Does homeschooling at night really work? Many families say yes, it does! How do you homeschool at night, then, you ask? How do you know it is effective and doable? Here are four reasons people homeschool after the dinner plates have been put away, and why they say that it works! [Read more…]
Homeschooling can be costly. Couple that with the fact most homeschool families are single income, it can really be cause to tighten the purse strings.
Here are the best money saving hacks to slash your homeschool expenses while not sacrificing on education or fun.
Saving Money On Craft Projects
- Have a place to store craft supplies. If you have a central place you can keep your craft supplies, then they are more likely to get used and not lost.
- When you’re looking for a new project, google the project based on the supplies you have on hand. Pinterest has so many ideas, limiting yourself to the great ones that you can make without spending additional money is always a plus.
- The dollar store can be your best friend or worst enemy. There are a ton of great craft supplies in there, but I highly recommend going in with a list and sticking to it.
Saving Money On Books and Media
- Use the library.
- Return everything on time.
- Keep a lookout at thrift stores and garage sales. You can’t beat 10 cents for a book.
- Search regularly for free Kindle books for kids.
- Make use of the Gutenberg project for free classical literature.
- Look for free educational apps periodically as well.
- Take care of the books you own, clear packing tape has saved a ton of beloved books in our house.
Saving Money On Curriculum
- Choose the right curriculum the first time. Check out Kathy Duffy’s Homeschool review from the library months before you need to make a decision. Try to make the most informed decision possible so you don’t wind up with something that doesn’t work and can’t be returned.
- Buy new, if the curriculum has an excellent return policy. In some ways, this can save money. I am stuck with more used curriculum that “I got on a good deal on,” than I care to admit. It’s not a good deal if you never use it.
- Combine grades when you can. Sonlight and Bookshark, for example, are both great for this. Both are expensive curriculums but if you can use them for two grade levels, or multiple times then they become worth it.
- Join Facebook, swap and used curriculum groups. Obviously, research, research, research first.
- Enroll your kids in a homeschool charter school program. Depending on your state and the program these are free and some are fantastic. With that said sometimes these charter school programs can also be schools of last resort that aren’t all that stellar. Absolutely do your research. (Are you sensing a theme)
Saving Money On Household Expenses
(I include this because when you’re homeschooling it can cut into time that could be spent couponing or shopping sales.)
- Only go to one grocery store. Unless you have excellent willpower and ability to stick to a list. For me needing to go to a different grocery store just to pick up “one thing” ALWAYS busts my grocery budget.
- Use curbside grocery if it saves your family money. If the store you normally shop at has a curbside program, being able to see your total on the computer at home before you check out can really help cut down on expenses even after the curbside convenience fee.
- Shop your cupboard. Before you do your regular shopping trip always look in your cupboards for food that you can incorporate into your weekly meals.
Taking Advantage of Homeschool Freebies (Sign up for our Newsletter Here)
- Have a dedicated homeschool e-mail account you can use for newsletters.
- Save your pdfs in a dedicated file, flash drive, or external hard drive.
- Organize your computer files by grade and subject. (Trust me)
- Invest in a printer that gets great mileage on ink.
- Print in black and white.
PLAN to Shop Homeschool Sales
- Contact your favorite curriculum publishers BEFORE you order. Ask them if they have any coupon codes or upcoming sales. Often, store owners will share discount codes to make the sale.
- Take note of the dates when prospective programs go on sale. Many publishers will have yearly sales right around the same time of year. Make yourself a small mental note when you see these sales pop-up or mark them on your curriculum planner for next year.
Have a Homeschool Budget Tip to share? What else would you add? Tell us in the comments below:
you know the truth behind these photos.
I’ve spent a good chunk of the last three weeks cleaning and organizing our classroom.
It hasn’t been easy, and honestly I still have a HUGE pile of things to sort through in the garage.
But come Monday, we’ll be starting school in the cleanest classroom on the face of the earth.
Here’s a quick tour:
(gallery wall + discovery shelf)
There you have it, here’s where we will be the rest of the school year!
And just so you know, right after I snapped this photo
one of my little boys came along sat at the table and peed everywhere.
We’re talking all over the chair, the table, and the floor.
It was clean for a record twenty seconds this time.
It’s been FOUR years since this original post and I wanted to share some updated photos with you!
I am now homeschooling an 8th grader, 6th grader, 2nd grader and a Kindergartner.
As they’ve grown our classroom needs have grown as well. I thought it would be a good idea to show you the new classroom setup so you can see how we’ve updated and redesigned the area to work for us.
One thing we added was more computer areas….my older children both use the computer for roughly half of the school day so having two separate stations was something we were definitely needing to add:
Here are some more detailed photos of how I made that work. Basically, I have an L-shaped desk aligned with a standard desk. They aren’t perfectly matched up, but they fit very well in this space.
Between the desks is our new charging station. This is where we can easily charge up the tablets and phones. This charging station is amazing and I highly recommend getting one if the devices and cords are driving you insane. It will hold up to 10 devices and the cords stay wrapped up inside the unit.
Also, I don’t know if you can see it or not, but that slim black tower on the right is a light! It’s fantastic for space saving as well. It folds up into a tall tower when not in use. You can pull it out and adjust the angle settings as well as the brightness. Really awesome if you have a dark corner that needs a little illumination.
The right wall of the classroom still holds our display cases, as well as our discovery jars. It also serves as a place to keep all sorts of random classroom items we pick up off the floor. We also added in two oak bookshelves that are already overflowing…..that is a good thing right?
I keep my teaching manuals on top of these shelfs, right within reach as I’m sitting at the the main table teaching.
Finally, we added in a four-shelf lawyers bookcase that I love to pieces. This works wonderfully for my children as they each have their own homeschool shelf to contain all of their workbooks and assignments.
Using a lawyers bookcase means we can close up the glass covers during the summer or when company comes over….because this classroom really does double as our dining room as well.
Well, there you have it! Our Homeschool Classroom in the Dining Room!
Learning the structure of a paragraph is an important step in the writing process. Today I’ve got a Free Hamburger Paragraph Chart you can use in your classroom. If you’ve never heard of this before, this is a fantastic resource for teaching young writers just exactly what they need to include inside a paragraph. The visual of a hamburger shows them to include an Introduction, Detail, Detail, Detail and then a Conclusion. I’ve also created a fun follow up worksheet for children to build their own hamburger paragraphs!
Find More Writing Guides Here:
- Writing Poetry for Kids
- Writing Instructions for Kids
- Writing a Biography for Kids
- Writing a Research Paper for Kids
- Sequence & Write Science Activity Pack
As a homeschooling mother of four, I understand the need for children to build self-led learning skills and I’ve designed our step-by-step guides to encourage this development. Each guide features five steps of instruction, explaining to the child what is required for that step, and what specific worksheets need to be completed. You can assign these steps to children simply by following a 5 day a week teaching schedule or by adding a due date next to each check box. Read more about our Step-by-Step process below, and view samples of our guides in our eStore.
Well, I’ve done it again.
I’ve waited until the last two weeks before really coming up with a solid Homeschool Plan.
Sure I’ve been collecting various eBooks and curriculum resources over the Summer, but it’s been more like a Homeschool Curriculum feeding frenzy instead of an organized and thoughful process.
It’s time to load everything on the table and see what I’m working with here folks
That is not even this years photo.
I’m so far behind, I haven’t even made the obligatory mess of dining room table yet.
It’s going to be a busy week folks.
So to keep myself invested in this process I decided to update our Independent Weekly Homeschool Calendar, as well as our Goals and Planing sheets. You can still print the older versions here and here if you like them, but this year I needed a little Color Pop to get my act in gear. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around how to schedule your curriculum, try this simple tip for each subject. How to make a list of Goals, Resources, and Action Plan
I’ll be using these with my younger children this year for sure! My older children are going to try Lesson Trek, mostly because I thought Middle School would be a great time to learn how to keep an online calendar as well. We’re always looking for real life scenarios to add in that Technology requirement!
I’ve just finished our Letter of the Week Preschool Curriulum, and it’s very low-prep, so grab that if you need a quick fix for your kiddo too.
Ok, am I the only one who uses the NOT Back to School Blog Hop
as a personal call to action?
I know it’s supposed to be a blogging calendar,
a group effort where we (as the homeschooling community)
share with each other all of these different aspects of planning for the new year,
But I can’t help but see a different, more personal message to this schedule.
For example wouldn’t “Curriculum Week” more accurately be called:
MAKE SOME DECISIONS YOU CRAZY HOMESCHOOL LADY….WEEK.
Or at least that’s how I read it. I mean by August, I’ve already spent half the year driving everyone nuts with zillions of questions about the curriculum they are using, and it’s time to make some decisions. I must have 30 different products in my online carts……and I just keep saving them for later! Well, it’s crunch time baby, it’s Curriculum week. Time to hit BUY or DELETE and live with the decisions. (Or come back mid year and tell everyone why this curriculum failed miserably.) Either way, I’ve got some blog content right?
And next week, School Room Week….well, we all know what that really means:
CLEAN. YOUR. DISGUSTING. CLASSROOM. WEEK.
Really clean that thing. Pull everything out, books, paper, pens, crayons, and set it all out on the table….. even the wet diapers and moldy milk bottles that your toddler somehow shoved behind your desk while you were busy teaching fractions last year. Then when it’s all nice and dirtied up, snap a photo. You don’t have to post it or share it, but it will make you feel good later (after you’ve done a year’s worth of cleaning in a single day) to look back and see your progress. And during the 15 seconds that your classroom actually stays clean, snap an instagram photo to share with the rest of us. We love to think that our classrooms could be so clean like yours, don’t burst our bubbles or we will have nothing to live for.
Keep the dream alive homeschool moms.
And in a just a couple of weeks it will be School Photo Week
Which we all know is code for:
WASH THE SUMMER OFF YOUR KID & BREAK THE HORRIBLE NEWS WEEK
The days of bare feet and long summer locks are approaching an end. Throw them in the tub, give em’ a hair cut, find an article of clothing that still fits and doesn’t have too many stains or rips and put them in front of a camera. But before you snap the photo tell them that school starts in two weeks, so you’ll get a nice big grin for that family album.
Don’t get me wrong……for the most part we really do enjoy homeschooling.
And we really do have some very happy homescholing days.
There are some amazing benefits to homeschooling,
It’s a choice I’m committed to,
and I consider it a huge blessing to even have this choice.
There are also some VERY REAL days when I’ve considered shoving my children out the front door and telling them to walk their sorry behinds down to the public school…… or the coal mine,….. which ever they decide, because I’m checking myself into the spa (read: mental hospital) for some much needed sleep.
Ha! The coal mine.
That’ll teach them that Algebraic functions and Polynomial Equations are a PRIVILEGE to learn.
Oops….did I say that outloud?
The final week on the calendar:
Day in the Life Week.
This one makes me giggle.
I mean…a REAL DAY IN THE LIFE?
or a MADE FOR TV DAY IN THE LIFE?
or even a
WHAT WE WILL DO THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL AND NEVER AGAIN
BECAUSE THERE WASN’T EVEN TIME TO SHOWER OR EAT
AND NOW I’M A STARVING HOMESCHOOL ZOMBIE MOM….DAY IN THE LIFE.
That first week back to school can be brutal right?
Oh, I hope you are reading this in good fun.
I am a huge homeschool advocate, these have just been some of the funny things I’ve noticed in our own crazy homeschool family.
I do plan on sharing all of our curriculum choices, once I make them
and photos of our classroom, once I clean it
But today I will share progress photos with you,
here is where we’re at folks:
Sonlight Core F
Crazy Homeschool Mess
I took that photo three days ago and posted it to facebook.
It looks the same this morning.
Except now there are flies around that glass. They are new.
I promise to come back and post when those final decisions are made…..and things are cleaned up.
For now, enjoy all the other amazing homeschooling moms who have posted their curriculum this week as part of the NOT Back to School Blog Hop.
I always love reading these before I make my final choices :)
It’s the final week in the Not-back-To-School Blog Hop,
and that means you get to see our average homeschool day,
and how it all goes down.
To be honest we are pretty laid back.
I do my best to encourage my older children to keep track of their own schedules.
I am still using these weekly student planners, they seem to work pretty well
for keeping track of morning chores, schoolwork, and our after-school activities.
Here’s a breakdown of our usual day:
8:00-8:30 Wake up, breakfast, get ready for the day.
9:00-9:30 Children start their schoolwork.
Usually they do all the resources they can do with minimal help first.
This includes: Handwriting, Language Arts, Reading, Math, Writing, Typing, Spanish.
I am available to help them with their lessons as needed. I am usually doing my own chores, and keeping my little babies busy and away from my older children so they can study.
11:30-12:00 Lunch. We are super simple at lunch time. Usually a hot plate from last nights meal, or a quick sandwich with fruit.
12:00-2:00 (Nap Time for the babies) I teach all remaining lessons for the day.
This includes: History, Science, Geography, Social Studies, and Art.
2:00 Playtime, P.E. and After school activities. This is also a time for my children to finish any of their earlier lessons if they didn’t complete them, or to receive extra help on a lesson that was too difficult.
Total time in school each day is about 4 hours.
If you’re wondering how our week breaks down by subject,
here are my basic weekly plans:
Five Days a Week:
Handwriting, Math, Writing, Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies, Spanish, Typing, P.E
Three Days a Week:
Two Days a Week:
One Day a Week:
Art (instructional), Health
We do use a reward system for meeting weekly goals. You might notice the three large check boxes on the right side of the planner. I’m not sure how much longer I will use this with my children, but they do seem to look forward to the “goodie bag” at the end of the week.
To earn this prize they must complete three things each week.
First, they have gotten ALL of their morning list done in a reasonable amount of time.
Second, they showed cheerfullness during their school days. I use a check system and if they recieve three checks in one day, then they are out of the running. I also use bonus stars for exemplary behavior.
Finally, they must have completed all of their assigned work on time.
It’s pretty simple, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be bribing my little ones like this. With my oldest, I might push the reward to a monthly prize instead of weekly.
I’m wondering what everyone else does?
Do you use rewards in your classroom?
It’s week 2 of the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop,
and that means Homeschool Classroom photos!
I love going through all the different posts for new ideas,
but if I’m not careful sometimes I get Homeschool Classroom envy.
(it’s a real disease)
For me, it’s easy to go from inspired to discouraged if my ideas
don’t pan out the way I had them figured out in my head.
To add to the matter,
We don’t exactly have a separate classroom.
We school out of our dining room,
which means I have to be creative about decorating.
Currently our “classroom” is a work in progress.
I’m starting with a very blank slate and slowly adding too it.
We’ve got our dining table which serves as our main teaching area.
It’s hard to see, but in the back I have a small white board.
I’d like something larger, but again I don’t want my dining area too “cubicle”
Maybe I’ll get lucky and be chosen to review a Hidden Whiteboard
A desk area for computer time and for educational videos.
I’ve got a world map, and a U.S. map on either side of the window.
I love having these maps on the wall,
but I’m thinking of getting something a bit more “old world” looking and then framing them.
I will totally share if I ever get around to doing this…
A corner cabinet to store our Notebooking binders.
Storage Drawers in what is supposed to be a pantry.
These drawers are just around the corner and hold the children’s textbooks and everything else.
I have a few drawers to myself to store teaching workbooks and supplies.
(You can tell it’s REALLY organized….. *snicker*)
My favorite part of our classroom are these shadow box displays.
These turned out to be a great way to showcase my children’s artwork
(keeping it OFF my fridge)
and they look wonderful in the dining area.
So there it is! That’s where you’ll find us all year long :)
It will NEVER be as clean as it is now
until it’s time for next year’s post ;)
I’m hoping that by next year I’ll have some really cool “Dining/Classroom” decorations up!
And to ensure I haven’t elicited any feelings of homeschool envy,
This is essentially how it stays year round.
If you ever came to my house and my couch wasn’t covered in laundry,
DO NOT BE DECEIVED!
I have either moved it all to my bed,
or payed the children a ridiculous amount of money to make it disappear.
Such is the life of a blogging homeschooler.