By Jade Stafford, 2cool4school Inc.

Have you been toying with the idea of homeschooling your child(ren) but unsure if it financially makes sense to do so?  Homeschooling can definitely get pricey when you’re buying books, school supplies and additional resources for just one or two kids. You want to keep the kids engaged with exciting activities and oftentimes that requires different art supplies or printed materials. Well, this article has some suggestions of how to homeschool on a budget, and sometimes that budget is $0! 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

1- Local organizations

A great way to learn more about what’s in your community is to reach out to the local municipal office to find out what events are offered that could be relevant to the curriculum topics. For example, if the curriculum has a Science unit about the eco-system, perhaps a tour of the local recycling center is a possibility.  There are so many field trips that are free right in your community. 

Reach out to the local police station, firehall, animal shelter, city hall and ask them if they have tours or community outreach programs that allow for children to gain an educational experience even if it’s just for half a day.  If they do and you belong to a homeschooling group in your area, post about it so others can join in on the fun. 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

You could even organize a follow-up lesson after the fieldtrip to see what everyone’s highlights were, and brainstorm where the next fieldtrip could be.  If you’re teaching Financial Literacy, call up the local grocery store and ask for a small tour and give your child a budget and see what s/he can come up with for ingredients to make a meal. Then with those purchased items, introduce the science of cooking and baking when you get home. It would be a fun field trip while getting dinner done as well, what a win-win situation! 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

2- The internet has all the answers

The most powerful tool we have at our fingertips is the internet.  A quick web search will provide hundreds of websites on any topic you’re interested in. You can find ways to homeschool for free by using free printables or look up any curriculum subject or topic with similar to YouTube videos.  There are also so many free e-books on the internet that you’ll never run out of books to introduce to your child.  You can also homeschool on a dime or homeschool with a big budget.  It’s very easy to splurge on homeschooling supplies and learning experiences, which is fine if you’re able to afford that. 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

However, there are just as many suggestions on how to teach a curriculum with things that you already have around the house.  Even learning experiences can be free; connect with other homeschooling parents on-line and ask them what they’ve done for economical field trips.  With the internet so accessible, now is the easiest time to begin your homeschooling journey.  Not only are online resources abundant, but also the ease with which to connect with other homeschooling parents not just in your geographic area but all over the world! 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

3- It takes a village

One method of covering the Physical Education subject is to enjoy the neighborhood you’re in.  You can plan a scavenger hunt that leads you to a park where you can have a picnic lunch, or pick a playground that’s further than your usual one, and make it the day’s gym class to get there by a method that doesn’t involve a car.  It’s a great way to get the bikes, scooters, rollerblades and running shoes out. Bring a soccer ball, that’s a surefire way to get the physical activity up and often times it’s a magnet to meet other kids and make new friends.

One of the best ways to thrive at homeschooling is to find other families that are in the same boat.  Bring workbooks to the park or playground and eventually you’ll bump into other families that happen to be playing there and you never know, they just might also be homeschooling. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’re homeschooling because that will open up the dialogue and you’ll find that it’s mutually beneficial to share tips, tricks and resources on how to homeschool for free. 

You could even find another homeschooling parent that would be interested in sharing the teaching with you so that it brings another perspective to what and how your children learn. 

Can you imagine how convenient it would be if you taught your kids and a few other kids once or twice a week and in return, your kids would get to learn from another parent’s homeschooling style once or twice a week? 4 Helpful Points for Free Homeschool

When you think of “the village” of people that you can approach for homeschooling advice and resources, don’t be limited to those physically near you.  There are multiple websites that can connect you to other homeschooling parents around the world.  With today’s technology, it’s so easy to set up a Zoom/Teams/Googlemeet to connect with other parents and/or have homeschooling kids chat with each other via webcam.

Have them share about their typical week of home education (if there is a typical week!), and what their favourite parts of homeschooling are.  You’d be surprised how much there is out there (books, experiences, field trips, teaching methods, etc) that you might not have thought of trying and it just takes someone to mention an idea and you’ve got something new to explore next week!

4- Where the books are

While out on fresh air breaks, make it a point to visit your local library.  It’s a treasure trove of free resources.  Not only is the library full of books, there are also the computers, DVDs, audiobooks, park passes and some libraries even have sports equipment to borrow for free!  The library system is very convenient in that if there’s a book or other material that your closest location doesn’t have, they can usually request a transfer of it from another location, at no cost to you. 

Some libraries even have STEAM (Science,Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) kits to use, so one day’s lesson could be all about robotics, for example, and you wouldn’t have to spend a dime. 

Another reason to rely on the library as a very valuable education resource is that the Librarian is a wealth of information and can definitely help you navigate the wealth of information and resources at your fingertips. The library is such an underutilised resource in many communities. It’s often empty but it has tables and chairs that are available to make it a reason to get out of the house for a day a week and learn in a different environment. It breaks up the monotony of schooling at the kitchen table, for example.

I hope these suggestions listed above will help you start homeschooling for free.  It’s less daunting when you know it won’t cost an arm and a leg just to get up and running. Before you know it, you’ll be a year into homeschooling and look back and appreciate how much money you saved just by being resourceful and doing a bit of planning ahead of time.

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