Homeschooling rates have been on the rise for years. As the pandemic hit, more families found themselves homeschooling, and more families found themselves tight on money. This isn’t a new issue for homeschoolers. Often, homeschooling families are single income families. We also tend to be fairly frugal as a group (unless you’re at a homeschool conference). We enjoy saving money and teaching our children to do the same. So, can you homeschool on a budget? Yes!
Without a doubt, the biggest area where you may find yourself overspending is on curricula. There are hundreds of choices available for families, everything from packaged curricular programs that provide comprehensive material for all content areas to families creating their own programming at home. Thankfully, there are some ways to save on curricula. There are some that are completely free. Florida Virtual School’s flex program allows homeschoolers in Florida to take between 1-6 classes at a time free of charge. All courses are aligned with Florida education standards and are taught by Florida certified teachers. Another popular free option is Easy Peasy. While it sounds a bit corny, many parents swear by it. You can select relevant subjects and grade levels for your students to do online or in a printable version. Other free online programs include Discovery K12 and CK12.
If you’re looking for a program that doesn’t require online learning, there are still a lot of ways to save money on curricula. We are blessed in our region to have a great public library system. They offer multiple classes for homeschoolers or community education courses that are also very appropriate for children. They have many curricular or topical books that can be great for kids of all ages.
Friends of the Library always has a section of homeschooling and other educational texts available for purchase!
Don’t forget used items either! Friends of the Library always has a section of homeschooling and other educational texts available for purchase. Even during the pandemic, they are still selling! Local homeschoolers also typically organize annual used curriculum sales. This year those have moved online, largely on Facebook. Simply put the word out about what you’re looking for.
FIELD TRIPS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
Homeschoolers are great at getting creative about field trips! Most attractions throughout the state offer homeschool days where admission for homeschoolers is greatly reduced and additional educational programming included. Most public and government buildings are willing to provide tours if you just ask. Even local stores like Publix include field trip options. Get a museum membership at the Cade Museum or the Florida Museum of Natural History. They are both part of a museum group that gives you free access to other museums throughout the country.
Teacher discounts, like those available for public school teachers, are also often available for homeschoolers. Stores like Books-a-Million, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and many office supply stores are among those who accept a homeschool ID for the discount. Joining a larger homeschool group like FPEA can open the door to hundreds of additional discounts on curricula, school supplies and attractions as well.
One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility offered to families and children. That includes how you pay for it. Get creative, ask for discounts, look for those homeschool specials and explore the free options. You can make it work!