Field Trips to Free or Reduced Cost Museum and Zoo Days
Many museums, zoos, and other historical landmarks have free or reduced admission days. This really helps when you’re trying to figure out how to homeschool science on a budget. For example, children’s themed museums often have at least one free night a month. Some museums, zoos, and other institutions also have coupons or reduced cost days - on group discount or coupon sites, for example - which can be a nice treat once in a while. These are great days to take full advantage of, as they can provide a wealth of lessons for your children.
Free Online Programs with Science Content
There are many free science resources for kids online. This is great when trying to save on a homeschool science budget. For example, there are many free science videos, as well as videos for many other subjects. Free video sites, including some just for teachers, have videos on just about any topic imaginable. However, be sure that your child is watching videos from trusted sources, as not just anything online is going to provide accurate information.
Science Books and Videos from the Library
Libraries have a great many books on science for kids. This is one of the most well-known, and still useful ways for solutions when learning how to homeschool science on a budget. You can use these books in place of traditional textbooks for lessons. Also, check out your local library’s video collection. In particular, National Geographic has many videos on a wide variety of science topics. Libraries tend to have many of these available to borrow, as well as other great series on science topics.
Dollar Store and Thrift Store Educational Resources
You would be amazed how many science workbooks and educational materials you can find at the dollar store and thrift store. Many dollar stores sell the exact same educational books that you will find at other stores for higher prices. Also, thrift stores are a great place to find budget homeschool science books. However, when it comes to thrift stores and science books, you do want to get only newer books with updated information. (Note that for other subjects, such as history or English, this is less important.)
Use Independent Learning Lessons
Ask your child what science topic he or she is most interested in and have him or her go do independent research online, with books at home, or at the library. You can then have your child write up a little report on what he or she learned. Not only is this great for your homeschool science budget (since it’s free), but it teaches your child to develop their own research skills. This is a very important skill to have in life.
Use Recycled Materials
Ask your friends and family to help you start collecting recycled items to build your science toolkit. When I was in the classroom I had parents collect materials for me to use with my students. Egg cartons can be used to observe and chart the growth of sprouting seeds, oatmeal containers and pie tins can be used to make shakers for experimenting with sound, shoeboxes are great for making dioramas, plastic milk jugs can be used to measure liquids or make a plastic skeleton to learn about bones.
What other ideas do you have for teaching science on a budget? Please share them with us in the comments!