I get asked frequently how we can afford to homeschool our large family. I now have over 20 years of homeschooling under my belt. Our journey has been rocky and we faced challenges I never dreamed of, but here we are.
My grown children have graduated from high school with AA degrees thanks to dual enrollment at our community college. Two have chosen to go on to four-year universities. One managed to graduate, pay off his student loans in only 7 months, and is now a Washington State Trooper. The other one is in his senior year, paying his way through. Two have moved to New Zeland and are now mothers, and one is 18 working full-time as a home care aid.
Real Life is
Do not downplay the value of real life. For thousands of years, in cultures across the globe, children have learned from spending day after day with their parents, grandparents, or other adults, tagging along and learning the skills necessary to survive.
We have all read articles or seen the memes about “adulting” and how schools should teach kids about budgeting, doing taxes, and cooking. Being a homeschool mom gives you a golden opportunity, every day, to impart these skills to your children.
Laundry is school (sorting, following directions, folding, putting away).
Grocery shopping is school (budgeting, planning, meal prep, social skills).
Yard work, chores, board games, trips to the park, hikes, these are all learning experiences, and not just for younger kids.
Cooking: Math, Science, Culinary Arts, Geography, Social Studies, and Reading
Hezekiah, Tucker, and I are spending tons of time cooking this year. Not only do we use it for chemistry, but the kids are learning real skills. So far the boys have made countless loaves of bread (sourdough and regular), chocolate croissants, cube steak, Greek Salad, Greek chicken, pizza, and more. These two have more cooking skills than I had after a year of marriage.
If I Only Had $100 to Homeschool Here’s What I’d Buy
This post contains Amazon affiliate links
Okay, I know you are here to learn the nitty-gritty details about how you can afford to homeschool.
I have used this for all of my kids. Yes, it can be boring and tedious, but it gets the job done. I have never made it all the way this book…by the time my kids were three-quarters of the way through, my kids were reading independently and picking up books.
Also, I never did the handwriting or read the entire scripted lessons. In other words, I took the parts that I liked, and left the rest behind.
Story of the World accidentally became the backbone of our entire homeschool. One of these days, I’ll post about that specifically, but just trust me when I say I wouldn’t want to homeschool without it.
These colored pencils are AMAZING! They are thick and sturdy, perfect for preschoolers. They are durable (we’ve had our single set for years) and the colors are vivid.
We have tried many different brands over the years and these are by far my favorite for older kids/teens/adults. They too are sturdy, have vivid colors, and don’t break easily.
Yup, a simple manual pencil sharpener. Make sure it is steel and these blades will last you a very long time.
You might notice the lack of math books. That’s because so much of early math can be done through life or books from the library. More advanced stuff can be done for free online.
All of this can be purchased for under $100! You can see them all in my Amazon Storefront here.
Using the Library Frequently Can Help You Afford to Homeschool
First of all, utilize your local library, that’s what it’s there for! Make it a habit to head to the library once a week and pick up new books. Most libraries have summer reading programs where kids can earn free books. Our library has activities every week. A quick glance at the calendar shows me this month they have weekly matinees for kids, Builders Club (kids can build with LEGO bricks), Small Looms Clinic for Weavers, Chair Tai Chi, Story Time, Baby Time, Tech Basics, Chair Yoga, Artist Workshop, and more. That is just a small sampling. All of these activities are FREE! Books and free activities make it easier to afford to homeschool.
You can Afford to Homeschool When You Create Your Own Unit Studies
Unit Studies are so easy to make! In the most simple terms, all you need to do is choose a topic, grab a stack of books, and see where your imagination takes you. This can easily be done for FREE!
Let’s say your kid loves pigs. Search Pinterest for Pig crafts. Make Pigs in a Blanket. Read the Three Little Pigs. Write your own version of The Three Little Pigs. Learn about farms. The possibilities are literally endless. Once you get started, you will find you can go on as long as your child is interested in the topic.
Here you can read about a spontaneous unit study I threw together for Apollo when he was just seven. I also have a detailed post on How to Create Your Own Unity Study. And you can see our Taste of Japan unit study. All of these were either free or extremely cheap.
You can also find endless free (or cheap) unit studies on both Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.
Free Resources in Your Community Help You Afford to Homeschool
Your kids can earn a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut simply be reading books.
Kids can earn free books by participating in the Barnes and Noble Summer reading.
Make a list and plan to visit every local park. Go on nature walks or hikes (yes, even if you live in the city).
Start birdwatching and keep a record of every bird you see. You could do this with a book or two from the library and some internet resources.
A quick Google search lead me to these free activities in our community. No doubt your community has something similar.
How to Save Money on School Supplies
I have an entire post about how to save money on back-to-school supplies, but here it is in a nutshell. Stock up on paper, crayons, pencils, pens, glue, etc during the back-to-school sales. You can often get Crayola crayons for $0.25 a box, notebooks for $0.10. Most stores have a couple of loss leaders (products they sell dirt cheap to bring people in). Stock up on those, even if you need to go to a few different stores to get them.
Free Online Homeschooling Resources
I don’t have any experience with this myself but have heard from many people who use this program. This site has dozens of classes that can be taken for free.
Hezekiah and Tucker are currently using Khan Academy for math. Once I got them set up, both chose to also take a coding class (all on their own). Recently at dinner, I asked the kids to share what their favorite subject in school was. Hezekiah said “Micro Economics”…turns out he’s also taking this class on Khan Academy…and I had no idea!
So there you have it, my top tips on how you can afford to homeschool a large family. I have spent very little money homeschooling Hezekiah and Tucker this year (mainly books I’ve ordered off of Amazon) and we are all loving it.