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Homeschooling for free or nearly free

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 Homeschooling for Free and Frugal

This is the first article that I ever wrote online. It is originally published at Heart of the Matter in March 2011.

Homeschooling for Free or Nearly Free

Many of us have been downsized in a variety of ways. I’m the first to raise my hand.  We’re living in an uncertain economy, jobs are being lost and pennies are being pinched. There are families’ questioning if they can afford to continue homeschooling, let alone afford to start homeschooling.

I would encourage you that God will provide for your family and the homeschooling vision that he has placed in your hearts. He has for ours, every step of the way.

The most valuable learning our family enjoys tends to cost the least.  An example from recent days is we devoured the book “Where the Red Fern Grows.”   I found free online study guides, free clip art, and videos on You Tube showing coon hunts, raccoons and the Ozark Mountains.  We pulled a massive amount of learning from this one book and have a lapbook to show for it (full of projects, vocabulary, copy work, etc.) We borrowed both versions of the movie from our local library and our children had a great time picking out differences between the movie and the book. Here are the resources we used for our free Where the Red Fern Grows Unit Study!

This literature study didn’t “cost” us anything except lapbooking supplies, which are inexpensive, and a trip to the library.  Through this study our oldest boys, 10 & 7, learned that the author, Wilson Rawls, favorite writer is Jack London.  Can you guess our next literature study?  That’s right; we’re currently lost with Buck in the northern wilderness in the adventure of “The Call of the Wild.” You can read more about our homemade Where the Red Fern Grows Lapbook and Unit Study here.

Tips for successful free… or nearly free… homeschooling.

The Internet

Preaching to the choir, huh? It’s true though, and we need to remind ourselves before we buy the next latest and greatest piece of curricula, or before we take on guilt because we can’t afford it. It seems some mom, somewhere online, may have just what you need.  Here is the tip of the iceberg of great sites, full of freebies, unit studies, lapbooks and more, Freely EducateThe Stonesoup Network and Homeschoolshare. Even the practical details like math and language arts, including spellinggrammar and story starters, can all be found free online.  This year we’ve been studying creation science and have found everything we need on the Answers in Genesis website and coupled it with a free dinosaur/creation unit study and lapbook. (We topped it off with a trip to the Creation Museum, not free, but full of powerful exhibits and inspirational learning, and attended a free AIG conference with a scientist speaker.)

The Bible

I’m often asked what curriculum I use for teaching bible.  My answer; the bible. Even though our older boys read it themselves daily, I still read it to our family aloud. As I read to them, we’re open for the Lord to speak to us.  The questions raised by our children and the spiritual insight, which is taken in at our kitchen table or while snuggled together on our living room couch, is priceless.  We use the bible for copy work and of course for character training (mom’s character training more often than not.) Psalms and Proverbs are great books for copy work. We also use a free audio bible to play during meal times or throughout our day.

Library

I take the reading lists from my favorite shiny curriculum catalogs and order the books I need from our local library. Many libraries offer an online book request service.  All I have to do is place my order online, then at my convenience, walk in our library door to pick up our materials. Of course just taking my troop to the library and letting them discover great books is always fun and free.

Last time we went through check out with our huge stack (We have trouble showing restraint when it comes to books) the librarian said, “Wow, you must homeschool!” Our local library also has a wonderful summer reading program and activities throughout the year.  Don’t forget to check you library’s schedule.

Roadschooling


I try to find free {or nearly free} locations, events, museums and experiences that coincided with the different topics we study.  Check back, I’ll be writing more about this.  For starters, check with your state homeschool organization, they should have a list of events.

Thrift Stores


I’m incredibly blessed every time I go into a thrift store.  I have found countless classics and other quality materials for 10cents to $2.  If a book has a Newberry award seal, it‘s mine! Not long ago, I found an entire collection of books on Egypt. The other day, my 7 year old pulled out this stack and for over an hour during breakfast he immersed himself in Egyptian history.  Who says you cannot study pharaohs over oatmeal?

Homeschool Group-free Box God bless the moms who are good about cleaning out and passing on items they’re done with.  It seems a mom is always bringing a box full of free goodies to a group meeting.  I’ve picked up storybooks, handwriting workbooks, educational videos, etc.   It’s always a blessing.  I’m sure your group wouldn’t mind if you brought a box of goodies to give away as well.

Social Media

I’ve listed on social media items I’ve needed.  Usually someone has what I need somewhere.  I have a friend who lists her gently used curricula and educational items on FaceBook.  She makes a photo album, posts a picture of each item for sale, as well as the price she’d like and shares it with her friends.  It’s a great way to declutter for her and a quick way for other moms to pick up great deals.

Used curriculum fair

These are popping up more and more. The things you feel you must buy, you can save 50-90%.  Check out your state homeschool convention as well.  Many of them host a used curriculum fair. I try not to start drooling as I walk in the door.

Non-consumables

I purchase products that are non-consumables.  Of course I’m coming from the mindset of a continuing growing family (as I say, I have 30 years of homeschooling left).  I make sure they’re products that we can s-t-r-e-t-c-h!

The Dollar Store

In Virginia, they’re called The Dollar Tree.  There I’ve found quality, colorful, and downright cheap workbooks for PreK-3.  They also have art/craft supplies, poster boards, and office supplies.

Ink Refill Kit

This has been invaluable to our homeschooling.  I’m always printing off worksheets, craft projects, lapbook templates or note booking pages.  The ink refill kits can usually be found for around $10. We have refilled our printer for an entire year on one kit.

I encourage you that no matter your financial situation, you can provide your children with an outstanding education.  For 2009-2010, we spent $50 for our entire year, while taking pleasure in historic locations and events, keeping ahead of grade level objectives and enjoying timeless classics (let alone making memories that will last a lifetime.)

With a little research, Godly guidance and creativity, you can discover everything you need to have a free {or nearly free} homeschooling adventure through this life style of learning!

💥Use coupon code HELLO20 to SAVE an additional 20% OFF on your first order of the Best-Selling Freezer Meal Packs + More – GET IT ALL NOW!! 💥

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