Affording Homeschooling: 3 Ways To Make It Work


If you read my post last week, you’ll see that we have chosen our curriculum and are ready to start school if I could ever just stay home from the beach.  Before the choices are made and I’m just looking at a long list of books for four daughters, in four different grades, it makes my head spin a little. Affording homeschooling can be tricky, but I’m sharing with you the three things that have made homeschooling affordable, while still being relevant and not choking on library reserve lists or late fees.


1) Pray

Before you start flipping through the curriculum catalogs and mentally adding up numbers, just pause and pray. Ask the Lord for provision, for vision on what each student needs that year, for inspiration on what subjects you should be teaching. He answers! Usually in the most surprising ways!

Quick story to demonstrate His faithfulness – Last year, I really knew that we all had to focus on world geography and that I needed a curriculum to guide us, otherwise we would get off track too easily. I asked homeschooling friends on Facebook if they had any recommendations, because I really wasn’t finding anything in my own search. A college friend (that I have not seen in 17 years!) messaged me and said not only did she have a curriculum that she thought we would enjoy, but she wanted to gift it to us! I was so blessed! Amazing, right?!

A few weeks later, I heard about a garage sale that a homeschooling mom was having. She was selling off a lot of books and curriculum. We headed over there and after chatting a bit, I realized this mom had briefly used the exact same curriculum that my college friend had mailed me. All the “spine and rib” books, reading books, coloring books, activity books I could want to go along with this geography curriculum were here – for sale. Since this mom (I don’t even know her name!) was wanting to clear things out, she made me a crazy deal. A massive stack of books for $50!

2) Search & Borrow

When you know what you want to do, ask other homeschool moms if they have the curriculum you’re looking for. Our homeschool co-op has a lending library that is chock full of wonderful, donated curriculum. I got a huge majority of our curriculum this year from that little room. Saxon Math, BJU teacher’s manuals, science text books – when you only have to buy a few workbooks the cost of homeschooling drops drastically.

I understand that we are incredibly blessed to have such a resource, trust me! If you know a few homeschooling families in your area, why not see if anyone wants to have a swap night? Every one has to bring curriculum they’re not using, to be lent out for the school year. There might not be a book from the exact publisher you wanted or the newest edition. Maybe you will only get one subject covered, but that’s one less that you have to buy!

3) Gather

The main thing I decide each year is what time period we are covering in history and what science topic we are going to learn about. While I have an idea of what curriculum I’d like to use and how I think things should go, I will always see if there are money saving ways that I can find what we need. First stop is AbeBooks. I found the history books my older girls need for a class they’re taking for around $3 each. They’re $11 each new! That’s a huge savings! There are also tons of curriculum sale groups on Facebook, as well as the old favorite Homeschool Classifieds.

Again – maybe it won’t be the newest edition or the publisher you were hoping to find. Have an open mind! Saving money is more important to me than having flashy new books. I also be sure to look through my own shelves and track down books I’ve lent out before purchasing anything. {otherwise, I buy duplicates.} 

When looking for living books and novels, hit up your local library used book sales. The books are often less than $1, at least in my little library, and in excellent condition. I will often buy classics and reference books, even if we aren’t currently studying that topic to build our home library. A dollar or two now might save me twenty next year.

What if you can’t make anything work?

There are seasons where our budget doesn’t allow for even the smallest homeschool purchase. How can you still honor the vision the Lord has given you for homeschooling? It’s much easier than you think. You just need two things – a library card and a reliable internet connection. Check back next week for my top picks for free homeschooling!

How do you keep things affordable with your homeschool?

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