One of the most common concerns that parents have before they start homeschooling their children is how much it will cost. Yes, there are some really expensive homeschooling curriculums out there (cough cough…Sonlight) that are considered to be complete curriculums. These will include all the books you need plus a daily schedule to take the worry and fuss out of planning your homeschool year. I am not criticizing these companies because they offer a valuable service to busy parents and a no fuss approach to homeschooling. I personally just cannot see spending up to $600 on one year of materials when I can put in a little work and create a curriculum that will suit my children’s educational needs and learning styles.
In this series, I will discuss how much I usually spend in each subject that I teach throughout our homeschooling year. I also will be sharing some tips to show you how you can provide a wonderful homeschooling experience without breaking the bank.
**In the early years of K-2nd grade, you do not really need a standard textbook. The children in these age groups usually are focused on simple biology topics, like the life cycles of plants, frogs, and butterflies. In our local public school system, I don’t think that they even start using textbooks in science until 3rd grade.
This year for my 1st grader, I picked out thirty science-related topics to learn about during our school year each week. After deciding which topics to cover in our school year, I then searched Pinterest for some fun ways to reinforce the science topics that we would be studying each week. (Let me tell you, Pinterest is a great resource to use for homeschooling!) Teachers, bloggers, and fellow homeschoolers have so nicely decided to share with the public some of the many ways they have taught their students various science topics. Why not take advantage of this wealth of knowledge??
After searching for ideas on Pinterest, the next place to go is to the library. Most libraries have a great selection of books on a variety of science topics. The best part is that it is totally free if you are a member! I usually take some time over the weekend to write down a couple of book titles to check out for use during our science class each week.
After I have searched Pinterest and the library, the only things that I might spend money on for K-2nd grade science would be supplies, but mostly we just use what we have around the house.
Another really cute idea for K-2nd grade science is to watch the Magic School Bus and read library books that reinforce the topics covered in the show. A bonus is that the Magic School Bus series is currently on Netflix, so that is basically free if you are already a Netflix subscriber.
So in my experience, K-2nd grade science can be basically done for free with alot of planning and utilizing all the free resources that are at your disposal.
When my children start 3rd grade, we usually start using real textbooks. Our favorite science textbooks are from Apologia. They have a great selection of science textbooks and are really written well. You can usually find them used on Amazon or Ebay for $10-$15. The best thing about textbooks in my opinion, is that you can reuse them for each child at no additional cost and when you are done with them, they resell very well.
Another way to save money on textbooks is to borrow them. Our homeschool co-op has a small library of books that teachers have used for their classes taught at co-op. As members of our co-op, we can borrow textbooks and other materials from the library quite easily. Another great thing about our co-op, is that our teachers generally use Apologia textbooks (which we love!) in all of their science classes, so they have a really great collection that we can choose from.
While we love Apologia science books, I just felt that something was missing in our school day, especially in science. The problem was that my kids would speed through the daily readings and I never knew how much they were retaining from what they had read, so I started to look for study guides for the series. Sadly, there were not too many options besides lap books (which I hate!) So…. I decided to write up my own study guides for each of our Apologia books. Now if you don’t have the time or inclination to write out a study guide, there is a great website called Teachers pay teachers that has numerous affordable resources for homeschooling families. ** I even have my own store on that site, check it out if you need some Apologia study guides 🙂
I hope some of the ideas I have shared will help you to think outside of the box, when it comes to finding unique ways to save on homeschooling materials.
Next, I will share how I save money while teaching history.