Let’s face it. Most homeschooling families need to figure out how to homeschool on a budget.
It’s a matter of survival!
One parent often takes on the majority of the homeschooling responsibilities. The planning, organizing, teaching, counseling, record-keeping, meal prep, shuttling to and from activities, and general household tasks.
These parents are like unpaid personal assistants, education administrators, therapists, chefs, uber drivers, and housekeepers.
It’s A LOT.
And on top of all of these responsibilities, it usually requires that this parent make homeschooling their full-time (and again, UNPAID!) job.
This means it’s important to figure out how to homeschool on a budget!
Now it’s true that many homeschooling parents have part-time jobs and side hustles that help to generate a little income. But in most situations, there is a significant loss of income that accompanies the decision to homeschool.
again, it becomes critical to know how to homeschool on a budget!
Here are some simple steps you can take to help reduce overwhelm and feel confident that you CAN do this!
How to Homeschool on a Budget:
1. Get organized
The first thing to do is to focus on overall planning. Without a (flexible!) plan, expenses can really add up.
Hitting the drive-through because everyone is STARVING and there are no snacks packed.
Running to Target at the last minute because you’re completely out of toilet paper. Then leaving the store with three bags filled with other items that (somehow, mysteriously!) ended up in your shopping cart.
Exhaustion, overwhelm, and desperation can lead to unexpected and detrimental costs.
The best way to combat this is by getting organized.
So pull out your planner or calendar. Look at the month you’re currently in and note any appointments, activities, errands, special occasions, and other commitments you have.
If there will be costs associated with these responsibilities, note the cost so you can budget accordingly based on whatever your family’s current budget is.
Then before the start of each week, consider the following:
- Decide what time you will wake up and go to bed
- Organize the clothes you will wear for the week
- Decide what you will have for dinner
- Look over what appointments, activities, and errands you have
- Figure out when you will practice self-care
Again, having no weekly plan whatsoever is a recipe for overwhelm, exhaustion, and poor money choices.
Does this mean that everything will run smoothly all of the time?
Of course not!
There will still be days when your plan gets tossed out the window.
Sleeping through your alarm, a forgotten appointment, sick kids, an unanticipated craving for Chinese food (must order take-out NOW!) These are all perfectly understandable reasons for ditching your plan.
We are talking about LIFE, after all!
But still, having a plan that you can follow (with flexibility and plenty of grace) can help you stick with your homeschooling budget.
If you’re in need of a specific action plan and details, be sure to head over to the post, 5 things you can do THIS week to make NEXT week easier.
2. FREE Online Resources & Materials
There are A TON of fantastic homeschooling resources online. And many of them are completely FREE!
But knowing where to start can feel totally overwhelming.
The good news is that I’ve done the work for you so be sure to check out FREE Online Homeschooling Resources to get you started!
3. The Library
If you’re not already using the heck out of your public library, it’s time to get to it!
In addition to books, music, videos, internet access, and the super informed magical Librarians, most libraries also offer access to e-books, offer homework help, will take purchase suggestions from patrons, host various clubs, have musical instruments available to check out, and provide complimentary tickets to local attractions.
Simply chat with one of your Librarians about all of the services they offer, or hop online and explore their website.
And for extra guidance, head over to Making the most of your public library!
4. Affordable Entertainment
There are so many FREE and discounted field trips and activities available to homeschoolers. Many museums and aquariums now offer Homeschool Days, specifically for homeschooling families.
I’ve got plenty of great ideas for you in the post Fantastic homeschooling field trip ideas.
5. Connect with Community
Inquire online, in homeschooling FB groups, on social media, and with homeschooling friends who live out of your area. Chat with people at homeschooling co-ops, with friends who are teachers, your neighbors, and various community members to see what FREE and discounted resources and opportunities they know of.
Connect with different communities– you may be surprised at what you discover!
From making unexpected connections with organizers and fellow volunteers to receiving special perks and discounts for your service, this is a fantastic way to access resources you may otherwise not know about.
Volunteering is a great way to not only serve your community but to also access untapped resources.
7. Ask for Educator Discounts
Don’t be afraid to ask!
I’ve learned to ask at every place we visit, “Do you offer a discount for homeschoolers?” and often times the answer is “YES!“
I remember in my early days of homeschooling, I felt a little uncomfortable inquiring. This was until I realized that it was seriously, no big deal and that the worst thing that could happen was they would say no.
So I encourage you to ask whenever you possibly can!
8. Explore Nature
Whether you live in the country or reside in the suburbs or even a big city, opportunities to interact with nature are abundant.
These are also experiences that are usually FREE.
Observing birds flying overhead, insects crawling around in the backyard, a little tuft of grass poking through a crack in the sidewalk, and weather changes… there are countless ways to observe and interact with nature.
And all of these opportunities enhance science, language arts, and math. Not to mention mental and emotional health benefits.
Take advantage of nature as one of the best FREE resources you have.
9. Use what you have
This seems like common sense and yet all too often we overlook the resources that are right beneath our noses and in our homes.
What materials do you already own that can be used for science experiments?
Are there various art supplies that have been in hiding that you can pull out and use?
Do you have music, videos, books, and other supplies you can use?
Look through what you already own and use what you have!
10. Don’t forget to recognize all of the ways you’re actually SAVING money by homeschooling!
For example, you’re not commuting to work every day. You’re not spending money on clothes for your job. You’re not purchasing things for school-related fundraisers, teacher gifts, uniforms, or extra requested classroom supplies.
Take a few minutes and think about all of the ways you’re actually SAVING money by homeschooling!
Homeschooling on a budget can feel overwhelming and scary. But I hope this list of ideas helps you feel encouraged and supported.
Do you have any other tips for how to homeschool on a budget? If so, I’d love to know what they are!