Friday, September 6, 2013

No More Money for Curriculum {Blog Cruise}

With all the wonderful resources and curricula available for homeschoolers to choose from, it's tempting to spend more on cool things than the budget might allow. Most of the time, it's a matter of choosing which things I'm willing to spend my money on knowing that there's not an endless supply. But what if there really wasn't any money in our household budget for homeschooling? How would we manage? This is the question that bloggers on the Schoolhouse Review Crew are tackling on this week's Blog Cruise.

Over the past few years, I've played a little game with myself during the homeschool convention and curriculum fair season. The game is to see if it would be possible for me to homeschool through the coming year without spending any money, or how little money I could spend and still have what I need. Now, I know that it would be completely possible to homeschool without having to buy any shiny new books. Or even any shabby older books, for that matter. And truth be told, I sometimes like the well-loved used books better anyway. But, I digress. Yes, it's possible to homeschool without buying stuff, but I've never done it, because I've never really had to. My second scenario of 'how little can I spend and still have what I need?' is more realistic. I hope I'll continue to have a little money to spend each year!

If I couldn't spend any money this year or next, our homeschool would still be in pretty good shape, mostly because I made the choice in past years to buy non-consumable curriculum. I may have spent more money on a one-year history or science course back when my oldest was in Grade 9, but that meant that I didn't need to buy a new curriculum for each subsequent student. If necessary, almost any subject could be taught using resources from the library and internet, although it might mean some creativity would be needed for assignments and written work. Another place I could turn for help with curriculum would be my homeschool fellowship groups. I belong to a local umbrella/oversight group and to a fellowship group, and in both of those the member families have a history of generosity and an eagerness to help out fellow homeschoolers. I have seen these families provide used curriculum to donate to families in need; and sharing, lending, and giving curriculum to others who can use it is common practice. And of course, we also sell used curriculum to each other at significant discounts. In fact, I have my own list of "we're finished with these things now" resources that I distributed to the group. For some of those things, I suggested a price tag, but I also made it clear (I hope it was clear!) that I want these things to go to a good home, and if that means I give it someone who would really love it but hasn't got the money to spend, that would be just fine with me.

These represent some of our favorite non-consumable curricula and resources.

Photo   Photo

I guess if I was going to summarize that into some advice for newer homeschoolers I would suggest these things: 1) Build a support network of homeschool friends and make it a practice to be generous when you can help others, and be gracious in receiving help when you need it or it's offered to you. 2) Given a choice between spending money on consumable or non-consumable products, choose non-consumable whenever it's practical. 3) Get familiar with the free resources on the internet, and take advantage of the resources offered by your library system. 

Could you homeschool (or have you homeschooled) without spending money on curriculum? Leave a comment and share your thoughts! Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Tuesday, September 10th) to see how other homeschoolers answered the question, "What if there was no money for homeschool curriculum?". You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see the reviews we are working on, past reviews, and past blog cruise topics.

This post will also be included in the Living Frugally Round-up at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. (this link will be live Wednesday, January 21st).
Living Frugally


Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

©2006-2013 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


Deborah said...

I am currently on a no spend journey. Not sure how far I can go though, since we don't really have to worry about the finances and I'm a bit of a curriculum junky. ha ha ha ha I just want to curb my own addiction to the stuff. I figure I've done enough shopping in the past that I may even have enough for the future { think in terms of years both ways } to keep us going for a while.

I definitely agree with purchasing non-consumables. They really make homeschooling multiple children much more affordable.

annette @ A Net In Time said...

i was thinking today while at a curriculum store... if I could spend money on anything and not worry what would it be on?

And I came up with ... books on audio... just to be able to listen to books. I don't want to have to divert book money to curriculum needs. :) So this year I will strive NOT to buy anything I really don't need and just use what I have or can borrow. :)

Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.