Making the decision to homeschool can be one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. There are many pros and cons, varying in degree depending on who you are talking to. When weighing everything, cost and expense can be a major factor in your decision.
But should it be?
Contrary to what many believe, homeschooling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Regardless of whether you choose to go the route of the workbook or you choose to utilize the Internet for your homeschool, there are affordable (and sometimes FREE!) resources out there to help prevent you from breaking the bank.
- The first and most obvious resource is your public library. No, they may not have formal curricula, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a wealth of information to help you homeschool. Besides books and research/reference materials, you may be able to find and join local homeschool groups and book clubs through your library.
- Curriculum Swaps. These are fabulous! Sometimes, homeschool groups do these at the beginning of every year. Many homeschool parents, myself included, end up with items that they purchased that just didn’t work. You can choose to sell them, or you can choose to trade them. Workbooks, manipulatives, games, even toys can be found at these swaps. Check with your homeschool group, and the library, to see if any of these swaps are going on in your area. You can even hop online and find swaps. There may be postage costs involved in online curriculum swaps, but chances are the postage is less than the cost of the workbook!
- Yahoo and Google groups. These can be a waste of time, or they can be invaluable. Honestly. Some groups have little to no activity and/or they push an agenda. But if you look hard enough, you will find groups that truly are a homeschooling community. Resources and materials, chats and discussions, questions and answers, praise and frustration; all of these things can be found in online groups.
- Social Media sites. Facebook, Twitter and now Google+. Social media is the current rage. Everyone from your 9 year old to your great-grandma probably has a social media account. Make the most out of it! Ask questions, share experiences, grab links to websites, promotions, coupons, etc.
- Starfall – http://www.starfall.com – This is an excellent website for early learning and preschool. And it’s free.
- Time4Learning – http://www.time4learning.com – This is a great online curriculum for grades K-8. Language arts, math, science, social studies…even an art program! There is a monthly cost, but very affordable.
- Vocabulary and Spelling City – http://www.spellingcity.com – Wonderful website for spelling, vocabulary, even handwriting. You can use lists that other members have shared, or you can create your own lists. Many homeschoolers use it right along with their core curriculum, or even a formal spelling program. You can let VSC do your weekly spelling tests if you like. There are several games to play, and there are printables as well. You can sign up and use the website successfully for free, but there is an annual premium membership that is very inexpensive if you wanted more features.
- Learning Games for Kids – http://www.learninggamesforkids.com – Totally free site with TONS of educational games. Everything from math games, science games, geography games; even keyboarding games. There is definitely something for everyone on this site, for all grade levels.
Katie Shuler is a not-so-country girl, living in a very-country small town. Homeschooling two boys, ages 12 and 7, since 2005 using an online homeschool curriculum that works wonderfully with my workbook hating family!