Asalamu alaykum ladies, alhamdulillah its Jumuah today. Since many of us are knee-high in homeschool planning, I thought I would share a few tips that can help save some pennies. Everyone has different budgets, and it’s so easy to go overboard in buying curricula, books and supplies which isn’t necessary. We want to start our new homeschool year with a positive attitude, not by feeling stressed about the amount we just spent buying supplies.
So here are my top ten tips on how to keep your budget on track when buying homeschool supplies (We will cover other areas of homeschool expenses in another post insha’Allaah).
Don’t buy curriculum in haste.
One of the biggest expenses in homeschooling is the curriculum. Often we find recommendations online, through blogs, recommended by friends and just take the plunge. This is not a good idea, especially if the curriculum ends up not being a good fit for your children. Rather, take your time and research curricula carefully, Ask for samples, free trials etc. Most companies will be happy to let you sample curricula, or give you a free trial and also answer any specific questions you have. If friends are suggesting the curricula perhaps ask to borrow the teacher’s guide and have a good flick through to see whether or not you like the layout. No curriculum is perfect, but the last thing you want to do is invest in curriculum neither you or your kiddos enjoy. So take your time, research several options before you make your choices.
Balance out the book list.
Booklists can be a little intimidating, and can easily eat up a mamas homeschool budget in one big bite. Although books are crucial to homeschooling, don’t feel pressured into buying all the recommended books. Remember, they are just what they claim ‘recommendations’. Personally, I use my budget to prioritise spine books. These are reference books that can be used for years to come such as Usborne books. You can then use the library for extra reading books, thrift and charity stores and even audiobooks to supplement subjects.
Keep your eyes peeled.
This time of year, in particular, lots of curricula are usually sold at a discounted price. Keep an eye out for deals by subscribing to mailing lists so you can be notified of offers.
Keep learning and play simple.
This tip is mainly for Mamas new to their homeschool journey or Mamas with younger kiddos. It’s so tempting to feel the need to buy tonnes of ‘educational’ toys, many of which are expensive. The truth is you don’t need to buy specific toys to teach colours, shapes, names of animals or numbers! Toys that are often sold without the label can also be just as educational. For example, Lego! You can teach numbers, shapes, and colours all through this one resource, yet it can also lead to hours of endless creative play. We sometimes pressurise ourselves into thinking we need stacked shelves of resources for teaching our little ones, when in all honesty simple play, reading aloud and time outdoors is more than enough for them at this age.
Forage for free resources.
Nowadays there are so many free resources available, for every subject and every grade. Whether you’re looking for online help, worksheets, handwriting practice or spelling lists you really can find almost anything. Don’t feel the need to buy handwriting workbooks for example when you can just simply print out practice handwriting sheets or just write words out for your child to copy. Get a cuppa, and take some time to search for free resources (you can find a list on my blog HERE); you are sure to save some pennies bi’idhnillah!
Reuse your own curricula or someone else’s.
I know its tempting to buy brand new curricula every year, but this adds up especially as the number of children you are formally homeschooling grows. Rather, save curriculum and supplies for other children which you can reuse in the future. Also, look for second-hand curricula on websites like Amazon, eBay, and even social media groups related to homeschooling. You can often find curricula that are in good condition for a fraction of the price.
Be nifty and thrifty!
Arts and Crafts supplies are a staple for any homeschool, regardless of age. But art supplies seem to go missing like new pairs of socks. Rather than buy expensive notepads, pencils and glue, first, have a look in discounted stores like Poundland, and Dollar Tree, and five riyal shops (if you’re in the Middle East) especially when buying supplies for younger kiddos. You won’t always find everything that is quality, but you will find most supplies are just fine.
Spread the cost over time.
Often when we start our homeschooling journey we visualise a wonderful homeschool space full to the brim with resources and feel the pressure to create that environment straight away. But there’s no need to strain your finances! It takes time to accumulate resources, so buy what you need and don’t worry about empty shelves.
Keep a homeschool budget.
As I mentioned earlier, we all have different budgets. So I’d suggest making a little plan to ensure you use your budget wisely. Think of it as meal planning; make a list of staples and figure out ways to stretch things, you’ll be a pro in no time!
So there you have it; my top ten tips to help you keep your finances in check for the upcoming school year. And don’t forget mamas, make du’a that Allah places barakah in your rizq too; it’s all well and good planning but remember Allaah is the best of planners and providers.