What are the best cheap homeschool curriculum ideas?
Homeschooling is a great way to create a custom lesson plan for each of your kids that is tailored to their interests and skills.
But between the supplies and curriculum, homeschooling can also get expensive if you’re not careful.
The cost of many homeschool curriculums can be scary for families who are new to homeschooling.
So, if you’re discouraged about the cost of purchasing a program, you’re not alone!
Instead of worrying about how to pay for a program, try looking into these cheap homeschool curriculum ideas to help you save money and provide your child with a quality education.
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How to Pick the Right Homeschool Curriculum
If you’re new to homeschooling, creating a curriculum for your kids may seem like an overwhelming task.
That’s why many parents choose to use a pre-made homeschool curriculum, which allows you to provide your kids with an education at home without the need to plan out lessons on your own.
But with so many different curriculum options on the market, it can be difficult to know which program is right for your child.
There are a few different factors to consider when picking the right curriculum for your family.
Think about these things as you research different program options for your children:
State or province guidelines
Most states and provinces have educational guidelines and requirements your kids must meet, even if you’re homeschooling your children.
That’s why it’s important to consider these guidelines when picking a curriculum.
Homeschooling guidelines vary from state to state and province to province, so you may need to do some research to find out what is required in your area.
To find out what the legalities surrounding homeschooling in your state, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website and click on your state to learn more.
If you’re in Canada, this Homeschooling website has links to each province’s home school legalities and guidelines.
Will you be incorporating religion into your kids’ homeschool lessons?
If finding religion-based curriculums is important to your family, this is another factor to consider when picking the best package for you.
Taking a look at the curriculum’s lesson plans can help you determine if the program teaches everything you want your child to learn during the school year.
Knowing what’s included in each plan can also help you decide if you’ll need to supplement the curriculum with other lessons to create a more rounded curriculum.
Homeschool curriculums vary greatly in price, so your budget should also be a deciding factor as you search for a good program for your kids.
Finding a cheap homeschool curriculum can help you avoid overspending as you educate your children at home.
How to Save Money on Homeschooling
Even after you find a cheap homeschool curriculum to use for your kids, you’ll still need to find other ways to save as you teach your children each day.
Luckily, there are a variety of great ways to save money on homeschooling.
Try these budget-friendly ideas to help you educate your kids at home without spending a ton of money.
Take advantage of the library
Your local library is a great resource for homeschooling.
You can find a variety of educational options to supplement your homeschool curriculum at your library.
In addition to a huge selection of books to choose from, your library probably has other educational material your kids can use in their lessons, as well as educational programs your family can enjoy together.
Use free online resources
The internet is full of free resources your kids can use as they work through their homeschool lessons.
Sites like Khan Academy provide a variety of free lessons to kids (and adults) of all ages.
Or incorporate educational games into your curriculum with younger kids using sites like ABCya, which offers free games for kids in preschool through sixth grade.
Find free educational opportunities outside the home
Do some research on museums and galleries in your area.
Many offer free days, allowing you to take your kids to get some hands-on learning opportunities without spending a ton of money in the process.
Save on supplies
Purchasing school supplies can get expensive – even if you’re homeschooling.
Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to save on school supplies. Start by shopping at the dollar store for basic school supplies and craft supplies for art projects.
If you can’t find something you need there, check Amazon for budget-friendly options.
While you may not be able to find full curriculums, online sources like homeschooling bloggers and stores like Teachers Pay Teachers are great resources for supplementing your existing program.
You can often find free printable worksheets and packets to include in your lessons. Or you can purchase budget-friendly downloads to use with your existing curriculum.
Join a homeschool co-op
Do some research to find a homeschool co-op in your area.
Most co-ops are free to join and only require you to volunteer your time on a regular basis.
Joining a local group will help you save money by sharing school supplies and getting access to curriculums and supplies for free.
I’ve seen many homeschool groups managed on Facebook. Go to Facebook and search for “homeschool” and your area to see what’s available.
Head outside for educational lessons
There are so many great learning opportunities outside.
Whether you’re playing outside to get some exercise or learning about nature, you can use the outdoors to help provide your kids with free hands-on activities every day of the week without spending any money at all.
Check for teacher discounts
Many companies and businesses offer discounts to teachers, and they often allow homeschooling families to take advantage of those discounts.
As you’re making purchases, make sure to ask about teacher discounts to help you save money on your homeschooling supplies.
Find books at the thrift store
Checking the shelves of your local Goodwill is a great way to save money on books for your homeschoolers.
You can find a variety of great books for your kids to read for a fraction of the price of purchasing new books.
Use what you have
Not all learning needs to be done with books or on the computer. Your kids can learn new skills as they help out in the kitchen or play a board game.
When you’re struggling to come up with ideas to incorporate new activities into your homeschool lessons, consider things you already have at home to keep yourself from spending extra money.
Cheap Homeschool Curriculum Options
When you’re searching for budget-friendly curriculum options for homeschooling your kids, there are a variety of great programs to choose from.
From textbook based learning programs to online platforms, there are several educational options you can choose from as you research homeschool curriculums.
These cheap homeschool curriculums are a great option for providing your kids with an all-in-one learning package.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Finding the right balance of educational materials is a big aspect of planning a homeschool program for your kids.
To create a more customized homeschool curriculum, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt allows you to purchase subject-based programs.
Each subject includes blended learning options, including both textbooks and digital content.
The textbooks are enhanced by interactive graphs, simulations, animations, and videos, allowing you to create a custom curriculum for your child based on their learning preferences.
The program has curriculum options for every grade level. And with the real-time assessment tools included with each subject, you can see how your child is progressing on a regular basis.
The program allows you to purchase subject-matter curriculum and offers programs in:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has three different math programs:
- Math in Focus
- Saxon Math
- Head for Home Math Skills workbooks
Math in Focus is designed for children in grades K through 8.
It uses the Singapore math method to help children understand the language of math through hands-on learning, visualization, and pictorial representations.
Saxon Math is a K through 12 curriculum that builds upon itself each year to help children learn traditional math skills using an incremental and cumulative approach to teaching.
Head for Home Math Skills is a series of workbooks for grades one through six that can be used alone or to supplement the other programs.
Reading and Language Arts
Saxon Grammar and Writing
With three different programs to choose from, your child will have a variety of options with this curriculum.
HMH Science Dimensions is a K through 12 program designed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards and uses a three dimensional learning approach consisting of textbook instruction and hands-on activities.
Designed for grades K through 5, the HMH into Science program combines hands-on learning with language arts based science instruction.
Your kids can also enjoy digital based instruction through the Science Fusion program, which is designed for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.
You can choose from a variety of social studies programs, focusing on subjects like geography, history, psychology, and sociology.
The Holt McDougal’s Social Studies program includes a blend of digital and print programs and the Into Social Studies curriculum is designed for kids in K through 6 to learn, and combines nonfiction text with hands-on activities.
The HMH Social Studies curriculum, which is made for grades 6 through 12, uses digital storytelling to teach kids about history and social issues.
Help your child learn a new language with curriculum options in both Spanish and French.
Using a combination of paper-based and online courses, American School provides kids in grades six through 12 with a budget-friendly option for homeschooling.
Students can pick from more than 100 self-paced courses in a variety of subjects.
The school offers courses in traditional subjects, like English, math, science, and social studies, as well as electives like business, fine arts, and world languages.
This non-profit school comes with a low tuition, which includes all textbooks and study material at no additional cost. You can pay the full year’s tuition at once or use the monthly payment plans.
Paper-based courses include a textbook and study guide, which contains unit discussions, self-check tests, and unit exams. Students can work through the material at their own pace.
The program also includes online courses through Edmentum and online language courses through Rosetta Stone.
Alpha Omega Publications
Made up of online and print formats, the curriculum options from Alpha Omega Publications are another budget-friendly option to consider.
When you begin the program, your child will take a placement test, allowing you to decide which grade level is best for them. The publication group has several Christian-based homeschool programs to choose from.
This K through 12 program is a student-paced curriculum designed by a team of accomplished educators.
The program comes with four textbooks focusing on a variety of subjects, including history, geography, language arts, math, science, and the Bible.
Created for children in grades 3 through 8, this digital program comes with a flexible curriculum you can customize to suit your child’s educational needs.
The program includes automatic grading, which allows you to quickly keep track of your student’s scores, and a daily work report to track day to day progress. This program covers several core subjects, including the Bible, history, geography, language arts, math, and science.
For kids who need more guidance, you could choose this teacher-led program for children in pre-k through grade 12.
Horizons takes a more structured approach and features a colorful curriculum, engaging lessons, and uses a spiral learning method.
The curriculum focuses on six core subjects: health, math, penmanship, phonics and reading, physical education, and spelling and vocabulary.
The unit-based homeschool itinerary in the Weaver program uses a family-based curriculum with a daily Bible theme as its foundation.
The program weaves Bible stories into traditional curriculum using hands-on activities and informational text.
And since the program is designed with family in mind, it’s a good choice for homeschooling families with children of different ages. The curriculum is designed for kids in grades pre-k through 12 with coordinating lessons for each grade level.
Using Monarch, you can create a customized online curriculum for your kids.
The program features five core subjects, including the Bible, history and geography, language arts, science, and math. Using a subscription model, you can sign up for the full curriculum or enroll in single classes, making it a great budget-friendly option.
Time 4 Learning
Time 4 Learning is an award-winning curriculum that allows parents to be in complete control of their child’s learning.
The program features automated grading and record keeping, that helps you stay on track of your child’s progress as they learn.
Featuring built-in lesson plans, you can follow the suggested curriculum for the year or focus more on a particular area of study, allowing you to customize your child’s learning.
The program features curriculums designed for children in preschool through high school and uses an all-online approach to learning.
Using a self-paced approach, the curriculum also allows you to incorporate printable worksheets and hands-on activities into the daily lessons. The program features more than 3,500 multimedia lessons and a variety of graded activities that help bring the lessons to life.
With memberships starting at just $9.95 per month, this affordable online homeschool curriculum is another great budget-friendly program option to consider.
The program features real-time diagnostics to allow you to see your child’s progress over time.
And with unlimited practice options in more than 8,000 topics, your child can have plenty of opportunity for unlimited learning. Using the program’s targeted guidance feature, you can assess your child’s skills and see recommended courses and topics they might be interested in.
IXL features both online options and a mobile app to take learning on the go. And your kids will love earning awards and certificates through the program to help them celebrate their accomplishments.
When you sign up for the program, your kids will have access to every grade level and unlimited practice, giving them a chance to create a personalized learning plan that can be adapted to their interests and grade level.
The program covers preschool through 12th grade and includes lessons in math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish.
How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum
If purchasing a premade curriculum is out of your budget, one of the best ways to save money on homeschooling is to create your own program.
In addition to helping you save money, a DIY homeschool curriculum can allow you to tailor your program to your child’s interests and skill level.
Here’s how to create your own homeschool curriculum for your child:
Research grade-level courses of study
The first step to creating your own curriculum is to understand what courses are typically offered for your child’s grade level.
Take a look at the typical courses of study for your child’s age group to understand the basics of what your child needs to learn at their age.
Check state requirements
Next, take a look at your state’s requirements for your child’s grade level.
This will help you know exactly what information your child’s curriculum needs to include to meet state educational requirements.
Break down each subject
Once you have an idea of the subjects your child needs to study, you can start creating units for each subject.
Do some research on the subjects and grade level to get an idea of what needs to be covered during the school year, then make a list of topics you’ll cover for each subject area.
Use other curriculums as a model
Do research on other homeschool curriculums if you need inspiration.
Take a look at popular curriculums for your child’s grade level to get ideas for topics and lessons you could include in your own custom curriculum.
Find resources to match each topic
Once you know what your child will learn each week, it’s time to start researching. Take a look online to find lessons, videos, worksheets, and books you can use to help teach your child about each topic.
Track your child’s progress
Once you have a lesson plan laid out, you’ll need to track your child’s progress as they work through the curriculum.
Make sure to track the scores on all your child’s work and tests so that you’ll have enough information to demonstrate that your child is progressing through the lessons.
These progress reports will also give you a chance to see how well your curriculum is working and whether adjustments need to be made as you progress through the rest of the school year.
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- How to do Montessori on a Budget
- Best Playroom Ideas on a Budget
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