Planning the Homeschool Year: Counting the Cost

School-PlanningI don’t know about you, but in our neck of the woods it’s back to school season. This month, public school buses will go chugging down the street, ready to pick up those eager (at least for the first week) children. While we don’t have to be on the curb at the crack of dawn or make sure our children have their lunch money, we do need to plan out our coming year of homeschooling.


While public education is fairly inexpensive, with very little directly coming out of our pockets each year, homeschooling rests solely on the shoulders of mom and dad’s budget. When planning the upcoming homeschool year, it is always best to count the cost.

Free Homeschool Options

Free is nice. It’s even better when it’s something you can use and need. Here are a few resources for free homeschooling:

  • Charter Schools, such as K12 – Government-funded, home-based, private school programs. Usually this covers all curriculum, materials, and field trips. (As a Christian home schooling family, we are hesitant to endorse this option, but it is viable. We understand the draw of not only receiving curriculum, but also supplies for free, however the drawback of arbitrary state requirements and the inability to count Christian materials cannot be overstated.)
  •  Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool – A complete, free, online, Christian homeschool for your family’s needs. Easy Peasy covers every subject for every grade level.

Moderate Homeschool Options

If you’re looking for a little more variety, but aren’t ready to break the bank, you might consider these options:

  • Buy From a Materials Display – Companies frequently offer sales during the summer months (back-to-school season) to encourage buyers to purchase.
  • Buy Used – There are forums to help aid families in the selling and buying of materials from other homeschooling families.
  • Share Curriculum – Trade or share curriculum with another homeschooling family. Perhaps one family could history, while another science. There’s no need to purchase both when you’re working together.
  • Don’t Buy Boxed Curriculum – Buying everything in one package can be pricey. Consider purchasing just what you need, not everything.

Investment Homeschool Options

  • College Prep Textbooks – If you have children in higher grades, these materials tend to be more pricey. However, the potential college credits make it worth the investment.
  • Reusable Materials – More expensive textbooks (biology, chemistry, etc.) and resources, such as microscopes, are a hit to the wallet, but well worth the money spent. You will use them more than once, and they have great resale value.
  • Boxed Curriculum – Sometimes it’s worth it to buy the whole program. You get everything from reading materials to craft supplies. You don’t need to shop for anything. The time saved in looking, shopping, and the reuse of said materials is also worth considering.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive. Pray about your homeschooling needs, asking God to show you how to best use your resources. Do a little online research about options available to you, and make an investment into your children’s future. Then, let the adventure begin!

Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.”
Psalm 37:16-17

🔔Time to Chime In: Does your family have an annual homeschooling budget? Share with us how you determine your budget and how it is best spent! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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17 thoughts on “Planning the Homeschool Year: Counting the Cost

  1. One key to saving money on curriculum materials is planning ahead. My daughter starts high school this year, but I began planning for her high school over a year ago, slowly working with her to choose classes and curriculum. So, I was prepared this summer to hit the local homeschool used book sales and also catch deals on the internet. For example, I got a set of used math books for $10 that costs over $100 new.

    Also, don’t forget your local library! We have a college library in town that takes book requests. Over the last few years, they have purchased several of my daughters books and let my husband and I take turns checking them out during the school year. I’ve saved about two hundred dollars per school year that way.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My homeschool budget is often determined by how much money I make from selling the previous year’s curriculum. I always buy used as much as I can. However, for the very first time this year, I hesitantly purchased much of our curriculum new on credit. I just wasn’t finding much of what I needed used, so buying it new became the only option. My typical budget is about $500-600 for two students. I spent a little more than that for this year. Next year will be less since I will be graduating my older child this year. So I will only have to buy for one next year. I also agree with you about the charter schools option. It’s something we’ve been tempted to take advantage of, but we always come back to traditional homeschooling since we don’t want the government oversight. I do think that these are great options for some families. I know a family that is using it successfully and loving it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is my third year of homeschooling my kids and I think this is finally the year I have gotten things sort of figured out. I think one important thing you can do is to join a homeschool coop, or at least have a netowrk of homeschool friends in your area. My friends and I trade a lot of curriculum around. This has really helped to shoulder the costs of our curriculum.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My son is now a 10th grader. An alternative to the online “public school at home” option is using Time4Learning or eTAP as core or supplemental curriculum. Both are public school standards based, but there is always the option of not assigning lessons that include objectionable material. Both T4L and eTAP are affordable when compared to private online school tuition.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome.

        There are many other free homeschooling options:

        Old Fashioned Education
        Home School College USA (for pre-K – 2nd grade); supplemental math needed
        Free World U
        C-12 Foundation
        edX (advanced middle school/high school)
        Coursera (advanced middle school/high school)

        There’s also the option of writing your own curriculum. Two books that can help a homeschooler do this are: “Home Learning Year by Year,” by Rebecca Rupp and “What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know” (available through 6th grade), edited by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Designing a curriculum is simple. You decide which subjects you are going to teach, choose the books/materials to teach the subject, then break it into manageable lessons that can be completed within your predetermined academic year.

        Another way to design a curriculum is to use your state’s learning standards (usually available on the state board website), choose which subjects to teach, and proceed with locating books/materials, then creating lessons. Most find buying a curriculum to be much easier, but writing/designing one is an option also. I’ve done it in the past, and it worked out well..

        Liked by 1 person

  5. P.S. — How the curriculum is designed, especially for older students, is based on their future plans, i.e., work after high school graduation, college, vocational school, etc. Another factor is the subject requirements based on your state’s homeschooling laws.

    Liked by 1 person

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