Homeschool for Cheap: How to Make it Happen for Just $100
The homeschool budget seems to need to be ever-growing, especially when there’s so much temptation out there for bright and shiny new curriculum.
There’s been school years where I have had to be very careful about our homeschool budget. These years were trickier to plan, but it still can be done and it still can turn out great.
Be encouraged that you can homeschool on a budget too.
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This post is meant to both challenge myself to write out a plan based on a $100 budget and to help homeschool mama friends out there that might be feeling defeated because of budget restraints. You CAN homeschool on a budget. And let’s see if we can do it for $100!
Homeschool Budget Plan
First, let me lay a few ground rules.
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- Let’s assume that this is $100 for one child for one year. ALTHOUGH, it could stretch to more kids because many subjects can be done as a group, making one set of curricula work for several kids. More “grade level” work such as math might be trickier to use on multiple kids, but we’ll see what we can do.
- Let’s also assume that you have a good, working computer and printer. I won’t factor in the price of ink, which is a staple in our homeschool, but I will be mindful of incorporating items that need too much printing.
- This plan will be based on a middle-elementary aged kid, like around 4th grade, but you could certainly adapt the plan for different aged kiddos.
- Lastly, internet. A homeschool family’s gotta have the internet and I won’t include that in the budget since it’s more of a “family use” item, and not just for homeschooling.
I have some basic homeschool budget tips over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, too that would be helpful to read with this post.
Ok, let’s get to the plan. BUT I have a bonus for you. When I sat down to write this plan out, I actually came up with two. Some of the resources cross over, but mostly they are two different plans that can help you plan out a homeschool year for just $100.
The $100 Homeschool Budget Plan #1
Alright. With our guidelines in place, let’s lay out the plan. I think the first thing to do when you’re trying to follow a budget, is to cover your basics first, then fill in the rest.
So, reading, writing, and arithmetic first. Language Arts, Writing, Math. Then we’ll fill in some of the other stuff: history, science, art.
Language arts can get pricey because you’re encompassing spelling, grammar, reading, phonics, and maybe some other topics within one broader topic. Let’s break it down and find affordable resources that will help us stick to the budget plan.
- Home Spelling Words– This is an awesome website with spelling lists from grade K-9th grade. Each grade level has 30 weeks of spelling lists with activities for your child–all for FREE! How awesome is that?! You’d just need to snag a 0.25 notebook to practice in. Easy peasy! (FREE)
- Daily Grammar Lessons online-I just found this resource and it is SO awesome. Every weekday, they post a short grammar lesson with several practice questions to accompany the lesson. It’s SO great and totally FREE. All you’d need is a notebook to do the practice problems. (FREE)
- Copywork- This is a great way to teach grammar because your child is copying well-written paragraphs or sentences every day–or a few times a week at least. Again, you’d just need a notebook for this. A simple composition notebook is perfect. (FREE)
- Miquon Math– I fully disclose that we have not used this program, but I have it on good authority of amazing homeschool mama friends that this is a great option. ($22 for the two books you’ll need to complete the year.)
- Miquon Math requires Cuisenaire Rods for their program, too. ($12)
- Just Write 3– I recently just found this resource and it seems to be super helpful with elementary writing. The book for this age group covers narrative, persuasive, expository, and descriptive writing. You can certainly do the activities in a notebook rather than the book to preserve it for future use. ($9)
- Cliffhanger Writing Prompts– Get 30 prompt ideas with a TON of great writing tools like choosing creating words and transitions. Also reproducible so it can be used with other kids down the road. ($10)
Science, Art, History, Reading, Bible, Poetry, and more. For real. If you can find an affordable resource that provides material for multiple subjects, it will save you money!
- The Playful Pioneer Curriculum– This program is going to cover all the topics above and more. It’s based off the Laura Ingalls Wilder series that you may already own, or can easily find at your library. There are printable copy work pages included in the study as well as recipes, projects and more. Most of the supplies are most likely already in your cupboards.The curriculum incorporates history and science by pulling from the stories of the books. Such as studying grasshoppers to go along with the chapter where Pa’s crops are eaten by grasshoppers. A terrific almost all-inclusive option to snag on the cheap. ($45)
TOTAL SPENT: $98
The $100 Homeschool Budget Plan #2
Language Arts for a Homeschool Budget
- Spelling Workout– I love this one because you don’t need a teacher’s guide and it’s all inclusive. It’s a straight-forward spelling curriculum and my kids have used it from the beginning. ($10)
- Grammar: (same as plan #1…see above for details)
- Daily Grammar Lessons online (FREE)
- Copywork- (FREE)
- Brave Writer Arrow guides– (FREE)Free Arrow guides include:
–James and the Giant Peach
- Singapore Math– Like plan #1, this is not a math program we’ve personally used, BUT again, I have trusted homeschool mama friends that use and love Singapore Math. ($14)
- Homemade Flash Cards– These are such a great tool for my kids, but there’s no need to spend a bunch of money on these. Snag a pack of index cards for a few dollars and create your own. ($3)
Writing (similar to plan #1, see above for details)
- Just Write 3– ($9)
History + Science
- Homeschool in the Woods unit study: These studies have proven over and over again in our home that they are pack full of information, fun, and hands-on activity. There’s a LOT of time periods to choose from–both world history and American history.They are designed to cover 8-12 weeks, but I would suggest taking much longer on these studies. Adding in your own additional hands-on projects, recipes, read alouds and movies, this could definitely stretch the entire homeschool year.All the text to read to your kids each week is included in the study.Each lesson also includes projects fro you to print and create your own beautiful lapbook. There’s also TONS of great hands-on projects and ideas for further study. ($27)
- Library! Using your library is SO important for these subjects. Rent movies as well as books to cover your topic.
- Library again! Have your kids pick a topic of science to study and go to town at your library. Find fiction and non-fiction and experiment books to find tons of great books. Choose an experiment book with doable supply lists so you can save money on all the STUFF science needs sometimes. (FREE)
- Journey North- This is a wonderful FREE sit with so much info about migration. Sign up for free and receive loads of info that you could study from month after month. (FREE)
- BOTH Science + History:
- CuriosityStream– This is a subscription service much like Netflix, but even better. With your membership, you’ll gain access to a TON of fabulous documentaries on history and science and more. Plans start at $2.99/month and you get to try it free for the first 30 days. So if you just subscribe for 6 months you’d only pay about $15. SO great! We love this one! ($15)
- Chalk Pastels– I have found that this particular medium is especially budget-friendly. Kids can create beautiful works with minimal frustration like regular drawing. The chalk is priced lower than many other mediums, which is great too.The folks over at chalkpastel.com have created lots of resources at great prices, but these two are where I think you’d get the most bang for your buck. (And stay under $100!)
- Art Hub for Kids– This is another great resource for free. Boys especially love this one. Maybe because a man is doing the lessons? But these are drawing tutorials that are really simple and step by step. Regardless of the simplicity, the kids end up with a really amazing drawing in the end! (FREE)
TOTAL Spent: $95
These plans were so fun to put together and I so hope they’re helpful to you!
Another great resource is my friend Jen’s book Bountiful Homeschooling on a Budget. It’s plum full ideas for sticking to your budget.
I loved the resources here! It’s going to be a lean year for us homeschooling in the 2021-2022 school year and I am looking ahead for budget friendly ideas.
I would like to point out that in the second option you have Singapore Math listed as a budget friendly option. We use this in our homeschool and it is not just $14 for the complete curriculum. You need books both A and B for all grades as well as the textbooks that go along with them. Again two volumes and they are all about $14-15 each. We love it and will “splurge” on the math but it gets very pricy with multiple grades.