Homeschooling on Faith and a Budget
By Christy Acre
Have you been homeschooling your child through preschool, but now he is approaching kindergarten and you aren’t sure that you can afford to keep him home to teach him? Or are you just considering homeschooling for the first time, but you think that the public or private schools could offer your child more because they have more resources than you have? Have you seen some of the curriculum packages and thought that there was no way that the purchase of homeschooling resources could possibly fit into your budget?
After reading this article, I hope you will be reassured you that you can keep your child home where he belongs under your loving parental guidance and still give your child a quality education without spending a fortune on materials. There are many inexpensive ways to teach and nurture your child.
Get the word out
“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee” (Psalm 5:11).
Let everyone you know that your family will be starting this amazing journey. Let your relatives, friends, people at church, and anyone you can think of know that you are homeschooling. Then, if they are looking for gift ideas for your child or have something that they don’t need any more (but that you could use), they may be happy to share those with you.
Also, just by talking to members of your community you will identify others who are already homeschooling. Check at your local library to see if the librarian knows of any homeschool groups in the area. Even if you don’t join a group locally, just finding a few other homeschoolers to talk with and ask questions of can be a tremendous source of encouragement and knowledge. A lot of homeschooling families are living on one income, and it’s likely they know how to find good deals in your local community and can share ideas that have worked for them.
Search the Internet and the library
”The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).
I have found much information by searching the Internet and taking advantage of a variety of homeschooling websites. If you don’t have a computer or an Internet connection, your local library can probably offer computer access. I have downloaded many E-Books over the years—most of them for free or at a very low cost. I visit a number of websites on a regular basis to gain information about particular topics. Our children use the computer as part of their learning on most days, and many websites offer free, educational activities.
I can’t emphasize enough the benefits of using your local public library. Everything at the library is free for the residents of that community, which is a huge benefit when you are on a budget. Each library will have unique resources and programs, so become fully informed about all that is available at your library. Most libraries offer story times and summer reading programs. The library is a great place to check out a book about homeschooling before you make the investment of purchasing it.
Most topics that will be taught in the kindergarten and early elementary years can be covered with library books. Read biographies and check out books about animals, music,
art, etc. Use early readers to practice reading skills, and then move up to chapter books as proficiency increases.
Tap into the gold mine of community resources, family, and friends
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4).
—We live in a rural area of western Pennsylvania, about 90 miles from the nearest big city. Even in our small community there are many resources to be discovered if you just keep your eyes and ears open. Be alert to community-sponsored events that could benefit your child’s education. Sometimes the local fire department will offer tours of the fire station during Fire Safety Month.
—Begin instilling in your children a sense of patriotism and respect for their country by taking them to a local patriotic program on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.
—Visit the office of your local Chamber of Commerce. They usually have all kinds of brochures and maps of the area, which are usually free. Here is another place where you can find out about upcoming community events.
—Your local Congressman or Senator’s office will also likely offer excellent free resources that can be put to good use in your homeschool, such as information about your state government presented in a brochure or activity book form suitable for early elementary aged students.
—Take your child to a local community theater play, and also check to see if the theater offers a children’s workshop.
—Find out what nearby state or national parks have to offer in the way of programs for children. Most parks hold programs year-round for children of all ages, and most are free.
—Check with your local Christian school to see if the school allows homeschoolers to participate in programs such as Fire Safety Day, field trips, or sporting events.
—The local home improvement store in your community may offer free workshops for children on Saturdays.
—If you are a member of a travel club such as AAA, be sure to make use of your membership benefits in your homeschool too. Maps and tour books for every state are available to AAA members by simply filling out a request online or stopping by the local AAA office. These resources are great for use in geography lessons or for planning field trips.
—A lot of inexpensive field trips can be taken. Ask local businesses if they would be willing to offer a behind-the-scenes look at how their companies function.
—There is a wealth of knowledge all around you among the people whom you already know. Everyone has unique experiences that could be shared with your child—just ask him or her to share those experiences with you! Most friends and family members would likely be happy to help out with your child’s education.
Step out into this homeschooling journey in faith. If God has called you to homeschool, He will also be sure to guide you to the resources you need on the budget that works for your family.
Christy and her husband, Darin, live in Pennsylvania with their children, Garrett and Hannah. Christy feels that it is an amazing privilege to be able to teach her children at home. She also has a home business that sells decorative Bible verses. Check out the “Children’s Memory Verses” collection at http://virtuesandverses.com/children/.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at http://www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at http://www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.