Homeschooling is not cheap. It’s not like public school where all the books are taken care of. You have to buy all your curriculum yourself. Depending on what curriculum you are using and how many kids you have, it can be quite expensive to homeschool.
Cost shouldn’t be something that keeps us from teaching our children. Thankfully, there are ways to homeschool without spending an arm and a leg on books. I was homeschooled from 4th – 12th grade and picked up a few tips from my mom and I’ve been homeschooling my own kids for 3 years now and have learned a few things myself. Today I’m going to share how I keep homeschooling costs down!
Buy Once, Use Forever
Just like clothes and toys, the oldest kid is going to get all the “new” stuff. All the subsequent kids get hand-me-downs. Now this doesn’t work well with consumable curriculum as generally your child will write in those but for the non-consumables, just store them in a box (I like to store by grade level) and pull the curriculum out when your next child enters that grade.
When it comes to curriculum, you really should never buy new. The only exception to this is consumable curriculum and that’s because usually there are no used consumables because they’ve been well…used! Buying used curriculum means you save at least 50%! This year I bought my Sonlight Instructor’s Guide for only $25 instead of $109 for new. Now this is a huge deal because I bought an older version so it’s missing a few updates but it will do the job perfectly for my family.
My favorite place to buy used curriculum (and sell!) is Homeschool Classifieds. There is a large selection and I’ve never had any issues with buying used.
For finding all those reader books, I like to check out our local used bookstore. Often times they have the readers I need. When I can’t find the books I need, I go to Thriftbooks This site has free shipping and a great selection. Much cheaper than buying brand new books.!
Do you have friends who homeschool? Are your children in different grades? If so, you might want to think about borrowing curriculum from each other. This is what I did for our first year of homeschooling. I had a friend who had Kindergarten curriculum that she wasn’t using at the time and she let us borrow it.
Don’t have friends who homeschool or use a curriculum that you actually want to use? Check out your library! Now the library isn’t likely to have your history or math text books but all those readers can likely be found on the library shelves. Only problem is if you have a rigid schedule then you need to make sure the library will have the books when you need them.
Did you know that you can rent curriculum? I just stumbled across this! Now I don’t think renting is financially smart if you have multiple kids (why rent it for 4 different years when you could buy it once and reuse?) but if you have just one child or if you will only be homeschooling for a year or two then it’s a great idea! Yellow House Book Rental is the one rental site, I’ve come across. As an example of what you could save, I checked out Sonlight’s Core D. Yellow House rents it for the school year for just $175 (that’s the instructor guide, history books, readers, and read alouds!) Brand new, you are looking at closer to $450!
If you have multiple children that are close in age, you might want to think about combining grades. This is what we do for my two oldest kids. They are 1 year apart and thus 1 school grade apart. To save money, book space, and my voice we put them in the same grade for history, bible, science, and all the books I have to read aloud. They are still in their “proper” grades for math and language arts however, as those tend to be more age specific.
Sell What You No Longer Use
Once you are finished with your curriculum, sell it! Make some of that money back! Usually you’ll want to hang on to all your curriculum until you have used it on all your children but sometimes you can sell things off early. I do this with our instructor guides. I always transfer the instructor guide lesson plans to my computer (and then paper) because I tweak things and I prefer it in that format. This means that once everything is inputted, I can sell the actual instructor guide.