In this article you will learn how homeschooling cheaply can still provide a quality education.
Homeschooling does NOT have to cost a lot of money. I am constantly amazed by the amount of money people spend on curriculum packages, high end software, and expensive kits.
I have a rather unorthodox approach to homeschooling (some would say to life!) and I’ll share a few tips with you today on keeping your homeschooling costs low while maintaining a high level of quality.
It can totally be done!
This post may contain affiliate links which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All opinions are our own and we share things we think would be of interest to boys.
This article does assume a few things, because, you know, we all make assumptions 🙂
I didn’t include taxes because everyone’s tax rate is different and you don’t pay taxes on everything. We are going with a straight 100 bucks here.
I assume you have an internet connection at home or you have access to one through family, friends, or the public library system.
I assume you have stuff. Yes, stuff! Stuff in your house that you can use like school supplies, art supplies, cooking supplies, tools etc. and of course, access to books, toys etc.
If so, we are all set and I could seriously stop here because all of that and a library card is likely all you need.
No other money needs to be spent. You pretty much have it covered.
Don’t believe me, do you? Well, we can go into all of that another day.
For today, let’s look at our short list and how you really can homeschool for only $100.
Homeschool Cheap with Only 100 Bucks
Get a Library Card
Get your library card handy because that is going to save you a lot of money. We have four library cards. Each of us has a personal library card and we also have a teacher card.
If you homeschool and your library offers a teacher card you need one of these. This allows us to check out many more books and items and comes with an extended due date and with no fines. Love my teacher card!
Use the library for the majority of items you need to homeschool. FREE
- Get DVDs and videos from the library.
- Use their programs for extra curricular activities. Some libraries have classes and others are including maker spaces.
- Check to see what you can borrow beyond books. We can borrow e-readers, games, puppets, foreign language materials, CDs, audio books and more.
- Some libraries offer museum tickets, puzzles, and/or homeschooling materials such as microscopes, telescopes and chemistry sets. See this library as an example.
I know I told you to get the majority of the books you use at the library and I stick by that.
However, it is imperative (yes, really) that you have a lot of books at home. Our shelves are packed with books that we have purchased over the years.
You want a print rich environment at home because it helps children, and adults, have a bent toward learning.
Go to a library book sale, church sale, or rummage sale and let your kids pick out books they like. $10.00 for 50+ books
- Plan to pay 25 cents to 50 cents a piece. Try to find a bag sale. I got a big grocery bag full of books for 5.00 and we ended up paying about a dime a piece for those. That included hard covers, chapter books, both fiction and non-fiction books and some fun puzzle books like this one.
- Use our book lists to find titles your kids will like and keep an eye out for them. If you are new here: fyi our lists are geared toward boys but anyone can benefit from them.
- Grab some free books. You can get e-books for free here.
Get Toys and Playthings
I am a big believer that play is the very best way for kids to learn.
My budget is geared toward play much more than it is geared toward “curriculum” and the results I have seen are very impressive.
Buy things on the cheap. But be very careful about what you buy. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you need to bring it home.
Only buy what you know will be used.
You can get a LOT of toys for the amount I show here. You do have to be willing to wait for the good stuff and be choosy about what you purchase. $50.00 for toys
- Use rummage sales, thrift shops and church sales to your advantage.
- Watch for sales and use ebates to save extra money (sign up for a special extra today.)
- Buy as many open-ended toys as you can because they can be used in a variety of ways and they are much better for learning opportunities.
- Be open to hand-me-downs from other families.
- Ask for specific toys for your kids birthdays where appropriate. Many relatives want to give kids toys they will love and use for a long time.
Our 3 Top Toy Picks
1. LEGO (but you knew I was going to say that right?!) See our articles How to Save Money on LEGO and How to Score Used LEGO and Get it Cheap for tips. LEGO is hands-down, the best toy I have ever spent money on.
3. Blocks. We have quite a few sets of blocks and we have used them for so many things it is hard to count them all. I might have to do a post about it! FYI: They are not only for little kids either.
Get Art Supplies
Art supplies allow for creativity. Creativity allows a child to expand his mind in a huge variety of ways. You can get a lot of art supplies for free. But also remember that a variety of pencils (regular and colored) and a ream of paper is plenty. $3.28 for great erasers and pencil sharpener.
- Buy computer paper when it is free after rebate and give them reams and reams to use.
- Ask people for their leftovers. Everyone seems to have a plethora of art and craft supplies that they don’t use. Let others know you are looking for supplies and you just might get lucky.
- Grab supplies at rummage sales. I have purchased brand new drawing pencils, finger painting paper and paints for a fraction of their original price.
Our Top 2 Art Supply Picks – and they are cheap!
1. Get these erasers. We have tried so many erasers that failed us but these are the best.
2. We got this pencil sharpener for when we are on the go and it is great. It lasts a long time and doesn’t break the leads.
So many free play ideas and learning opportunities are outside of our homes and require absolutely no stuff and no money. FREE
- Be quiet, observe and learn about the animals and nature.
- Go to parks, wildlife sanctuaries and small zoos – many are free.
- Call the state parks in your area and ask for wonderful places to discover.
- Play with sticks, and dirt and water and rocks.
- See all of our free outdoor ideas here.
I know, I know, screen free everything is the hot topic nowadays.
However, I have seen my family grow by leaps and bounds using tech and so we use it and we even encourage its use.
- Get a Fire Tablet . we paid $35.00, seriously, 35 bucks! Check the price as it comes down when Amazon is having sales.
- Why we love it: it is cheap yet high quality! I had a much more expensive tablet and this one is more responsive, and faster.
- What we use it for: games (both fun and educational – but I don’t really separate those!,) apps, music, movies and more.
- Use YouTube and the Internet for oh so many learning opportunities. I would have to write a dissertation on this as the opportunities are so vast.
- My tip is follow your child’s passion and find a bunch of free tech things for them to do surrounding that passion.
- You can learn to code, learn to make your own robot, create your own video games, play math games and so much more.
I am not kidding here. You can seriously homeschool for under $100.00 a year.
Using our plan above we had all kinds of experiences:
- We watched DVDs including historical, scientific and more.
- Checked out puzzles.
- Got audio books.
- Took some free classes.
- Tried a 3D printer.
- Read a lot on a huge variety of topics.
- Went to museums.
- Enjoyed wildlife sanctuaries and small zoos.
- Added over 50 books to our home library.
- Got a whole bunch of games and toys to play with.
- Created many, many drawings and made other art projects.
- Got outside and held toads, saved some bunnies, learned about cloud patterns, watched the stars and more.
- We have also done so many things on our tablet and online it would be tough to include them all here.
That is a very small fraction of what we have done with our 100 bucks.
We are always learning and money isn’t much of a factor when it comes to that.
We could have spent nothing at all and still learned a lot.
Here is the 100 buck cash breakdown:
- Library card: FREE
- Books: $10.00 for 50+ books
- Toys: $50.00 for a lot of toys
- Art: $3.28 for erasers and sharpener
- Outdoors: FREE
- Technology: $35.00 for a Fire Tablet
That brings our total to $98.28.
Give your kids the $1.72 you have left over and see how much they can buy with it. Yet another little homeschooling project which will get them learning 😉
As I said in the beginning, homeschooling does not have to cost a lot of money. That you have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to provide a good education is a fallacy. You do not have a spend a lot for a lot of learning to happen.