Homeschooling is an option parents are increasingly deciding to make.They are becoming dissatisfied with the public school system, and they want to ensure their children receive a quality education. One thing many people do not realize, though, is this quality can be costly! When one considers most homeschooling families are, of necessity, one income households, it becomes especially important to manage these costs. Here are some tips on how to keep your costs down without sacrificing excellence:
- Utilize the library. Your public library is a wealth of resources, from books, to DVDs, to special offerings like lectures and classes.
- Use community resources. State parks offer classes for kids. Community gardens often welcome participation. There are volunteer opportunities abound, not just in charitable organizations, but in places like theaters and symphony halls. What better way to teach children about the world than to get them involved in their local community?
- Share and share alike. Why not form a co-op or barter goods and services? Parents can get together to educate their children, taking turns teaching and sharing curriculum. If you’re not the founding type, find a group already in existence and join up! You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also make valuable friendships.
- Utilize educator discounts. Often, bookstores and other retailers will extend the same benefits to homeschool educators that they give to teachers. Don’t hesitate to ask!
- Know your area. Some states allow homeschoolers access to public school resources. Take some time to learn the local statutes and regulations. You may be surprised to find a treasure trove of resources.
- Don’t be afraid to buy second hand. Yard sales, Ebay, and kids’ consignment shops are all good places to look for educational materials, and some homeschool groups even host curriculum sales.
- Get plugged in. Sign up for emails from homeschool groups, curriculum websites, and even local museums and attractions. You’ll be in the loop when educational materials you’ve been eyeing go on sale, if the zoo has a free day, or when the museum has its annual membership drive and lowers prices.
- Remember that the world is your classroom. Learning is not limited to a classroom and textbooks. A day spent hiking can turn into a valuable lesson on local flora and fauna. Visiting historical sites brings home history in a way simply reading about it does not.
As you can see, there are many ways to cut expenses without reducing the impact of the experience. Once you get started, you’ll come up with your own strategies for saving as well. Remember to think outside the box, isn’t this the kind of creative thinking homeschooling is all about?