Low Cost Learning

Homeschooling can get very expensive.  There are so many great little gadgets & neat things to use in our school not to mention the huge choice of curriculum.  Did you know that the average homeschooling family spends approximately $400 per year per child on school related materials?  Finding ways to save money without forfeiting your child’s education can be very important if you are on a tight budget.  Here are some ideas that have come from some of my favorite sources, homeschool moms.

Don’t buy new. One of the easiest ways for me to save some money is to shop for used books rather than new ones.  The internet is loaded with sites where you can find used books.  Half –Price Book Store is a great to place to not only buy used books, but you can also sell your books, curriculum, videos & CD’s.   If you still can’t find what you are looking for then ask your friends.  If they have it they will probably let you borrow it.

Use what you already have. There are many cute little extra’s you can spend a lot of money on when purchasing manipulative for math and such.  Instead, we just use what we have around the house.

MATH – We use dry beans for counting in Math instead of counting bears.  When they are learning place value just use different types of beans to represent each place value.  A real tape measure & ruler are a lot more fun to learn measurement with than just a workbook.  Also, your measuring cups, spoons & bowls help you visual learners remember easier.  Dominoes, dice & playing cards are great to reinforce the basics.  My kids love to play “21” or whatever number they chose.  Don’t forget about your board games that have money or points.  These are fun & educational.

LANGUAGE ARTS – If you still have a tape recorder or even a digital recorder, these are great for doing interviews for research papers or just mock interviews.  Have your child record them self reading aloud & let them listen and see what they sound like.  Your fireplace makes a great stage for public speaking and your doorways make a great puppet stage when a blanket or sheet is stretched across on chairs. Use speeches and the Bible as opportunities to teach proper recitation.  Copywork can be used to teach proper handwriting and grammar skills. Make your own trivia game or better yet have your child make it.  What a fun project!!

SCIENCE – Broken appliances are great to let kids take apart and either try to fix or just explore the working parts.  Flashlights, batteries and wire are good for making simple machines. Magnets, a cork and needle will create a compass.  Magnetize the needle by rubbing it against a magnet.  Stick the needle into the cork & float in a pan of water.  The needle will point north. Your kitchen sink, stove, refrigerator, & table are the makings of a beginner’s laboratory for experiments.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Place maps on your kitchen table & cover the table with a clear shower curtain.  Eat breakfast on London and dinner on Egypt!  Laminate parts of maps and use them as placemats.  Make a family tree using photo albums.  And don’t forget about a globe.

Think multi-level and non-consumable! Hard bound text books are sometimes a major investment, but well worth it years later.  We are using the same math text book for the 5th child this year.  I don’t let my kids color in science & history coloring books so that I can reuse them.  I make copies of the pages I need.  I also make copies of various workbook pages (when the author has given permission) to help add years to the money I spent.

Use the Internet.  If you are not careful you could spend days on the internet researching website & resources to use with your children.  An interesting website that I recently found that gave me hundreds of educational websites is www.educational-freeware.com.  I was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of websites for all ages; from my preschoolers up to my high school kids. There are many more sites out there that are so helpful in creating a fun learning atmosphere.  You just have to look for them.

I have learned that I really need to get creative with what I have & continue to reuse it.  Because I have built quite a home library, I rarely have to go to the city library, but we do use the public one when we need to.  The more years I homeschool the more simple I make it, not ordering fancy curriculum’s.  I have learned that it doesn’t always give them a better education.  I want my kids to learn to educate themselves and sometimes that means they have to do all the leg work, researching on the internet or creating polls to collect data.  Teach your kids to be creative also.  It will bless them in the end.


Dana Bailey & her husband have been married for 19 years & have 10 children. They have always homeschooled & graduated their first child in May, 2009. Dana enjoys blogging about just about everything, but mainly encouraging mothers in their biblical role of womanhood. Visit her website at danabailey.blogspot.com.

avatar Dana Bailey (2 Posts)

Dana and her husband have been married for 19 years & have 10 children. They live in McKinney, TX. They have always homeschooled & graduated their first child in May, 2009. Dana served on leadership in her homeschool group for 7 years before becoming a ministry leader in her church. She leads the Mom2Mom ministry where she teaches Bible Study & trains a team of 50+ mom leaders. Dana enjoys blogging about just about everything, but mainly encouraging mothers in their biblical role of womanhood. Visit her website at http://danabailey.blogspot.com


One Response to Low Cost Learning

  • avatar
    Susan says:

    most libraries sell their old encyclopedias, and other books periodically. If you check for public libraries around colleges and college libraries many times they sell old textbooks. Ask the local schoolboards if they are getting rid of any old textbooks. Many times you can get textbooks for nothing or next to nothing. WE have a “friends of the library” group where we live and they sell old books to raise money to support the public library system.

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