How I Saved Over $7K in Homeschool Supplies
Are you always looking for deals and ways to save money on homeschool supplies?
On the hunt for the best used homeschool curriculum deals?
Do you love picking up treasures at Dollar Tree off your homeschool supply list?
With homeschooling three kids in a one-income household – I have to save as many homeschool dollars as I can!
I am all about waiting for sales, searching for coupon codes, and getting the most for my homeschool budget!
That being said, I had no idea how much money I had saved on homeschool supplies until a screen flashed in my face this past week.
I was standing with my kids and the screen said I had saved $7,722.25 this past year.
That’s a lot of money!
So how did I rack up such a huge amount of homeschool savings and have no idea I was doing it?
Where did this random number come from??
My local library has apparently been keeping track of the dozens of kid’s books I check out every week and they started posting the totals on the checkout screen.
Here is what mine looked like (Yes, I was so shocked that I took a picture. Please forgive the low quality. I was a bit rushed with three little people wondering what their crazy blogging mom was doing.) :
Woah! Since When are Library Books Considered Homeschool Supplies?
I know you were probably thinking I was talking about saving money on pencils, art supplies, or used curriculum.
Those are important, but books are really where it’s at for any homeschool.
When I first started homeschooling, I was picking between two box curriculums for my 1st grader.
One was nearly $1,000, which shocked me! The reason the price was considered “a deal” by many homeschool moms was that it came with all the books you would need for the year.
The other box curriculum was less than half that price, largely because very few books were included with the curriculum. The teacher’s manual provided a book list for each week that you could order off your library’s website.
I decided to go with the cheaper curriculum, and it started my passion for taking my kids to the library!
Many other curriculums that I have picked up have also included suggested book lists – Story of the World History and Sassafras Science, just to name a couple.
Curriculum writers realize that there is much to be gained from digging into children’s books that are written to their topic.
These book lists have become the backbone of our homeschool. They help tremendously to deepen my kids’ interest, knowledge, and understanding of what we are studying.
I honestly don’t think my kids would be where they are today (academically), without the enormous number of library books that we have gone through.
By my conservative calculations, we have checked out approximately 6,000 library books since we started homeschooling.
Have Your Homeschool Kids Been Able to Read Almost $8K in Books This Year?
I don’t think you would get even remotely close to that number – no matter how many Usborne book parties you went to or how many books the grandparents sent for Christmas.
To be honest, I wouldn’t even want that many books in my house!
I would need wall to wall bookshelves!
Can you even imagine where you would put thousands of books in your house? Plus your other homeschool materials??
Why You NEED a Library Card in Your Homeschool (and actually use it!)
I cannot properly express who important it is to instill a love of reading in your children.
It truly is the cornerstone for developing a life-long learner.
All three of my kids are passionate about reading and all things storytime – and I think that is a direct result of our weekly library trips.
I often find them lost in a book, and it is the joy of my homeschool mom heart!
In the age of endless screens, I see it as my duty to provide them with a constant flow of fresh books to read.
Call me crazy, but if you can binge Netflix – you should be able to binge books!
I would have no hope of having the money or space to hold all the books we’ve read without the help of an outstanding library – and I am so super thankful for the impact this building has had on my children!
We usually check out about 40 – 50 books every week. When I dump the books out on my dining room table, I feel like I am pouring gasoline on and igniting my kids’ desire to learn.
It is a beautiful thing and in many ways, these library books are the beating heart of our homeschool.
What My Kids Have Gained Through Their Library Books
Strong desire to learn to read
Increased reading skills
Interest and knowledge about many things I didn’t learn about until I was much older. This is mostly due to outstanding nonfiction science books for kids and historical fiction books.
Better vocabulary skills
Increased attention span
Better reading comprehension
Increased writing skills developed from listening to so many high-quality stories
How to Best Use Your Library to Effectively Save Money on Homeschooling
Going to the library and saving money on high-quality homeschooling books is something ANYONE can do.
And don’t your precious kids deserve thousands of dollars of books?
I challenge you to go to your local library this weekend and get a library card!
Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit:
1. Call ahead to find out if there are any documents/ID you need to bring to get a library card.
2. Take your kids with you and let them explore the kid’s section. They will love picking out their own books!
3. Bring a large bag with you so that you can take home as many books as possible.
4. Be sure to ask the librarian what the max number of books to check out is. Don’t be shy about getting a second library card in the name of one of your kids in order to check out more.
5. Consider using your library’s website to search for and place holds on books that might be located in other libraries in your county. You can search for books that go along with your child’s interests and/or your curriculum. This is also a great feature for saving money on chapter book series your older kids are interested in. Need help with choosing age-appropriate books to order? This book was a huge help to me!
6. Set apart one day a week as your “library day.” It will be much easier to be consistent with it when everyone already knows it’s on the schedule.
7. Keep your library books in a dedicated space in your house. That makes it much easier to get them together to go back every week.
8. Consider decreasing screen time so that the library books have a fighting chance of getting your kid’s attention. If you think this is impossible, read about why I put my TV in a closet and how it changed our homeschool.
9. Be sure to check out any fliers the library may have about extra services and programs they offer. These are often free and could save your homeschool family some money! You may find things like lego club, chess club, tutoring, movie nights, computer classes, storytimes, or crafts! Our library even offered time for kids to read to puppies in order to improve their reading skills!
10. After every library run, take time to spread the books out and have a marathon storytime on the couch – your kids will love it!
11. And one more thing, don’t stay in the children’s section. You can also find great ways to save money on homeschooling by checking out audiobooks, magazines, documentaries, movies, and books for you to read! Your kids are much more likely to value reading if they see you doing it too.
You will not regret a day to the library, Homeschool Mama!
Saving Money on Homeschooling at the Library Won’t Work for Me Because…
I know you have so many excuses right now, and I did too! So let’s go over them.
1. Our library is small. I don’t think they have the thousands of books you’re talking about.
Our library is small too! But they get new books in all the time. Most libraries will also let you place holds on books using their website. That will give you access to all the library books in your county!
2. The library is no place for my rowdy kids. We’ll be thrown out!
I thought this too! When I first started saving money on homeschool books at the library…I would only go by myself and quickly grab the books I ordered off the holds bookshelf.
You can do that too if it truly is too much for you to imagine going inside a library with your kids.
I encourage you though to just try it once. I prepared my kids by firmly telling them that a library is not a park so no skipping, running, or yelling.
I was pleasantly surprised that they delighted in filling my giant Ikea bag with books like they were on an Easter egg hunt!
And the librarians were much nicer than I expected. I think they were just happy to see kids reading!
3. Getting all the books back on time will be a pain.
If you make a habit of going on the same day every week, it will be a breeze to get your books in on time.
Also, remember to keep your library books in the same place in your house, so they’re easy to find.
I actually use this children’s bookcase as a dedicated space for our books. I highly recommend it because it allows kids to see the front of a book, not just the spine. This way of displaying books has been shown to increase a kid’s desire to reach out and grab a book to read.
4. What about late/damaged book fees?
Truth be told, we are in our 4th year of homeschooling and I have paid about $20-$40 in fees due to damaged or lost books.
So basically, I’ve paid $40 for thousands of books to enrich my kids’ education.
I’m really good with that.
5. I don’t have time to do this.
I know it’s hard to add things into a cramped homeschooing schedule.
But this one is important.
If you are really interested in saving money on homeschooling, if you really want to raise strong readers, and if you really want your kids to be lifelong learners – then the library is where you need to be!
I challenge you to go for one week and see the effect it has on your kids and your homeschool.
Be careful, because you’ll be hooked!
More Ways to Save Money on Homeschooling!
Need more help with saving money in your homeschool?
The homeschool life can definitely be expensive at times.
Click on these articles for more ideas to save $$$ and still have a homeschool you love!