When I decided to start homeschooling I was thrilled to see so many options for being able to do it for free. Having a limited budget and being frugal minded I decided that’s the way I wanted to go. It’s nice to think that you just need to buy paper, ink, pencils and crayons and everything else is taken care of.
It wasn’t until I left the realm of theoretical homeschooling and delved into the application that I realized that it’s not so easy and it’s not a good fit for everyone. While some parents have great success using Easy Peasy, Discovery K-12 or one of the other online sources to homeschool for free. Those programs were not a good fit for my child.
There is a huge wealth of information from e-books, tutorials, printables, local library and more available for free so even those that can’t fit in the cookie cutter curriculum mold could still homeschool for free (or for the cost of toner and paper) but while that could fit my child, it didn’t fit me.
I found this to be very costly in terms of time. Time spent sorting through all of the e-mail newsletters and blog notifications of new homeschooling “freebies”, time navigating the endless sources for the material to find those that would be the right fit, time organizing all of the downloaded files in such a way that I would find it easily and remember to use them. Time printing, collating and then planning. While the system was workable, it was too time consuming and time is money.
I want to spend more time educating my son than planning my son’s education.
So I found that purchasing materials was a low price to pay to have more time for my children, my husband, work, volunteering and let’s not forget sleep!
We are still not fans of the cookie cutter approach. Our curriculum choices vary by subject to fit our needs and boy, it fits well. I still use free online resources, mostly unit studies for holidays and the like but it’s amazing how much time I have available now that I don’t have to search the web for every little thing.
One of the reasons I chose homeschooling is because it’s cheaper than public education (even though tuition is “free” or prepaid via taxes, there are still a lot of costs associated with sending your child to school) and while some homeschooling parents spend thousands of dollars in curriculum and supplies per year; I have found a wide assortment of quality options at an affordable price so that even with purchasing materials, I am still spending less than if I sent my son to school. Having an “avoid paying full price” approach to life sure helps as most of the time I can find a sale, discount code or used resource.
I frequently get asked what curriculum and materials we are using so I will be creating a separate post for that soon.