Homeschooling Dilemma: $$


#1

I am completely certain that I want to homeschool my 3 kids this year. I have thought long and hard about it and the thought of putting them back into their public school makes me sick to my stomach. Only problem is $$. This economy has hit us HARD this year and even though I've been trying to sock money away here and there to buy materials, it just hasn't been possible. Every time I get a little $$ set aside, something else comes up that we need to use it for.

Any ideas? I'll have 3rd, 6th, & 8th graders. Is there any way to do this without spending hundreds of dollars that we just don't have?


#2

Can you just use regular books from the library instead of expensive curriculum specific books? This is what I a doing this year. The only other things I’M buying are math manipulatives and some used math textbooks for my 8th grader. The library is full of books on any and all subjects. You can very easily make a curriculum out of them. Maybe you could also just get texts and workbooks for some subjects and not all? There is a lot you can do with just library books though if you really want to keep costs low.


#3

Google “Homeschooling for free” and you will find lots of great online and otherwise free resources. You can use those resources to build a curriculum that meets your goals. There is also a book called Homeschool for Free. I have an older edition and have even seen it in the library. :wink: Another great resource.

It’s a good idea to have your curriculum outlined first and then look for resources to use. Otherwise the sheer volume of what’s available can get overwhelming. Good luck.


#4

I'll tell you what I am doing, which has cost very little money, and could have cost less if I had bought fewer texts and used the library more.

I am using the program "Ambleside Online" which is a Charlotte Mason based program, and available free. It is an excellent literature based program, and many of the books are available at the library, and they give online versions of many as well.

It is a religious based program, and Protestant. Mason was an Anglican, so in so far as the structure of the program goes, it is essentially classical and fine for a Catholic. You would want to substitute the texts that they recommend - the one for grade school is Trial and Triumph and focuses on the lives of prominent Christians through the ages. You could easily find something appropriate.

They also recommend the KJV for Bible readings. You would probably want to add DR, though I would use KJV too because it is important for literature, and literary purposes. I decided to use Coverdale for the psalms for a similar reason.

You do have to find a math program on your own. I am using the MEP program, which has good reviews, and is free online. It includes all the worksheets and things you need. It is designed for classes so needs to be adapted slightly, but the lessons have scripts which make it easy, and there is an online group for home-schoolers using it.

AS far as this stuff goes I have spent two hundred dollars on books and paper and so on for one child - I could have bought fewer books. Which was nice, because it left a bit of money for music lessons that we could not have done with a bought curriculum.


#5

It can depend on where you live too. In my state there are programs in which the state helps homechooling through "charter schools" We are members of a "charter school" in which the state gives us 1100 for schooling (600) for Kindergarten. You can use half of the money for curriculum and half for "materials" and even things such as music lessons. The only two catches are that you must meet with a teacher once a month and you can't buy religious material with the state money. We are doing about half religious material and half secular but at least the secular stuff is paid for. They have no requirements on religious material as long as you meet the minimum standards for subjects so you child can do reports on the Virgin Mary all they want.


#6

I will second the home "charter" school in this case. Alternately, see if your district has an independent study program available. Where I live (coastal California) home-charter schools are all over the place. Generally, the secular materials are not so much a problem as the environment.

I believe fully that your children can learn successfully with library materials (even a Bible and encyclopedia can serve as a complete curriculum). However, your 6th and 8th graders each have more than a half decade of traditional schooling that established a pattern for them, so they have certain expectations for "school." You and they will be going through a lot of change even before considering doing things "differently". That said, traditional curricula usually take more time and are less effective than custom, so talk with your kids and see if they're willing to try something new.

Ask around with your local homeschool families (be sure to include Protestant and non-Christian families in this type of query - you are only looking for free/cheap - it's simple and free to add Catholic teaching to it). You might want to check Yahoo Groups for a homeschool group in your area.


#7

[quote="masondoggy, post:1, topic:205028"]
I Any ideas? I'll have 3rd, 6th, & 8th graders. Is there any way to do this without spending hundreds of dollars that we just don't have?

[/quote]

ask your Catholic school for used books and teacher guides, ours will give them to you gladly, not just RE but all subjects. these often lead you to online resources that can be freely downloaded and copied


#8

Very doable with the library and the internet. Actually, it might be a better education. Textbooks can be very limiting and boring. Less learning takes place. Remember that no kid is going to cover every subject. Find out what your kids want to learn.

math: I'd use Abeka--it's pretty cheap and very easy to implement. abeka.com/

history: read your way through history as a guide and fill in with library books and videos
readingyourwaythroughhistory.wordpress.com/category/pre-1600-bc/

religion: ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7061&T1=apologetics

fisheaters.com/lists.html memorize and be able to explain

the Baltimore catechism is online, too.

handwriting: buy a notebook and write a Bible verse every day. Have them copy it underneath

spelling: spellingcity.com/ Or, just choose words that they miss often

science: I tend to go with real books and videos. In addition to library videos, check netflix and online videos. I like mythbusters and nova. Have them pick a topic they are really interested in and just dive in. You can keep a journal or a notebook to keep track. You can also go the Nature study route. Just look up a few websites on this.

English: For grammar, I'd just incorporate it into their writing projects. I've found that my kids tend not to remember grammar when I teach it separately anyway.

Composition. I like EIW--excellence in writing. The neat part about it is that you, the teacher, learn how to teach it and then you implement it. The best thing is to buy the binder and borrow the videos.

Geography: sheppardsoftware.com/web_games.htm click and drag maps. my kids love these

art nga.gov/kids/ there's other fun ones, too.

music history and appreciation classicsforkids.com/

There's so much you can do with museums and fieldtrips, too.

check out this site

donnayoung.org/index.htm


#9

We homeschooled our kids for a year, then my wife went back to college and we had to give it up. :frowning:

I didn’t buy a single textbook- almost anything you could ever want is available on the internet. You need paper and ink, which doesn’t cost all that much. Depending on how your state laws fall, your school district may be required to help you. That help could range from textbooks to paper and pencils- you never know without checking. Don’t call the school because they’ll probably lie- call other local homeschoolers.


#10

I am a college student, and I do not know if I can offer much, but I'll give it a shot. I am contermplating about just geting an asocites degree in criminal justice and becoming a cope for various reasons. One reason is that the university presents such a one sided view of the world, so I have gone out and educated myself on counter points of view. In most of my experience, the opposing points of view were correct. It seems as if these academics in the public sector live in a world of theory that seperates themselves from the realworld. One of my professors, a master's in history and "gender studies" did not know what an extradition was and I had to tell him and the whole class what the definition and application of the process was.In highschool, I have realized that many of the things I was told, at least about history, was revisionist at best and downright lies at worst. I have only used library books and books I bought from a store such as Borders and I have had my eyes opened greatly. I am sure you can just use material from the library and/or inexpensive books and give your children a much better education then they can recieve by the public school system.


#11

I wanted to add that you can find your state's learning objectives by grades on their department of education website.

Or, you could use these: hillsdale.edu/academy/academics/curriculum.asp

I have a friend who uses the objectives on the Hillsdale and then builds her curriculum around it.


#12

Check with your parish - I know that mine offers several scholarships ($200-$400) for children in Catholic schools (all levels, K through college!), including approved homeschool programs.


#13

I understand how the finance of homeschooling can be overwhelming. As others have pointed out there are wonderful resources available on the Internet and don't under estimate what is available at your local library.

I'm going to spend a total of $160 on BOTH of my kids this coming fall for homeschooling curriculum. $80 of it was for Total Reader. The reminder is for 2 math books and one teacher manual. We are using MCP: Mathematics. CHC (Catholic Heritage Curricula) sells MCP: Mathematics levels A-C, after that they switch to Saxon. I didn't want to use Saxon, so I've found an alternative vendor to buy MCP: Mathematics from, Lamp Post. Lamp Post sells MCP: Mathematics levels A-F, that's 3 more levels then what CHC offers.

The rest of my core curriculum is going to made of various resources that I got for free over the last 2 years. In addition to the free resources I've picked up over the years I'm re-using some materials I've bought in the pass, and material available through my local library.

In years pass I've bought ALL of the core materials from either CHC or Seton and have easily have spent $300-350 for all of the books. That's about $150-175 PER child. So this year to be able to cut our expenses in 1/2 and spend a TOTAL of $160 is a huge savings for us.

Someone mention Ambleside the "free" Charlotte Mason Curricula. It's free if you can find the suggested materials at your library. Well along the same lines there is Mater Amabilis. Mater Amabilis is also Charlotte Mason based, it's "free" (assuming you can find the material at your local library). However unlike Ambleside it is Catholic!


#14

[quote="Mommyof02green, post:13, topic:205028"]
I understand how the finance of homeschooling can be overwhelming. As others have pointed out there are wonderful resources available on the Internet and don't under estimate what is available at your local library.

I'm going to spend a total of $160 on BOTH of my kids this coming fall for homeschooling curriculum. $80 of it was for Total Reader. The reminder is for 2 math books and one teacher manual. We are using MCP: Mathematics. CHC (Catholic Heritage Curricula) sells MCP: Mathematics levels A-C, after that they switch to Saxon. I didn't want to use Saxon, so I've found an alternative vendor to buy MCP: Mathematics from, Lamp Post. Lamp Post sells MCP: Mathematics levels A-F, that's 3 more levels then what CHC offers.

The rest of my core curriculum is going to made of various resources that I got for free over the last 2 years. In addition to the free resources I've picked up over the years I'm re-using some materials I've bought in the pass, and material available through my local library.

In years pass I've bought ALL of the core materials from either CHC or Seton and have easily have spent $300-350 for all of the books. That's about $150-175 PER child. So this year to be able to cut our expenses in 1/2 and spend a TOTAL of $160 is a huge savings for us.

Someone mention Ambleside the "free" Charlotte Mason Curricula. It's free if you can find the suggested materials at your library. Well along the same lines there is Mater Amabilis. Mater Amabilis is also Charlotte Mason based, it's "free" (assuming you can find the material at your local library). However unlike Ambleside it is Catholic!

[/quote]

I'll add that with a Charlotte Mason curriculum, people often do a bit of mixing and matching. Another one is the Tanglewood School. It is no longer in development, but their web page has some nice materials, including a very useful beginning phonics primer.


#15

Thank you for so many great suggestions. :)


#16

masondoggy, have you considered CLAA--Classical Liberal Arts Academy? www.classicalliberalarts.com The owner, William Michael, will work with families who are committed to liberal arts education with limited or no financial means. Normally, each course is $125 but these can be paid over time (up to ten months, so $12.50/mo) or parents can trade for doing work for the school.


#17

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