Here are a few tips our family has found helpful when working with a limited budget.
If available, use a library with an inter-library loan system to allow you access to a wider variety of books. Check with your local library to see if they offer workshops or programs for students. Visit the library often to take full advantage of the many resources available to you from e-books to printers, copiers, maps, movies and music.
Utilize the internet for free resources. By simply searching online, you will find free math, grammar, music, art and so much more. Don't limit yourself to homeschool sites as many teacher sites have wonderful selections of full, comprehensive curriculum. Free worksheets, printables, lesson plans and unit studies can also be found online.
Combine as many subjects as possible with your school-aged children. This will not only save you money but countless hours of planning and teaching as well! I combine history and science quite easily with our boys, ages 5, 7, 9 and 11.
Do your homework and buy used or swap curriculum. Check to see if your local homeschool group hosts an annual book fair; you can find great deals on gently used curriculum at these curriculum fairs at the end of the school year. Thrift stores, yard sales, library sales, online homeschool forums and communities are all great places to find inexpensive gently used materials.
A co-op does not have to be formal, expensive or extensive! One of the perks of a co-op is the benefit of parents joining forces to share their gifts and expertise in a subject. If one parent is proficient in Spanish and another had a perfect ACT math score, you can easily swap knowledge to teach well-rounded and smart children on the cheap!
Nothing beats hand-on, real life experiences! Do some research to learn about low cost or free educational institutions in your area. This year we have been fortunate to visit museums, plantation homes, educational zoo classes, colonial festivals, farms and a few state parks. The possibilities are endless when you start digging for local educational resources.
One of my recent finds is iTunes U. This is a free service hosted by Apple that allows instructors, administrators and affiliates to manage, distribute and control access to educational audio and video from K-12 to college courses. The content is free to download but you must have the iTunes software, also free to download. There are over 500,000 free public resources in the iTunes U catalog.
Free or frugal homeschooling is a real possibility. You can provide your children with an excellent education without having to spend a fortune!
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