Budgeting for Homeschool Curricula

Curriculum for next year has been much on my mind lately. It happens most every spring.

Every spring the same thoughts return. What do I like about the curriculum I used this year? What was wrong with this year’s curriculum? What do I want for next year?

I’m a curriculum junkie. If I had all the money in the world (and all the space to put it), I’d have lots and lots of curriculum. But I don’t. So I can’t.

Instead, I need a budget.

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We’ve done this several ways:

My husband tells me what I can spend. 

Obviously, I like this the least. It usually puts a large damper on my curriculum buying frenzy. But, it also ensures that we also have money for things like food and electricity and wireless internet.

I list out everything I want and look it up on several different websites to list prices

I then add up all the prices of the absolutely cheapest way that I can buy it all, and I go plead my case with Jason. This usually works. The “window” shopping part of this is really fun for me, and the joy I get from just looking it all up sometimes compensates for not being able to actually buy it all.

We go to the homeschool convention hall and buy everything in one swoop. 

We both like this method pretty well also. We’ve been going to yearly homeschool conventions together for quite a few years now. We use the time as a couples get away. Jason, who by nature of work is often distanced from our schooling, gets a chance to see things first hand; as well as hearing some really good speakers.

When we convention shop, we go in with a loose budget. On day one, we tour the vendor hall and do not allow ourselves to buy at all. I take a notebook and write down everything we like- including non-curriculum items- and what it costs. Then we convene back in the hotel at night- which Jason does feel is cutting into our couple time a bit- and decide which items we can actually buy. Then we go back the second day and buy, buy, buy.

This approach is good for several reasons: the “window shopping” is fun; Jason gets to be a bigger part in deciding what we get, and we get it all done at one time with no shipping fees and usually some “conference deals.”

I’m always interested to know how other families do this. So leave me a comment, and let me know how you buy curriculum- especially if you’re an eclectic like me.

This post is shared with the Carnival of Homeschooling Edition #381.

Find more posts at the Schoolhouse Review Crew round up.

Homeschool Budgeting 101

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