Home Education on
by Umm Badr
Every family struggles to try to
keep within their homeschooling budget. This article will be a first
in a series on how to save money while home educating your children
in insha’Allah. Many family budgets do not exceed one hundred dollars
for the year. This strict budget is due to necessity so their is
no question as to having to adhere to it or not. We also can maintain
such low costs when homeschooling. By creating your own curriculum
and being a scrutinizing consumer you homeschooling budget can survive
in insha’Allah. Here are some ideas that might enable you to keep
true to your home education budget in insha’Allah.
Garage and Estate Sales
There is nothing shameful in buying
things that are used. Recycling is integral in Islam, for we are
not to squander the resources that Allah has provided. Garage and
estate sales are an important resource for home educators. There
are wonderful things to find, not to mention the unbeatable prices.
In order to save time and gas frequent garage sales that are listed
as moving sales or ‘estate sales’. There will be much more of a
selection in insha’Allah. The higher the income bracket of an area
the more quality of merchandise you will find at the garage sales.
Thoroughly examine the items that you are going to buy because all
sales are final! Here are some things to keep an eye out for in
insha’Allah: bookcases, wide variety of books, desks, cabinets,
dressers, tables, easels or blackboards, globes, abacus, unused
notebooks or writing pads, electronic appliances so the children
can take them apart and see how they work.
You may be even able to find some
things for free in insha'Allah. We have stopped at a couple of houses
who we thought were having a garage sale but in fact were throwing
out the garbage. There 'garbage' contained two perfectly good bookcases
and one wall unit. We asked if we could take it and they said be
our guest. I know many people subscribe to just taking things from
th e curb but we have always asked and have never been refused.
We have also gotten some discarded items from businesses. Here is
a list of items that we got for free and that were in excellent
condition allhumdulilah. Allah always provides. Wall unit, 2 small
bookcases, 2 very large hardwood bookcases, 1 desk and 4 tables
of various sizes
These are another indispensable resource
for homeschooling families. You can find a wide range supply of
items at very low prices. Such items range from pens to chalkboards.
If you frequent a particular store give them a list of items who
may need in the future and ask them to put them aside for you. Every
month, visit and examine the stored items. Managers will be willing
to do this, if they value you as a customer. Be discriminating on
the dollar stores you frequent because the quality of products and
prices can vary significantly.
Utilize the public and Islamic libraries
in your area. Some Muslim social services organization have small
libraries that you can borrow books from. Many mosques now, also
have well stocked libraries. If the mosque in your area does not
have a library encourage the Imam that this is a needed resource.
Also, find out when the public libraries have their sales or if
they have a bookstore selling withdrawn materials. They sell a wide
variety of books that are not only useful but in excellent condition.
I have found several books that contain curriculums on how to teach
your children reading, math, science, etc.
A network of Muslim sisters is vital
when living in a non-Muslim society. In Islam, it is our duty to
foster these relations as much as possible insha’Allah. These relations
are invaluable sources of support and resources. When home educating
our children we like to know what other families are doing and what
resources they have found useful. Networking presents various opportunities
to share ideas, catalogs, books, curriculum's. This can save everyone
time and money, not to mention the much needed support. You can
also give each other clothes that the children have outgrown or
items that your children no longer need. Just remember the shape
that these items are in. If it is too worn for your children to
wear then it probably is too worn for other children to wear. Cut
up the items that are too worn and use them for; rags, bean bags,
pin cushions or quilts. Another idea is to have an annual swap meet.
Each person brings all unused items to a designated sisters house.
Items can include books, clothes, household items, etc. Each person
can choose to either sell their items, trade them for another item
or give them away. If there are not any sisters homeschooling in
your area then do not be afraid to use the telephone, mail or the
Many resources you would buy at an
educational store are available at department stores for a fraction
of the price. Stores such as K-Mart, Zellers and WalMart carry a
wide selection of educational supplies. Notebooks and paper supplies
are inexpensive during the September ‘back to school’ sales. These
chains also sell a wide selection of workbooks. A large number of
homeschoolers use only these workbooks because of the quality and
price. These workbooks vary in price from 1.99 to 4.99,(still a
fraction of the price of workbooks offered by educational stores).
To make them an even better bargain you can laminate them with contact
paper or put them in page protectors. This enables them to be passed
from child to child. These stores also have flashcards at six times
less than the price of comparable ones sold by educational stores.
Other educational supplies at low prices include chemistry sets,
globes, and a variety of word and math games.
Make it yourself
I have several catalogs from educational
stores that I use for ideas. Ideas not for purchases but for homemade
educational supplies. Many of the tools they sell can be made at
home for a fraction of the price. Any item that you are considering
buying think first if there is a way you could make it yourself
insha’Allah. It does not take that much time and the kids can help.
You would be surprised at some of the ideas children can have on
improving certain tools and games. Sometimes you do not need to
purchase or make a particular item because you have something comparable
already in your home. For example, instead of a magnetic lap board
for alphabets, use a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is better because
it has a raised rim and it can be painted if you want insha’Allah.
I also modify the English and math tools by making homemade copies
substituting English with Arabic. This helps me implement Arabic
more thoroughly into our curriculum.
Do be on the look out for useful
items but try to refrain from being too absorbed with the possession
of material things. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)
stated; "Wealth does not come from abundance of goods but from
a contented heart." Only a few choice items are necessary for
home education, especially if you create your own curriculum. Homemade
items and taking advantage of free resources such as libraries and
halaquas make home education complete. Do not compete with other
home schoolers for resources, only in Deen and the Deen of your