Homeschooling for Free (or Really Cheap!)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 Hand-posted by Jennifer

The following is a guest post from Hannah at Frugally Farming Family.  Enjoy!

Homeschooling for Free (or Really Cheap!)

    Technically, we are a second generation homeschool family as my husband was one of the first to be homeschooled in the Knoxville, Tennessee area.  However, I was raised in public school in a town just outside of Knoxville. I also received my teacher certification in May of 2001! As a teacher and a co-developer of one of the Tennessee State Curriculums for High School Horticulture, I decided I would also develop my own curriculum as I journeyed through teaching my children at home.

    Currently, my oldest is 8 years old and my youngest is 14 months old. We have a total of six children with our seventh child due in August, 2010! We do not have the money to pay thousands or even hundreds of dollars each year on a curriculum which may not even suit the learning styles of the children after all! Therefore, I decided to find frugal ways to homeschool and still give my children a quality education!

    One of the most important resources in the library! If you live in Knox County, membership to their entire Knox County library system is FREE! They have a vast supply of educational materials for ALL grades! I am out of county, so I pay $25 per year, but it is worth it! Knox County also has many curriculum books which you can try for yourself for FREE before you go out and purchase them! One of the many I tried was Alpha Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. It worked with my oldest and with my second born. I later found the book in NEW condition for only $1 at a local used curriculum sale in Knoxville! It has not worked with my third born, but at only $1, I feel I have overly received my money's worth because two children did have success! Another benefit of Knox County is they will transfer from any of their branch libraries for FREE! you can get books from any other library in the system! They have an online search engine and you can even reserve them online! I love my local library as well. However, they are much smaller than Knoxville, but do still have a great selection of materials and books to use for homeschooling. Our local library as well as the Knoxville library also have story time for children of per-school ages. However, at our local library children of all ages are more than welcome to attend! In addition, our library has a Friends of the Library Club who will often have book sales where I have purchased many useful books for really cheap and even gotten some for free! Our library also has a discarded book section where they give away books as well as videos! I have found many treasures among the free book pile and so have my children! I love my library and cannot do without it!

    Another great resources in the internet! There are many great resources for homeschool ideas and curriculum which are FREE on the internet! Each Tuesday, I have a post called Homeschool Freebies! There are several resources which have DAILY freebies! These include:
    • Homeschool Freebie of the Day- a new freebie each day.
    • Blue Behemoth- a new freebie each day.
    • Sign up here for Freebie Fridays,  Teacher's Toolbox, and  for Special Offers from The Old Schoolhouse. Freebie Friday now arrives in your email inbox on the first and third Friday of the month only. On the second Friday of each month, you can receive a FREE E-Book and unit study from our Teacher's Toolbox newsletter. The fourth Friday will remain open for a possible special mailing.
    • Sign up here for free samples each Friday from Dover.

Garage sales, thrift stores, children's consignment stores or sales are also wonderful sources for free and/or really cheap materials for school! I am shocked at how cheap people have books at their yard sales. In fact, I went to one a couple of summers ago and asked him how much he would take for a complete set of children's books. He said, "You can HAVE all the books here! No one ever buys books!"  I was thrilled to get the books for free, but sad to learn no one ever buys books! Books are usually where I spend most of my time whether it be at a yard sale or in a thrift store! You can NEVER have too many books!

Used book stores are another source to find cheap items for your homeschool. We are fortunately in the Knoxville area to have McKay's Used Book Store! It is always crowded, so it must be the place to purchase books and not yard sales! I have found many workbooks for $1 or less! The books were brand new with NO markings! Also, Cedar Springs Christian Store in Knoxville will buy and sell your used homeschool curriculum. I have found a few items here, but the prices are usually more than I want to pay for a used item!

I have mentioned many places to get books, but books are NOT the only things you need to homeschool. School supplies such as crayons, pencils, scissors, glue, etc. are also needed. Until I started regularly shopping at CVS and Walgreens last year, I always stocked up on school supplies when Wal-mart had their Back-to-School sales. a 24 pack of Crayola crayons are only $0.20! One subject notebooks are only $0.10 and there are many other deals there. However, I was able to get MANY things for FREE at Walgreens and CVS this past year! I used my register rewards and extra bucks in addition to their sales and clearances. I was also able to get paper and ink and other items for FREE at Staples and Office Max too using their Rewards Programs! Office Max even has one for Teachers (homeschool teachers are included!). I have many different school supplies which will probably last me for a couple of more years! This fall, pay attention to all the Free after Register Rewards and Free after ECBs items!

Many blogs will often list FREE items which will qualify for school use! I have received free videos, note pads, pencils, and a host of other items by just taking the time to fill out a form and hit the submit button! Again, I list Homeschool Freebies every Tuesday!

We use a lot of paper! I recently went to a local print shop and asked them how much they would charge for all of their scrap paper. I told him I homeschool, and we use a lot of paper. He is GIVING me paper! Some of the paper is even in original condition! They just throw it away! They send it to recycle, but get NO compensation! There was even some paper which they discontinued and some which had a slight defect and they could no longer use! This paper was in excellent condition to me! It NEVER hurts to ask!

I have spent very little for the education of my children thus far! Last year, I spent less than $125! $70 was for registering my children with a school, $25 was for my library dues, and with all the freebies I found on the internet, at the library, and the store specials, I spent less than $25 on all other supplies for school! My goal this year is to only spend what it costs to register my children and the library fee which will be $125 because my third born will be officially registered this year. Fortunately, the school where I register only charges a maximum of $100 per family! Obviously, there are many resources out there for FREE items and for homeschooling for free! I am sure I have left out something! If you have any questions about homeschooling, please let me know, and I will be more than happy to answer your questions or point you to someone who can!

Hannah is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has been homeschooling for eight years.  She blogs at Frugally Farming Family and is co-owner of Barringer Beef.  Her family raise their own beef on their small farm as well as an organic vegetable garden.  Hannah really enjoys helping and teaching others so stop by her blog if you have any questions!



  1. frugalfarmfamily said...

    Thanks for the posting! So glad to have met you on Saturday! :)

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