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What Is This Going to Cost?

Oh boy, here we go. Doesn't everything seem to come down to money? So here is my disclaimer that:

  1. It depends on where you live.

  2. It depends on how you decide to homeschool.

  3. It depends on how many kids you will be homeschooling.

  4. It depends on how old your students are.

There. So I can't actually give you a hard number. But I can assure you that it can be done. First, I will not insult you like the salesperson who made assumptions about me and my husband when we were in our early 20s and walked into the jewelry store to look at engagement rings. It was a weekend. We were dressed casually. My husband (then boyfriend, of course) had money to buy a ring. But that salesman took one look at us and started down at the end of the counter where they had the cheapest and smallest rings.

I will not insult you in that way. I will pretend that you have money and then you can tell me if what I'm showing you is out of your price range, just like a good mattress salesman would. So if you already know this is the case, you can scroll on down if you like. (The free stuff is near the end of this post!)

If money is not a roadblock, it might be nice to sign your child up for some outside classes. There are a variety of classes available depending on where you live. Those homeschoolers who live near big cities might have more options available than those who live in more rural areas. Especially in the high school years, some parents prefer to pay for the student to take core classes with other homeschoolers. In this way, your responsibility and involvement would be minimal. And while we are at it, you could just go ahead and pay a tutor to teach your child at home. This doesn't give all the benefits of homeschooling, but it can be done as long as your state laws allow it.

Another option that can be costly is purchasing a boxed curriculum. Some companies allow you to simply purchase a kit for each grade level. Some even allow you to customize what books go in the box. This is terribly convenient and saves so much time searching for and purchasing each subject individually. One day, a huge box arrives at your front door (which is extremely exciting!) and you can literally unpack it and start school. We were able to do that for a few years when we only had one child old enough to be in school and it was nice. And some boxed curriculum companies offer early bird discounts as well as payment plans.

One way to save money is to try to get the curriculum you have chosen at a discount. You can do this by waiting for sales from the company or from various websites that sell homeschool curriculum. I'll give you some links to my favorites at the end of this post. Also, there are homeschool conventions you can attend. These conventions, in addition to having great sessions on a variety of topics, have vendor halls. This can be a nice way to see the curriculum in person before purchasing. If there isn't a discount (some companies do offer one at conventions), at least you won't be paying shipping.

Moving on down the line to even less expensive can buy used. I would say the majority of homeschoolers have at least some used curricula in their cabinet at all times. Purchasing used curricula used to be somewhat time absorbing. Today, Facebook has made this much easier. There are many used curriculum groups to join. We have also attended used curriculum sales at homeschool expos before. Non-consumable materials that have been gently used can really save you money AND help out another homeschooling family. I know many years my budget for purchasing next year's curriculum, depended on the sale of last year's.

Lastly, there are free options. Yes, really! There are some completely free homeschooling options out there. I remember hearing a news story years ago about a man and his daughter who were found living in the woods. (There was no abuse--she was well-cared for and authorities got them some help.) He was homeschooling her using nothing but the local library, an old set of encyclopedias, and the Bible. When authorities insisted she be tested, she tested many grade levels above her age. It can be done, folks. But if your state requires a "written" curriculum, then these free sites should do the trick. I have used a few of them (for some subjects, not all) and was quite pleased!

Note: If your state homeschool laws require you be under an umbrella or cover school, it is possible that you have to use the curriculum provided to you. That is fine, if it works. If not, use the good parts and supplement with other materials. I'm just letting you know that some states don't give as much freedom of choice when it comes to curriculum. It is still up to you, the parents, HOW to use those materials in a way that works best for your child.

My Favorite Curriculum Sites Free Online Sources

Guesthollow Biology (high school)

This is but a small sampling of what is out there and available. Are you surprised? Did you know there were so many choices and even a way to homeschool for free? You may decide that this is not for your family, but at least you will know that money is not what stopped you. And if you have been wanting to homeschool but weren't sure how, now you know it's possible!


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