It is often said that home educating is for the wealthy middle class. The arguement being that educating at home costs a lot. Well, nothing worthwhile is free but there are ways of cutting down on the costs. (You can save quite a bit by not sending the children to school; all that money on travel fares and uniform are just the tip of the school costs iceburg, which can be better spent on actual education and going places worth going to).
I do think that having a good computer at home is important. I know there’s a lot to be said about the use of computers with children but I’ll discuss that in another post. I can’t offer any ideas on cutting the costs of bloomin’ computers. Keeping them alive is a bit hit and miss here and that’s with Alex knowing quite a bit about them. But having one does cut down on costs and helps you find lots of freebies and shop around for good deals on curriculum resources and books.
Workbooks can be expensive. However there are a couple of ways of cutting the cost. Some workbooks such as those from the Critical Thinking Co allow in house photocopying so in theory you would buy one book between all the children. Other books such as Math U See don’t allow that. However I have it from the supplier of the Math U See stuff here in the UK that it is legal to use a separate notebook to write in and that preferves the workbooks for other children. I assume this can apply to other no-photocopy allowance workbooks too. It is also good to see the freebie of online worksheet and drill from MUS. I have to say I think the Seton books are a good price so it’s not such an issue.
Now the question of photocopying is something I’ve been wondering about. The printer we have seems to use ink quickly even on “fast” and this is very expensive indeed. It is costing so much I am questioning whether photocopying a 300+ page workbook that cost less than $4o is worth it.
After Christmas I am hoping to replace the printer with one that has inks stocked at Costco so we can feed the ink monster with cheaper cartridges. Whether this will truly cut the cost of photocopying I don’t know; if not I think we will consider copybooks (like Pukka pads) for other stuff.
With online books I only print up the pages we really need. So while Kinderbach is good value for money I don’t print every exercise in the books. I skip the ones we can get away with.
Another good freebie and frugal is the Science of Mr Q. My children love this course. Life Science is completely free and he offers free units for Earth Sc, Chem and Physical Sc. The rest of the units are paid for as pdf downloads saving a small fortune in shipping.
I did start making a whole load of Jesse Tree pics for the children, but I’m not that able these days so instead of reinventing the wheel we are using the lovely free downloads from Paper Dali who offers some other wonderful stuff as well as her Jesse Tree ornaments.
Finally I have been wondering about false economy. We had a tumble dryer that I managed to get with ‘points’ over ten years ago. It cost a lot to run over the last few years because it was wearing out and didn’t work so well. I don’t have a drying area in the house and we keep the heating off as much as possible. With the washing for 8 we needed something that worked. When the dryer finally died a couple of weeks ago we got an ex-display dryer so there was some money off. But I have noticed that because it works really well and has a sensor that knows when the clothes are dry and switches the thing off – well it’s not on nearly as much as the old one. That’s got to be a saving on the leccy.