Welcome back to 10 Days of Large Family Homeschooling!
Start at the beginning of the series.
For any family seeking a private Christian education in the home, money quickly becomes an issue. While programs like K12 and other public-school umbrellas exist, they do not offer the freedom of choice so many homeschoolers are looking for. Nor do they offer a Christian education.
Most homeschooling families opt to buy their own curriculum so they can truly be in charge of their child’s education. When a homeschooling family has many children, curriculum buying becomes an exercise in creative frugality.
Here are a few ways you can save and stretch money in your homeschool:
My absolute favorite place to get school supplies is Discount School Supply. Every year, I order all the paper, pencils, crayons, paint, craft supplies, etc. we need for the year (and often, they will last longer than that). I buy crayons in bulk, pencils in bulk, glue in bulk and whatever else I know we use a lot of. Discount School Supply’s prices are amazing and the shipping is FREE if you have an order over $79.
Another place we buy from is Miller Pads and Paper. I have never purchased from them online, but they go to a lot of conventions and I buy things from them like dry erase lapboards and specialty papers. They are also a terrific source for higher level art supplies (I need to keep this in mind when getting extras for See the Light Art!)
2. Utilize free sites.
There are entire websites devoted to offering free curriculum like Ambleside Online and Old Fashioned Education – there is a great list of free curriculum sites on Successful Homeschooling. Free curriculum websites are amazing resources that often use public domain materials. If you go this route, I would highly recommend investing in some type of eReader like a Kindle or Nook so your children are not confined to staring at a computer all day. I also like Sherry’s (Large Family Mothering) idea of investing the money to print off free books and then bind them yourself.
There is also a new website, FreeHomeschoolDeals.com, that offers several freebies every day, including free Kindle ebooks. And on Fridays at Gricefully Homeschooling and Kathy’s Cluttered Mind there is a FreeBee Friday with a link up where other homeschoolers can link up their freebies.
You could easily pull together a full curriculum for all of your children with all the free stuff on the internet. It would take a little diligence, perseverance and time, but it is definitely doable.
3. Dream big and one at a time.
Most homeschool moms go into their school year with a budget in mind. They say things like, “I have $500 to spend for the entire school year. How can I get the biggest bang for my buck?” I would like to encourage you to come at your budget in a little different way.
Rather than seeing your children as a collective, look at each child individually and their individual interests and needs. Include the things most people consider “extras” and dream big. You can always pare down from there.
For instance, we’ve decided our youngest children only need Phonics and Math. The rest of their schooling can come from books we already own, library books, or just plain life. We focus the bulk of our budget on our older children and increasing our own library of resources. (by the way, the numbers in the photo are random )
I start high with my homeschooling dreams and work my way down when deciding on a reasonable amount to spend each year. I write down each child’s name and all the items I think they could use in a year and the price of each item. From there, I start paring down and searching for online resources to replace some of the items until I land on a more reasonable number.
Dreaming big for each individual child teaches you to see each of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and interests in the context of education and discipleship. You may find yourself very surprised and very excited by the prospects of budgeting this way because it gives such insight for each child. In the Subscriber Pack, I’ve included a Budget by Child sheet where you can try this method of planning.
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4. See your purchases as an investment.
This is the number one thing I tell homeschooling parents of many. Your purchase today will be passed down from one child to the next. If there is a curriculum you really think would benefit your homeschool, but the price feels too hefty, don’t always walk away from it. Consider how many of your children will be able to use it and other places you can scrimp in order to purchase it. The money you spend now will be well worth it in the long run.
And I want to urge you to realize your child’s education is not just about academic scores. This is the very reason I wrote Homeschooling with Purpose. Homeschool parents have to move beyond test scores and textbooks as their measure of success.
And don’t miss the other blogs participating in the 10 Days Series! Click the button below to find a listing of all the blogs and topics!