The Frugal Homeschool Challenge

By Beverley Paine

Homeschooling veteran Linda Dobson ( believes that the act of home education nurtured and honed her natural frugality. She challenges families to “have a family contest to see who can research and find the most additional ways your clan can be frugal”. 

It’s true, most of us have learned how to make do with less, not only from necessity because we’re no longer in the double income bracket, but because it is a great way to help our children learn. Counting our pennies and working out discounts while we’re shopping is second nature because that’s how our children learn maths. Making things about the house means they get to measure and quote, learn how to use tools and materials efficiently, effectively and safely. Buying new stuff all the time deprives us of the opportunity for learning! 

In a recent article on her blog, Linda said, “Compared to many others during this economic crisis, I’d like to remind you that you’re in relatively good shape. After all, you haven’t grown accustomed to relying on a $4.00 cup of coffee to wake you up on the way to work every day. You haven’t frequented restaurants for so long that you don’t know how to cook. The thrift shop sales girls are already holding the ‘good stuff’ for you because they know you’ll be in soon.”

Home educators know how to get by cheaply. And their children are learning valuable lessons that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. While children in schools are working out ways to avoid doing home work, home educated kids are busy building, making, doing the chores, dreaming, playing, sewing, cooking, gardening, recycling, selling unwanted things on e-Bay or the homeschool forum… helping mum and dad make ends meet and take care of the family. They’re active in the community, learning how to work with and help others too. Instead of learning how to be passive consumers our home educated children are building “the knowledge base necessary for self-sufficiency, self-motivation, self-employment, and self-knowledge”. 

Take up Linda’s challenge! Work out how many different ways your family can reduce costs, tread lightly on the planet, homeschool for less.

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