When buying school supplies, you can save money in your homeschool with some easy tips. One thing I have never had on our family’s homeschooling journey is a lot of money. I could never afford to buy expensive curriculums, such as Abeka or other classical curriculum sets. Charlotte Mason was my guide and my public school teaching experience gave me the skills to create my own curriculum.
With the birth of my special needs son, I have had to create even more of my own curriculum, as his ability level is way below his age level. Plus, he has a speech disability and is on the autism spectrum. All of this can make for either a very frustrating learning experience, or a well-tailored fun one. I personally prefer to teach a fun school lesson than a boring one!
Where to buy cheap school supplies
Get free school supplies when you can
If you can obtain free homeschooling materials or school supplies, do it. Homeschooling on a budget is possible, but takes diligence. Use the library for books and videos. Many libraries have now signed up with Overdrive Media, which allows you to access thousands of eBooks, audios and videos online through an assigned account with your local library.
You can also scour Pinterest for hundreds of free worksheets and teaching ideas. I have frequently seen great teaching ideas to help kids understand skills with their toys. It certainly helps catch my son’s attention. Use small legos and other toys as counters, or even action figures and Barbie dolls as subjects for a word problem. They sky is the limit.
Teacher’s Pay Teachers
This is a treasure-trove of great teaching materials in downloadable form, created by other teachers. While the website is mostly public school teachers, there are some super gifted teachers creating their own materials. The price is really low compared to buying a boxed curriculum that may or may not really fit your child’s needs.
You might think that Schoolhouse Magazine is kind of expensive, but there are some good deals in their online store. I usually look in their downloadable curriculum, and if you receive their weekly newsletter, you may receive some free items as well. You can peruse their store according to your family’s curriculum needs.
I should also make not of their Schoolhouse Teacher’s website, which has some seemingly good ideas. You now receive a Worldbook Online access with your membership too. The lessons and ideas improve every year.
Purchase basic school supplies at the dollar store
While I do stock up on Crayola markers every year during the Back to School sales (usually for $1) for school supplies, I can get a ton of stuff at the dollar store any time. You can buy a pack of glue sticks and even some very decent scissors. Add art supplies too, such as construction paper, foam sheets, glue, glitter, buttons, beads, string, writing paper, spirals, zipper pouches and even Popsicle sticks for about $1. That is just the beginning.
If you have a Dollar Tree nearby, you will also find teacher resource materials, such as bulletin board posters, workbooks, visual aides, and flash cards. Each item is only $1. I have bought everything from white board erasers to dry erase markers.
Get free curriculum guides
When I first brought my oldest son home, I was worried, even as a former public school teacher about this. I mean, how do you know what to teach? Sometimes you can find books that tell you what your child needs to know in their specific grade level at the library. But, if yours is a small town library like ours, that may not be possible. Remember a curriculum is a guide is just a guide, not the answer. However, it can be a road map to help guide you.
I used Charlotte Mason curriculum guides early on and I found it workable for my oldest son was is gifted, but definitely not for my special needs son. Charlotte Mason is more of a creative liberal arts curriculum, which helps children think outside of the box. However, if you have a child who needs structure (or you need it), then using the new national curriculum may be a better choice.
The Common Core Curriculum is a federal curriculum guide, which helps public schools teach higher standards to their students. However, if you cannot afford an expensive curriculum, this is a good guide to help you make sure your child receives the education he or she needs. I like it as a guide for my special needs son, but he is not on his grade level, so I follow the grade level objectives he his on. This helps me both use my instincts as a mom and give him a solid foundation, no matter how far he goes academically. Remember, the guide is just that, and is not intended to become the homeschool experience.
My favorite online store is Amazon. I love Amazon Kindle, particularly when it comes to downloading children’s books. Everyone in my family has a Kindle tablet, but if you don’t, you can download a free Kindle app with a free Amazon account. If you sign up for Amazon Unlimited books program ($10 a month), you can even borrow some of the books for free. If your family reads a lot, this will pay for itself. When you look on my lapbook units, you will find Amazon books, we usually downloaded for a small or free price to help us learn. Special needs kids, especially, love technology, and this is a real bonus. Plus, it will save you tons of money.