Okay, so homeschooling your kids will take you SOME money, no matter how many costs you manage to cut. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, though. By piecing your curriculum together using free and low-cost resources, you can create high-quality curricula for your kids. Learning how to save money as a homeschooler isn’t too hard once you get the basics down.
And honestly, I really think that the best part of homeschooling is being able to give your child an education that is tailored to their interests and needs. Kids in public schools are generally forced to learn at the same pace as everyone else and that’s not always the best fit for them. Making use of a variety of free and low-cost materials in addition to your core curriculum gives your kids access to different teaching styles and learning styles.
If you’re new to homeschooling, you probably feel overwhelmed. You don’t want to mess up your child’s education and you’re flailing around trying to figure out what to do and read about first. Before moving on, read about a few reasons you might not want to homeschool.
Still here? Awesome.
According to the HSLDA, the average homeschool family spends an average of $900 per child, per year. That’s a lot! Here are the ways you can cut costs as a homeschooler and still give your children the education they deserve.
1. Make use of local homeschool co-ops
Some homeschool groups have a bunch of parents (with professional experience or certs) sign up to teach classes. In exchange, those parents can enroll their children in other classes. So, if you have or a professional skill, like photography, programming, or drawing, you can teach a class. If you know a foreign language, you can teach a class. And if you’ve published a book or two, you can teach a writing or English workshop. Get in touch with local co-ops and see what kind of deals they will offer if you’re able to teach a class for them. This is one of the easiest ways to snag free in-person classes and workshops for your kids.
Where do you find local homeschool groups and coops? Try these places.
- Do a Google search for homeschool groups in your area
- Do the same thing on Facebook and message the admins of groups you find
- Browse the database of homeschool groups on Homeschool.com
- Search on Meetup.com for local groups
- HomeSchoolWorld has a list of groups
2. Shop the dollar store for workbooks
If you have younger children, you can find a ton of themed, educational workbooks for kids at the dollar store! I did not know this, and maybe you did, but if you didn’t, now you know! They have a ton of super-affordable supplies for arts and crafts as well.
3. Shop back to school sales
Fairly obvious? Maybe, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time on it. Sometimes, as homeschoolers, we kind of forget that “back to school” applies to us. Many of us “school” year-round. Stock up on items either during the July/August back to school sales or during clearance sales after everyone is already back in school, which is typically when you’ll snag the best deals.
4. Scour your local thrift shops on the regular
Expensive textbooks for less than $5? Yes, please. You can find all kinds of educational materials and homeschool supplies at your local Goodwill or independent thrift or charity shop. Check them out! I go thrifting all the time because I resell clothes online as one of the ways I make money from home and I see awesome deals on textbooks and learning materials there almost every visit.
5. Use free, online curriculum and resources
There are so many amazing educational resources available for you to utilize in your homeschool. The main drawback of using free curriculum is that you’ll have to stitch it together to form a year’s worth of classes. It’s obviously more work than buying prepackaged curriculum, but it can save you a ton of money.
This is a short list of free educational resources that you can use to homeschool your kids. There’s so much more than this out there – search around, ask your homeschool mom friends, and reach out to local homeschool groups to find out what they use!
For younger children
- Khan Academy videos and activities that explain academic concepts across almost every subject.
- Prodigy Math Game is an immersive, online game that tests math skills for grades 1-8. You can sign up for a teacher/parent account that will give you tools to measure your child’s ability in different math concepts and highlight potential areas of improvement. It’s relatively new but kids really seem to like it and I love the dashboard that gives you so much information about how your kid is doing.
- StarFall is a collection of educational online games for kids.
- Click Schooling gives you free curriculum each day (a different subject for every day) when you sign up for their email list.
- Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool might be what you’re looking for if you want a Christian-based curriculum. I don’t use it, because religion isn’t involved with my decision to homeschool, but you may find it useful.
For older students
(I’ve used all of these myself, as a homeschooler, and plan to use them as a homeschooling mom [my kid is too young for these right now]. I got into college with a scholarship that covered 90% of my tuition, by the way. These sites helped me in the process!)
- Khan Academy is a site you’re probably familiar with. For older kids, they’ve got a lot going on. Programming, science, humanities, and especially math. I LOVE the insight it provides – you can see the areas you need help with and where you’re doing well. I find the teaching style used here to be super-intuitive and used it often for a second explanation of a topic I wasn’t understanding. The math videos are gold, especially for students (or people in general) who are struggling with a particular math concept. The way he explains the logic behind the math formulas really help make things clearer.
- MIT OpenCourseWare is a repository full of course materials that you can use (you’ll need to buy the associated textbooks if you want the full experience.) I sifted through the course materials and downloaded anything that could help me with a subject I was currently working through. There’s a lot of great stuff in here.
- edX is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) website with courses forms universities around the globe, pioneered by MIT. Some are self-paced and you can start them at any time. Some are
- Coursera is a MOOC website that functions very similarly to edX. You know you’re getting amazing quality content here.
- Academic Earth is a MOOC website.
- Open University is a MOOC website.
- Future Learn is a MOOC website.
- Hippocampus has videos for high school math, science, English, and social studies. I think they do a great job and providing comprehensive coverage of the 13 subjects they cover and I returned to this site to fill in knowledge gaps frequently throughout high school.
Homeschool blogs that post freebies and cheap curriculum for homeschoolers
Cheap curriculum options
Time4Learning provides a comprehensive curriculum in all subjects for $20/month for grades PreK-8th. 9th grade and up is $30/month. You get a lot for your money here and I like it a lot as a base to use when you have limited resources and limited time to put together curriculum yourself or shop for other options.
Enchanted Learning has been around basically forever in terms of the internet. I used it as a kid to print out coloring sheets and worksheets about planets, the ecosystem, animals, and dinosaurs. Yeah, I was a bit of a nerdy kid. Still am, to be honest! Anyway, EL is still up and running. It will cost you $20 a year to subscribe and you’ll have access to a ton of worksheets and educational resources for younger kids up to middle school.
6. Search Pinterest for free educational materials
Have you ever searched for free educational resources and printables on Pinterest? Do it! You’ll find a ton of worksheets, unit studies, planning sheets, and other free materials for all ages. Go to Pinterest and type in “free English worksheets for third graders” or “free multiplication pages” or whatever it is you need. Pinterest will probably have something you can use for almost any grade and subject.
7. Sign up for TeachersPayTeachers and download freebies
TeachersPayTeachers is an absolutely amazing website where educators create learning materials (usually sets of printables) and post them for sale. You’ll find a lot of high-quality stuff here from real teachers and homeschool educators. Every so often, they will give you free downloads. Some generous sellers offer several of their products for free through their shop pages. I’d definitely recommend signing up, searching around for freebies, and signing up for the email list so that you don’t miss out on future downloads.
8. Look into tax credits for homeschooling families
We pay the taxes for public schools, but we don’t use them. Boo. I’m all for supporting public education, but I wish resources were allotted better! Some states (Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Indiana) may be eligible for a tax credit or deduction specifically for homeschool families. Read more about this at the HSLDA.
9. Use your library
If your children love books, the library will be instrumental in quenching their need for new books to read. Also, using your library card, you’ll usually get access to resources online that you normally have to pay for. Explore your library’s website by logging in with your card and checking out the resources you have access to.
- If you have older children, they’ll have access to academic papers and journals to use for research and citations. This is a powerful resource for any student preparing for college or interested in advanced academic subjects.
- Some libraries give you access to popular language-learning solutions, like Rosetta Stone, for free. If you have issues accessing the library’s online resources, ask a librarian to help you.
10. Use secondhand curriculum
If you have your eye on a specific set of curriculum, see if you can buy it secondhand. Browse these sites and see if you can find any matches.
- Homeschool Classifieds
- Academic Superstore
- Facebook Marketplace
- Facebook groups for homeschool parents
11. Save money on groceries
As a homeschool family, you’ll probably save money on food by default if you were spending excessive money on your kid’s school lunches. If you want to cut coupons, cut coupons! Look into how to stack deals to get the best prices on groceries and household goods if you don’t already do this. If you don’t want to deal with coupons, there are still a few easy wins you can take advantage of at the grocery store.
Download and use Ibotta.
Seriously. I know you’ve heard this one before and it took me forever to actually download it, but I have $52 waiting to be cashed out that I earned just by adding deals to my account and scanning my receipt after purchasing. And this isn’t my fist cashout.
I don’t usually do any planning ahead for grocery shopping aside from a bare-bones list. Instead, I check the app for items I’ve already bought and then scan my receipt. You can save even more by looking in the app for deals before your shopping trip. Sometimes, you can get stuff for free or nearly free using Ibotta alone.
(If you sign up, you can use my referral code EXDEQHN to get a $5 bonus.)
Sign up for Cartwheel by Target
If you shop there. You’ll save up to 50% on stuff you already buy and sometimes you can stack Cartwheel deals with Ibotta rebates or clipped coupons.
If you use Instagram, search for the hashtag #couponcommunity
And follow couponers who post deals that you’re interested in. Some people post links to deals on baby clothes, some post links to deals on laundry detergent, and some post deals on anything and everything. There are a surprising amount of generous people on Instagram who know how to snag great deals by combining Ibotta, clipped coupons, and apps like Cartwheel. They’ll usually post a breakdown of the steps you need to take to get the deal. It’s so convenient and honestly very generous of them to share this kind of information.
12. Learn a skill that will allow you to make money from home
I earn money in four different ways: Graphic design, freelance writing, reselling clothes online, and through my blog. I could scale up any one of these jobs if I wanted to, but right now I enjoy mixing it up and having my eggs in multiple baskets. Here’s a list I made of 26 ways to work from home if you’re having trouble thinking of an idea you like.
I know that it can be hard to make the leap and dive into work at home mom life. Homeschool life is so much easier when you’re a work at home mom because you’re able to recoup homeschool costs by working from home.
If you’d rather not work for yourself and you want a more traditional job as an employee, there are a ton of companies who hire at-home workers to reduce their costs and impact on the environment. Dig in and do some research about work at home opportunities and remote positions and you’ll likely find a match.
Hope you found this list helpful! It’s easy for homeschool expenses to get out of control. Sometimes, you might feel guilted into buying more curriculum or resources than you really need to. Your child’s education is on the line, after all! Do some research and you’ll find that there are so many free or low-cost options that will serve your child well. You don’t need to spend a fortune to homeschool.
Give this article a pin to save for later, comment below with your thoughts, or shoot me an email with any questions you have about homeschooling! I’d love to hear from you.
- 6 Myths About Homeschooling
- 26 Ways to Work From Home (+ a few extra income ideas)
- 5 Traits You Need to be a Successful Homeschooler in High School
- Free Pre-K Math Printable (Space and sky theme or fruit theme)
Pin me for later: