Sweet Sharer: Courtney from Life As a Convert

Today’s guest post is from Courtney at Life As A Convert.  She’s got some great info about homeschooling on a budget!

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Homeschooling the Early Years…On a Budget

Hi there! My name is Courtney but a lot of people know me as Khourt the Convert. I am a blogger over at Life As A Convert (http://lifeasaconvert.blogspot.com) As a single mother homeschooling 3 young children I have had to find many alternative ways to make homeschooling work for us.

 

The biggest change I’ve found myself making is in the budget area. I started out making my own curriculum for the younger years (Pre-K to 1st Grade) in order to save money. Oh boy, it worked and it was fairly easy. There are so many resources available online for those early years. Having a decent printer and not being afraid to use a lot of paper will get you through those early years with a very small dent in your budget.There is no need to purchase fancy curriculum for the beginning years. My plan was to not purchase any pre-made curriculum until 2nd grade. It worked wonderfully!

 

When I started purchasing items I realized it could get expensive as I had 3 children to buy for. I did not want to have to re-purchase books and materials that I had already purchased. I wanted to be able to save as much of the materials as I could so my other children could also get use out of it. I also realized that there were ways to change some of the things I had already been doing in order to save more time and money.

Here are some ways that Ive found to help save money homeschooling:

  • Make as many of your own materials as you can. I recommend making file folders. They are easy to make. Kids love them. And when you laminate them you can reuse them for many years. (Use Velcro to hold the pieces together so you dont lose them!)
  • If you purchase workbooks, do not write in them. Instead make copies of the pages or slip the pages into sheet protectors and use dry erase markers. Even the $1.00 workbooks that you can find at stores add up to a lot of money if you are having to re-purchase them for 2 or more children.
  • Invest in a decent printer and re-fill the ink cartridge yourself. A lot of companies advise against this but that is just a way for them to get you to purchase another (expensive) cartridge. If you can drill a small hole big enough to fit a needle into, then you can inject the ink yourself.
  • Print worksheets in black ink only (Colored ink costs more). Also use the front and back of the paper in order to save paper.
  • Shop for supplies at your local school supply store. A lot of them will offer discounts for homeschoolers.
  • Borrow books from the library. If you need to keep them for an extended amount of time you can always renew them. Some libraries will even waive the late fees if they know you are a homeschooler and using the books with your schooling.
  • Join a local homeschool group and share the cost of larger materials that you may need. For instance if there is more than one family working on a large product get together and do it as a group. Your children will benefit from the interaction and you will save money on the supplies
  • Take field trips with your local homeschool group. Most places will offer group discounts.
  • Find ways to make their “book” lessons appropriate to other areas of their life. For instance if you are teaching about money then make a trip to the store and. If you are teaching fractions, then allow them to learn by helping you cook. There is usually no need to purchase a book about money or fractions if you are able to teach them with real-life examples.
  • Take some of your lessons to the computer. Many websites offer free “games” that will help your younger children learn the basics.
  • Purchase in bulk during the Back to School sales. Scissors are bound to get lost. Crayons will be broken. If you purchase extra then you will not need to pay full price later on in the year when you need extra scissors because yours are lost or more crayons because yours are broken.
  • Laminate materials! Flash cards, file folders, study sheets, etc can all be laminated. They last longer and can be used for multiple children. You can usually find a laminating machine at your local school supply store (and remember homeschoolers are often given discounts!)
  • If you have multiple children, combine their studies. They may not be learning the exact same thing about a particular topic, but you can find many ways to take a harder study topic and make it simpler for the younger kids.
  • Finally, chose 3 or 4 larger projects to work on throughout the year and find ways to fit all of the other lessons into those project. If you are doing a large project on Healthy Lifestyles then you can break your other lessons down into smaller parts to go along with those lessons. Learning colors can be done using fruits vegetables. Children can learn their numbers by counting serving sizes or calories, etc.

As long as you make learning FUN, chances are your children will not care how much money was spent one each activity.

Twitter is @LifeAsAConvert

Blog is http://lifeasaconvert.blogspot.com