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I have homeschooled all three of our children since my oldest (now graduated) was in 2nd grade. By the time they are all graduated I will have put in 25 years teaching! We use “Relaxed” or “Eclectic” homeschooling as our “method.” We love hands-on learning by going and doing as much as possible but we also use a conglomeration of textbooks, websites, and documentaries.
A Bit About Homeschooling
One of the most frequent questions I hear is:
“I want to homeschool, what do I need to do?”
The first place I direct people to is : HSLDA – State Laws. Each state has different requirements so always check out what your state’s laws are!
Stay Within the Budget
Homeschooling is NOT cheap!
If you have ever looked into homeschooling you already know it can get expensive very quickly. Seriously, the name brand popular box set curricula can easily cost $500 – $1000 per child per year! That doesn’t include regular school supplies like pens, paper, notebooks or project supplies. It can get overwhelming to low-income families who want to homeschool but can not see how to fit it in the budget. Here are a couple of tips.
- Shop Around: For example, if you are going to buy a “box curriculum” like S.O.S, do not go to the Alpha Omega website to buy the Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum. Buy from a distributor like Christianbook.com. This saves you money right off and saves you even more if you can buy it when it is on sale.
- Look for coupons: Coupon sites like Retail Me Not keep up with the latest promo codes to help save you a few more dollars on your online purchases!
- Buy Second Hand When You Can: Never pay full price for a “new” book if you can get a practically new book for little to nothing! Check out this list of places you can find used curriculum!! The Homeschool Mom “Used Homeschool Curriculum Sources”
- Multiple Kids, Single Textbook: If you have more than one kiddo find books that are not “consumable” hardback textbooks, CD curriculum, multilevel Science and History, anything that can be used by more than one child is a blessing!
- Free Online Resources: If you have the time and the know-how, you can find just about anything you want to learn (or teach) free online! (More about this below!)
- Use Dry Erase: When you do not have to keep detailed proof of daily lessons, just use a dry erase board when you can! It saves you from having to buy tons of paper! And it saves a tree!
If you are new at homeschooling and too nervous and unsure of yourself to try to “freestyle” (a.k.a the Eclectic approach) your homeschool curriculum, then go with a “box set.” The box sets are practically “dummy proof” and until you get the “feel” for homeschooling it is a great way to start and one less thing you have to worry about!
Even shopping for that perfect “box set” can be a bit overwhelming. You have to wade through the tons of curriculum sites not really knowing what you are looking for. Let me help point you in a good direction. If you are wanting a Christian based curriculum, I suggest browsing Christianbook.com and look at the options. I personally use Christian book when I need to buy workbooks or texts because they have great prices and a wide variety of choices. The best part is that each curriculum choice has samples or excerpts you can look at so you can get a better idea of the “feel” of the curriculum before you buy it!!
If you are wanting a Hebraic Approach Torah based curriculum I suggest Homeschooling Torah. It is the only curriculum I have found so far that stays Torah focused!
I personally have tried the following “Box Set Curricula” (if you have any questions about them)
Switched on Schoolhouse
Rod & Staff
Time4Learning (my review)
Free or cheap ONLINE RESOURCES
I “freestyle” my homeschooling and I am on a budget so I try to use free or cheap resources when I can.
Under each homeschooling tab on my blog, there are posts and links to great free or cheap resources. There are so many choices on the internet I would get overwhelmed or lose the sites before I got to use them, so I decided to gather all my favorites together into one place so I could find them easier! If you have a great site you like to use PLEASE share it in the comments on any page or post so I can check it out too!!!
I am currently gathering information to use alongside Worldbook.com’s Typical Course of Study for each grade. In the drop down menus, you can find the lists and links and check back often because this is a huge work in progress!!
Here are some of my “Go To” free educational sites!
Play educational kids games, computer games, printable worksheets and learning games online at turtlediary.com. Learn and play Free Games for Kids Online!
http://www.starfall.com/ (Phonics & Reading)
Starfall is a free website that teaches children how to read and write in English. Starfall is useful for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and second grade.
Softschools.com provides free math worksheets and games and phonics worksheets and phonics games which include counting, addition, subtraction, …
www.grammar-monster.com/ (Language Arts)
Free online English grammar lessons and tests. Glossary of grammatical terms and common grammar errors.
KidsHealth is the #1 most trusted source for physician-reviewed information and advice on children’s health and parenting issues. For parents, kids, teens, and …
AAASpell features a comprehensive set of interactive spelling lessons, games, and exercises. Unlimited practice is available on each topic which allows …
Free Interactive Primary or Elementary Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Numeracy, Maths, Literacy, English, Science, Religious Education, Geography, Design …
http://alison.com/subjects/85/General-School-Courses?page=0 (Multi-subject for high school)
A provider of free online courses with certificates for basic and essential workplace skills. These include writing, financial literacy and legal studies.
Our Homeschooling Journey!
Like I mentioned before, on our homeschooling adventure, we like to “freestyle” our education as much as possible. We go on field trips, do experiments, independent research, and have educational play as much as we can. If the kids are having fun when they are learning it will stick with them a lot longer than just sitting for hours in a book. Of course, this was easier when they were little but now that I have teens it seems to take more to keep their attention peaked. The drop down menus under this heading contains posts about some of the things we have done on our homeschooling journey!! I will add to it as I can! It is my hope to inspire others to enjoy homeschooling more and give you some ideas on how to make each day an adventure!!
My family & I truly thank you for your support of our blog!!
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