Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homeschooling (or just playtime at home) on a budget

I always seem to preface my posts about homeschooling, with something like "we are just beginners", because we are. I have much to learn, but I have truly enjoyed all my "research" and my quest for knowledge on the subject thus far.

For the most part, when homeschooling, families are on their own when it comes to the cost. Curriculum, extra-curriculur activities, and school supplies can add up very quickly. Most likely you are like our family who has chosen (and are so grateful that we can) for me to stay home to teach our children. This also means that we are living on one income. Our double income no kids (DINK) life has quickly changed to one income and four kids {gasp}. For this reason, we try to be very resourceful, careful and purposeful with our finances in every area.

Today, I want to give a few tips that I have learned in an attempt to create an environment for learning while not breaking the bank. Below are some ideas that I have found helpful:

If you have more than one child at home that you will be teaching, lamnating worksheets are a great way to reuse them. Dry erase markers can be used to write on them and then wipe them clean for the next child.

I found a great deal on this laminator and I find myself quite excited when I get to use it. Strange, I know.

If you have other friends or family that are or have homeschooled in the past, you can share curriculum with them as the age ranges vary within families.

There are tons of sites and blogs that offer free or inexpensive printables and activities available online. Some of my favorites include:

Often, I feel like I am on a treasure hunt for resources and items that will help our at home learning experience more fun, more efficient and more productive. I scout out garage sales, dollar stores, thrift shops and online sites for games, books, DVD's and other school supplies. I have scored many items for a fraction of the price.

I bought this never used Dora the Explorer: ABC Game at a local thrift store for next to nothing.

This Leap Frog Bingo is a garage sale find that I paid $2 for.

There are great deals on Amazon for many things that can be used to teach at home. Many times, they are sold for a fraction of the cost that you'd pay at a retail store. You also know that I am crazy about Swagbucks and that I get a lot of our stuff for free by using my digital dollars to purchase Amazon gift cards.

Our beloved Learning Resources Calendar and Weather Pocket Chart is something I got on Amazon for free by using my Swagbucks. Can't beat that : )

Try to think outside of the box. Isn't it funny that many times at birthday parties the child will be more enthralled with the box or the wrapping paper and bow than the actual gift. The same thing goes with learning at home. There are treasures all over your house that you probably never knew could help your child develop various skills.

  • Pots, pans and utensils for musical expression.
  • Dry beans, straws, rice and noodles for crafts.
  • Plastic containers to scoop and dump small objects for motor skill practice.
  • Too many items to name for imaginary play and dress up.

Because we have four small children, you can imagine that due to birthdays and other holidays, toys are not lacking in our home. If family or friends ask about gift ideas, I now suggest fun school and craft supplies and other resources that we use for homeschooling.

I hope this helps!

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