Homeschooling should not cost a lot of money.
The biggest expense with homeschooling isn’t really an expense, but the loss of income that comes when one parent stays home to teach the children.
It’s a luxury many Americans can’t afford today with the purchasing power of the dollar in decline. But if you think of staying home with your children not as a luxury, but as a right owed to your children, then it takes on a different meaning.
I don’t know a single parent that wouldn’t go without food if that’s what it took to feed their child. We’ll starve ourselves to keep their bodies nourished, but what about their minds and their hearts?
But that’s not why you started reading this. You want to know how to homeschool on a budget and make some money too.
As I mentioned earlier, homeschooling should not be expensive. You don’t need fancy programs, and you don’t need complicated curricula. You need books, a basic understanding of education, guidance on how to homeschool, and the desire to teach your own.
Books will be your biggest expense; I know they’ve been mine and still are. But there are ways to get around this. You can buy many books from Dover Publications which offer cheap publications at ridiculously low prices. You can buy classic novels for as low as $2.00.
Dover has an extensive list of books too, and they have probably the biggest supply of classic books. Not just literature either but in all subjects like philosophy, mathematics, economics, astronomy, music, grammar, etc.
Another way to get cheap books is to buy them used on Amazon. A lot of people buy books, never read them, and turn around and sell them on Amazon. You can also get into the habit of ransacking used books stores for hidden gems.
There are sites online where homeschoolers sell their used books, so that’s also a place to pick up inexpensive copies of educational books you’d be unlikely to find elsewhere.
The library is another useful resource when your homeschooling. If you can’t afford a book, you can ask the library to order it for you. Most of the supplemental books you’ll want or need you can find for free at your local library.
Core curriculum books are an easier matter. If you are beginning to homeschool your eldest child who is entering the first grade, then you only need to invest in the core curriculum books (not to be confused with Common Core, ugh!).
By core curriculum, I mean a grammar book, a math book, a history book and so forth. Per grade, you will spend between $100 - $200 on your core curriculum books. But you only have to do this for the first child, because you can pass his books down to the younger children.
Each child would have to keep the books in good condition, of course, and be careful not to write in them.
The supplies like paper, pencils, colored pencils, art and anything else you will need for projects will be a minimal cost.
Your most significant cost will be extra-curricular activities. The truth is that when you’re homeschooling, you can barter with other parents instead of paying professional fees.
If you can teach English and you’d like your child to learn French, swap lessons with a French teacher. You teach her child English, and she teaches your child French.
You can organize group science or art classes with other parents. You can always find a parent who is good at a sport and willing to offer lessons to other homeschoolers.
Homeschooling does not have to be expensive if you’re resourceful, and homeschoolers tend to be resourceful.
That’s all wonderful, but one income doesn’t even cover the rent in your area, you say!
Earning Income From Home
Well then, how can you make money at home? Do you have a skill you can contract out online? So much of business happens online today that more and more people are working online which is perfect for a homeschooling mother.
One job I know of that just about everyone online needs is an assistant. If you have a knack for technology, you’d be surprised how easy it is to find work. Just put an ad on a site like Fiverr.com. Any skill you have you can list on Fiverr.com.
The best thing though is to get paid to homeschool someone else’s children. Many moms work but would like their children taught at home. Work out a deal with these parents and build your own little homeschooling schoolhouse.
I love the last option, and this is what I would do if I had young children again. You are providing a valuable service, and you are getting paid enough to allow yourself to stay home and teach your own.
These are just a few ways to keep the bills from piling up.
There are more.
The Smart Homeschooler Academy will launch soon with its signature course: How to Give Your Child a Private-School Education at Home. Join the waiting list!
Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in holistic medicine, parenting, plus 17+ years working in education, to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.
A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two homeschooled children in college.