The short answer is: Cost will depend on what you are looking for.
When our oldest was attending public school those two years, thinking about how much had changed since I was a kid was a constant reminder to me. We expected, of course, to have to deal with shoes, clothes, and a lunch box. I assumed we would probably have to buy some school supplies, particularly as they got older and needed things like notebooks and binders.
I was not prepared for the school shopping list. I had no idea I’d have to pitch in for room supplies, like tissues and hand sanitizer. Really? This may not be accurate, but my recollection for that one year, not including shoes, clothes, and a lunch box, was that we spent around $60 on supplies for a 1st grader; 9 years ago.
Going into having children, we knew there was going to be cost involved. It is my job to research as a means of finding best price and deals to help keep costs down. When you are given a list of specific brands and items that “have” to be purchased for school, you aren’t in control yet again.
Can you tell I’m a control freak?
Seriously, though, one question I hear a lot has to do with cost. “How much does it cost to homeschool?” I’ve also heard comments like, “I’d love to homeschool, but it costs too much,” or “Homeschooling is just not in our budget.”
If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that early on, like many others, my preconceived idea of homeschooling meant sitting around the table; books open, pencil in hand, doing school work. This notion revolved around curriculum. By now, though, you know that we primarily unschool, which means I don’t generally worry about pre-packaged curriculum.
We also had good support early on through Clonlara. Yes, that cost money. If we had to do over, knowing then what we know now, we most likely would not have paid anything out the two years we registered with Clonlara. One of the reasons we chose Clonlara was the lower cost, compared to other options I had researched.
It didn’t take long, though, to realize that yes, actually, we could homeschool without spending a lot of money. I was amazed at the free resources I was able to find online for young kids!
Keep checking back to the Homeschooling Information and Resources Page, because this page will have more links for resources. The resource page is a work in progress, but in the meantime, here are some young learning links to get you started:
Enchanted Learning- this site has a ton of free resources for young learners, including language activities. There is a member’s site, too. We’ve never paid for membership, so I can’t comment on what is in that section and available to members. The free stuff is great, though!
Ed Helper.com- Some freebies; members section.
First-School- Free! We used this, and its sister sites *a lot*.
Super Kids Educational Tools- make your own printable worksheets- Free!
Math.com- this link goes to homeschooling resources, but there is a lot of free stuff at this site. The games section has exercises for 1st- 8th grades. The other puzzles are fun for all ages!
Math Playground- more for elementary and middle school aged kids, but links to
IXL Math Practice, which has lots of great stuff for pre-K- 8th grades.
Are you starting to realize how much free stuff there is out there? Or how many resources you can find that don’t cost a lot of money? Certainly, you can purchase pre-packaged curriculum, and that is a valid option many families choose.
If you feel strongly about using a curriculum, don’t rule out buying used. eBay is a hot spot loaded with used curriculum at usually deeply discounted prices. Many curriculum packages offer consumable workbooks, and many people find that buying used text books but new consumables is another good way to offset the cost of formal curriculum.
My point is this: Keep an open mind. Do a lot of looking online, and connect with others who are homeschooling so that you can pick their brains. Once you have an idea of what you want your child to learn, you can start looking and finding materials. If you put your mind to it, you can find resources that will help you get on your way to homeschooling that are either free or may not cost a lot of $$$!