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How to Homeschool for Free or Cheap

Interested in homeschooling but afraid it might break your family’s budget? Read this post for some really great tips on how to homeschool for free — or very close to free!

{Don’t miss our weekly round-up of all the best FREE homeschool curriculum & resources! And you can also check out my Top 10 Favorite Free Homeschool Sites here.}

How to homeschool for free

Guest post from Jessica of Where’d My Sanity Go:

Yes! It is possible to homeschool for free or cheap!

Once you dig into all the homeschool curriculum products available, it can be overwhelming. When you check out the prices on those bad boys, it can get scary.

Don’t worry though, there are a lot of ways to give your child a great education at an affordable price. Some of the homeschool lessons and curriculums we use are completely free!

So if you’re wondering how to homeschool for free, here are my top tips…

Use what you’ve got:

Search your home for any books you may have forgotten about.

When I started out, I had no idea how I was going to afford all the things I thought I needed.

Luckily, my son had a ton of nature and science books already. I used these to build a few of my lessons for him, and we had a set of dictionaries we used for spelling lessons and other subjects.

Borrow:

If you already know of other homeschool families in your are, ask them if they have any old schoolbooks or homeschooling curriculum books they aren’t using and that you might borrow for a while.

If you’re not familiar with any other homeschool families in the area, look on Facebook for local homeschool groups or ask your friends and family, your church, or even your local schools.

When I pulled my son out of public school, they were kind enough to give me some information about local homeschool programs.

Shop for used books:

Check local garage sales, used bookstores, and other local stores for discounted items.

Join a few Facebook groups where people are selling their used homeschool books for dirt cheap. I have saved so much money by doing this and hardly ever purchase anything brand new. Before buying anything, I always first search for used homeschool supplies or books.

Utilize free homeschool resources

There are tons of free online homeschool curriculum options out there. You don’t have to stick with just one either, you can take different lessons from multiple online curriculums to fit your educational outline.

A few popular free curriculums:

  • Easy Peasy – All In One Homeschool – 180-day lesson plans for PreK-8th. (this is one of our favorites)
  • Khan Academy – Free online lessons for just about any subject.
  • K12.com – Independent teacher-led courses for homeschoolers.
  • YouTube — there are a ton of educational YouTube channels out there that are perfect for supplementing your homeschool curriculum. You can find different channels that range from preschool to high school subjects.

Finding affordable or free homeschool educational materials or curriculum is not as hard as you think!

I recommend scouring the internet to find out what’s available. Join local homeschool groups, find local Facebook groups, etc.

Several of our local homeschool families often get together for different field trips — many places even offer homeschooling families a discount on tickets!

Do you have any other advice on how to homeschool for free? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Jessica Fuqua is the owner/editor of Where’d My Sanity Go, where she often writes about family, parenting, and homeschooling.

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9 Comments

  • Rebekah says:

    Utilize your library! Of course you can check out books, movies, etc., but many libraries also have various educational programs throughout the year and some even host regular homeschool meet-ups with speakers!

    • Allison says:

      Yes! Our library even has STEM kits you can check out – and I’ve seen them at other public libraries in the area too – so you can check out kits for magnetism, engineering, etc. They are awesome!

  • Allison says:

    A couple of thoughts –
    1) teacherspayteachers.com also has tons of awesome resources created by classroom teachers – many of which are fantastic for homeschoolers! While you can definitely spend a pretty penny here if you wanted, many teachers also offer free resources; just choose the “free” price point in your search and you can usually find available resources for a given topic. I have found fantastic resources here both paid and free.
    2) If there is a resource that is more costly that you find is worth it (this was the case for our reading curriculum), remember you can always use sheet protectors and dry erase markers so you’re only paying for it once and can reuse with other children down the line (just don’t make copies without checking the publishing info first – don’t want to break copyright law!)

  • kim says:

    You can get a free downloadable pdf language arts program through level 5 at thegoodandthebeautiful.com !

  • Tina says:

    When I was homeschooled as a kid, my Mom was able to get some textbooks from the school district. I recommend speaking to either the local school or district curriculum coordinator.

  • Great ideas in the comments. We use sheet protectors and dry erase markers for our math curriculum so we can reuse it and it works great. Another way we save lots of money on homeschooling is by using free ebooks. There are so many wonderful books in MANY subjects that are free because they were written prior to 1922. I put a list together of free nature ebooks here: https://bookishfamily.blogspot.com/2018/05/best-free-nature-lore-books.html

  • Meegan says:

    Google has online books with PDF downloads of a lot of things that appear to be in the public domain. We do Charlotte Mason style homeschool and if you search for names of different things on her schedule (SOLFA, Elementary Arithmetic, Home geography, Nature Lore, etc) you can find full, free books there. We’re currently loving a math book from the 1850s.

    Here’s how I found stuff:
    1. Go to books.google.com
    2. Enter the name of a topic you want a book for (like above) and hit enter.
    3. Above the search results is a series of drop down tabs…. change the one from “any books” to “free Google ebooks”
    4. Find a book you love to click on
    5. On the page where you can read the book there’s a gear icon in the top right corner. Click on it to download the PDF (and then you can open it on whatever device you might use for homeschool!)

  • Our homeschool adventures began nearly 20 years ago with our firstborn and eventually having four sons. Our budget has always been very slim. We utilized notebooking a LOT. It is one of the least expensive ways to educate children. I began by looking up a scope and sequence for the current grade level of each child. I used it to choose what to study. Here’s an example: In 2nd grade science, students cover, “Life Science: the needs and characteristics of animals and how they interact in their own distinct environments.” Using this information: 1) I brainstormed all the ways we could cover that topic: I.E.- Animal classifications, habitats, farm-vs- wild animals, etc. I divided the chosen topics up by school quarters, making a template with lines to fill in. 2) I searched for and made note of local resources. Our farm bureau has free learning kits, we have a local wildlife farm and petting zoo which are free on certain days. I made a note of free days on our yearly school calendar and reminders a week ahead so we didn’t miss free days. 3) I scoured the library for books and made lists according to topics. 4) I thought about cross-curricular applications. Could we learn the continents or countries at the same time? Basically, any way I could expand our studies to give them more “hooks” to hang information onto. 5) I scoured the internet and my shelves for additional learning resources like games, coloring books, drawing books, writing sentences and stories about animals, etc. 6) I bought a ream of card stock, punched it with our 3-hole puncher and made a separate 3 ring binder for each child. You can color coordinate it by topics you will cover or one page for each day of school. However it makes sense to you. 7) The first day of school, read a fascinating book about animals while the kiddos decorate their own notebook covers. 8) I planned a cumulative event to end our study – a trip to the zoo, where we would see the animals and read about their native habitats. To make it extra special take along animal crackers as a treat! I should note that until high school, my boys all did science and history together. I just required most projects, writing, in-depth research from the older boys.

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