Homeschooling on a Budget
Homeschooling can add up to be an expensive proposition if parents choose to buy every teacher's resource and invest in major props for a classroom. However, there are many ways to make homeschooling fit even the tightest of budgets. The time and focus that a parent sets aside for a child is the single biggest asset needed for the success of a homeschool and there is no need to compulsively purchase other big ticket items.
There are plenty of high-quality resources and lesson plans available on the Internet and so anybody with a computer and Internet connection can really save a lot of money over time. A printer is worth owning so that some of the interesting worksheets can be printed out and used in the course of a unit.
Another great source of information is the library. A free library card can bring a world to your home literally because not only do you have access to the material in your library but you can requests books, DVDs, videos and audio material from a chain of neighboring libraries. Often universities or colleges in the area are also willing to loan books through the public library system on request.
Parents who are homeschooling should make it a point to use parks and museums as an integrated part of their lesson plans because there are many that can be accessed free by students that can add a lot of excitement to a unit on plants or on minerals. Whether seeing a deciduous tree or an amethyst, the joy of seeing it in person will leave a strong impression on a young mind and this can be done on a limited budget.
It is also possible to exercise control in spending money on curricula. It is possible to network with other homeschooling parents and work out ways to share resources. There are books swaps and stores that sell second hand material which can help cut the cost in half. This is a great boon for parents who find that their child has finished in six months what they had planned to cover in a year.
Another good place to save money is to acquire supplies during sales - whether this is in a book store or an art store, a little prudence and planning can keep a couple of children with plenty of supplies through the year without spending an arm and a leg.
Given that homeschooling comes with inherent flexibility, it may be possible to find guest lecturers and mentors without having to think in terms of spending a lot of money. A neighbor who is an expert cook can serve as a guest as much as a friend of the family who collects coins. These free resources are truly invaluable and homeschooling parents should be creative about making room for these kinds of special guests as part of the learning experience.
With a little imagination and some planning homeschooling parents can convert almost anything into a learning experience and so it is really not a good plan to spend without thinking. Spending more is not going to make the educational experience better in any way and parents may well be able to teach their children a thing or two about budgeting from the way they handle their homeschooling expenses.