Extracurricular Activities ~ Frugally

So many times when we feel our homeschool budget tighten, our first response is to cut out all the extras. Yes, we may save money, but inevitably fall into a monotonous rut that makes school miserable for everyone. So before cutting anything else out of your schedule, consider some of these options.


Community Resources:

Our children have enjoyed field trips to our local newspaper office, fire department, post office, and other government offices absolutely free. The folks at these locations were thrilled to have students interested and eager to learn about their community. Our greatest find in our community is our public library. Not only do we enjoy the array of books, resource materials, computer applications, and videos, but we also have found these other wonderful blessings offered by our library staff:

  • The technology specialists have willingly offered free computer classes in their lab as long as we could gather a group of 6-10 students.
  • The staff in the Children and Teen Departments have funds available to bring in outside talent and guests to provide workshops. They have been wonderful in utilizing our ideas for special learning events.
  • The library catalog has a subscription to the complete Mango Languages database for free use by library patrons.
  • Various clubs are also hosted at the library that are free of charge. Some of the ones offered at our library are Lego Club, Young Writers Club, Book Clubs, and Chess Club.

Our local 4-H Cooperative Extension is also fabulous at working with homeschoolers in our area at no cost to organize special events and clubs of different interests within the 4-H model.

Swap Talents in Creating Clubs:

Maybe you have a child that would love to learn to crochet, but your real talent is in photography. Gather together some other homeschool families and see what talents and skills the other parents possess. You could start your own cooperative completely free by having each parent teach a 4-6 week class on a topic they love and then rotate on to the next mom or dad in the group. Some popular group ideas are photography, sewing, crochet, hunting and survival, horse clubs, scrapbooking, computer or web programming, cooking/cake decorating, and much, much more.

Barter for Tuition:

Maybe the extracurricular instruction you are desiring for your child is at a professional center. Several moms I know will barter their professional expertise in marketing, bookkeeping, and even cleaning for their child’s tuition or lesson fees. This is a great way to get your name out there for some freelance professional work while also allowing your child to take professional lessons at no charge. Consider this when you are looking for dance, martial arts, or music instruction.


Access Professionals in the Area:

Many professionals desire to give back to the community and see it as part of their role. Our family has joined with others to learn about solar energy and native botany through working with scientists and naturalists in our State Parks Department.


The young people in our homeschool group were also able to meet with the local meterologist and spend the afternoon shadowing him at the television studio. Not only did they learn about the weather, but also about the television industry.

Request Homeschool Discounts:

Many organizations and vacation spots are beginning to recognize homeschooling as a legitimate form of educating children and are more than willing to extend educational discounts to families when they visit. Our family had the opportunity to visit Colonial Williamsburg. Our normal cost of admission at the door would have been close to $240 for our family of six. In visiting the group sales office and explaining that we homeschooled, our admission for the day ended up being $73. Now that is the kind of savings we love to see.


Our local aquarium, zoo, and museums all also provide discounted admission to homeschool students.

Carpooling and Bag Lunches:

Don’t forget the age old saving strategies of carpooling with other families and packing bag lunches. Sometimes outings, club meetings, and lessons can become unaffordable because of travel and eating expenses. Along these same lines, scheduling is huge. If you know you are going to be away in the late afternoon, try to get the crockpot going before you leave the house. Otherwise, on the way the temptation to stop for dinner rises with each whiny child.

I hope some of these strategies will spur on your own creativity in finding frugal ways to keep those extracurricular activities in your homeschool experience. They can really help, especially during the upcoming colder and darker months of winter.


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Romans 8:28 in Real Time

by Dawn Oaks on July 25, 2014


And we know that all things work together for the good of those that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose ~ Romans 8:28

Last night I sat down to write my review on the book Wounded by God’s People  by Anne Graham Lotz. In order to write that review, I not only read the book, but went back and reviewed elements of the book in order to organize my thoughts when writing.

You are probably asking what that has to do with anything.  Well, today was filled with attacks.  We received some harsh news that caused great pain, hurt, anger, and wide open wounds raw to the nerve.  As a mom, it was even more difficult as those that chose to shoot their fiery arrows aimed them not at me, but one of my children.  And yes, you may be wondering – those fiery darts came from those that profess to have a saving knowledge of our Lord and call themselves by His name.

Wounded by God’s People

Our family finds ourselves this evening wounded  - wounded by God’s People.  So what is so good about that.  It doesn’t feel good.  It doesn’t feel right.  But what is good is that God knew the sinful nature of even His people and provided us Mrs. Lotz’s book to prepare and equip us for this very day.  It worked that book review into something more than just a review.  It was a girding up of our very souls before the enemy used God’s people to strike and wound.

Tonight, we stand.  We stand firm in our faith.  I am choosing to praise God for the fact that my child is not blaming her Savior for her hurt, but sees it as what it is.  The failure of brothers and sisters in Christ to love and behave as He does.  My mother battled cancer for 8 years of her life before going home to be with the Lord.  During those years, I heard her say how she hated cancer and voice frustration over things of this world.  Never though did I hear her curse her God for allowing cancer to enter her life and eventually be the bridge that brought her into the presence of God.  Tonight, I rejoice that I see her legacy in my own child and can praise Him for His faithfulness from generation unto generation.

It would be so easy tonight to yell and scream, to seek revenge; but thanks to a friend, I am reminded of the wisdom found in James 1:19

Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

 As we end our day, we choose to battle against the forces of this world in going the road of righteousness.  Not because it is easy or because we have perfected our faith.  We choose the road of righteousness because we are called to be like Him that gave His very life for us.  We struggle in the flesh as we seek to offer forgiveness even though it is not sought.  This is not to win an advantage in this life, but as an expression of our faith in walking in obedience to Him as an act of worship.

Praising God for His Faithfulness that this day will be worked for our good simply because our God loves us and call us according to His purpose.

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Wounded by God’s People ~ Book Review

July 24, 2014

I recently received a copy of Wounded by God’s People written by Anne Graham Lotz and published by Zondervan.  It is a 237 page hardbound book from the daughter of one of the most esteemed modern day evangelists, Billy Graham. As Christians, when we are hurt by the world we naturally run to the church as […]

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Soapmaking on the Farm

July 23, 2014

There are times in life that we do things based on an interest or passion.  Other times, it is out of necessity.  And yet others, start as a matter of necessity and then become a passion.  That is the case with soapmaking here at the Double O Farms.  Our youngest child had terrible environmental allergies, […]

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Learning in the Summer

July 22, 2014

Learning takes a different look around the farm in the summer months.  There is a lot of hands-on learning as we all do a lot of work outside in our gardens and expanding fencing. We have also been busy raising extra meat chickens while the weather is more favorable.  Raising chickens is not only an […]

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GIVEAWAY – Trident Case for your iPad

July 11, 2014

This past Spring we received a Trident Case for our iPad mini.  To be honest, it has never been taken off our device since then.  The protection it affords our iPad mini allows me to rest at ease that the whole family can use our device without worrying that it will be broken. To read […]

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WriteShop Review for Your Reluctant Writer

July 11, 2014

When I talk with homeschool moms, many of them share how they just do not feel able to effectively teach writing to their children.  Some cite that they are not good writers themselves.  Some are weery from the battle of getting their reluctant writer to fill that white sheet of paper with creative and wonderful […]

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Moving Beyond the Page ~ Product Review

July 10, 2014

Over the years, I have found our homeschooling style changing more and more to a literature rich, unit study approach.  I was excited when we were offered the opportunity to review two of products from Moving Beyond the Page.  Because he seems to be the highest utilizer of unit studies in our home, our 14 […]

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Great Deals on Your Next Set of Curriculum

July 9, 2014

After homeschooling for 9 years and doing product reviews of curriculum for 5, it is time to clear off the bookshelves and allow room for growth as our children grow.  We would love to make some of our favorites blessings for you and your family.  Many of the items below are greatly reduced from regular […]

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Experiencing History Through Music – A Great Independence Day Addition

July 5, 2014

One of the names in the homeschool industry that always seems to be synonymous with quality is Diana Waring.  Diana has recently released a new three volume series called, Experiencing History Through Music.  Our family has had a chance to review some pre-release copies and would like to share a bit about what we found. […]

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