Homeschooling isn’t cheap…but it doesn’t have to be expensive. I know there are a lot of fancy schmancy curricula, unit studies, books, etc. But you really don’t need all of that. In fact, when the boys were younger, we got by with a lot less.
So what do you do if you have kids to homeschool and $100 for the whole year? You find as much free stuff as you can get. I actually have some posts on free stuff for learning to read and math:
Learn to Read for Free or Nearly Free
Math Resources that are Free or Nearly Free
But I wanted to concentrate on more today. The beauty of homeschooling is being flexible and having the time to explore. Our best learning is done outside the house (I mean that is a figurative way).
First, get library cards.
And GO to the library. Often. Read, read read. Let your kids choose books. Whatever books. Graphic novels, chapter, fiction, non-fiction. We have learned some incredible things from the books we’ve picked up at the library. We can always find some inspiration in there! And do not hesitate to ask a librarian for help. That’s what they’re there for!
Library cards are free (just remember to return your books or you’ll have some trouble).
So far we’ve spent $0. My next step will fix that.
Museums, Science Centers, and the like
Find a museum of some sort that is nearby, interesting, educational in some way, and has membership options. Pick something that you can return to over and over again. Make sure it’s close enough and that you don’t have to pay for parking (or parking is super cheap).
Buy the membership.
We rotate memberships on a yearly basis. We started with the zoo, then the children’s museum, and now we have a membership to an Air and Space museum. The memberships aren’t cheap, no. But we go once a month or so and just take our time. At the zoo we would read the plaques and talk to whomever we could find to talk with. At the children’s museum it was very hands on and had a ‘STEAM’ feel. We got to try out a lot of engineering concepts.
Now we have the Air and Space museum which is simply amazing. Airplanes everywhere. On the surface, my first thought was that learning about airplanes wasn’t enough. But with a bit of creativity, there is so much more. First, we live in a desert which is apparently a great thing for maintaining old planes. Why? What about the desert? What is a desert anyway?
Some of the planes date back decades. Well, if it was made in 1974 and it’s 2016, how old is it?
Not to mention the history of these planes! The history of the wars and the history of flight.
Needless to say, we always come home with some new information.
Granted, that isn’t all we do. We chose to buy curriculum this year, but we also would have been fine without it (as it is, we changed our mind on quite a few things, but more on that later). Pinterest provides many ideas for us to continue learning.
Take Advantage of Free Events
Last thing, take advantage of free events.
I used to avoid the free events. They attract so many people. But I learned two things: 1. If you go early, there’s generally less people. 2. I can always tell if I want to pay to go back or not.
Over the weekend we attended a science center grand reopening and it was amazing. I expected it to be packed, but it wasn’t busy at all. We got to play with all their new exhibits for free. And now I know, paying to go there is completely worth it. We will absolutely return.
So that’s my three step plan. Library, membership, free events.
But won’t there be gaps?
There are always gaps. Always. Public schools – gaps. Homeschool – gaps. Expensive curriculum – gaps. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t try to avoid having gaps, but we all need to accept that there will be gaps. My biggest gap in education is history. As an adult I’ve poured a lot of time into reading up on basic history. And I am retaining that information so much better now. There were gaps but they can always be filled in.
This is a part of the iHomeschool Network series for ‘What I would buy if I had $100“.