What will it cost to homeschool your child? The cost of homeschooling your child can vary greatly with each family. It all depends on what method you choose to use, the grade level of your child, and how much information you can provide on your own when it comes to the lesson plans.
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Homeschooling requires teaching materials like textbooks, workbooks, and during the science years, lab materials (not to mention project materials, too).
If you don’t feel confident developing your own curriculum, then you’ll want to invest in one that includes a teacher’s lesson plan, preferably a daily one to make the educational process more convenient for you.
Purchasing lesson plans can be quite expensive. To help cut costs, find out exactly what you need for your child’s curriculum and check with the local library to borrow books. Also look to see if the library has sales throughout the year. We were able to buy many chapter books this way. We waited until the second day of the sale when we could get a whole bag full for a set price.
You can purchase new books for your child to use, but you might also be able to get by with buying used texts from a family whose kids are past that stage of learning. You can also buy used on places like eBay, Thrift Books, and Amazon. Just be careful to read the descriptions closely. I’ve received workbooks that were supposed to be “lightly marked” in margins that were completely filled out and unusable.
Look to see if you have a used homeschool bookstore in your area. We were fortunate enough to have one about 30 miles away. This saved us a lot of money. Plus it allowed me to be able to look at some of the curricula first to know if it would be a good fit for us.
Check your local thrift stores, like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, or used bookstores. You might be able to find curriculum there. Especially for the younger ages, I was able to buy most of the readers at Goodwill. I even once found two brand new books (normally $35 each) for a total of $1.61!!
Watch for homeschooling conventions. Most states have a yearly convention. They will have a vendor area set up with all sort of curricula. Many of the vendors offer a discount during the convention.
The Internet is an area with a vast amount of free resources. Don’t be afraid to search for some daily lesson plans that you can print out – as well as project ideas you can assign to your child to make learning fun and interactive.
One of my favorite resources is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a website that has lesson plans, complete courses, videos, and so much more. They are adding new courses all the time. We have been members for more than five years, and the boys really enjoy the freedom of classes online.
Another online option we use is Techie Homeschool Mom. Here you will find unit studies of many different subjects. All the work of searching has been done for you.
My boys have enjoyed having Drive Thru Adventures. This was started by Dave Stotts (known for Drive Thru History). It has Bible and History classes.
Christian Book Distributors is an online store that sells more than just Christian books. They have a whole section dedicated to homeschooling. You will find workbooks, books, complete curriculum, lab sets, and many other items. They often have sales, and you can sometimes find homeschool items that are in their “damaged” inventory. I can’t speak for all of the items, but the items I have bought that were listed as “damaged” were just a crease in the cover or a slight tear in the cover.
Network with other homeschooling parents. Many have book trades, where they either sell or give curriculums to other families who need them. You may have to change a few things to make it more personalized for your child or supplement it with something you find elsewhere, but used materials can shave hundreds of dollars off of your expenses.
Maximize your field trips. Sometimes lessons can be taught at a museum or zoo by asking the guide questions. If you’re learning about monkeys in your lesson plan, then why not learn about them at the zoo instead of looking at pictures in a book?
Learn through nature. Nature hikes at your local parks can teach a lot about the environment and can make learning more fun for your child. It’s more interesting to get outdoors and walk, run (and even play) while you learn something, and it helps the child retain the information better, too!
Join a homeschooling community or start one of your own. Sometimes a community of like-minded people can get donations for some of the equipment needed, like chalkboards, textbooks and more from the local schools or other organizations.
Check garage sales and flea markets for equipment to use. You may be able to find chalkboards or notebooks at a discount price. If you belong to a group of homeschoolers, then you might consider buying materials in bulk for a fraction of the costs.
Look for back-to-school sales. Usually, in July and August, big box stores start to put out their school supplies. You can find many items on sale. We stock up on spiral notebooks at Walmart for $0.25 each. These will normally cost $1 each if you are trying to find them throughout the year. Staples is also a good place for sales. You can sometimes find packs of paper, pencils, markers, erasers, etc. on sale. Just be sure to read the fine print to see if there is a maximum allowed to be purchased.
One last tip, you might want to consider a subscription to Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Many states or counties still have issues with homeschooling families. Having a lawyer available is a good investment. Many of the public school systems are unaware of state laws, so most issues can be resolved by a simple letter from HSLDA explaining the law. I think there are other groups out there, but we have always used HSLDA.
Homeschooling can cost as much or as little as you want it to, depending on how you decide to develop your curriculum. It’s been reported to cost some families almost $3,000 – but there are plenty of ways you can cut costs and work it into your budget.
In all of our years of homeschooling, I don’t think we have ever gone over $600 total for three kids. We bought a boxed curriculum when they were younger, but now we make our own schedules. It takes some extra time, but it saves a lot of money.
Here is a list of a few of the many choices available. We have either used these personally (denoted with a *) or have known someone that highly recommends them.
- Alpha Omega Publications (*Lifepac and Switched on Schoolhouse)
- *Answers in Genesis
- *BJU Press
- *Critical Thinking Co
- *Drive Thru Adventures
- *Hake’s Grammar & Writing
- *How Great Thou Art
- Institute for Excellence in Writing
- Life of Fred
- *Memoria Press
- *My Father’s World (website)
- *Notgrass History
- *Rosetta Stone
- *Saxon Math
- *Singapore Math
- *Story of the World
- Teaching Textbooks
- Veritas Press
Current Resources We Use
- SchoolhouseTeachers.com (now over 400 classes)
- Techie Homeschool Mom
- Drive Thru Adventures
- Christian Book Distributors
Previous Resources We Have Used
Here are links to books we have used
We will be adding more years in the near future.