*The following post was originally shared in 2009. However I feel that it is still very relevant with the upcoming school year.
As a homeschooling parent I can easily be tempted by all of the great curriculum, videos, books, manipulatives, and other tools out there.
After all we love our kids and want to be sure that we are giving them the best we can in everything and that includes education. And there are just so many amazing products available that claim to be “THE” homeschoolers answer to every educational dilemma.
However too many times parents get caught up in the guilt trap when it comes to their children’s homeschool education. If you don’t do this or buy that then you aren’t giving your child the best you can.
What a big fat lie!
Over the last few weeks I have been planning how next year will go. And I want to share a few things with you about how I do this. When I first started to homeschool I had to have everything. After a that first year I saw how much stuff just sat on the bookshelf. So I have attempted to buy less and less each year.
Here are a couple of the ways that I am able to give my child a perfect education without forgetting that we are a family that strives to be financially responsible with the finances the Lord has given us.
The first and most important step is to pray.
If God has called you to homeschool your child, don’t you believe he will provide you with the perfect materials to do so? Its very important to remember that what looks perfect for one child is not the perfect fit for another. This is the beauty of homeschooling. Being able to hear from the Lord regarding what your child needs to become the person God has purposed them to be takes away the any guilt that may lead you into the curriculum trap. You don’t have to come up with a plan if you’ll seek God for his plan.
Once I have spent some time seeking the Lord’s direction for the next homeschool year I then take a look at what resources we already have. This year I looked at some of the stuff sitting on our shelves that I bought for my daughter back when I thought I had to have everything. And I was surprised to find that a few of the things that were not a perfect fit for her will be a perfect fit for my son.
After evaluating what we already have I ask myself if there are things we can find at the library. Can I just say that the library can be a homeschoolers best resource. The library carries more than books. My library has educational videos, computer software, and books on CD. It is amazing to me how many things you can find at the library, or through interlibrary loan. This is where they can have the item you want sent from another library in your state! So if you are homeschooling, you need a library card.
One last step is to search the internet. There is a wealth of educational material which you can find free with a little digging. Even if you only use the things you find online to supplement what you already have it will offset your costs tremendously.
If after you’ve checked out the steps above you find that there are still things you’ll need to purchase,do some research and find the best price you can at the stores online. Once you know how much it will cost you to buy these new then you’ll be ready to hit the sales. If you can find the curriculum used it will save you a lot of money.
Make sure to check out used homeschool sales. Yard sales are another great way to find super cheap material. My library even has a used book sale once a month where I’ve found a lot of our books. I have also found a lot of used curriculum for sale on Amazon for a fraction of the cost new. I’ve had great experiences buying used from both of these places.
After all of these steps if you find that you still have things on your list, it’s alright. Because of your efforts to keep your costs low it is not a big deal if you need to buy some things new.
Remember the key is that you are allowing the Lord to order your homeschool.