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Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Deep Thoughts

The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics

Can I homeschool on a budget?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Just about any homeschool approach can be done on a budget.  
Here are some good suggestions for cheap homeschooling:

1.  Use library resources whenever possible.  

Books that describe and explain the various homeschooling methods and philosophies are available
thru most public library systems.   Ask your librarian about using "Inter-Library Loans" if you only have
access to a very small branch library or only a Book Mobile.  Most elementary and middle school
subjects can be taught using library books and educational videos.

2.  Use online resources whenever possible.

If you have Internet access you have a world of educational materials at your fingertips.  There are
free online alternatives to most purchased  packaged curricula -- tutorials, lesson plans, worktexts,
worksheets, practice sheets, coloring sheets, connect-the-dot's, tests, activity guides, craft
instructions, study guides, and even online textbooks.  Learn how to do
Google searches... and
Google often.  If you don't have a home computer, check with your library --  most US public libraries
provide free Internet access on a sign-up basis.

3.  Look for used and free items.  

Keep your eyes open for bargains!   Second-hand stores, used book stores, and yard sales are great
places to find homeschool resources for *very* low prices.  Many large homeschool groups have yearly
book/used curriculum sales (often in the spring) where you can pick up items at half price or better.  
Shop online for used materials -- do a
Froogle search for the product you're looking for.  Join local
e-groups and national forums for selling and buying used homeschool items.  Keep an eye open for
free materials in places such as
Book Mooch  and the Free Homeschool Yahoo! Group, the
Homeschool Educational Free Market Yahoo! Group, and PaperbackSwap.com .

4.  Make your own.

Use household items and craft supplies instead of purchasing manipulatives, worksheets,  games, and
equipment.  Find free online tutorials and learning modules that can take the place of purchased
lesson plans.

5. Team up with other homeschoolers.

Set up co-operative learning exchanges with other homeschool families.  Arrange to "share" the cost
and use of particular materials with a homeschooling friend.   Ask if you can borrow or rent educational
items from friends.   Check the
FreeHomeschool Yahoo! Group for items you may need.  Get
together a group of students to share the cost of a single tutor.  Look for (or arrange) group classes
and activities that can take the place of costly individual lessons.

6.  Ask about "Educator's Discounts".

When you have to buy new products, or when you are arranging a visit to a museum or buying tickets
to a performance, ask if "teachers" get a discount, then ask if homeschool educators are included --
they usually are.  We
are educators, and businesses usually value our patronage.  
Some businesses require proof of homeschooling, often a
membership card from a homeschool
support group will do.

More resources:

Top 10 Ways to Homeschool on the Cheap -- great tips from Dwija at House Unseen [life

The Three Rules of Not Buying from Cindy's Porch -- good advice for those new to living on a
single-income budget
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Copyright 2005-2012 by Julie Shepherd Knapp,
unless otherwise noted.

To request permission to republish, reprint, make multiple
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Sometimes crazy things happen
and we think "Let's cut expenses!  
Do we really neeeeeeeeeed
the internet?".  
The answer to that must always
be an emphatic YES.  
--Dwija at House Unseen {life unscripted}