How We Homeschooled on a Beans and Rice Budget
by Elizabeth Doan
I have had so many mommas in the last few months ask me about homeschooling. Most are on the fence about whether to take the jump or not. Many see it as overwhelming and once they start looking into curricula, the cost can send some running. We knew our year would be lean. We had a new baby and were still renovating our fixer upper on top of trying to pay off debt. I remember praying and asking God how we were going to make it work. Over and over in my prayers I heard him whisper to trust Him and I felt a total peace about homeschooling another year. I have a third grader and a fourth grader. I spent less than $100. I figure that’s $50 a kid. It comes out to a week’s worth of groceries. Not to shabby. This is how we did it:
- Shop the back to school aisle. I stocked up on markers, crayons, scissors, pencils, glue, etc… My favorite find was index cards. I bought 10 packs and used them for vocabulary, spelling, multiplication facts…you name it. I also picked up a 3 ring binder for myself and divided off sections for each kid to keep track of attendance, work samples, and curriculum notes.
- I shopped the homechool used curriculum store and used curriculum sales. It was a great place to get my hands on many different books and flip through them. I decided on a workbook by Comprehensive Curriculum. The books were less than $10 and included math, reading, reading comprehension, English, and writing. If my children needed more help on a subject, I could find many different enrichment activities on sites like pintrest.
- We used our public library. I pulled many different books through out the year for our science and history studies but I found that my children learned the most with books they picked out for themselves. I was amazed that they were drawn to great books and loved the classics without any prompting from myself. Score! We also scheduled an hour of quiet reading time every day which they would read their library books (for my own sanity as much as their reading).
- Ebay is fantastic, especially mid year. Around Christmas, I noticed that my son really enjoyed being able to work independently and mark off his work as he completed it. I found a great deal on a used Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum in all subject areas for $50. This was a steal and something that I can reuse with my other children.
- Don’t buy into the hype. The first year, I set up a mini schoolroom. Guess what? My children would rather sit around the kitchen table and work after breakfast. The schoolroom eventually got turned into a playroom and we still continue to school around the kitchen table.
- Have a quiet space for each child to work. Each of my children has a small desk in their bedrooms where they can go and work if they need peace and quiet. When we’re not having school, they can use it for other things.
- Last, but most important, PRAY. Pray a lot. Pray that God will bless each day. Pray that he will cover the gaps. Pray for strength and patience because some days are great but others are REALLY REALLY hard. I am always amazed at the end of every school year how far my children have come. This is not because of anything I have done, but because of everything he has done.
Be encouraged Mommas. It can be done, no matter the budget. It just takes prayer and a willing heart.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Elizabeth Doan is married to her hubby David for 14 years. Mother to four wonderful kiddos: Sam (10), Sarah (8), Evie Joy (4), and Sadie Rose (6 months). Homeschooling Momma for 4 years with 17 years to go! Elizabeth’s favorite quote in the whole wide world is: “Life is frittered away by details. Simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau