/children.
Once you have written down some of these things, then take a look at the different methods of homeschooling and determine which is the best one for you. These homeschooling methods include (but are not limited to):
- Charlotte Mason Method – SimplyCharlotteMason.com; CharlotteMason.com
- Classical Education Method – Classical-Homeschooling.org; TheWellTrainedMind.com; TriviumPursuit.com
- Eclectic Homeschooling Method – EclecticHomeschool.org
- Montessori Method – American Montessori Consulting
- Traditional or School-at-Home Method
- Unit Studies Approach – Amanda Bennett’s UnitStudy.com; Five In a Row; Homeschooling ADD Kids
- Unschooling or Natural Learning Method – Unschooling.com
- Waldorf Education Method – Live-Education.com; Waldorf Without Walls
Remember, there is not one way of homeschooling. Every child is different and what might work for one child and/or parent, might not work for you. Deciding in advance what your style will be means you can adapt the tools to the method, not the other way around.
Once you’ve decided which route you want to take, then you can “test drive” your chosen curriculum and other tools before you start buying.
- Look for online demos
- Check out curriculum reviews online
- Attend a homeschool convention or expo where homeschool vendors have an opportunity to show you their curriculum, products, and supplies
- Talk to other homeschool parents and find out what they liked or disliked about curriculum they’ve purchased or used
- Check out homeschooling support forums or blogs online and do the same your support group. Ask them what they like and dislike about curriculum they’ve purchased and used. Read messages on homeschooling support forums online and do the same.
Kelly Ling is a work-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has mentored many homeschooling and work-at-home moms over the past eighteen years. Kelly also owes a home-based web design business. When not doing web design, she is constantly updating some of her homeschooling/work-at-home websites – Homeschool Top Sites, ChristianWAHM.com, WAHM Contests, and others.