10 tips for frugal homeschooling

Not everyone homeschools, but if you are currently doing it or even considering it, money is always in everyone’s mind. Homeschooling can get extremely expensive, or it can be very affordable depending on your choices. No matter which way you go, there are always ways to reduce costs.

I am a big fan of using what you already have and making the most of all the local offerings. These are a way to make home education more sustainable, affordable and connect with the local environment and people.

Stock up on supplies while they’re on sale

School and stationery supplies are usually ‘in season’ during August and September. This way all students can have new supplies when they go back to school and university. However, homeschoolers don’t need to have shiny new pencils for the first day of school.

You can save some money by buying all your stationery needs right after the ‘back to school’ season when stores start focusing on Autumn and Halloween products, and all the stationery goes on sale.

Try to buy reusable supplies

Refillable pencils and markers, dry erase boards and notebooks, and kneadable erasers can be more expensive than their single-use counterparts, but in the long-term they will help you save money.

Swapping to reusable supplies can be as easy as using a binder with tabs instead of lots of notebooks.

Many of these reusable supplies are made with products that are not sustainable, so make sure you shop around for greener options.

Get second hand furniture

If you have a dedicated homeschooling area, go for pre-used furniture and give it a new lease of life by painting and upholstering (you’ll get a fun home school project out of it as well!).

Use free curriculums and resources

There are a lot of places that offer free educational resources. Many are designed for home educators, teachers and schools. But a lot of government, charity, foundation, NGO and museum websites offer free educational resources that have been created by professionals with children in mind.

And don’t forget to check websites from other countries too.

Buy resources on sale and on the longest period you can afford

Most resources go on sale at some point, this is the time to buy them. If you get online resources, the end of the school year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are common times for discounts. If you’re after physical resources, the most popular time for educational products to be bought is between August and December, so outside of those months is when you will find the best deals.

Make budgeting part of your curriculum

Include smart money use and budgeting as one of your school subjects. That way your children will learn how to manage money and you will save some while they do it.

You can make your children responsible for food shopping and meal planning, you can make them plan and execute field trips within a budget, or you can challenge them to reduce the electricity and gas bills.

Check local events

Many local services like libraries, parks, museums, farms, zoos, and children’s centres run regular activities. These often take place during term time and sometimes special activities are planned during the school holidays.

On top of those, keep an eye for local stores that may run workshops, tours, or other special activities.

And don’t forget about any holiday events and festivals that are part of the yearly calendar. Many activities and events can be educational as well as fun.

Make use of free local resources

Most homeschoolers are regular library visitors. But there are other resources that they may not be aware of. A lot of museums loan physical resources to schools and homeschool groups or families.

And if you’re on a low income, many areas offer free activities for children.

Find local second hand stores

Scrap or junk stores have been appearing all over the place in the past few years. They take materials and tools that would otherwise end up in the landfill as donations and sell them at a low cost. These usually specialise in household or craft supplies.

Other second hand stores can also be useful. Many sell old clothes that can be used as craft materials, cheap storage and containers, old books, and all sorts of useful things.

Don’t waste money on ‘filler’ activities

Children get bored easily, and nowadays the most common solutions are to enrol them in classes or buy them phones, tablets, or games. These are not bad options at all, but they do cost money.

If you;re trying to save, you can find free alternatives for your children to do that will also be educational. Activities like cooking, gardening, journaling, thrift crafting, and blogging can be fantastic creative outlets that can be done on a budget.

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