There is a group of homeschool moms out there who are grateful to just be able to stay home and homeschool. I’ve been there too and I know how being home full time and handling all of their kid’s educational needs can make the budget tight. Here are some great tips on how to provide a great education for your kids without investing a ton on curriculum.
First, hit the Internet. Search for a list of skills/subjects that should be covered for your child’s grade. Often your local school district will have this readily available online. Your state will also likely have their standards per grade posted somewhere. Ok, ok. Maybe the reason you started homeschooling was because you did not like what was going on in your local public school system. Search other states! Idaho, California, Massachusetts, and Iowa have great outlines online. So do private schools. Look around. I used the book Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp as my base line. It was totally worth the investment!
Here is the thing. You don’t have to follow what ever it is you find. This is an outline and a base so that you are prepared and aware of what is usually being handled in the grade you are teaching. I start the year looking it over, choose a few things, and then create our plan based on what we really wanted to do. BUT, I was aware of what was the usual and normal for the grade. I often was able to add little bits here and there to make sure the kids were, well, able to go back into the school system if that ever became a necessity.
So now that you have an idea what “should” be covered in each grade, it is time to decide what would be best for you and your child. Is your child ahead in some areas and behind in others? Mine almost always were. All the more reason to NOT purchase an all in one expensive curriculum!
One thing I always paid a lot of attention to were the things my children were really interested in. One was interested in figure skating and another in exotic cars and marine biology. Keeping this in mind, I searched for free or lower priced items to create learning opportunities. There are so many free printables and online activities these days. Here is a list of places to search for great free or cheap resources-
Pinterest - tons of free printables there. Look for boards per subject or grade.
Google for worksheets - search under Images or find links in blogs, etc.
Search Free Homeschooling resources and get involved with some of those resource sites, groups, or blogs. For teens, there are several sites with free college courses on them.
Facebook - There are multiple groups mentioning free homeschooling resources. Ask to join and see what you can get there.
Instagram - Check there for links to free printables.
Libraries - Still a great free resource for books, DVDs, computer programs, books on tape, and even textbooks. Our library has several copies of Hooked On Phonics, as well as Rosetta Stone Spanish.
Goodwill, Savers, etc. - I find excellent resources there in their books! I often find textbooks as well as tons of reading options. Kids books are often under a dollar each.
E-bay often has lots of used or older curriculum or bundles of grade related resources.
Museums - Often they have in house learning opportunities to go along with your visit. Some offer free resources and activities online.
Local homeschooling groups - Other families can be a great resource for ideas, group activities and used curriculum.
The most rewarding and potentially the least expensive form of homeschooling is child led learning. Focus not on what everyone thinks your child “should” learn and focus on what your child WANTS to learn.
Spend your days exploring with your child. Head off to historical places or museums, go on picnics while listening to an audio book. Going on bike rides through the fall leaves talking about how they change can be as educational and rewarding as any high priced curriculum. Is she into a particular book or movie? When he is curious, help him explore with his whole heart. It is amazing how they can jump “grade levels” in subjects like spelling when they decide it is time to write something that is important to them! Let them take the lead and use the resources you have with the Internet, libraries and people you know instead textbooks. Let your child fall in love with learning. That will provide so much more for their life long term than any high priced program.