If keeping costs low is a priority, you have plenty of company! You don’t have to go broke to homeschool. Families homeschool on every imaginable budget and
- The quality of your child’s education is not determined by how many dollars you spend.
- It is possible to have a high-quality education and still spend very little, especially in the elementary grades.
Sticking to free or very low cost resources whenever possible will give you some freedom to splurge if there is an occasional resource you really want to provide for your children.
Your two best friends will likely be the public library system and the internet. Nearly every subject and topic you can imagine will have homeschoolers somewhere inspired to discuss their learning and resources on a blog or online discussion group. Many people design their own curricula and book lists and freely share what worked for them. Online discussion groups that focus on a particular subject or education method can also be a great way to identify potential resources.
Your local public library and the Inter-Library Loan service can help you get a wide variety of books, videos, audio books, recorded lectures, and other library materials. Many Virginia libraries offer reciprocal library cards, too– so if you have a library card at your local public library, you can frequently get a card at adjacent library systems, too. Online library catalogs can help you identify which library systems have the books you’re looking for. Inter-Library Loan lets you request a book from nearly any library in the country and have it show up at your local branch, usually for little to nothing in the way of fees.
Used and borrowed materials can also help to stretch your educational budget. Materials in good shape can frequently be resold when you’re done with them, allowing you to recoup part of your purchase price.
Most helpful of all, though, is remembering that the quality of your child’s education does not depend on how many dollars you spend. The shiny bright curriculum in the pretty package with the big price tag is not an assurance that your child will learn better or faster. You can probably find something that will work just as well as what is in that shiny package and you can do it for significantly less.
Homeschooling on a Shoestring,” by Melissa Morgan and “Homeschool Your Child for Free,” by LauraMaery Gold and Joan Zielinski are two books on the subject of low-cost homeschooling that you might find helpful.