This year, we’ve started in earnest with home-schooling our 4-year-old. Seeing as next year he will be going to Grade R, we need to get him ready for Big School.
So here are a few things I’ve found very useful for our little homeschool and the minimum cost for them.
These start-up costs might seem like a lot but start-up costs always are. You only have to set up once and you can use a lot of these things for years to come.
When it comes to the curriculum, the price can vary. You can either get one for free, a minimal cost or an expensive one.
The expensive ones tend to have everything you need included from lesson plans, supplies, stationery, books etc.
We chose a curriculum that costs about R400 (less than half the cost of one month’s school fees) and I bought whatever other supplies we needed.
But because my son is a bit advanced than this curriculum, I’ve found some free worksheets online to supplement it.
If you don’t already have a printer, getting a decent one is a must. Your other option is to go to a copy shop and print stuff off for the week but in the long run this is more expensive. When you’re homeschooling you do a lot of printing.
The entry-level laminator I bought has been one of the most useful things I’ve got for our homeschool adventures. We’ve laminated our date cards, made wipe clean pages and lacing cards for our weekly theme among other things.
Child-size table and chair
Yes, you could get those gorgeous and expensive wooden kids table and chair sets but I’d suggest plastic because kids are messy.
They don’t stay in the lines and sometimes they forget to even stay on the page and the next thing you know there is crayon or paint on your expensive table.
Plastic is wipeable and cheap.
Cost: R330 – table; R75 - chair
Stationery is probably one of the most expensive parts of having a child at school. But you may already have some things at home.
Don’t rush out to buy brand new things if you already have older things around the house.
But if you are buying new things, buy quality products so you don’t have to buy quantities of say, crayons.
This also might be a bit more costly than you’d expect but this is the initial start-up costs and it will be considerably less in the following years.
Here’s a good basic list of what to have but you can always build on as you see fit:
- Crayons - 12
- Pencil crayons - 24
- Water paint
- Craft paint
- Paint brushes
- Play dough
- Small chalkboard
- Colour and white board paper
- Child-friendly scissors
- Glue sticks – small ones for small hands
- Craft glue
- Glitter glue (never loose glitter!)
- Dry-erase marker and white-board eraser or soft cloth
- Various arts and craft supplies such as pipe cleaners, feathers, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, stickers. You can pick most of these up for fairly cheap at the Crazy Store.
These are optional in the sense that you could make your own write-and-wipe sheets with your printer and laminator.
There are so many free pintables online so you could print these sheets, laminate them and use them over and over again. Remember to use a dry-erase marker and NOT a permanent marker.
But there are loads of write-and-wipe books available to purchase from Scholastic, Kumon or Priddy if you feel that way inclined.
This is great for practising pencil grip, pen control and writing.
Cost: R300 for a Priddy set of 10
Get some good-quality wood puzzles like the Educa ones because the cardboard ones just break too easily.
Start off with a few that are a little beyond your child’s level to start off with. You can get boxes with different puzzle sizes like 50, 80, 100 and 150.
- Also see: Why parents choose to homeschool
It does not make any sense to buy all the books you might need on the booklists provided. So heading to your local library is your best bet.
Chances are you’ll find the books there and if not, you can find ones to substitute.
Head over to the public library’s website to check if your local library has the books you’re looking for, if they’re available and if not you can search for alternative books that cover your theme for the week.
Total Cost: R3 155
That seems like a big sum but when you think about that preschool fees are anything between R650 and R2 900 a month (depending on how long they’re there, if they’re getting meals, snacks and extra-curricular activities), it works out much cheaper. You might pay in patience and sanity though.
What motivated you to homeschool your preschooler? Share your experience by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
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