How to Homeschool on a Budget: 5 Helpful Tips

books-budgetThere are a lot of curriculum options for homeschooling.  Your choice really comes down to what you’re trying to accomplish, what programs work best with your teaching style and your child’s/children’s learning style, and how much you want to spend.  Many homeschooling parents make the mistake of thinking they have to spend a lot of money to prepare a solid program, and at times end up with materials that don’t suit their needs.  Well, I’d like to help you figure out how to homeschool on a budget, by sharing five tips I’m using to keep my costs low.

  • Choose free resources and programs to get you started

I believe that homeschooling at the Kindergarten level should be grounded in simplicity and fun.  At this age, children are still learning heavily through play.  There’s no reason to break the bank on a curriculum at this level.  Rather, I would suggest finding free programs that provide ample subject matter and allow you to insert the much needed activities and “learning through play” that kindergartners enjoy.

Check out ABC Jesus Loves Me for an example.  The 4 and 5 year (old) curriculum are perfect for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  I started using the 5 year curriculum as the foundation for my Kindergarten program and my daughter loved it!  The best part is that you can substitute resources and they provide links to free printables, related activities, and supplemental resources.

Another awesome and free curriculum is Easy Peasy.  I use this program now as the foundation for my First Grade program, and I’m loving the ease and functionality of the layout.  If you’re looking for a full, comprehensive curriculum that can take your child from preschool to high school – ALL IN ONE PLACE – then Easy Peasy is a great curriculum to check out.

Does your child love science?  Are you struggling to find science lessons that are hands on and easy to facilitate?  You may want to to check out Mystery Science.  This program offers easy to use science lessons for Kindergarten through Fifth grade.  Each year they offer FREE subscriptions for new teachers and new homeschooling families, so you can bypass the monthly subscription for your first year.

  • Choose Low Cost Curricula and Supplemental Materials

Aside from finding free resources you can look for low cost options as well.  Programs such as Time4Learning and Education.com are awesome low cost resources for curriculum, lesson plans, worksheets, and interactive games.  Time4Learning has a per student fee of $14.95/mo for K-8 and $19.95/mo for 9-12 (Note: discounted monthly pricing offered for each additional student).  Education.com has a monthly fee of $12.99/mo for full access, although you can opt for the FREE option if you choose.  For little learners, Starfall ($35/year) is a great option for teaching and reinforcing reading, spelling, and math concepts for Pre-K through Second grade.  I discuss more about this resource in my Starfall Review.

  • YouTube can be a lifesaver

I have found so many helpful videos on YouTube including songs, lessons and supplemental information for a variety of subjects, and even fun books.  I was surprised to find so much helpful information on this medium.  Just enter a search for what you’re looking for, and more than likely you’ll find some great resources.  One of my favorite channels is Have Fun Teaching.  This channel has a large catalogue of videos that cover a variety of subjects and topics for early learners.

  • Check Out Your Local Library

With the ease of the Internet and television, we often forget the benefits of hanging out at the good ‘ole library!  For smaller children, going to the library can be an amazing experience – receiving their first library card, seeing all the shelves of books, getting to choose some books to take home – you can really make your visits special!  Also, When I started incorporating a bi-weekly trip to the library, this addition made a world of difference in increasing my daughter’s interest in reading.  We always select at least one book that is above her current reading level to challenge her and encourage growth.

  • Check out your local dollar store

Your local dollar store can be a great option for supplies like pencils, paper, folders, activity books, and instructional items.  I found some great First Grade workbooks full of all the Disney princesses my daughter loves.  Additionally, I found some awesome sight word flashcards and early readers.

I hope these tips give you some insight on how to home school on a budget.  Giving your child a fun learning environment doesn’t have to empty your pockets.

What are some tips you have for homeschooling on a budget?  Leave a comment below!

12 Comments

  1. Sydny on 01/15/2018 at 8:48 am

    My daughter is only 6 months, but I’ve already started thinking ahead to preschool activities since we’re homeschooling.

    When I first looked into homeschool I saw how expensive some of the curriculum can be so seeing that there is affordable subscription services is so helpful.

    I can’t wait to take Jo to the library!
    Will definitely be using some of your resources to get started on this homeschool path!

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/15/2018 at 11:47 am

      It’s never too early to start researching and planning! I hope you’ll join our community, I’m always finding and sharing affordable resources that you may find helpful! Subscribe here: https://thoughtsofahomeschoolmom.com/subscribe.
      Thank you for commenting!

  2. Anitra on 01/15/2018 at 9:30 am

    These are such great tips! As a 3 to 6 year olds Montessori teacher, I find amazing items at the Dollar Tree and 99 cent store to incorporate and enhance my classroom curriculum! Great, informative post!

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/15/2018 at 11:46 am

      I’m so glad you found value in this post. Yes, the Dollar Tree has become one of my favorite stores. My daughter (six years old) also loves crafts, so she can craft to her heart’s content without emptying my wallet :).

  3. Kimberly on 01/15/2018 at 2:46 pm

    These are great resources! It’s so important to have a plan when it comes to homeschooling. You laid out these options in great detail. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/15/2018 at 6:30 pm

      I’m so glad you found value! I’m a Type A personality, so having a plan is a MUST :).

  4. Hope on 01/15/2018 at 3:08 pm

    When I started homeschooling we didn’t even have a computer (my girls are grown now) so we made many trips to our local library. It was a great resource for us and then when it was time for us to move and the girls were older, we donated many of our books that we had acquired on our home school journey. I loved home schooling and I was always looking for free or low-cost ideas. One thing we also did was get a yearly pass to the local zoo and/or aquarium and then we could participate in their educational activities for a one-time fee. We enjoyed that very much and the girls learned at the same time.

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/15/2018 at 6:32 pm

      Yes! We love the zoo and aquarium as well. There are so many ways to teach your child without spending a lot of money.

  5. Stephanie on 01/15/2018 at 3:24 pm

    As a Homeschool mom of 5, budgeting is the only way we manage. Great thoughts, ideas and content! I am positive many Homeschoolers will benefit from your blog!

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/15/2018 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you so much! Even with just one little one, budgeting is key for our family as well.

  6. Heather Okarma on 01/16/2018 at 1:38 am

    My daughter is using easy peasy for art! She is really enjoying it. Another great tip is joining homeschool buy & sell facebook groups. I purchased almost everything we needed last year that way.

    • Dr. Tiffany McKinnon-Russell on 01/18/2018 at 11:42 pm

      That’s a great money saving tip! I’ll definitely research some groups. I’m glad to hear that your daughter is enjoying Easy Peasy as well.

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