Useful tips for saving money if you are thinking of homeschooling.
Home education doesn’t have to be an expensive commitment.
It is a huge decision to homeschool. One of the biggest factors will be around financing it, especially where you have to juggle jobs or change jobs to work around a child’s needs. It can mean that one parent needs to leave their job so they can remain at home with their child, although there are some single parents doing amazing jobs of homeschooling their children. If you do need to leave your job there are some obvious benefits to this, like travel to work savings and perhaps even going down to one car, but the changes will most likely lead to some kind of drop in potential income.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive however, here are some budgeting tips below.
Depending on your circumstances, you may find your food bill goes up. However, it may also give you an opportunity to begin to cook more from scratch and be more careful about meals, buying things in bulk and providing more time for planning meals in order to cut costs and eat better.
As you build up friendships and links with other homeschool families there may be opportunities to support one another through playdates and shared learning activities. This can extend to sharing child care in emergencies and work related dramas. This can be particularly helpful if you are a single parent. These friendship groups can lead to extending your child’s social skills and even providing them with a broader, balanced curriculum as many of these external people have strengths in areas that maybe you don’t, whether that is speaking another language, music or even gardening. Your child can really benefit from the skills and knowledge of others, both peers and inspiring adults.
Home School Groups
There are so many homeschool groups. Facebook seems to be the easiest way to connect with them. If you are living more rurally or can’t find a group, set one up! Take time to consider what you want from a group. It could be for you as a parent to get ideas or it could be for both you and your child to find opportunities to meet socially. Some of these groups also offer organised group activities/excursions or share where you can get discount prices for activities or places like the National Trust.
Libraries are a great way to access free resources. Once you become known to them, you will probably find librarians bending over backwards to help you and your children maximise the various library offerings. Libraries often have clubs and activities too. You’ll also be able to use your membership to access audiobooks and e-books which can be a great resource to support your child’s learning.
More time at home
Give yourself a break, you haven’t always got to be out and about… there are lots of learning opportunities to be had at home and this can help to reduce costs. It can also be a perfect place to embed learning through real life situations and activities. Homeschool life can also be quite busy so it is always a good idea to break up busy days with quieter days where you remain home based, embracing activities like cooking or gardening, as part of your homeschool routine.
Museums, Art Galleries and Other Establishments
You will find many museums and galleries offer free visits or will run visits for a group of homeschool families for free as they do with school groups, Always enquire first. Other establishments like local wildlife trusts will often organise free workshops too. The best thing about this sometimes is being able to enjoy the quieter times during term time when you can beat the queues and really immerse in the experiences.
There really is a wealth of free learning resources on the Internet – whether that’s worksheet style resources, ideas explaining how to do things, or websites with tips and ideas for covering different topics.
There are lots of free outdoor spaces where you can roam at leisure and these create a wealth of learning opportunities. It is worth looking out for community projects to get involved with, such as beach cleans, heritage projects or environmental works, these often give families a sense of belonging as well as many learning experiences.
Purchase Second Hand
There are loads of places where you can look for second hand educational equipment. From charity shops to eBay or even within your homeschool groups. You may even find homeschoolers pass down clothes from older children. As your networks develop, there will be opportunities to also share and swap equipment. On another article I have listed some useful basic equipment.
Holding off purchases in order to buy things at discounted prices may become more normal, be that next year’s winter coat or educational equipment, a particularly good time for the latter is just after the children go back to school!
Ultimately, your journey into homeschooling may require additional budgeting, it may mean less holidays, less clubs and less material stuff but this will all be countered by your renewed relationship with your child, their happiness and continued progression!