Homeschooling can be expensive. When you consider the cost of curriculum, supplies, and activities it adds up quickly. I need to buy programs for our core subjects every year, but in general, I try to be as creative, hands-on, practical, and frugal as I can.
My favorite thing to do is incorporate items we already own into our homeschooling plan, especially “toys.” Lessons become more interesting for my girls, and I save a ton of money because I’m re-purposing something I’ve already spent money on.
Here are a few things we use for more than just playing:
American Girl Dolls
Yes, I know these dolls are anything but frugal, but I figure if you’re going to shell out the money for one of them, you might as well use them as much as you can.
For years, we have used the American Girl dolls to study US History.
My oldest daughter LOVES history and I feel it is in part because of how much she enjoys American Girl dolls and their stories.
To incorporate them into our lessons, we read their books and do activities related to their time period, like those found in their supplemental books. For example, when we studied 1824 with Josephina, we painted wooden treasure boxes and made Mexican hot chocolate.
We already own many of the dolls’ books and I am usually able to check out a number of the supplemental books from my public library.
The books and activities give my kids a more personal frame of reference for history. When we study a major event, like the Great Depression, they already have a basic understanding of it because of Kit and can relate her story to others we read about.
Do you have a shelf of board games in your closet, gathering dust?
Make a plan to get them out and see what lessons you can learn by playing them.
We own a game called Number Rings that sat on our shelf for years. Now I use it to review mental math functions with my girls.
It’s a lot more fun than sitting down working with flashcards!
What can you learn from a board game?
- Payday can teach finance skills
- Chess teaches critical thinking
- Monopoly requires strategy and negotiation
- Trivial Pursuit can be used to study or review all kinds of subjects
- The list can go on and on.
Who doesn’t have a bin full of LEGOs?
There are so many educational things you can do with these little bricks. Use them for math, architecture studies, creative writing, science, history, and more.
I plan on using them in our upcoming history lessons to recreate some of our national monuments.
Maybe you own one of their educational kits which you could pull out again, or perhaps there is a First Lego League in your area that you could join.
My favorite resource for working with LEGOs is definitely Pinterest. There are endless ideas on there for using them in your homeschool.
We all own so much stuff. I want to challenge you – the next time you need something to supplement a lesson, see if you can find it on a shelf or in a closet.
Save yourself some time and a lot of money!
What are some things you already own that you can start using for school?
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