I was asked to present to our Homeschool Moms Group on how I homeschool on such a small budget. To collect all my ideas and thoughts I decided I would post it to my blog and share with everyone.
I love finding things for free even if it is just a sample lesson that I can glean information from.
Some of my favorite sites for freebies:
Homeschool Freebie of the Day
Currclick's weekly freebie
Hands of a Child's current Freebie
The Old Schoolhouse Digital Magazine App
An Old Fashion Education
The Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op
These are just a few I use.
I also am a big Facebook Fan. I love to follow various curriculum companies on their Facebook pages to learn about deals and samples.
Here are just a few of the purchased curriculum companies I use:
Math-U-See: We are still using the Classical series, but I love to print practice pages for the boys or have the boys do the drills online.
CreekEdgePress: I purchased a set of cards this year that we will be able to use over the next 2 years and then again when we repeat our history cycle
TruthQuest History: We reviewed the American History for Younger Students this year and will be borrowing the Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece Books from a fellow Homeschool Mom. (I'll talk more about that in a moment)
Knowledge Quest Maps: I first learned of Knowledge Quest Maps during an online conference 3 years ago. If you follow her on Facebook or subscribe to her mail lists, she is very generous with freebies and samples.
Amazon.com I watch Facebook for newer freebies as well as their already extensive library of classics.
What about borrowing books?
The library can be a good resource but for my family I have to get creative because we live outside the city limits and I can't afford to pay for the full service library card. Our boys each have a card and can check out children's books and videos so that helps. I am in charge of our homeschool co-op library which has a growing collection of books to loan and has already been a HUGE blessing for our family. My newest borrowing idea stems for the group I am presenting to tonight, sharing among local homeschool families. Many of us have books we cycle through and don't use every year, so sharing with your fellow homeschoolers is a great way to save money, especially for books where you will be buying the consumable components but really can't afford the textbook portion of the bundle.
Other sources of curriculum for my family:
I have been blessed over the past year to be a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew and have received many great products to add to our library of resources. I have also found a wonderful network of homeschool families that buy and sell used books among the crew.
That brings me to the next piece, used curriculum sales. This time of year local homeschoolers and conventions all seem to have a used curriculum sale. This is a GREAT way to find pieces you need for you family and save a lot of money.
Yes we buy school supplies. No I don't pay full retail. I stock up during back to school and after (in the clearance section). I watch Goodwill often and I have a teacher card to the local teacher supply stores.I also love the Dollar Tree and Staples I also have a wish list in my notebook so when family asks what to get the boys I can suggest a few supplies to add to a gift (a pack of pencils makes an ok gift topper)
Field Trips: Local parks are a great place for field trips, deal days at the zoo or children's museum are great especially during the year, get a group together to get a better deal at local attractions, and check with local manufacturing companies to see if you can get a tour with a small group (tell them you are homeschooling and put together a smaller than classroom size group)
I watch freecycle, craigslist, and local Facebook groups so teachers that are retired and wanted to move their stuff. I have been greatly blessed over the last 2 years to find some amazing retired teachers that have given me tons of books and supplies that I then sort and distribute to people I know as well as our homeschool co-op library and our family library.
I also don't follow a specific science curriculum as I can't afford one right now and the boys have had a lot of hands on learning based on kitchen science, gardening, shop activities with Daddy, etc.... I know eventually we will have to add a science set up to our world but since they are still young I'm ok.
A couple other things... Don't be afraid to get creative. If you are a blogger look for blogger groups and review products. If you and a couple other moms get together buy in bulk. I only have 2 kids so I don't need a classroom pack of pencils but if a few moms got together and bought a classroom pack and divided it up.
I will always look for deals but there are a few things I can't bring myself to skimp on.. I only buy Crayola brand crayons and markers (I'm spoiled that way). I don't mind used books and if a textbook has a notebook with it, I will often have the boys write their answers in a spiral or composition book.
So this is just a glimpse, I will share more over the coming months.
What creative ways do you homeschool on a budget?