How to homeschool at low prices using The Spark Station

by Mary Ann on May 1, 2010

“Last Saturday I found $1 insect items at Target. We are having a blast—and it hasn’t all showed up in The Spark Station yet. I almost passed up the big plastic insects as “toys” but realized, no, they are inspiration (for my little boys) and models for insect body parts. What was I thinking?”    Cathy Duncan

The first thing to realize is that if you are choosing to home school, you are choosing to budget for it.  It doesn’t have to be a large budget but this is an effort which will take and deserves some of your funds.

In fact, this doesn’t just apply to those who home school but to any one who has children. When you had children you made a choice that would require you to budget for their growth and development. We budget for their physical needs but it is just as important to budget for their mental and educational needs.

That said, what do you do when you learn about this magical and inspirational tool and your budget is very small to non existent? Well, take heart because we all have the means right in our homes, right now, to begin!

  1. Use what you already have in your home – craft supplies, games, toys, books, flash cards, and curriculum. Remember that what is in The Spark Station doesn’t matter as much to children as time together learning and the consistency.
  2. Utilize the dollar store, sales at Wal-Mart and Kmart and other budget stores.
  3. Gather odds and ends in a box – empty toilet paper rolls, corks, old keys, broken beads, paper clips, rubber bands, bottle caps, old cards, scrap paper, feathers, popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, etc. Keep this box filled for tons of creation fun. As I tell parents, go through your junk drawers.  Do you recall the movie “Apollo 13”?  There is a scene that I just love. The space ship was out of commission and NASA hadn’t been able to figure out how to repair it. So they gathered a bunch of engineers in a room and dumped a box of junk in the middle of the table. Then they said, “Figure it out”. That is what your children will do, they will figure something out.
  4. Utilize your local second hand store. You can purchase an old toaster, old watch, an alarm clock and other items for “taking apart”. Supply plenty of assorted screwdrivers, some pliers and a wrench or two.
  5. You can also fill a box with superb dress up clothes and costumes. You can buy used books and toys.
  6. The lumber yard – At many lumber yards you can buy small scraps of two x fours for little or nothing. Let your older children sand and paint blocks for their younger siblings.
  7. Print Shops – You will be amazed at the scrap paper you can purchase inexpensively at many print shops. You can get all types of odds and ends of scrap paper.
  8. The Internet – There are many sites where you can download games and pictures to color, as well as work sheets, free of charge.
  9. You can also find many sites on the Internet where you can access science experiments that use what you have at home.
  10. Use the Library! Kids love finding new books in The Spark Station.

Remember, just start. Don’t wait for more money, time or anything else. It just never seems to show up until you step out and start. Then means, materials and ideas begin to come your way. You can always upgrade and add as you go.

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