10 Tips for a Frugal Homeschooling Staycation

 

I don’t know about you but I am a bit of an enigma. On the one hand I love to travel. I like getting in a car, setting out on an adventure, and exploring my surroundings along the way. On the other hand, I’m a bit of a homebody. I like to stick close to home and spend time with my family and enjoy the surroundings I live in on a regular basis. We don’t have opportunity to travel that often, so when we do we usually make a big trip out of it.

Staycation Tips

But more often than not, we find ourselves making mini trips, or what has been coined a staycation. In the last few years with the economy so low, a lot of people are adopting a staycation mentality. That means exploring the areas that you can drive to and back home within a day. Doing this affords the opportunity for a bit of adventure without the overwhelming cost of hotels, exorbitant gas prices and too many meals out at restaurants. Yet, travel of any kind, even to a not so distant attraction comes with costs. After all, even the local zoo charges a fee to get in. A staycation can offer your family a fun-filled, no pressure day to build memories. {Tweet That}

So how can you utilize the staycation mentality and still keep your costs at the lowest possible prices?

10 Tips for Frugal Staycation Fun

10 Tips for a Frugal Homeschooling Staycation

  1. Pack your meals. I am a small family of 3, yet a meal at a local fast food restaurant can easily cost us $30. But, if I pack a few ham and cheese sandwiches, split a large bag of chips into 3 baggies, add some grapes and juice boxes I can manage to make a lunch meal for about $2 a person. That is a huge savings.  Throw in a few extra bottles of water into that cooler, and you won’t be buying the over priced bottles from the tourist vendors.
  2. Buy gift cards from your local grocery. Most grocery stores now have gas stations as well and if you purchase your groceries from them, they offer you discounts on gas prices. But they also allow that gas discount with gift card purchases. If you know you have to eat out while traveling, plan ahead, purchase a gift card for the restaurant that you plan to eat at in the location you are going to, then use the gas perks to buy your gas for the trip.
  3. Look for ticket discounts. Often tourist attractions offer discounts to local residents. They do this by partnering with a local grocery chain. Go online and search for discount tickets to the attraction that you are planning to go to. Check with supermarket chains in the local area that you will be going to and see if they offer discounts or coupons for that attraction.
  4. Check your family memberships. Many zoos, museums, and science centers offer reciprocal programs across the nation. That means if you have a family membership to your local zoo, chances are you can get in free or at a reduced rate to a zoo in another city. The same is true for science centers and museums. For example, I live in Central Ohio, a membership to the local COSI (science center) means I can get free entrance into the science center in Newark, Cleveland and Toledo too, all within driving distance of home.
  5. Visit the National Parks and Museums. National parks offer a wide variety of hiking, camping, and often are found in historical locations, visits to such parks offer a wealth of homeschooling/field trip studies as well as family fun staycation time.  National museums are funded by American tax dollars. That means you get free admission. So look for national museums that are within driving distance of your home.
  6. Ask for a Discount. Tourist attractions, especially those that have are educational in nature, often offer discounts to educators. As a homeschooling family, you are an educator. They can’t know this if you don’t ask. So ask. Be prepared though to present some type of identification of your standing as an educator. This can be a membership car to HSLDA, or another membership to a homeschool organization. I show my letter of excused absence that I receive from my local school district and that has always sufficed.
  7. Visit Factories. Sometimes a factory offers tours to the public. These factory tours are an awesome way to introduce your children to the world of industry, business,  commerce, engineering, manufacturing and so much more. Some factories offer these tours for free because they know that many who take the tour will end up making a purchase in their visitor centers and gift shops.
  8. Visit your local farmer. Call ahead, and ask if the farm offers tours for educational purposes. If they have a minimum number of participants, work with your homeschool group or co-op and make a day out of it with friends.
  9. Spend a day at your State, metro or local park. Most park systems offer a wide variety of fun and learning opportunities. Do a bit of research online, you might just discover that the park you’ve visited for years has an entire program you aren’t aware of.
  10. Rent a Canoe. Often times you can find a company in your area that rents canoes to tourists. You get to spend a day on the water with your family for a nominal fee and explore your local area from a different perspective at the same time. It’s sure to be a fun and frugal day! (Don’t forget to pack a lunch.)

Whatever activity you choose to do close to home, remember that the purpose of a vacation, er um I mean staycation, is to have some time of fun and relaxation. Let go a bit and just let your family be happy together. It might just be the best memory you ever make.

What are your best frugal staycation tips? Share in comments.

Renée (15 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 - http://www.seethelightshine.com/store/unit-studies/sunflowers-unit-study.html***

5 Tips For Homeschooling Through a Move

 

Our family has a really big life change coming in the next month or so.  A big move.  We have sold the home we have lived in since my daughter was one (she turns 10 soon), and are relocating to the complete other side of town.  We are leaving the familiar and entering an exciting new adventure.

5 Tips for Homeschooling Through a Move

We are grateful to have this opportunity, and that it is still within driving distance of friends (not a long distance trip kind of driving distance, but “Let’s meet our friends in town for lunch and a museum visit!” kind of driving distance…or “I’ll meet you halfway so that Suzy can come spend the night!” kind of driving distance), yet provides an amazing opportunity for our family business and for us to have space for Grandma to live on the property with us.

Needless to say, we are very excited about all of the new opportunities that await us.

With the exception of the packing.

Yep, there’s that.  And as hard as I try to wish it away, it’s not going to happen.

So I must plan…and pack…smart, not hard.  Homeschool moms have a unique challenge when it comes to planning for a move, especially when the family will be living in temporary housing while in route to their permanent location.  Which is the case for us.  We will be renting a house for the next nine months or so while my husband builds ours, which means I am potentially finishing our school year in boxes (depending on our actual move date) and beginning it while still not permanently settled.

So…for all you moms out there that are dealing with this exact “opportunity” (doesn’t that sound better than “problem” or “issue”?), I’m going to let you in on my plan of attack.

 

1.  Map it all out.

Here’s an example….once we have a concrete move date, I will know how many weeks of school we have left.  Those items need to be where I can get my hands on them easily.  Then…how long will it take you to unpack?  This answer is different for every family.

During this process, is there any school that has to occur to keep you on schedule with your state’s accountability system?  I am blessed to be in Texas, for many reasons, but especially for the fact that Texas does not require any reporting to the state.  So for my move, it’s all up to what I’m willing to let go and what is non-negotiable.

And then finally, if you are in temporary housing…will you be schooling through your entire time there? If not, will you still be there when school starts back up for your kids?  The answers to these questions will tell you how much you need to have in boxes that will NOT go to storage..or in the very back of a garage…or deep in the attic.  The type of planning that you do for your school year will also help answer these questions. Is your curriculum already laid out week by week for you, or do you need your materials in order to plan while you are there?

 

2.  Your Sharpie and labels are your friends.

Continuing in the vein of having things accessible…you need to be label crazy for this move!  I plan on having an inventory of all of the homeschooling items I have in each box that correlates with that box number.  As I will also be in temporary housing during the time in which I plan for next school year, I will also need to make sure that the things I need to do my planning are easy to get to…my highlighters, notebooks, planning binders, Pro-Click, sheet protectors…all of these are vital to the way I plan our school year.  Having any of that packed up and inaccessible would cause this homeschool mom to get a little crazy!

 

3.  Be willing to compromise.

I am fairly certain that when our actual move occurs, we will have finished our last week of school.  But for argument’s sake…let’s just say that we have one or two left….for the sake of sanity, would I be willing to either a) fit the necessities into the last couple of weeks before we move?  b) put them off until we were completely unpacked?  or c) Skip them altogether?

You betcha I would.  I would most likely choose a).  But any of the above would be worth reducing the stress for just a couple of weeks of school.  A few months left? That’s a different story.  But a week or two is worth working it all out.

 

4.  Communication is key.

Making sure that everyone around you involved in the move is clear on your wishes, and making sure that these wishes are in harmony with everyone else’s vision of what is going to happen is key.  You need to know that your hubby and the movers are very clear on where you need your homeschooling boxes to go.  Talk  to your kids about what your expectations of their schooling are during this move.  Discuss with your spouse the weeks surrounding the move, both leading up to and after….does he have different expectations of what you will spend your time doing than you do?  Everyone needs to be on the same page for this to be a smooth transition.

 

5.  Relax and enjoy the ride!

A family move, no matter how close or how far, can be an exciting time!  Of course there is stress involved….but an adventure nonetheless.  Your situation is what you make of it..we all know that.  God has directed you to this place and point in your life…it is up to you to decide how you will roll through it..with a song in your heart and a smile on your face, or with a sour attitude.  I, for one, will always choose the former.  I plan on enjoying every moment of this move, even those involving box packing and too much to do during crunch time.

 

Do you have any hints to throw my way on making this move a success?  I welcome all advice!

Ellen Pool (4 Posts)

Ellen is a homeschool mom of one who blogs about homeschooling, faith, family and fitness at Grace Tells Another Story. She homeschool an "only", and they have a blast together!! Every day is "girls day"! She and her family live outside of Houston, Texas.


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The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner
***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 - http://www.seethelightshine.com/store/unit-studies/sunflowers-unit-study.html***

What is So Great about a Homeschool Convention?

Homeschool Convention is Great for Continuing Education

A Homeschool Convention is a great place to feel encouraged, connected and re-energized for your role as a homeschooling parent. Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned homeschooler, there is always more to see and more to learn.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 Homeschool Conventions

Children are not static beings, they grow, learn and change levels throughout their educational life. Unlike public school teachers who are trained to teach one age level,a homeschooling parent will need to learn, grow and adapt to meet the ever changing needs of their children.

There is no better place to do this than at a homeschool convention.  Think of it as your continuing education resource. {Tweet This}  Most offer more than just a sales floor to buy curriculum. Many offer a wide variety of seminars and conferences. It is at these conferences that you can learn and explore a wide variety of educational topics.

Possible Topics at a Convention

  • Homeschool Methods
  • Learning Styles
  • Special Needs
  • Organization
  • Marriage and Family Encouragement
  • Humor in Homeschool
  • Gifted Learning
  • Legalities & How To’s
  • Homeschooling with Preschoolers
  • Homeschooling through each level, elementary, middle, junior and high school.
  • Notebooking, Lapbooking and Unit Studies

Going to a convention can be extremely rewarding or extremely overwhelming. That is determined by what you expect to get out of it. If you go with the thought that the convention is the place where you will have all of your homeschooling questions answered, then you will most likely walk away disappointed. If you go with the mindset that you will have a chance to physically window shop for curriculum, ask specific questions about the curriculum, listen to speakers discuss curriculum and be encouraged by other homeschooling families and speakers you will walk away feeling encouraged and uplifted.

Great for Encouragement

There are other great things about a homeschool convention, but for me, the greatest thing is connecting with other homeschooling families. {Tweet This} Whether you meet a mom waiting in the hallway or in a seminar, you find yourself exchanging emails and/or facebooks and before you know it those connections become a thread in your woven homeschool community.

This year I’m excited to be going to Great Homeschool Convention for the 4th year. I’m looking forward to their wide variety of vendors, the 100′s of individual seminars and of course, at the Cincinnati location, the aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air. If you see me there, stop and say “Hi, Renée.”

GHC Registration

Renée (15 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


A Word From Our Sponsors

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner
***SUNFLOWERS UNIT STUDY * New from SEE THE LIGHT 66 pages of dynamic, integrated, comprehensive instruction for an entire month for the student ages 10 and up. $9.99 - http://www.seethelightshine.com/store/unit-studies/sunflowers-unit-study.html***