Your family has made the decision to homeschool but now what?
You look at your budget and think there's no way you can get started homeschooling without debt. How will you buy what you need without spending thousands of dollars?
I have good news for you!
You don’t need to spend $1,000 to get started.
You don't need all the shiny things to get started.
I know how tempting it is to want to get everything you see and gobble of resources and manipulatives, and extras. After all, you're decision to homeschool is because you want the best for your children so you want to have everything you need and be well prepared.
But keep this in mind:
Your goal is to instill a love of learning, not replicate public school at home.
You don’t need to set up a full-blown classroom in order for your kids to learn.
Tips: How to Start Homeschooling Without Going Into Debt
#1 -Start with the basics
You don’t have to buy it all right now. Get started with the fundamental curriculum and add the others as you go. You do want to teach a variety of subject but you don't need to have all the curriculum on Day 1 nor do you need to have all the extras on Day 1.
Each family and each child will have different needs so it is hard to give you an all-inclusive list of basics but here's a start:
Basics may include:
- Language Arts
- Foreign Language
#2 – Shop the Sales
Like other cultures, the homeschool marketplace is full of sales. Black Friday sales, back to school sales, Christmas sales they are all common in the homeschool marketplace. Be sure to sign up for emails to your favorite businesses so you get sales notifications.
#3 – Grab Free Resources
There are many free resources available online, including whole curriculums! This is especially nice for young children and elementary age students. Some sites include:
- Ambleside Online
- Easy Peasy Homeschool
- The Good and The Beautiful -Their entire language arts curriculums can be downloaded free
- 1+1+1=1 – great for the little ones
- Get Epic! – online book library with read along, audio, and self-read books
- Under the Home – K-5 Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum
Other free teaching tools include:
#4 – Buy used
Like any budget savvy mama, you want to save money, and buying used is the way to go. There are tons of ways to buy used curriculum:
- General Facebook homeschool sales groups
- Curriculum/style-specific groups
- Used book sales/library sales
- Used curriculum events
- Homeschool group/co-op sales events
#5 Sign up for teacher accounts/discount programs
Yes! You are a teacher and it is time to start thinking like one. There are hundreds of stores (online and brick-and-mortar) that offer discounts to teachers, including homeschool teachers.
Here are some lists for you to check out:
#6- Christmas gifts!
I know it might sound like a kill-joy but asking for STEM toys, art supplies, extra-curricular supplies and gift certificates is smart and budget-savvy. Plus, it will get the family involved in your kid's education.
#7 – The Dollar Stores
If you didn’t love the dollar store before, you’ll love it now. Craft supplies, paper, pens, stickers, and more can be found at the Dollar General or the Dollar Tree.
#8 – Skip fancy furniture
You do NOT need to buy school furniture. The wonderful thing about an at-home education is that it can happen anywhere. The living room, kitchen table, bedroom, deck, front lawn, even in the car.
You'll find eventually you need a bookshelf (or two…or three…) but as you get started you don't need to buy a dedicated desk and chair.
#9 – Combine subjects
As your mindset about education shifts, you'll realize you can school multiple grades at one for subjects like science and history. Look for a “family” curriculum where you buy one set of lesson plans for the whole family and then resources per grade level. This article gives you insight into combining subjects.
#10 – Utilized your friends
No doubt you have a community of friends and family that can be a resource for you. If you need a microscope, as on social media. If your son wants to learn wood-working, as Uncle Bob if he'd be willing to teach him one day a week.
And, as you make new friends in the homeschool community you can utilize bulk-buying power to save on shipping and even swap curriculums with friends.
#11 – Buy digital curriculum instead of physical
A digital curriculum can save you an up-front cost. I like to buy my teacher manuals/lesson plans digital and just buy the consumable books for my son in print.
As an example, we use Simply Charlotte Mason's history. In print, it is $19.95 (plus shipping if that's all I buy). But, the digital version is $13.95 (and no shipping).
Also, buying individual ebooks vs printed books will save you money. I like to mix up my digital and print so that my son has exposure to both types of reading. Consider if a Kindle Unlimited or Audible subscription for your family might save you money over buying physical reading books too.
#12 – spend time planning before buying/stay organized
Some have a tendency to over plan and never commit, others never plan and end up with things they don’t need.
Be in the middle – plan well, study your children (how they learn, what interests them, what are they good at, where do they struggle) and then buy.
Keep records of what you buy so you don’t end up with duplicates.
#13- Make school spending a priority
You make what is important a priority. Set aside money each month toward purchases. And, keep a good record of what you spend. After the first year, you’ll have an idea of what you will spend the next year.
Having a budget that includes school spending (curriculum, supplies, activities, and sports) is important so that you don't have to scramble when a need arises.
The easiest thing to do is to start limiting other expenses, especially debt so that you can put money toward your homeschooling needs. In my FREE 6 Steps To Debt-Free Living mini eCourse, you will learn how to get started right now, today with a strategy to reduce current debts and avoid new ones. Lesson One will be sent to you right away!