Homeschooling on a Budget

Homeschooling on a Budget

Homeschooling can be an excellent way for you to spend more time with your child, instruct a child with special needs, or create a curriculum based on your child’s particular learning style.

But if you’re considering homeschooling your child, you might be wondering what the process entails financially. Specifically, you may be asking, “Will homeschooling place a financial burden on my family?”

Homeschooling can be financially feasible for most families with nearly any budget. With some careful planning, you can save money on books, trips, and other expenses and start your child’s transformative educational journey from your own home. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you save money as you make the switch to homeschooling your child.

Expenses of Homeschooling

Homeschooling regulations differ from state to state, and because of the number of resources available to meet different families’ needs and budgets, average expenses can be difficult to estimate.

Your child’s curriculum represents a significant portion of homeschooling expenses. However, the state allows parents to borrow their local school district’s planned courses, textbooks, and other curriculum-related materials at no cost, which can save you hundreds as you plan your child’s studies.

Along with a curriculum, you’ll need to consider several other costs when preparing to homeschool your child, including school supplies, field trips, and extracurricular activities.

Some homeschool parents report spending next to nothing on supplies by creating their own curriculum or finding free online courses, while the average parent spends $600 to $900 to homeschool their child the first year. The difference lies in your willingness to do your research and find unique ways to save money.

Ways to Save Money While Homeschooling Your Child

It’s easy to overspend while getting ready to homeschool your child. From purchasing new curriculum to buying supplies and taking your child on field trips, it can be challenging for any parent new to the homeschool lifestyle to remain within their budget.

Fortunately, staying within your means is both feasible and simple. Here are six ways you can cut the cost of homeschooling your child while still providing them with a solid education.

1. Make a Plan

Before you start bulk-ordering your supplies and choosing a curriculum, do your research and make a plan based on available resources and recommendations.

You’ll find an array of popular homeschooling blogs that give first-time homeschool parents unique ideas and tricks to save money throughout the school year. Many of these sites also offer deals on curriculum, free worksheets, and other low-cost solutions that can add immense value to your child’s education at a low price. Do a quick online search for popular blogs and read as much as you can before you begin.

Many support groups and associations are also available to connect with before you begin your homeschool journey. The PA Department of Education website offers a full list of statewide homeschooling support groups and resources, most of which offer networks, conferences, newsletters, evaluator resources, and more.

2. Choose Free or Inexpensive Field Trip Options

Field trips are a must-do for any educational experience, particularly for the hands-on learner in your life. When you’re the one responsible for planning your child’s field trips, the choices may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, field trips can cost next to nothing – you can even take your child on a field trip for free.

Go on a hike or ask a local business to give you and your child a tour. Attend a book reading at your local library. You can likely find several local field trip options in your community that can be easily incorporated within your child’s studies. Some destinations even host special days for homeschooled students.

3. Connect with Other Local Homeschool Families

Connecting with other local homeschool families is more than just a way to help your homeschooler get socialized. You can talk face-to-face with experienced families who have homeschooled several children and know the ins and outs of doing so on a budget.

Most homeschool parents will be more than happy to share their money-saving ideas and experiences. You might find it helpful to connect to these groups before you begin purchasing your supplies, as many families can point you to the most inexpensive materials.

4. Buy Used Items or Find Teacher Discounts

If you don’t plan on taking advantage of your school district’s free materials, you can purchase a used curriculum from an online auction website or discount site to save up to hundreds of dollars on your materials. Many sites offer resources in like-new condition, so you can reuse them for younger children and save more money in the future.

Now that you’re your child’s teacher, you may also be eligible for teacher discounts on new supplies like writing utensils and notebooks. Call your local school supply stores, crafts stores, or bookstores to ask if they offer discounts for teachers before you choose where to buy your child’s new supplies.

5. Take Advantage of Your Local Library

Are you planning your child’s next book report project? Integrating a week-long study of their favorite topic into your curriculum? Turn to your local library.

The books at your local library offer extensive information on nearly any topic you can teach your child. Before ordering an expensive book you’ll only use for a month, check out a few library titles. If you can’t find a book or information you need on a certain topic, you can also ask about interlibrary loans that allow you to borrow resources from another library.

6. Research Your State’s Tax Relief Incentives

If you live outside of Pennsylvania, you should check into your state’s tax laws to see if you can receive tax credits for homeschooling. Currently, Pennsylvania doesn’t offer tax credits. However, laws are always changing, so it can be beneficial to stay up to date on the latest education legislation.

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Save Money This School Year with a PSECU Savings Account

Setting aside money each month dedicated to your child’s education is a great habit to get into, no matter what kind of schooling you choose. Save more with a youth savings account dedicated to your child’s educational expenses. We offer dividend-earning savings accounts to help you meet your goal. Join us today to budget for your child’s educational future and check out our WalletWorks page for more money-saving tips.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.