If you’re new to homeschooling near Kansas City (and beyond!), you may be wondering how to save money as you educate your children.
Here are five tips for getting more out of your educational dollars.
1. Research group rates for homeschool field trips.
Many KC-area attractions such as the Arabia Steamboat Museum welcome homeschool field trips and may offer a discount if you can gather a large enough group.
At some locations, a group of 25 or more participants may qualify for special deals and even a customized tour if planned with enough advanced notice.
2. Look for educator discount programs that apply to homeschool families.
Many national companies and associations will offer educator discount programs, often with specific guidelines for homeschool families. Examples include Apple education pricing, Half Price Books, Barnes & Noble, Michaels and JOANN craft stores.
Even if you’re not sure whether an educator discount applies to homeschool families, it never hurts to ask. You may be surprised at what you discover!
At the local level, check your area institutions for special teacher deals that include homeschoolers. The Kauffman Center offers a 15% ticket discount for educators if they attend Kauffman Center Presents performances. This applies to homeschool educators as well, although the center requires that they present a homeschool educator ID when getting the tickets. (Reservations are limited to 4 tickets per transaction, and they must be made by phone or in person.)
Libraries also have various educator programs, though these vary by county. For instance, the Johnson County Library offers homeschoolers the opportunity to apply for an Educator Card, which allows for a 5-week checkout and renewals up to 5 times (excluding items with hold requests). Perhaps best of all, overdue fees are not charged!
3. Explore free online teaching resources.
Educating doesn’t have to be expensive! Many programs now offer online teaching aids and resources for free. These range from conventional subjects such as language arts, mathematics and science to more unusual topics such as financial literacy, aerospace and aviation.
If your students have special needs that make physical reading difficult, they may want to explore the Talking Books program from the state library of Kansas or the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library in Missouri.
4. Join local homeschool support groups for year-round deals and discounts.
Think of your area homeschool association as your go-to center for pooling resources. Not only do these support groups provide a sense of belonging and community, but they also offer many activities, events and news updates for homeschoolers throughout the year.
Many of these groups will send monthly newsletters and lists of seasonal discounts and special deals for homeschoolers. Additionally, homeschool co-operatives and enrichment programs can negotiate group rates, or bulk discounts, that increase as more people join their initiatives.
5. Plan for seasonal discounts based on homeschooling’s unique flexibility.
Veteran homeschoolers typically avoid parks and other events during school breaks and the summertime because it’s just too crowded! If your family has a relaxed homeschool schedule throughout the year, you will probably get used to enjoying the “off-season” times too.
Because of this built-in flexibility, many homeschool parents choose to schedule their vacations and breaks during the traditional school year, from September-November or February-April, for example.
Area attractions now cater specifically to the homeschool crowd, thanks to the efforts of local homeschool organizations. Save the dates for the Homeschool Day at the K (Aug. 12), Worlds of Fun Homeschool Day (Sept. 17) and Great Wolf Lodge Homeschool Week (Sept. 25-30).
Let these guidelines help your homeschool save money, expand your educational options, and enjoy quality family time together!