The Homeschool Minute ~ Diana Waring

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Homeschooling on a Budget

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Relational Homeschooling    

Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


Several weeks ago, I saw some extremely cheap apples at the store–so cheap, in fact, that there was no way to pass them up! I love apples, eating at least one a day, so this was a no-brainer purchase. The problem was when I got them home and actually tasted one. The flavor was insipid, the texture unpleasant, the fragrance absent. No wonder they were cheap!


I am embarrassed to admit this, but I left a 3-pound bag of apples in my refrigerator for about three months–WITHOUT EVER EATING ANOTHER–before finally throwing them away.


A bargain is no bargain if you never use it.


When it comes to homeschooling on a budget, you will discover that there are things that can be purchased inexpensively and other things that are so valuable, that they are worth every cent!


So, let’s get practical. What can you skimp on?


How about designer jeans for your kids? Yep, they won’t need them at home. Same thing for expensive shoes, backpacks, and all of the other paraphernalia required these days for school kids. Cool! Depending on how many children you have, you can deduct hundreds to thousands of dollars a year from the budget.


How about all of the small bags of chips for school lunches? Yep, unnecessary when you are eating lunches at home most days. Same thing for fruit cups, packaged crackers and cheese, and all of the other things stressed-for-time moms rely on when making their kids’ lunches at 6:30 a.m. Wow! We just saved quite a bit from the budget, AND we got to sleep in.


(Don’t you LOVE homeschooling hours????)


How about art supplies (cheaper when you can use and reuse items at home) and field trips (go when and where YOU want to go)?


Okay, you get the idea and you can do the math.


Now, let’s consider what we must splurge on.


Curriculum that makes your child’s eyes light up! Absolutely. Remember what you are doing — teaching your children at home. Whatever assists you in the task of encouraging your child to love learning is priceless. Don’t skimp here, because, just like the apples in my opening story, if the curriculum you are using is tasteless, insipid and uninspiring to your child, you might end up throwing it away in three months — which is what I did the first year of homeschooling! Don’t set yourself up for huge struggles and even failure. Your time and your child are FAR too valuable for that!


This does not mean, however, that the books and curriculum you use have to be expensive. Far from it. You can use great books from the library, shop used-curriculum fairs, and barter with others in your area for what you need. What it does mean is that you need to sample things with your child. Just like you would never buy a car without a test drive or a house without seeing it, take some time with your child to look at online samples or try your friend’s curriculum for a week or two to see if it works with YOUR unique and specific child. If you need to be extremely careful with your money, keep watch for the great opportunities that come up from time to time. Something my family did a lot was to pray. Boy, did we see some fantastic answers–like the time my son, who really wanted to study Russian, won a set of Russian language recordings worth $300.


And, I have to say it: your dollars might go a LOT further if you did homeschool at home … rather than at a place that charges hundreds or thousands of dollars. It is, after all, where this whole idea of HOME-schooling actually began, and was the site of so much success in the early days. You really can do this! Families like yours have been homeschooling at, well, home for years.


If there is still money in the budget, use it for laughter. Believe me, this is one of the wisest investments on the planet. Funny books, funny games, funny movies, even funny animals (or trips to see monkeys at the zoo).


And, if there yet remains a few dollars, take your kids out for ice cream, or something equally delightful, to bring a zest to their day.


Whatever you do, remember to stay relational.




By the way, I have a passion to see children LOVE learning, and my curriculum reflects that. If you want to sample something that will open new horizons for your children where they can actually choose what is interesting to them and dig into all kinds of adventures in history, go HERE.


And, if you need encouragement, we got this covered! Check out my Encouragement for Homeschool Moms at


Finally, if you want to know how I made it past that first year of failure in homeschooling, take a look at Beyond Survival:

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