Hey friends! With the new school year looming before us, I thought I would take this opportunity to offer a beginners guide to frugal homeschooling. Specifically, I would like to offer some reassurance to those of you that might be on the fence trying to decide if homeschooling is right for you and your family.
I have wanted to share about homeschooling for quite a while now, but wasn’t sure if the idea of home education would appeal to most people. Obviously a lot has changed in the last year with most of the country closing public schools and the implementation of distance learning. Given the circumstances, I thought this post might be helpful for those of you considering alternatives.
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Homeschooling as a Way to Steward Your Children’s Hearts and Minds
Truthfully, homeschooling fits seamlessly into the idea of Life Full and Frugal. Frugality is about stewardship, right? Homeschooling is a beautiful way we are able to steward the hearts and minds of our boys. It has afforded us many opportunities to practice the discipline of frugality, and our lives are rich with the blessings of this homeschool life.
What are You Willing to Make Peace With?
Let me just say, seven years ago, it wasn’t exactly my dream to be a homeschooler, and I never thought I would choose to do so. Life happens though, and it has a tendency to humble us. I came to a place where there were a lot of things about public school that I just could not make peace with.
Many of you might also find yourselves facing the monumental decision of what you are willing to make peace with in order to send your kids to school. I pray that this frugal homeschool guide for beginners can offer you peace to make a decision, confidence that you can homeschool your children, and finally, to point you in the right direction to get you started.
Beginners Guide to Frugal Homeschooling
This is undeniably a huge decision for you and your family. I would encourage you to spend a lot of time in prayer when considering starting your homeschool journey. Talk to your family about it and weigh the pros and cons. Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page. Pray together as a family and seek wise counsel from people you trust.
I was terrified to homeschool my kids. I did not feel qualified and I was so afraid. God gave me so many assurances that I would not be on my own. A verse that brought great comfort to me is 2 Peter 1:3 “HIs divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
I would encourage you not to miss that line where it says his divine power gives us everything we need for life. Doubt, fear, death and anxiety have monopolized our thoughts and conversations for 18 months now. Allow me to encourage you to pray about the opportunity you have to educate your kids at home and speak LIFE in the power and authority of Jesus Christ over your family.
2.) Research Your State Law
The best way to figure out what your state laws are concerning homeschooling, and also to find detailed instructions on how to remove your child from the school system, is to check out Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Here is a link to a map of the US where all you have to do is click on your state, and you will find all the appropriate information. If you decide to move forward with homeschooling, I would strongly urge you to join the organization for full legal representation. Most states in the U.S. are pretty lenient, but it gives you much needed peace of mind, and definitely worth the cost of membership.
3.) Designate a Space for Homeschool Materials
It can be something as simple as a basket, a bookshelf, a dresser, or even a filing cabinet. Work with what you have and don’t feel like you need to put a huge amount of effort into creating an actual classroom. After all, you are not trying to recreate public school at home, but a place of comfort to learn and grow together.
4.) Learning Style and Curriculum
This might just be the most daunting step in this frugal homeschool guide for beginners. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Keep it simple! Do a little research on different learning styles and methods for homeschooling. There is a method that looks a lot like public school with textbooks, there is the Waldorf method, Montessori, Classical Conversations, and the Charlotte Mason method. Some people use Strewing and Interest Led Learning, or even Unschooling.
Don’t get bogged down with methodology, especially at the start. Just find what looks like something you can reasonably do with your kids. Again, simplicity is essential! You can always adjust as you progress throughout the year. I would strongly encourage you not to spend a fortune on curriculum. There are so many affordable options, and a plethora of online resources. The best possible thing you can do to ease into the school year is just read together!
We used Five in a Row throughout our elementary years, and moved on to Beautiful Feet for middle and high school courses. Both are literature based and have served as our core curriculum covering history, literature and writing. This allows me to use the same materials for both of my boys, then I just order grade appropriate math and language arts for each of them to do on their own. I love that both Five in a Row and Beautiful Feet are inspired by the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, but we are not purists, by any means! We just figure out what works best for us, which is usually a combination of methods.
The teacher’s manuals for Five in a Row cost $35, and the book packs usually cost around $150. The curriculum you will find at Beautiful Feet is really affordable as well. Especially if you use it for multiple grade levels like we have. If you don’t want to buy the entire book packs, many of them are available at the library. You will find that the library is key to creating a frugal homeschool. Our librarians are so helpful and there are so many resources that they offer. They even have apps for audiobooks, which we absolutely love!
5.) Homeschool Co-ops and Communities
The last step in this beginners guide to frugal homeschooling is to find people who are on the same journey! You will definitely benefit from others with more experience, and you can plan field trips and activities together. These are your people, and will give you a shoulder to cry on, if and when needed! Look online or research facebook groups to find one in your area.
We meet with our co-op once a week for 10 weeks in the fall semester, and 10 in the spring. There are enrichment classes for elementary kids, and highschool credit classes for older students. They can also cover a lot of electives at co-op as well. We have athletics, drama, choir, and even formal dances. We are so blessed to have everything we need in our homeschool community.
Frugal Homeschool Guide for Beginners Frequently Asked Questions:
These questions come up a lot and you may be wondering the same. Hopefully you will find this helpful!
1.) What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is an extension of parenting. It is creating an environment in which life and learning are one and the same. Teachable moments as a means of education.
2.) Is homeschooling the same as public school?
No, these are two very different things. Homeschooling is also nothing like “distance learning.” As the parent, you get to choose the curriculum, method, schedule, subjects, etc. You set your own pace, and you do not answer to the state beyond the specified requirements.
3.) Am I qualified to teach my children?
No one is more qualified! You know your kids better than anyone, and no one can fight for their hearts or their well being more than you. If you need help, there are countless resources to help you to teach them everything they need to know.
4.) What about socialization?
Not gonna lie, this one used to work on my last nerve, but it’s basically a none-issue now. My boys have an exhausting social calendar and most homeschoolers I know are the busiest, most socialized people I know. Besides, what do kids at school get in trouble for all the time now?? Socializing!!
5.) How do I get started homeschooling?
The best place to start is to check out Homeschool Legal Defense. Hopefully this beginners guide to frugal homeschooling will get you pointed in the right direction as well!
Resources to Help You Get Started With Your Frugal Homeschooling Adventures!
For Beautiful Feet Literature Based Curriculum resources, click HERE.
For Christianbooks.com Homeschooling Curriculum resources, click the blue “Homeschool” below.
For Five in a Row Curriculum resources on Amazon: