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Pardon the exaggeration as it keeps language "clean".

 

There are a million and one cheap options for elementary subjects.

 

Why? Why? Why does everything (especially science) seem to skyrocket when you hit 7th grade???

 

Not trying to sound like a whiner but I *need* to understand. It almost sounds like highway robbery right up there with baby stuff because you have to have it.

 

:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

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:confused:There are plenty of inexpensive options for 7th grade as well.

 

We are now at 11th grade, and I found the only big expenses to be rigorous high school science labs and the outsourcing of foreign language lessons.

OK, we splurge on AoPS for math. But besides that, everything is cheap or free.

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You can still do things in middle and high school creatively on the cheap. It may just take more planning on your part.

 

There are a 101 gazillion Internet resources, for example. It just takes work to find the good ones. Let me give you an example: in high school biology, there is a classic diffusion and osmosis experiment that a lot of kids do. You can buy a kit or you can do what a lot of high school biology teachers do: use baggies, iodine and corn starch. It just takes a little research to find this sort of inexpensive substitution.

 

Also, use your library!! Not just for books but for Teaching Company courses and documentaries.

 

Shop library book sales! A number of preferred high school texts are now in their 8th or 10th edition. Does it matter if you use the 6th? Probably not. Old editions are often a few dollars.

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I think there are plenty of cheap or expensive options for each. I can think of outrageously expensive (to me) elementary options, and you can teach high school subjects with used texts off of Amazon or the library if need be.

 

I think often in high school, though, we start heading for the more expensive options because the material is more difficult and the extra help is more necessary.

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How do you do it?

 

I am looking through Rainbow Resource and I am just not seeing it.

 

What subjects?

 

For science, we don't do formal systematic studies before high school. Lots of living books, documentaries, and a few old editions of introductory college texts you can pick up for a few $ (DS wanted Forensics this year, so we bought an old standard text for that). Lots of free resources on the web.

 

English and history: we read books. Our bookshelves and the library provide plenty. We supplement with documentaries for history for my visual learner.

We talk about books, we write. No curriculum. (In high school, we use TC lectures, but even those may be available through your library. I buy mine used or deeply discounted.)

 

Foreign language: we bough textbook, workbook, lab manual used for Italian; the audio files for the program are available for free online on the companion website. For French, we had cheap grammar books and the French in action videos free online - until we needed a tutor.

 

Math: I found it worth to pay money for a quality math program. Together, text and solution manual cost $60 per year. It is the only thing I buy new.

 

The most expensive (even though used), and only, piece of scripted curriculum I splurged on this year (aside from dual enrollment) was LLLotR and it was a total flop.

Edited by regentrude
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How do you do it?

 

I am looking through Rainbow Resource and I am just not seeing it.

 

That might be your mistake; Rainbow Resource has good prices compared to other curriculum vendors but is still more expensive than the library or used curriculum.

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Can you ask your local district if you can borrow textbooks? When I tutored kids (middle and high school age) I did that, and I never had a district turn me down. I always promised to return them at the end of the year, and I did.

 

Obviously, if you wanted the public school curriculum you'd send them to public school, so it's not like this is a perfect plan, but it's free and it will at least give you a starting point.

 

You can also usually find used textbooks, especially last year's edition, very cheap online.

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I'm looking through Rainbow as we have a credit (hardship donation) to spend with them and no budget to shop elsewhere. Whatever money we get goes for diapers and other paper goods ATM.

 

If you really have no money, you can put together a good middle school education from free online resources and the library.

I'd spend whatever funds are available on a good math program first - everything else can be improvised.

Edited by regentrude
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You can still do things in middle and high school creatively on the cheap. It may just take more planning on your part.

 

Absolutely!

 

I get many of our books through PaperbackSwap and BookMooch. Since those are "free" except for the cost of postage, each one costs me less than $3.

 

I make use of lots and lots of free online resources.

 

Just as a point of reference, I will spend right about $300 this year on materials for my 10th grader. Let's see if I can give you a quick overview per subject:

 

English--

- nine novels from book swap sites, $25

- six more books I had sitting on my shelves, $0

- five short stories found on the internet, $0

- free online study guides for several novels, $0

- three grammar review books from swap sites, $8

- Total spending = $33

 

Honors Modern U.S. History--

- film resource book, used from Amazon, $7

- Hewitt syllabus, $8

- four books from swap sites, $11

- two addittional books I had on my shelves, $0

- movies from the library, $0

- Total spending = $18

 

Algebra II --

- Life of Fred, purchased used, $20

- Lial's text from a swap site, $3

- Khan Academy videos as needed, $0

- Total spending = $23

 

Chemistry --

- CK12 text free online, $0

- Lab book purchased used, $15

- additional book from a swap site, $3

- lab series scoured from assorted websites, $0

- lab supplies, $125

- Total spending = $143

 

Foreign Language --

We started with Spanish, then switched to Italian, meaning I have some additional costs here.

- Spanish text purchased used through Half.com, $9

- additional book purchased used, $6

- grammar supplements from swap sites, $6

- online Italian course free through our library, $0

- additional Italian book from swap site, $3

- supplemental book for Italian, purchased new (!) because we were in a hurry, $15

- Total spending = $39

 

American Government --

- Primary text from book swap site, $3

- three additional books from swap sites, $9

- Hewitt syllabus, $9

- Total spending = $21

 

Music and Art --

- Annotated Mona Lisa from our shelves (leftover from daughter), $0

- Music text my daughter brought home from college, $0

- Khan Academy art videos, $0

- composer bios online, $0

- Total spending = $0 *

 

Creative Writing --

- NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program materails, free online, $0

 

I think that brings my total curriculum spending for the year to about $280.

 

Now, I won't gloss over the fact that I do a lot of work to keep these costs low. I write a lot of my own lesson plans and spend a ton of time over the summer typing out review sheets and weekly goals and, well, everything. My theory is that, in order to provide my kid a great education, I will have to invest either time or money. I happen to have more of the former.

 

* The $0 figure here may not be quite fair, since we will do a few museum field trips during the year. By making use of free days and special events, I hope to keep those costs under $75.

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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What's your budget and what are your requirements?

 

My current budget is $260 after ordering WWS for Fury. Still thinking of 4th grade math for Dragon. We didn't have Fury at home for that year of math. I have a fifth grade abeka math I can erase for him.

 

I am contemplating some cuisenaire rods (especially with the fractions) as a general teaching tool since we still have Mr. Picky Pants coming up through the ranks.

 

I could start a brand new thread on that.

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We're currently using the Middle School Earth Science CK-12 Flexbooks, with our own subject based rabbit trails, for 7th grade. I'm very pleased with the content, my son's progress, and the price, which is FREE.

 

:iagree: We are too. I'm using the honors earth science that's already developed. There are some holes in the workbook because it's not completed yet, but I'll take it! We like the book and my oldest is learning lots.

 

I supplement with our own experiments usually combined with his little brother who is using Happy Scientist as a spine supplemented with Janice Van Cleeve experiments and library books.

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If you really have no money, you can put together a good middle school education from free online resources and the library.

I'd spend whatever funds are available on a good math program first - everything else can be improvised.

 

:iagree: that's what I would do! Shop for math first.

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How do you do it?

 

I am looking through Rainbow Resource and I am just not seeing it.

 

I think CK12 would be a good option, then get some supplies from Rainbow. Another option would be to use something like the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia and have them study further with books. I think that would be acceptable for middle school, probably not high school, but the Kingfisher book is pretty detailed.

 

There really are a ton of free resources for high school science out there. A lot of times you can find great helps at high school websites.

 

http://www.nsta.org/ - good freebies if you poke around and at the store, some great "science objects" that are free. They're designed for teacher education, but I may have ds go through some of them.

 

here's a high school Earth science website - http://www.eram.k12.ny.us/education/staff/staff.php?sectionid=2149

 

biology videos - http://www.untamedscience.com/

 

Ugh, I had a lot more, but they were on my old computer.

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Fury's math was a blessing. It's Dragon I have to worry about.

 

Fury needs science, history, and (eventually) 8th grade English/grammar.

Dragon needs 4th grade grammar and history. He's working at a 3rd grade level in math but we'll need 4th grade. We have science for him.

Mr. Picky Pants is good with life but I plan on ordering the magnet board set to go with OPGTTR as he is shaping up to be another early reader like Dragon.

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Fury's math was a blessing. It's Dragon I have to worry about.

 

Fury needs science, history, and (eventually) 8th grade English/grammar.

Dragon needs 4th grade grammar and history. He's working at a 3rd grade level in math but we'll need 4th grade. We have science for him.

Mr. Picky Pants is good with life but I plan on ordering the magnet board set to go with OPGTTR as he is shaping up to be another early reader like Dragon.

 

History and literature can be done, for free, through public domain books online and the library.

 

KISS Grammar is excellent and free.

 

I agree with other posters that the bulk of our $$ go to math curriculum. The resources available for free, online, are mind-boggling.

Edited by sparrow
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Fury's math was a blessing. It's Dragon I have to worry about.

 

Fury needs science, history, and (eventually) 8th grade English/grammar.

Dragon needs 4th grade grammar and history. He's working at a 3rd grade level in math but we'll need 4th grade. We have science for him.

Mr. Picky Pants is good with life but I plan on ordering the magnet board set to go with OPGTTR as he is shaping up to be another early reader like Dragon.

 

What science, English and history subjects would you like?

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English: Saxon or BJU (not sure what I would use after Saxon)

 

If you're set on a specific curriculum, you may not have any choice but to buy older editions used. I've had good luck at Amazon and Half.com for used curriculum.

 

Science: I don't know for middle and high school. We are set for elementary science.

 

I know you've gotten several recommendations for CK12, and I think that's a great suggestion. In addition to the wide range of materials for high school, they have a middle school earth science text that might be a good fit for your son.

 

We've also used several courses from this site: www.learner.org. It's often possible to buy a used text for under $20 to accompany the videos.

 

We're using some of the videos from this site this year, too: http://www.gpb.org/chemistry-physics I understand that folks living outside Georgia can obtain answer keys and additional materials (something like 1,000 pages of stuff) in exchange for purchasing one $30 DVD.

 

The middle school chemistry course linked for you earlier also looks good.

 

History: Not sure, really. The boys seem to like workbooks or dvd's.

 

Did you have a historical era or location in mind? My high schooler is using portions of this free, online course this year: http://www.hippocampus.org/History%20%26%20Government;jsessionid=2155127EDE19520F8184C4D73AE43943

 

The Annenberg site I listed above has some good history stuff, too.

 

Another option would be to find a spine you like and just work through that, supplementing with additional reading and projects as you go. You could likely find something suitable through a book swap site or used from Amazon/Half.com. Or, I've had good luck on the bargain tables of Barnes and Noble finding history encyclopedias and similar stuff for under $15.

 

For worksheets, you could order one or two of these CDs: http://www.historyscribe.com/hs-historyscholar.htm

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Is there any way at all that you could print from a friend or family member's printer?

I ask because, in your situation, I would definitely purchase the Math Mammoth CD - which would cover your younger two for many, many years to come. It sounds like you are trying to make your budget stretch a few years.

*If* you could do that, I would suggest the following:

 

History: Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (can be used by your entire crew, utilizing the library and age appropriate writing assignments to either tone down or ramp up according to the child) $20

 

Science: CK12; spend $100 for supplies and materials from RR

 

Math: MM CD for the younger two ($125); College of the Redwood Pre-Algebra for the older (free!)

 

Grammar: KISS grammar (free!)

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How do you do it?

 

I am looking through Rainbow Resource and I am just not seeing it.

Stop looking at Rainbow, and start looking at Amazon Marketplace. Choose a strong line of textbooks (search or ask here if needed), find out which edition is current, and look for books one or two editions old. :001_smile:

 

I've picked up my middle school kids' science texts there for pennies plus $4 shipping, and one was grabbed over at Paper Back Swap for the cost of shipping.

 

I found Lial's prealgebra and introductory algebra texts for a couple dollars each, if that. The solutions manuals are a bit more, but I didn't pay more than $20 for each complete set.

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Stop looking at Rainbow, and start looking at Amazon Marketplace. Choose a strong line of textbooks (search or ask here if needed), find out which edition is current, and look for books one or two editions old. :001_smile:

 

I've picked up my middle school kids' science texts there for pennies plus $4 shipping, and one was grabbed over at Paper Back Swap for the cost of shipping.

 

I found Lial's prealgebra and introductory algebra texts for a couple dollars each, if that. The solutions manuals are a bit more, but I didn't pay more than $20 for each complete set.

She has a hardship donation to spend at Rainbow; she can't shop elsewhere. She needs resources she can buy directly.

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My current budget is $260 after ordering WWS for Fury. Still thinking of 4th grade math for Dragon. We didn't have Fury at home for that year of math. I have a fifth grade abeka math I can erase for him.

 

I am contemplating some cuisenaire rods (especially with the fractions) as a general teaching tool since we still have Mr. Picky Pants coming up through the ranks.

 

I could start a brand new thread on that.

Rod and Staff's math materials are inexpensive, or used Saxon textbooks can be picked up on the cheap.

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Those Modern Curriculum Press (MCP) math books are pretty cheap, and Rainbow has those. You'll probably want to flesh them out with manipulatives, Khan videos and such. Rotating through a few chapters at a time instead of just plugging through the book will reduce the need to find review elsewhere; once they pass a chapter that concept may not be mentioned again until the next chapter test.

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http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mep/default.htm

 

MEP math was still free last I checked -- and a pretty complete curriculum.

 

People do print the materials out, but we always just used them online. There are also some online interactive materials that are good.

 

We've never bought a math curriculum. I do have a number of old math books (mine and my husband's, as well as the neighbors when they were getting rid of them), so we've used those and online materials.

 

If you're looking for free high school stuff, you might want to check out the free video lectures at places like Berkeley, MIT, and Yale. Many of them do tend to be a bit fluffy, so you might want to preview before wasting your student's time.

However, if they're fluffy for high school, they might be just the thing for middle school.

 

(But I have really high standards for what makes a non-fluffy class -- for example, I find the Khan Academy to be fairly weak in the lecture dept, although the problem sets in math are good, just so long as you aren't looking for anything beyond algebra. He tends more toward the plug and chug with formulas method rather than actually understanding what's going on.)

 

 

I wouldn't worry about getting all your curriculum for the 260 at Rainbow. Just get what you can there for that amount and fill in with free stuff from other places. The library is a hugely wonderful resource, if you have a good one.

Edited by flyingiguana
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Those Modern Curriculum Press (MCP) math books are pretty cheap, and Rainbow has those. You'll probably want to flesh them out with manipulatives, Khan videos and such. Rotating through a few chapters at a time instead of just plugging through the book will reduce the need to find review elsewhere; once they pass a chapter that concept may not be mentioned again until the next chapter test.

 

That may be the way to go for Dragon. I am thinking c-rods as we have some other things around the house.

 

I've looked into MEP and just could not find my flow with it.

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That may be the way to go for Dragon. I am thinking c-rods as we have some other things around the house.

 

I've looked into MEP and just could not find my flow with it.

 

I found the setup on MEP confusing too. I felt like I had to print more than necessary, I can't read off a screen and ds has a hard time with it too.

 

I think you need to make sure you get some stuff that will be kind of feel good objects, maybe something that's been on your wish list for a while, something you wouldn't normally spend money on.

 

We've had to really stretch our budget this year and it's been harder. Not being able to be comfortable reading off a screen and realizing you can't print what you need would be like an mosquito buzzing around me, annoying and distracting. Sometimes you have to buck up and do what you have to do too, but you should have something you enjoy teaching from as well.

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That might be your mistake; Rainbow Resource has good prices compared to other curriculum vendors but is still more expensive than the library or used curriculum.

:iagree:

I make it a point to shop the end of the year (local) Used Book Fairs. I also buy a year or two in advance. I shop used with Amazon and Homeschool Classifieds. Right now, we are using used textbooks (spine), other materials and I stayed in budget for 11th grade. You do need to plan ahead and set aside $$ if on a budget, but it can be done.

Edited by tex-mex
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:iagree:

I make it a point to shop the end of the year (local) Used Book Fairs. I also buy a year or two in advance. I shop used with Amazon and Homeschool Classifieds. Right now, we are using used textbooks (spine), other materials and I stayed in budget for 11th grade. You do need to plan ahead and set aside $$ if on a budget, but it can be done.

 

But all I have to spend is a hardship donation with them.

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But all I have to spend is a hardship donation with them.

 

Okay, here's where I would start:

 

For history – Either of these would be an acceptable spine for both of your older kids for the next few years. Neither is more than $40 from Rainbow.

Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia: http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/Encyclopedia+of+World+History+Internet-Linked+%28Hardcover%29/000979/658232a083174132d76b5ade?subject=14&category=6321

DK History of the World: http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/History+of+the+World/028389/658232a083174132d76b5ade?subject=14&category=6321

Rainbow also carries the History Scholar/History Scribe CDs I mentioned earlier. For under $16, you’d have notebooking pages for a full four-year history cycle that could be used for both of the older kids.

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/History+Scribe+CD/018086/658232a083174132d76b5ade?subject=2&category=8994

Then, I'd make good use of my local library for supplemental reading, educational DVDs, etc.

For science, I’d go with one of the CK12 texts and whichever of the following kits works best with the topic you choose. Most of them are under $75.

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/048425/658232a083174132d76b5ade'>http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/048425/658232a083174132d76b5ade

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/045291/658232a083174132d76b5ade

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/048425/658232a083174132d76b5ade

http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/048424/658232a083174132d76b5ade

That would take care of both history and science and leave about half of your budget to fill in other subjects.

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Do you have the option to enroll in a homeschool charter program or a program through your district? That is what I would do if money was seriously tight.

 

Otherwise, I would rely on the library as much as possible: textbooks, documentaries, literature, art instruction, music CDs, etc.

 

I understand why you are frustrated! It is hard to keep to a tight budget when there are so many tempting curriculum choices out there.

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