Homeschool Cost Cutting Ideas

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*  This is some of the ways that I cut cost for homeschooling.  I will add to it as I think of more.  Feel free to add your ideas also.  If you want to add something just click on edit page and type away.  Just be sure it hasn't already been written and please keep it in a nice format.  Thank you.



  1. The library – I have found the library to be an invaluable asset to our homeschool.  It does take a little planning in order to utilize the library well.  Here are a few tips.  Look for a library system that has an interloan system.  With a system like this the likely hood of getting the book you want when you want it increases dramatically.   When I’m making up lesson plans I always look to see what the library has that I can use.  I write out a list of the books we will be using and approximately when I’ll need them.  Then I put them on hold about a week before we’ll use them.  I tested the system before school started to see how long it would take to get them, that way I can plan accordingly.  Make sure you keep track of when they are due also.  This way you can renew or turn them in to avoid late fees. 



  1. Check used book stores, thrift stores, library sales, and yard sales.  I have found several things at these places that we use in our homeschooling.  I have found educational computer programs, games, reference books, and even some curriculum.  Also if you have family or friends that frequent these places let them know you are on the look out for homeschooling supplies.  Let them know the max you’d like to spend and ask them to keep an eye out for you.  I have several items this way too.  I often reimburse them but sometimes they tell me not to bother.



  1. Look for educational opportunities in your community that are free or low cost.  For example our park district offers events once or twice a month for free.  They include things like bird watching, natural journaling, making crafts with nature, and guided nature walks.  These are always a great education opportunity.  They always have a park ranger or other person with a vast amount of knowledge put these on.  Our local art museum also has family days every Tuesday.  They feature an artist and supply the kids with art supplies to make their own interpretation.  They have art students available to tell the kids about the artist and show them some art techniques.



  1. Keep an eye out for low cost memberships to places that offer educational programs or are educational in nature.  Like the zoo and science museum.  It is cheaper for us to buy a membership to these places than to pay to visit it just one time.  Also many zoos and museums do a reciprocal membership, meaning you can use that membership to get into other museums and zoos for free or with a deep discount.  Make sure to ask if they have a homeschoolers discount.  A lot of places don’t advertise it but will give you one if you ask.



  1. Ask book stores, office supply places, and teacher’s stores if they offer a discount to homeschoolers.  Most will if you have proof of being a homeschooler.  Some will accept a letter from the school district that you are homeschooling others require a homeschool id.



  1. Make copies of worksheets and workbooks so you can use it for the next child.  Now that my oldest is in high school I find I have to buy more of his curriculum than before.  This is just my preference.  But I copy the workbook pages for him so he’s not writing in the book, because I have several behind him that can use it in the future also.  The only time I don’t make copies is if I can replace the workbook cheaper than copying it.



  1. Use the internet.  There is tons of free stuff out there.  For the last couple of years I have used it to put together several units, and lapbooks for my guys.  I have found free curriculum this way also.  You can check the pages section to find them.



  1. Keep your eyes open for sales.  I got a huge amount of copy paper for next to nothing by watching for sales.  Also companies tend to have a cycle with sales; most curriculum companies start sales in Feb. for the coming year.  It pays to plan early and utilize those sales.  Often if you look in the clearance sections they have some steals there.  The main reason something goes on clearance is because it has an updated version they are selling now.  These older versions won’t be printed anymore so they want to get rid of them.  They are usually perfectly fine to use.



  1. If you have to buy a curriculum, look for something that can be used for multiple children.  This is why I like unit studies so much.  I don’t always follow it completely but it is nice to have as many kids as possible on the same topic.  Look at homeschool conventions.  They have tons of vendors there and you can look at the material before you purchase it.  It is usually cheaper to get it this way.  If you can’t make it to a convention ask other homeschoolers what they use and see if you can have a look at it.  You can also look online for used curriculum.



  1. Family and friends often buy the kids gifts for their birthdays and Christmas.  They will usually ask me what to get the boys.  I will usually give suggestions for things that can be fun and educational.  Game boards, books, craft supplies, science equipment, and things like that.  My kids enjoy these things just as much as toys because to them learning is fun.  My sister recently bought my son a volcano for his birthday.  All the kids, oohhed and aahhed over that one.  LOL Think along the lines of what is of interest to them and can be fun and educational.  If they are into building things, dinosaurs, geology, or whatever there are plenty of “toys” out there that the relatives can get them.


  1. Does your church have a Christian school?  See if you can borrow some textbooks from them.  My pastor recently offered to let us borrow some if I needed them.  I hadn’t even thought about it.  The pastor from the church I grew up in and the one my son is playing basketball for now, has a Christian school, when he heard that I homeschooled told me he wished he had known because they just got rid of a bunch of curriculum and he would have given it to me.  So let them know you homeschool.



  1. Look through the clearance racks at stores. You’d be amazed what you can find there for next to nothing.  I’ve gotten books, craft supplies, and school supplies.  Some of my favorite stores to find good deals for schooling supplies:  Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Sam’s Club.


  1. Organize a curriculum swap with other homeschoolers.  This could be where you exchange curriculum you are no longer using or a "lending" swap.  A lending swap you exchange curriculum that you will not be using that year but will need back in the future. 



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