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10 Money Saving Tips on Curriculum for Homeschoolers - Amanda Evinger

10 Money Saving Tips on Curriculum for Homeschoolers


Designing and purchasing a curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive. Amanda Evinger shares her secrets for successful homeschooling on a tight budget!

As Catholic homeschooling families in today’s world, we need to rely on divine providence and wisdom perhaps now more than ever when it comes to obtaining homeschooling materials for our children.

They need to not only be high quality materials in line with Church teaching, but they also have to fit into our family budget, which is often pretty tight. The great news is that God knows our struggle, and He makes a way for us.

There are many ways to save big bucks when it comes to homeschooling materials.

I am what one could call a bibliomaniac (a book lover), so I have had to acquaint myself with quite a few of them!

1. Rummage Sales.

Go to rummage sales at parishes and parish schools. Many friends of mine have told me about the serious treasures they found at sales held when a parish school was closing or cleaning out its closets. My son Matthias long dreamed of having a beautiful Mass kit. 

His godmother went to a parish garage sale and found old sacramentaries, chalices, and all kinds of goodies and made him the most realistic-looking kit a kid could ever ask for.

2. Thrift stores.

Browse thrift stores with an eye for bargains, but also with an eye for academic and moral standards.

Thrift stores can have some great classical books, learning games, flashcards, instruments, unused workbooks, and even books you know you need to fulfill part of your planned curriculum. Enjoy the budget prices on these things, but don’t gather up a bunch of stuff that isn’t up to your standards just because it’s cheap!

3. Stock up.

Some of my favorite things Seton Educational Media (SEM) sells are educational toys.

Looking back, I feel that I have spent too much money on consumable workbooks and too little money on educational materials that can be re-used, especially learning kits and fun educational toys.

My shopping lists are going to change in the future for sure!

4. Hit the deals.

Hit the free shipping deals and other promotional sales intentionally.

SEM and other curricula providers often have times of the year when they regularly offer free or discounted shipping. It wouldn’t hurt to keep a little list of these sales and mark them on your calendar. I always look forward to SEM’s December free shipping deal.

Don’t be afraid to ask curriculum providers if they have any slightly damaged materials, overstocked items, or things on clearance that they would like to clean out.

5. Ask before you buy.

Before investing in more expensive educational materials, ask Grandma or other homeschooling parents if they may be willing to lend you what you need for a year or so or even let you buy it for a cheap price from them.

6. Invest.

Invest in sets of classical music CDs (such as those from Amazon.com).

Classical music, especially by great Christian composers such as Handel, contains a wealth of educational furniture to furnish a young mind with. Entire CD sets can be bought for $4 with shipping or downloaded for a bargain price.

7. Take the opportunity.

Take advantage of the opportunity to use non-consumable materials. Utilize items like literature books, DVDs, saint story volumes, and art books over and over again.

Teaching children to keep things in good condition is virtuous and will help them later in life as well. Make use of educational videos online.

As parents, we are all aware of the potential dangers of internet exposure to our children.

But, with proper filters and constant parental guardianship, some great videos, museum tours, and works of nature and art can be enjoyed by the children online.

One of my favorite things to do is put Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with a beautiful background on and make supper. My kids love it too!

8. Save for materials.

Consider faithfully setting aside a stash of money each month specifically for homeschooling materials.

If you only order homeschooling materials once per year, you may have the advantage of paying less for shipping, but it may be more of a surprising financial burden than you thought.

Every family needs to work with their own financial schedule, but I usually start accumulating the materials for summer learning projects and the upcoming school year in the spring, so the cost doesn’t hit our bank account all at once.

9. Opportunities right outside.

Take advantage of the great outdoors and all the learning opportunities that are right outside your front door.

My mom likes to say, “Nothing is free except rain and sunshine.” In a way, she is right!

Take advantage of the great outdoors and all the learning opportunities that are right outside your front door.

As a tax-payer, you might as well enjoy national, state, and city parks as much as you can too!

You can also use your local library in creative ways. Inter-library loans are always helpful.

Some libraries are even willing to let a homeschooling family check out a very large box of books since a homeschool is often considered a “school” in itself.

10. The best teachers.

Realize that you and your spouse are one of the best free educational tools out there!

  • Do your children really know all of the incredible stories you have packed away in your minds?
  • Do they know what you studied in school, what you saw on your travels, what you learned during tough times?
  • Do they know about your interior life and how different spiritual experiences have influenced you?

By spending time sharing this with them, they will perhaps learn more than they could by reading an expensive pile of books!

In all things, we need to continually trust God, the Author of all wisdom and knowledge, to enlighten our minds and our children’s minds according to His gracious will.

He knows the plans He has to prosper our children’s lives and will bless them with all they need to know for their life’s vocation, whether we think our wallets can handle it or not!

About Amanda Evinger

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amanda Evinger now lives in rural North Dakota with her husband Michael and their three young children. Together, they have two home businesses, keep a bountiful garden and care take St. Clement's Oratory. Amanda is passionate about being a Seton homeschooling Mom and dedicated homemaker. She also works from home as Senior Writer for Catholic Stewardship Consultants. Although raised Calvinist, she became Catholic in 2001, and then spent several years living with Blessed Mother Teresa's sisters and the Contemplative Sisters of St. John. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Hope College in Spanish and Theology with minor studies in Creative Writing.

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