HSing Expenses

Tagged: ,

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Author
  • HSMom03

    I have $303 in my SCM cart and that only covers poetry, picture study, composer study, hymn study, Shakespeare, a guidebook, and personal development.  Everything looks like the value matches the price but is there a cheaper way to do this?  I tried printing the picture study artwork off the internet but the quality wasn’t good and it was time consuming and it doesn’t include the extras included with the SCM product.  I need to be able to display them around the house.  I’m having a hard time spending $72 on composer study especially since I already own similar CDs however the SCM product is much more than a CD.  I have four kids and I have spent $167 on math and language arts for only 2 of them, not including math manipulatives.  I still need some stuff for my preschooler and I haven’t ordered history and regular read-alouds yet.  I’m going to have to borrow readers from the library, though I’d rather own them.  I gotta cut somewhere!  Oh yeah and we are buying nothing but supplies for art & handicrafts (haven’t bought those yet either, we will as we go), the books will be borrowed from the library.   When all is said and done I’m going to spend $1000 on 3-4 kids (we already had curriculum for one) and my husband is not okay with that.  I will say that I think it is a fair price bc it is for 3-4 kids, it is their education, it can be reused, and resold, but if hubby is not on board – you know how that goes.  Help!


    A few options are to cut back or spread it out.

    Go down to just one composer for the year or just 1 or 2 artists. You could also spread it out and purchase term by term.

    It is an investment, but over the years it gets less expensive. We are starting our 7th year with SCM materials as primary for history, geography and enrichment (poet, picture portfolios, hymn study…) and it gets less expensive because so much is used year after year or in the rotation. This year I only had to buy a few history books for my oldest, and we are going back to picture portfolios that we used years ago, the hymn study book we move on to the next group.

    Yes, still had to by math and next level science, but thanks to used books that was not even too much.

    I also realized a few years ago that public school is not a lot less expensive. In our area the school supply lists required for students to take to school is quite a bit and adds up fast, especially for multiple children, add in back to school clothes and it is not much different than what my family spends on curriculum.

    For preschool and kindergarten my hands down favorite are the Rod and Staff workbooks for that age. My kids loved them! Basic cut/color/paste and inexpensive. I would spend 15-20 minutes at the start of each school day with my youngest, doing their little work book and basic numbers and letters, and then they would play while bigger kids did school. I never invested in much curriculum for under 1st grade, but the R&S workbooks were a favorite!


    Also check used books. I buy readers through ABE books, including readers for history, rarely spending over $3/book including shipping. Science and Math I often find through homeschoolclassifides and spend about 1/3 of cost of new. There are also FB groups for curriculum specific, one for SCM curriculum as well.


    I don’t have any great cost cutting ideas….sorry about that.  I got to thinking though… hmm 3-4 kids     $1,000.00…..    It made me think.  So, I got to figuring a bit.  I have 4 kids.  We home school, always have.  Public school was never an option. A temptation, but never an option. But, IF we would put them in the public school, how much would it COST.  It’s FREE, people say…. hmm  For US, there would be a cost, just not in terms of money but still a cost.  I got to figuring up though just how much would it cost, money-wise IF we’d go to public school….. just an estimate.  For jeans (5 pairs for 3 boys from walmart) Backpacks (figuring $30-$40 ea.) Shoes ( to be left at school- required) the cost comes to $420 – $585 and I figured this on not the cheapest but not the highest priced stuff & getting shoes on sale. This would be roughly the cost for OUR family. That’s not counting the cost of my daughter’s clothes.  It’s not counting the cost of the school supplies our school district requires for each grade. ( Maybe I’ll check that out for curiosity’s sake : ) when I go to Walmart)  It was interesting though. Take the higher price, $585 and we’d be half way to $1,000!   Just to get them out the door with jeans, a backpack, & shoes!

    Then, I went to my CBD catalog and chose ABEKA full kit(lang.arts, history/geography, science/health, math)  gr 6 (my daughter) child kit $257.75 and parent kit $279.45 making a total of $537.20. That’s for ONE kid!

    or ACE school of tomorrow PACES ( workbooks they write in & your throw away, or erase for the next child- ugh)    gr.6 complete kit, 4 subjects $191.49,  Gr.9 $200. 49, Gr.12, $174.99 (these are MY kids) making a total of $566.97

    OR Bob Jones curriculum complete kit     gr 6 $776.50, gr 9 $745.15 , gr 12 $843.o5 making a total of $2,364.70!

    These are just the basic subjects.  I know there are lots of other curriculum and options out there, but either way you toss it it comes out pretty much the same. More or less…        I did this for my sake.  I get on my own back about how much school costs & maybe I need to try and cut back etc, etc.

    You are right.  It’s a fair price.  You could be spending a whole pile more and with what you’re planning, they’re getting the fun stuff as well. Let’s rephrase that. They’d be getting some Enrichment subjects as well.  I still don’t like how I said that, but you get what I mean.

    : )


    I love SCM products and have used several of them in our homeschool. They are wonderful extras that are so nice to have for those who can afford them. However, the wonderful people behind SCM wouldn’t want you to spend beyond your means and you really don’t need to. It is so nice to have ready made resources but they aren’t necessities.

    I simply didn’t have the funds to buy much curriculum when my children were elementary school aged. I used the library for living history and science books. I bought an inexpensive set of classical music cds and played them in our home. I used the biographies of artists and composers that were available at my library. I used the art books that were available as well. I wasn’t always able to find resources that allowed us to study these things in a pure CM fashion but we learned about them, and enjoyed beautiful music and art together.

    For Shakespeare, we used a library copy of Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare here and there. For poetry, I picked up an inexpensive, used copy of Favorite Poems, Old and New. For hymn study, I asked my Pastor if I could have one of our old, hymn books after we replaced them with new ones and we simply chose a hymn and sang it every day until we had it memorized.

    I bought math curriculum every year and that was the only thing I bought consistently. I purchased an inexpensive resource here and there throughout the years as well.

    If you have the money, SCM resources are amazing and well worth the cost! If not, you can easily homeschool elementary age children with a good math curriculum and a library card. 🙂


    For picture study, I buy postcard booklets from Dover, or used art print books on Amazon. I can get them for under $5 usually, including shipping.

    Composer study – I buy CDs from the thrift store for about 50 cents each. We use the Opal Wheeler biographies, but there are others you can get for free on Kindle. I think the author’s last name is Tinker?

    Ambleside has poetry for free on their website.

    Most hymn tunes can be found on YouTube. We use that and our church’s hymnal.

    You can find a bunch of ideas for weekly schedules on the SCM site.

    Use Lamb’s Shakespeare and when you’re ready to move on to real Shakespeare, read it for free online.

    Have you looked into MEP math? It’s free except the cost of printer paper. 🙂


    Thomas Tapper! Not Tinker! Haha!


    Yes, homeschooling costs can really add up.  I try to buy resusable rather than consumable and sell what I don’t need anymore to buy for the next year.  I agree that the SCM enrichment resources are nice IF you can afford them.  However, you can put together your own (I have) and still enjoy beautiful poetry, art, and music.  Use what you have first.  Borrow from the library.

    We have used Opal Wheeler books for composer bio.  Your library might have these.  They are longer chapter books.  Another resource we used and enjoyed for composer music and biography are the VOX Music Masters CDs.  Your library may have these, or buy on eBay used.  For example, Bach-His Story and His Music.  Another one your library may have on CD or video is Classical Kids (ex. Beethoven Lives Upstairs).  Then listen to whatever music of theirs you already own.

    We have used the small Dover postcard prints.  They work.  However, at other times we have used and enjoyed the lovely, larger SCM prints in the portrait kits.  You could buy just the SCM prints and use a biography from the library.  We have used Mike Venezia biographies.

    Enjoy poetry and hymns with what books and resources you already have or can borrow at the library.

    For used books, check for library book sales in your area.  I also frequently buy used at Betterworldbooks.com and SALE books are $1.50 off each when you buy six or more, free shipping.  I bought 8 books recently there for $20 total.  Also buy used at eBay and homeschoolclassifieds.com

    And for new items, you can buy wholesale as homeschoolers at libraryanded.com where they carry some Master Books, etc.  They have sales often; sign up for email alerts.  I have also found sometimes better prices at CBD or Rainbow Resource than elsewhere.  Check the Bargain Bin at Rainbow Resource, too.

    For the early years, it’s most important to read aloud to them.  And let them play, outdoors when possible.  The Rod and Staff ABCDEF series is nice and inexpensive.  You can also use Kumon workbooks.  I used a free curriculum to focus on a letter per week.  If I couldn’t find a book on their list, I substituted.  For letter d, use any books focusing on d words, like dogs or dinosaurs.  Read alphabet books, too.



    You’ve gotten some great ideas here! I have done some, and others I’ll be trying out. I just wanted to encourage you to look at these expenses as an investment in your children. A previous poster said about the hidden costs of public school…..don’t forget the hidden non-monetary costs: the breakdown of the family.

    And, as a comparison, I’m in PA, homeschool a 4th grader, a 5th grader, a 7th grader, and a 9th grader. I’ve kept track of my spending, and I consistently spend about $2500 each year on all 4 kids combined. Please note that this includes things like paper, ink, admission tickets, lunch if we eat out while on a field trip, etc…. as well as their actual school books.

    In our book, $2500 per year for 4 kids is a pretty cheap private school, and it’s probably not far from the costs associated with public school when you figure in buying brand names so your child won’t be made fun of.

    None of that means a hill of beans if you don’t have the $2500 to actually spend, but if you cut back and cut out, remind yourself that it’s okay to do poetry study with a simple book from the library, and composer study thru the classical radio station, you’ll be fine.

    SCM materials are great! I love the ones I have, but you don’t NEED them.


    There is something to be said for developing a love for the library.  My kids always looked forward to “library days,” and not a lot of kids like to read these days unless you create that habit in them early on.  So, borrowing some items from your local library is not only a money saver but a good idea for your kids.

    Perhaps you could get your read alouds from the library at this point and maybe some of the picture study artists’ works.  Set up a little book easel that would prop open the picture of the week in a high-traffic area.  There are a lot of “coffee table books” that are large enough to use for this if you can find a large book about the artist you are studying.

    Give your kids a list of leisure reading books to choose from, then have them find them in the library (a good skill to learn, and the olders can help the youngers find their books), and let them leaf through those books to choose which two they will take home.

    Put some of the books you have to borrow but would like to own on a wishlist for Christmas.  Grandmas & Grandpas will often buy things for the grandkids that they really want, but often they don’t know what to buy their grown sons and daughters for Christmas.  It makes it easy for them if you give them a list of items you really, really want and saves them from having to buy you another sky blue sweater that they’re not even sure that you will like.  Especially if you impress on them how important homeschooling is and how much you appreciate receiving the tools of that trade, they will gladly buy books and supplies from your list.

    Also, look at sites like homeschoolclassifieds.com and local used curriculum fairs to pick up things at a bargain.


    I’m finding all these ideas helpful.  Also, check out cottage press picture studies. They are free.


    Betterworldbooks.com has 25% off 3 or more used books until 3 pm ET Monday, Aug. 6.  Code SPLASH18.  I keep a wishlist there and check what us available periodically or when there is a sale…sometimes 40% off!


    My suggestion would be to figure out your budget and then decide what you MOST want to use from SCM (assuming it’s not 90% of the budget leaving you with almost nothing left!) and then buy that.  We’ve been HS’ing for 4 years and I’ve not purchased many SCM items, only a couple of Spelling Wisdom books, Stories of America and Stories of the Nations, Delightful Handwriting, a few go-along books, and a couple of Visits to…  Many of these have been purchased used from mamas selling here or on a FB group.  I don’t like to buy e-books in lieu of real books, but I do prefer to purchase ebooks for things like Visits to… because I can print the 3 or 4 copies I need for a whole lot less than it would cost to buy them as printed books.  I bought a used Proclick last year and love it for binding things like that–I think I saved enough buying e-curriculum and printing/binding my own last year to cover the cost of it and the binding supplies, and the supplies will probably last for another 5-10 years!

    For poetry, we like Poetry for Young People which has 30ish poems for a particular poet plus a 3-4 page biography of the poet.

    For music, we’ve just played music by a composer either from CDs I’ve picked up cheaply at garage sales, library sales, or HS book sales, plus I use the free ones we get through our Prime membership on the Amazon Music app.  I’ve also used the Stories of Great Composers for Young Ones (or something like that) from Librivox for a short biography of the composer.

    For picture study I’ve never printed anything.  I downloaded the free picture study pages from Barefoot Meandering’s Lulu site (they have several years worth of bi-weekly ones) and use those and we view them on a tablet.  We were using their English Lessons through Literature which the picture studies go with for a few years and I’ve continued using the picture studies.

    I try to buy reuseable curriculum as much as possible to keep costs down.  If I want to buy particular books, I’ll check at Better World Books when they have sales and also check Thriftbooks and Amazon and eBay at the same time–sooner or later I manage to find most of what I want for $4/book or less in good or better condition.  Our library has very few books that I want/need and charges at least $3 for every interlibrary loan so I buy or substitute or do without.  I’ve also found quite a few books/audiobook on Scribd which has a $8.99/mo unlimited use subscription.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • The topic ‘HSing Expenses’ is closed to new replies.