Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Homeschooling for free?

There are a lot of books out there with tips on how to homeschool for free.  I have found myself dabbling with finding material on the internet that I can use for free.  It has been an often frustrating endeavor because many sites require a subscription.  That's not worth it to me.  I don't feel like I can guarantee that what I want is on that site.  And I definitely don't want multiple subscriptions to different sites to cover my bases, either.

I have found several good sites along the way to meet my family's needs, though.  Still, I need to balance free vs. the time it takes me to search or make my own curriculum.  Right now, I'm working on a photography curriculum for this quarter for my kids.  My plan is to write 9 lessons and I'm half way through it.  Earlier this week I put together a US Regions curriculum for Autumn.  I have a textbook, but it is a yearlong textbook so I needed to figure out a way to get her the information that I want her to learn.  After a bit of searching I found the maps online that I wanted, found some sheets in a book I already have, will use the textbook for 3 chapters, and found a list of activity choices for each region.  But it took some time (and made me feel stressed in the process).

Tonight at dinner I was talking to my husband about the US History curriculum I've been considering for next year.  This morning I looked at its price tag-- $100!  The price tag made me pause.  Actually, it's still making me pause.  The question I face is, "Is it worth it?"  I don't know the answer on that one yet.

My husband's response is that if it's the right curriculum it is.  He feels that I need to have curriculum I can pick up easily and use.  He's right.  That's my problem with the science curriculum I'm using this year.  I am so visual that I need multi-colored texts and illustrations.  My eyes gravitate to the bold words and then to the smaller ones.  I find such texts much easier to teach from!

But, then there's the budget.  We've chosen to start teaching our kids piano at home this semester for several reasons.  The biggest is really that I felt a growing desire to do it.  But, I have to be honest that I am excited to be saving money on their lessons!  I'm also saving the time of getting to and from their weekly lessons.  I'm going to post links to the sheet music and music theory I'm using in the next post.

Sometimes materials can't be found in print and internet is the best option.  That is the case of teaching my kids about computers.  I finally found a computer curriculum online here:
When I started to use it yesterday, I realized that I need to design worksheets to go along with it, though, to reinforce the concepts and vocabulary.  (I'll post that information here when it's done.)

I find that choosing homeschooling materials is a continual dance.  I reevaluate throughout the year.  Is what I'm using working?  Do I need a supplement to help with a particular concept?  Is there something that will help me timewise that is worth the investment?  Sometimes there is.  That's the case of several cds we're starting to use to help my children learn their math facts.  I need to make better use of their play time and the cds will help them learn these facts in an enjoyable way.  

With every addition or subtraction, there's an adjustment and I try to be slow to veer off course.  It's easy to think that if I just add or subtract "x" or "y" or "z", then things will work better.  I have found that for me and my personality, it's best to stay the course and add on extra scaffolding on the sides to help support our learning!  Sometimes I can find that scaffolding on the internet for free and sometimes I can't. 

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