Homeschooling on a Budget

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The following is a guest post from Connie, of Smockity Frocks.


Homeschooling on a Budget

Being a stay at home mom means our family of ten lives on one income. Being a homeschooling mom means I have to be creative with homeschooling on a budget.

We don’t have the funds to purchase new materials every year, so we implement a few things that help stretch our homeschooling budget. If you are wondering if you can afford to homeschool a large family, try these tips!

Use the library.

  • It’s FREE!
  • We often check out books we need for literature or history. Our library lets us recheck books, so we can keep them for four weeks at a time, if needed.
  • We got special permission from our library to check out more books than they customarily allow. I talked with the head librarian and explained our family size and that we depend on library books in our homeschooling, and she was glad to oblige!

Use Paperback Swap.

  • It’s FREE!
  • We can pass books on that we don’t need in trade for books we do need. This cuts down on clutter.

Reuse workbooks.

  • Make copies of workbook pages.
  • Have children do the work on their own paper.
  • Use this handy tip for reusing worksheets.

    I have used the same copy of Teach Your Child to Read through five children and eleven years! (See my video on using the book.)

Buy Used Books.

  • I check Ebay and homeschooling forums when I need a “new” book. I can often pick up the one I need for half price (or less!) than buying it new.
  • I have scored several great finds at garage sales of homeschooling families. One lady found out I homeschooled and GAVE me all of the books I was looking at FOR FREE!

Stick With One Curriculum

  • I try to stay with one curriculum so I can pass the books down to the next child in line, instead of constantly buying whole different set. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if the curriculum is a terrible match for your family, but I have found that if I give up my illusion that there is one perfect curriculum, I can make pretty much anything work.

Use  Swagbucks

    I accumulate Swagbucks and use them to buy gift cards at Amazon, which in turn, I use to get FREE books and school materials I need.

These are the tips that make homeschooling on a budget possible for this family of ten. How about you?

How do you manage expenses related to homeschooling?

Connie is a Christian homeschooling mom of seven and a half rowdy children, wife of one hunky golf pro, wiper of noses, writer of stories. She blogs regularly at Smockity Frocks.

For more frugal ways, visit Life As Mom.


  1. Christy says

    Hi Alyssa, I just wanted to let you know about what we are doing. This year I started my 10 yr. old daughter in K-12. It is an online public chartered school, which means they are a fully accredited, fully funded school, just like a traditional brick and mortar school, but she gets to attend school from the comforts of home…or wherever we may be at that time lol. They sent her all of her textbooks, a computer, a printer, art supplies, music, and PE supplies. They also have lots of clubs that your child can join like a book club, chess club, photography club, etc. There are also group field trips scheduled with other K-12 families to places like the zoo, or “class picnics”. It has been alot of fun, and such a blessing. We have really enjoyed the flexiblility of administering education from home. But, the absolute best part about it is I get to be a key role in my daughter’s life everyday…to help her grow and become the best woman she can be!

  2. Jeniver says


    Just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement that we can do this frugally. I cut up my math workbooks and insert the pages into page protectors. They then use overhead markers to do their work. We don’t do portfolios so this way I don’t have to make copies. This made me feel better with the copyright laws applying. Our workbooks are not legal to copy, so this way, I only have one copy and it will work for all my kids. I got my page protectors on sale and they were very affordable. Just an idea and paper saver. They do some pages in a notebook for documentation or if it is in the textbook.

    Thanks again. I look forward to reading your blog more in the future.

    In His Abounding Grace,


    • says

      Jeniver, I meant to include a link about using gallon Ziploc bags to put workbook pages in and using overhead markers. It really saves on paper!

      Some of my workbooks say “For classroom/family use,” so I feel okay copying them.
      .-= Smockity Frocks´s last blog ..Potato Soup Recipe =-.

  3. says

    Hey, Jeniver….great tip. I never thought of that. I am a BIG fan of staying w/ the same curriculum though. My oldest is a freshman in college and my youngest is in the second grade(with two more in between!). I have very little to buy from year to year by making them use their own paper to do worksheets, tests, etc..Another way I save is to use online sites that allow FREE printable worksheets. For example, w/President’s Day on Monday, I will search for some great printables (w/varying ages and difficulties) to use. ABC teach and Soft School are some of my favorites!
    .-= Julie @Kingdom Klipper´s last blog ..Walgreens Ad 2/14 – 2/20/10 =-.

  4. says

    Great post! I’ve home schooled other children in groups for years, but this is my first year home with my own daughter! The budget thing can definitely get out of hand!

  5. Mama Laundry says

    These are such great ideas! And so timely too – we had been praying about homeschooling for the past several months and received our answer the day before we left for Blissdom!

    So we are definitely going to homeschool, and we’re so excited about it.

    Also, a couple of days before Blissdom, we found out my husband is getting laid off. We’re frugal, but need to be even more so with his lay-off being thrown into the mix. This is great info!

    Thanks for getting my wheels turning!


  6. says

    We’ve got a three-year-old and a nearly two. I’ve been using the Letter of the Week curriculum for preschool with the eldest. It is free online, and you can find coloring pages and make activities to suit it fairly easily. We too are regulars at our library (the girls each have their own cards even) and we’ve even done field trips to the pet store when we were talking about fish. I’m getting ready to start Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. My MIL found it for me used on EBay and it is in excellent but obviously well-loved condition!

    For math, we help mommy cook. Nothing like learning how to count by measuring to make cookies! And I have her count how many eggs are needed on the back of mix boxes (most are illustrated anymore along with having written instructions) and things like that. So, now that I think on it, it covers some math, and early Home Ec, and some chemistry (without realizing it.)

    Thank you so much for posting on this topic. I plan on homeschooling until college (unless God tells us otherwise), and the more frugal I can start this, the better for the long run!
    .-= Crystal B.´s last blog ..Company Coffee 2.12 =-.

  7. says

    Alyssa, I loved this guest blog piece! I’m already debating about how I should educate my 3 y/o and 18 m/o. With Swanson #3 on the way, private school is out of the question, but public school kind of gives me the heebie geebies (from a Christian perspective). This article really gave me confidence in that I can reuse homeschooling books and associated gear. Many thanks for posting this!

  8. Laurie says

    It is against copyright laws to copy pages from workbooks and re-use them. In other words, it is stealing. It’s a big temptation–no one will ever know, right? But copying pages from books is stealing just like picking up something off a store’s shelf and not paying for it. I know I sound harsh, but I just want people to think about what they’re doing when they copy pages without buying the book.

    • says

      hi Laurie – you are correct about many books, but it’s wonderful within the home school community and also some of the books that I have purchased from educator supply stores because they specifically state that you can photocopy from them. Love that they are sensitive to that, but you’re right – make sure that is an option first. :)
      .-= Jen@balancing Beauty and Bedlam´s last blog ..Designer Outfits -Frugal Fashionista Highlights =-.

    • says

      Many of the homeschool workbooks I use give permission to copy for family use. If the curriculum fits your family’s needs, you can save money with a curriculum that allows you to make copies.
      I don’t think Connie was advocating stealing…
      .-= The Happy Housewife´s last blog ..Would you Pay for Garbage? =-.

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