Homeschooling is now a HUGE market and let me tell you – these businesses want your money!
They are willing and able to use all kinds of methods to scare you and pull your heartstrings.
If you don’t buy this pencil sharpener, is your homeschool doomed?
If you don’t choose this math curriculum, will your child get into college?
If I don’t buy these art supplies, am I limiting my child’s creativity and potential?
If I don’t invest in these science extras, will it completely change the trajectory of their future?!
The struggle and pressure is real!
As you are swirling in all the “resources” out there, you are probably wondering, “What do I really need?”
Do I Really Need All the Homeschool Things??
The short answer is – nope.
But I feel like it takes a lot of time (and money!) to realize this and become comfortable with how simple homeschooling can be.
I, like many others, have spent a lot of money on really foolish things.
I cringe when I see it all stacked up and think of the things I could have bought.
In order to hopefully save other people (and their wallets), I want to share my top homeschool purchase regrets.
Top 3 Homeschool Purchase Regrets
1. Preschool Curriculum
By far and away, this was the most expensive and unfortunate purchase I made.
It was my first attempt at homeschooling, and I wanted to do it “right.”
I paid hundreds of dollars for the deluxe version and then spent a bunch more money getting all of the extra things that were “recommended.”
In all fairness, it was still a fraction of the cost we paid to send my oldest to preschool, but still it was expensive.
I write in-depth HERE about why I quit homeschooling preschool, but the short version is that preschool lessons can be easily taught during everyday life.
You do not need any curriculum to teach the basics of colors, shapes, letters, and numbers.
Seriously, do not waste your time, money, and energy like I did.
My preschool curriculum is still sitting in the garage…where it will stay until I finally get around to selling it.
I wanted my first homeschool classroom to be just perfect, so of course I had my husband drill huge holes in our walls to hang shelves.
I thought it was a genius idea to hold books and school supplies out of reach from my younger kids.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
Over time I have learned that books are heavy people. Like really heavy.
Just the curriculum for my second grader was threatening to rip the shelves off the wall.
Some of the books are also awkwardly big (like an atlas), so I found they stuck out from the self. More than once, all the books fell off the shelf because of how they were leaning. Not cool.
Oh, and the idea of keeping my kids away from school supplies – that didn’t work either.
My older child who needed the supplies couldn’t reach them either. If I wasn’t standing right there to help her, she would get a chair to reach what she needed.
I would get so frustrated with her because I was worried she would knock everything off the shelf or she would put too much weight on the shelf and rip the whole thing down.
Sure enough, her younger sisters saw her do this one day, so they started climbing on chairs and reaching for the shelves too. Ugh!
Thankfully, we have moved and have a new schoolroom now. The shelves are not going up!
We, of course, will still need an area for storage, and this short bookcase has done just the trick for us.
It is short, so I don’t worry about my kids pulling it down on themselves. It is also much more sturdy and holds more than wall shelving. Homeschool win!
Okay, I know there are some homeschool moms who consider their laminator to be a prized possession.
I was so excited to get mine and feel like a “legitimate” school.
Sadly for me, it turned out to be a giant waste of money.
I ordered it almost 2 years ago, and I have used it maybe 3 times. One of the times was for a bookmark we made for fun.
I have found it to be completely unnecessary.
There are some curriculum pages that could be laminated to keep them nice and let you take a dry erase marker to them.
Know what we do instead of laminating that is much cheaper and faster?
I just slide them into a page protector. Easy peasy and oh so much cheaper.
My laminator still takes up valuable space in my supply cabinet because I believe one day I might need it. I hope anyways.
You’ll Regret Buying These Homeschool Things Too…
Preschool curriculum, shelving, and a laminator are all things that I wasted money on, but there are other things I was wise enough to steer clear from.
Common sense and advice from other homeschool moms helped me save a buck, and I hope you do too!
You may see a great deal on adorable little desks, but trust me – don’t buy them.
We bought a simple folding table and chairs from Lowes and it has severed us very well.
It gives our kids tons of space to spread out books and paper. It also helps them share supplies when they need to.
I also don’t care if a little marker or paint gets on the table. It’s meant to be used for school and was inexpensive, so no big deal.
My oldest child is now in third grade. I am considering getting her this desk to go in her room for when she wants quiet for reading, writing, and thinking.
I am holding off for now though and just having her sit in our dining room to work when she wants some peace.
***UPDATE: Check out “Why I Finally Bought My Homeschooler a Legit Desk”
If you already own a tablet, then by all means use it as you see fit for your homeschool.
We try to limit screen time as much as possible for our homeschool, so we don’t have one.
There was a time where I felt a lot of pressure to purchase one for homeschool use and lessons.
Thankfully, I kept putting it off and I’m so glad I never got around to it. Our kids are doing great without one and I think it could become much more of a distraction for us than a benefit.
3. Extra Books
Of course, I buy the books that come in our curriculum packs, but that is about it.
I don’t have the space in my house or my wallet to buy stacks and stacks of extra books.
Anything and everything we need can be found at our local library or ordered through the interlibrary sharing program.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that “good” homeschool moms have to have wall to wall bookcases stuffed with books for every age range.
Go to your library…don’t become one!
I had a friend, who has been homeschooling for many years, start giving me bags and bags of books she doesn’t need anymore.
I finally had to tell her to stop because I don’t have the space to store it and I won’t need a lot of it for years.
I can see why she was trying to get rid of all the things she has accumulated!
4. All the “Extras”
There is a lot of pressure to purchase all kinds of extra homeschooling toys, puzzles, games, and resources.
They all promise to help you magically and easily conquer whatever learning milestone you are trying to get over.
Most of these things have lots of pieces that are going to get lost and create clutter in your house.
I highly recommend just sticking to the curriculum you so carefully researched and chose.
When you do hit a bump, consider asking your homeschool friends for help and advice.
Maybe you could borrow a resource they already have to check it out first!
Homeschooling can be expensive you guys, so I hope this has helped you steer clear from my top purchase regrets.
Remember that homeschool companies are businesses and they need your money to stay afloat.
Keep this in mind when you start to let fear dictate your budget.
When in doubt…wait! Make a note to yourself and check back in a week or a month to reevaluate if you really need that thing.
I think you will often times find you have totally forgotten about it or figured to how to do without.
Have you already made some homeschool purchase regrets? I would love to hear about it and sympathize with you!
Please share in the comments for other readers to benefit from too!
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