In a previous post I gave a few tips for how to afford homeschool, including using a charter school with funding options. In these types of programs, families receive a set amount of funding per year per child to help offset the educational costs of homeschooling. But what things can you buy with charter school funds?
You can purchase basic school supplies as well as items to support your learning goals for the core subjects as well as electives. Your charter school program might also provide funding for other supports such as Internet or mileage. Below I’ll give you several ideas for fun things you can buy with your charter school money for homeschool.
Which Charter Schools Give Out Money to Homeschoolers?
Each state, district, school and program will have different stipulations for how the educational funding for homeschoolers can be used. Some states don’t have these options at all. Most programs will have financial advisors that are responsible for giving your purchases the stamp of approval. In our charter school, we receive $2,000 a year per kid, and these funds are directly tied to the student’s learning plan and state standards.
The process for accessing the funding will also vary depending on the program. In ours, we pay for everything upfront and then the school reimburses us. It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to get the funding. Our school is very clear about what is fundable or not so I’ve never had issues with the receipts I’ve turned in. Just make sure you follow your program’s policies to the letter.
Can the Charter School Funding be Used for Anything?
Again, this will depend on your school or program’s specific policies. Ours are monitored closely and everything must be educational in nature. As homeschoolers, “educational” can be a broad category.
I use our charter school money mostly for science, art and PE opportunities. It is a great opportunity to explore interests you might otherwise ignore due to the financial cost. I homeschooled for many years with no support or supplemental funding and I love having these opportunities for my kids. It’s always fun to dream about what things to buy with charter school funds.
Regardless of the program, there are usually dates which you have to have your funding used up or you will lose it. Although, I have heard of some programs that roll the funding over. In the middle of the second semester, I always look at our funding and see what is left and what cool educational projects we could still do. I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for creative ways to use the charter school money for our homeschool.
Creative Ways to Use Charter School Money for Homeschool
When making decisions about using the charter school money, I like to think of it in the subject areas. This also allows me to tie each product to the standards and makes it more likely to get approval from our funding advisor. We have a $200 limit on items and a $500 limit on a laptop – each program will have different policies so make sure you check with your specific school and state standards.
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Ways to Use Homeschool Funds for Language Arts
- All About Learning programs – these are expensive programs but effective
- Audible Subscription
- Magazine Subscriptions (Highlights, National Geographic, Ranger Rick, etc.)
- Workbooks (Evan-Moor, BrainQuest, etc.)
- Handwriting books
- Green Screen
- Camera or Video Camera
Ways to Use Homeschool Funds for Social Studies
- Good map and globe
- Archeology kits
- Subscription boxes to learn about cultures around the world
- Food for cooking around the world (if your school allows it – mine does not)
- Apps online to teach geography
Ways to Use Homeschool Funds for Math
- Math Manipulatives
- Scientific Calculator
- Math games
- Problem-solving activity books
Ways to Use Homeschool Funds for Science
- Robotics kits
- Science experiment kits to go with RSO
- Dissection kits (owl pellets, frogs, etc.)
- Science kits from National Geographic (volcanoes, solar system, slime, etc.)
- Chemistry lab materials (beakers, chemicals, atom building kits, etc.)
- A good Telescope (I have this one)
- Astronomy Kits
- Rock samples
- Rock Tumbler
- 3D printer
- Build Your Own Computer Kits
- Subscription Boxes with a STEM focus
- Microscope (I have this one)
Ways to Use Charter School Funds for Home Economics
- Sewing machine and materials
- Budgeting and personal finance courses and materials
- Nutrition and cooking classes
- Subscription boxes for cooking
- Gardening materials
- Food preservation
Ways to Use Charter School Funds for Foreign Language
- Subscriptions to software such as Rosetta Stone
- Mango Languages, DuoLingo or other language apps
- Language tutoring
Ideas for Using Charter School Funds for Music
- Music lessons
- Musical instruments
- Materials to make your own musical instruments
- Voice lessons
- Music experiences such as orchestral concerts or musicals
Ways to Use Homeschool Money for PE
PE funding from charter schools can be used pretty broadly. I won’t list everything here as it would be quite lengthy. In general, ask your charter program about specifics. With our school, we can pay for sports lessons, competitive gymnastics, tutors, etc. We also get reimbursed for sports equipment such as cleats, swimsuits, leotards, googles, etc.
- Health classes
- First Aid certifications
- Biking Safety
- Rock Climbing
- Soft Ball
- Sports Equipment (balls, uniforms, sport-specific shoes, goggles, safety glasses, weights, etc.)
General Ways to Use Charter School Funding for Homeschool
- Good printer (I love my Epson!)
- General supplies (paper, pens, crayons, markers, erasers, staples, etc.)
- Mileage (my school has ceased covering this, but it is something to ask about)
- Outschool classes
- Field Trips
- Passes to state parks, museums, etc.
When Deciding What to Do with Your Charter School Funds . . .
When you are deciding what to buy with your charter school funds for your homeschool, always think about tying it to the educational standards. What benefit will your child get from this purchase? Is it a one-time use or can you reuse it? Does it further your child’s educational goals?
I personally love having these charter school funding opportunities to try new things with my kids. If you have used your homeschool funding in creative ways, please let me know in the comments!