Homeschooling High School on a Budget

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Homeschooling high school can be expensive. There are textbooks the size (and price) of college books and pricey lab equipment. Add to that elective courses and extracurricular activities, and homeschooling high school on a budget can be tricky at best.

There are ways to homeschool high school without breaking the bank. It just takes a bit of flexibility and a moderate amount of planning to ensure that you’re covering everything your teen needs to be successful after graduation. That could mean the right courses and credit hours for college admission or the right knowledge skill set for a college alternative.

While there is nothing wrong with seeking inexpensive or free options for homeschooling high school, do make sure that you have a plan. Don’t use resources just because they are cheap. Be sure that all resources you choose are thorough, appropriate for a high school student, and taught in a logical order with the necessary foundations in place.

Try these tips for successfully homeschooling high school on a budget.

Pool Your Resources

Partnering with other families is a budget-friendly approach to homeschooling high school that also provides accountability. You may be able to get away with only one teacher’s text or DVD set and workbooks for each student. Or, each family can pitch in to purchase big-ticket items. High school science classes are well-suited to combining with other families. The kids get lab partners and families can share expenses on lab equipment.

Try Buying Used

Purchasing used curriculum or renting curriculum are practical options for saving money. Yellow House Book Rental rents homeschool textbooks, and there are many Facebook groups for buying and selling used curriculum.

If you’re part of a local homeschool group, keep an eye out for used book sales in the spring and early summer.

One caveat: When you purchase (or sell) used, make sure that you’re obeying the copyright laws governing used products. Consumables, such as student workbooks, are designed to be used by only one student, so they can’t be resold. Textbooks and teacher’s manuals are usually okay to resell.

It is a violation of copyright to sell some computer-based curriculum. Check the license agreement before selling or purchasing. Most digital (downloadable) products are intended for use by a single family and shouldn’t be shared without permission.

Use the Library

Use your library – and not just for borrowing books. Many libraries offer resources such as online classes or access to computer-based courses such as foreign languages. They may have electives or enrichment courses for homeschoolers or community classes that your homeschooler can take.

Many libraries have resource rooms that you may be able to use to study local history or family genealogy. Almost all libraries now offer computers with internet access so your students can do research or take online classes if you don’t have internet access at home.

And, while you’re there, do borrow books. Hands-down, kids can learn history as well if not better through non-fiction books, biographies, historical fiction, and period literature than they can with any textbook. A spine book can be helpful to make sure you’re following a fairly consistent, chronological order of events.

You can also check out movies and documentaries to help with history, science, and more.

Try a Tablet

A tablet may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of homeschooling high school on a budget. However, you can often buy a used tablet (or e-Reader) at a reasonable price. After the initial investment, it can be a cost-saving option.

Many books are available to download free. Some libraries offer e-books for borrowing just like print books. If you have Amazon Prime, many books are available free, and you can stream videos.

There are also free or inexpensive educational apps.

Check Online Options

There are many free or inexpensive online options for homeschooling high school. Check out sites such as:

Consider College Courses

Check community colleges online. Many have adult education courses that could be suitable for homeschooled teens. Check local colleges for lectures that the community is invited to attend. Ask about auditing a course. Some colleges will allow non-enrolled students to do so.

Homeschooling high school can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. What cost-saving tips would you add?

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. The community college in our city allows local high schoolers to take one free course per credit per semester for all 4 years of high school. If you are strategic about which courses you choose, you can finish a full year of college level pre-requisites that transfer to a 4 year college without paying a dime while you’re still in high school. And your student gets to practice navigating the college environment while they are still at home. Win, win, win!

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