Homeschooling, like anything with kids, can be very expensive! You may be hyperventilating when you search for curriculum options. This can lead many prospective homeschoolers to quit before they begin. They feel like they could never afford homeschooling. Homeschooling does not have to be expensive!With a little planning, it is very doable. Before diving into purchasing curriculum, learn how to budget like a ninja for homeschooling. Here’s a four step plan for you to make an annual plan that works.
Take an Inventory of Income and Expenses
The key to making anything affordable is knowing how much you have to spend. Knowing how much you have coming in and going out is vital. If you already keep a budget, great! Look over it and decide how much you can allocate to homeschooling.
If you don’t have a written budget, or your budget is tight, dig a little deeper. Take some time to look over your expenses. What other expenses need to be covered? Is there anything that can be cut or modified to make more room for homeschool resources? You may want to get a budget tracking app, such as MINT, to help with tracking expenses. After a few months, you will have a better idea of where your money is going.
Decide What You Can Afford
Now that you have analyzed your expenses, it’s time to build your budget. How much can you afford to spend? How much money and how much time. Time probably wasn’t what you were thinking. Saving money takes time! Yes, there are ways to homeschool for almost nothing but, everything has a cost. If you are choosing to create everything yourself to save money, you need to find a way to budget more time. There’s no such thing as completely free. Buying a boxed curriculum is expensive, but you will not have to create lesson plans, activities, etc.
On the other hand, you can save hundreds of dollars by building your own curriculum. You will need to budget time to gather all the materials, write out lesson plans, make up tests, and so on. Homeschooling can be affordable, just be realistic when budgeting your time and money.
Create Goals for Each Student
Homeschooling can also get expensive when you don’t have a goal. It is easy to get swept up in the amazing curriculum options. It is important to know what you need and truly want your children to learn. What subjects are required? Is there anything else that you want to add? Be careful not to add too much. One or two additional subjects is plenty. Remember this is about budgeting time and money. If you buy more curriculum than you can use, you are wasting money.
Try our FREE Homeschool Goals Worksheet!
Look at your goals and make a list of exactly what you need for each child. Are there any special tools you will need( such as a microscope or laptop?) See how many resources you already have or can borrow. Now it’s time to divide your overall budget between your children according to their needs.
Do Your Homework
Research is an important part of being prepared. Know what you want and research the options BEFORE attending any type of curriculum sale or homeschool conference. This will help you stay focused and make an informed decision. Look into how the curriculum works and what learning styles it serves. Read over reviews for potential curriculum choices. Know how much the curriculum choices cost and what they go for used. Having a short list of ideas will keep you from getting overwhelmed with the options. Also, an informed consumer makes better decisions. Your research will keep you on budget and help you avoid buying something you don’t really want. Remember sales representatives can be very convincing. Of course, they all sell the “best” resources around.