Thursday, January 29, 2009
Homeschooling the Frugal Way
We have been a home school family for five years, throughout that time I've picked up some tips on teaching the frugal way!
First, you really need to decide how you want to teach your children. Don't buy textbooks if you're drawn to the Charlotte Mason style teaching. If possible try different types of teaching before you pick the type that works for you and your family. If I would've done this tip only I could have saved a ton of money! Make a unit study before you buy a bunch of unit study books, try borrowing some textbooks and teaching that way. Pray about what will really be used and loved by your family!
After you have chosen a style for your home school decide what must be done this year. Are you teaching your kindergartner to read? If so, you don't need to buy a complete kindergarten curriculum...buy the phonics book you like focus on that, throw in some field trips, read aloud, art, nature walks, and classical music and you will have a great and frugal first year!
Once your oldest is reading add in a good math program. I don't buy handwriting books unless I find them for $.25 or less because we do copy work using the Bible or another book.
I'm sure you've heard use the library to help save money on homeschooling. I actually don't use the library very often, instead we buy lots and lots of books at yard sales, thrift stores, library book sales, and used book stores. I like to have books on hand for my kids to browse through and pick up to read when the interest is there. My son loves anything to do with world war one and two and the civil war by having lots of those books on hand he can pick up one and learn something any day and not have to wait on a trip to the library.
History and science is another place that is easy to save money on. We don't use textbooks for either one. I do have some Abeka books I picked up at Goodwill for $.25 for reference and we have some awesome field guides and we really love Apologia for the younger students (we're doing Zoology Day 6 land animals this year and love it!) I would, especially for the younger students, focus on field guides, experiment books, and have a large variety of books on animals, rocks, trees, etc. Our history is lots of living books which you can usually find at yard sales and used book stores for pretty cheap. I try not to pay more than $.50-$1 for each book unless it's in really nice shape. We have tons of biographies, war books, If you lived during..., Usborne, and many others again bought for pennies on the dollar. We also use nature studies and Discovery channel and the Weather channel for science and history.
Art is a favorite subject at our house. What we have done is buy postcard size prints and biographies of famous artists. We read about them and study their paintings and then we attempt to copy their picture and technique. We used to do lots of crafts but since I currently have more younger than older students it's harder to manage without somebody eating it or painting each other!
I personally find the biggest cost in homeschooling is trying to cover it all. We don't want to fail or not do enough so we buy this curriculum or that new book that will solve all our problems. If I find a style that fits us but then see another family that appears more successful or I am questioned by a friend or relative I will buy more typical curriculum that won't fit us as well and that's just a waste of time and money! Once you have decided what style God has planned for your family don't change the course until He tells you it's time, that will save you the most money of all!