Are homeschoolers cheap? Hopefully, we are frugal — not cheapskates! There’s a difference between being a good financial steward and avoiding paying a fair share of costs or expenses. As homeschoolers, I think we should strive to be frugal, but not at the expense of supporting those businesses that make our lives easier.
Most homeschooling families are living on one income. Many of us have more than the average number of children. We make it our duty to be frugal. We do our best to find inexpensive curriculum and resources. We work to get good deals on field trips and activities. We often coupon for our groceries and/or cook in large quantities. Whatever it takes to live this homeschool life and be good stewards, we are committed to doing — and I am fully supportive of these efforts.
However, today I am going to write from another perspective: that of a business owner. We own two donut shops, and because I am a business owner, I see things from that perspective as well.
Support Homeschool Curriculum Companies
First, let’s address curriculum. I am just as guilty as anybody when it comes to looking for used or free curriculum. Free or bargain curriculum is great! However, keep in mind that if you want to continue to see really good curriculum available, and if you want quality businesses to continue to market to homeschoolers, then we as consumers need to be supportive of these small homeschool business owners.
If you have a favorite curriculum vendor, try buying at least a few items every year directly from the company. If you see a smaller company offering curriculum that looks interesting to you, take a chance on it — and then give it a review online and provide valuable feedback.
Show Appreciation for Homeschool-Friendly Businesses
Secondly, when you are taking your children on activities, field trips, homeschool skating, etc., remember that many business owners are giving us homeschoolers a discount and/or opening their facilities just for us. If we want them to continue to do so, we should support their business whenever possible. For example, when we go skating at the local rink during Homeschool Skate Day, I try to buy my kids snacks at the snack bar.
When visiting as a group of homeschoolers, we want to leave a good taste in the mouth of those who are working to coordinate that field trip or event for us. Even if they allow you to bring packed lunches, think about purchasing a small souvenir. Tag their business if you post photos of your field trip on Facebook. Let’s make sure we show our appreciation for those businesses that extend their support to our local homeschooling community.
Be a Good Representative at Venues
Last but not least are supporting the businesses that host homeschool conventions or other large homeschooling events. Understand that much negotiating went on to get good deals for venues, catering, etc. If we want to continue to have good venues available for homeschooling events, we need to make it a good deal for the businesses financially. At the very least, we shouldn’t complain about the cost to those in coordinating these special events for us. Whatever the cost is, it is the best deal the event planners could negotiate.
It’s understood by most in the homeschooling world that as homeschoolers, we want to live frugally and responsibly. However, if we make it worthwhile for the businesses that support us to continue to provide valuable resources at reasonable prices, they will be more likely to continue supporting the homeschooling community. Let’s show them our appreciation by being good consumers and saying “thank you” when we can!
Do you think homeschoolers are frugal or cheap — and is there a difference? What do you think we can do as a community to show businesses that we appreciate their support of homeschoolers?