One of a parent’s concerns when he or she is deciding whether or not to homeschool is that of cost. It’s true that homeschooling can be very expensive, but it does not have to be. Here are some things to consider as you decide whether or not you are going to spend a lot on homeschooling.
If you’ve browsed catalogues (online or in paper) that sell entire curricula – that is, a complete setup with books, lesson plans, workbooks, manipulatives, etc. for the year – you may have gone into “sticker shock” at the price.
Full-year, complete curricula do tend to be very expensive ($500+), but not always. Some involve only a few paperback books and a teacher’s guide; others include many materials. Some full-year curricula can be purchased for less than $200, and if you use the library for some of the materials, it can be had for under $100. So before you go into shock over the price of certain elaborate curricula, take a closer look and realize they aren’t all that expensive.
Let’s face it – the hours spent homeschooling are not hours during which you’re earning money. This is a somewhat “hidden” cost to the expense of homeschooling. It does require one parent to be home at least some of the time, so you will need to consider that in terms of forfeited income.
Did you know there are all kinds of free resources for homeschoolers? For starters, your local library is a treasure trove of books and learning materials that cost nothing (unless you owe a fine for overdue items!). Then there’s the internet – there are a great many websites that offer free printable lesson plans, worksheets, and learning games.
Find out if your local homeschool community does free book swaps. If not, organize one! In a book swap, homeschooling families bring books in that they no longer need or want, and lay them out on tables according to subject, age, or however it’s organized. Then the homeschooling families take whatever books they want from the tables. No one pays for anything, and it helps many families get rid of unwanted materials, and other families are helped by getting free educational materials.
Some websites offer materials for very low prices or will allow you to have free access to their educational materials for a small fee. Your local library may have a used book sale every now and then, too, as they clean out their shelves. You can get a lot of great materials at these sales. Yard sales and rummage sales are another source.
Create Your Own
Let’s not forget that you can create your own curriculum using free printouts and books you already own or ones from the library. You can design an entire unit study, lesson in a particular subject, or a year’s worth of lessons for next to nothing.