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How do YOU (or did you) homeschool when on a tight budget


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This as a spin off from a current thread on the chat board. The current thread asks if it is possible to homeschool for free or almost free. The overall consensus is it is possible to do low cost (impossible for completely free), but homeschooling well with little funds is USUALLY (but not always) either not practical or the effort to do so can be overwhelming. The other consensus is that USUALLY (again, not always) it is less feasible to homeschool high school at low cost. Of course, parents with higher education, more energy, more time, and free community resources have an easier time pulling off a quality education on a tight budget.

 

So for those that are homeschooling with limited funds, by choice or necessity, or those that have done this for a season, please post your "How To" plan below. Please post only if you actually had to implement a school year on a low budget and how you did that. While theoretical plans on how someone could homeschool on a low budget if they had to is appreciated, I would like this thread to be just advice from people who actually did it or are doing so currently. Please post any curve balls or snags encountered along the way, if you are comfortable sharing that info. It's great to plan to use the public library, but in reality there may be hold ups such as the car breaks down or the library has 10 holds on 1/2 the Sonlight books for the unit in which you scored a cheap IG at Goodwill. Someone mentioned on the other thread another curve ball might be a child has a learning disability that requires a specialized, costly approach to see progress in learning.

 

Writing if you feel your year(s) homeschooling with limited funds was or was not successful in meeting your homeschool goals is a plus!

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I'm sure people will chime in on this topic, as we always do, but if anyone would like to peruse a nearly bottomless list of links to threads where we've discussed it before, you could just do a search. We talk about this a LOT.

 

In your search bar (I use Google), type exactly this:

 

site:welltrainedmind.com "homeschool for free"

 

There are SO many threads. Not trying to be a threadkiller here, just offering a bit more than was asked for. :)

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I try to keep costs low by buying necessary books, including curricula, used (the library where we used to live was great for this, nearly all kids books cost $0.50, or scouring the clearance racks at the local bookstore if money is really tight) and planning early. I'm totally ok with buying books with banged up covers if the interiors are in good shape. (I scored FIAR for a great deal when DD was a kindergartner, and most of the books are things the library has several copies of. We just skipped the ones that they didn't have.) The earlier I get everything planned out, the sooner I can start looking for the books I need, since we like to do literature based schooling here. I typically also try to use free or low-cost curricula (like MEP), or wait for super sales (most curricula providers have sales at the same time each year, so it helps to know which company has a great sale when). I have access to a copier, so it's easy for me to print out online things, so I can use different things in the public domain (like KISS grammar) and just print it out without paying for more than paper. If I didn't, I'd download everything to my cheap little tablet and read it off of that. DD would write out the problems on lined paper. Librivox has been dearly loved for audio books. Planning my own course of study for content subjects helps, too, so I can use the books I have on hand instead of having to go out and buy $300 worth of new books because they are impossible to find used. I ended up using a lot of white-out on the student workbook for LL7 because the first couple of units had been completed, but it was SO much cheaper than buying a whole new book. 

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I did keep all curriculum and book purchases quite low for several elementary school years. The one thing I always purchased was math curriculum; I am not math-inclined and I wanted to do a step-by-step, very clearly understandable curriculum always. I used MUS from almost the very beginning. This was not expensive curriculum, particularly in the early years. It used to be a spiral-bound, very simple set of books called "Introduction to Arithmetic" and so on. I also used Alpha Phonics simple spiral bound book to teach reading to my first two kids. Very cheap and non-consumable. Then I used Bob Books and Pathway readers to comtinue building fluency in reading.

 

Early on, I made my own handwriting sheets for my kids. Later, I found HWT and found this worked much better. I never had my kids write in the workbooks, though. They wrote on copies or on a whiteboard. I used History Odyssey for several years; I obtained many of the books through Paperback Swap. By doing this, I only had to buy the schedule and perhaps a couple of books if I couldn't find them through PBS.

 

I have not experienced great success following any literature-based planned curriculum with library books. The needed books are being borrowed by all the other classical schoolers at the same time, lol. The one way you might circumvent this is to stagger your plan so it doesn't fall the typical way; if you are starting an era in September, those books are bound to be reserved. And if you want to read The Thanksgiving Story any time in November, just forget about using library books! ;) having said that, I am using Winter Promise for the first time this year, and there was NO WAY I was buying several hundred dollars worth of books, so I am using the library, and I was able to get Mr. Lincoln's High Tech War. Probably, WP is not as heavily used and the books are not as in demand.

 

One thing I have been trying to think of is a way I can feasibly do some music with DS10 without doing costly (time and money) lessons. I'm just *so over* music lessons. I could do some piano with him; I play, but I am no great teacher of music and I am so short on patience by the time we have finished the rest of our schooling. I really just don't wanna. I don't know what I could do that would be truly legit, but doesn't require 1) me writing a check; 2) me driving somewhere else; and/or 3) me sitting at the piano for another half hour when I've already spent hours sitting next to DS for everything else. Blah.

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We homeschooled on a very small budget from kindergarten until high school started. We used SOTW; Miquon; Reading Reflex from the library; I made our own handwriting sheets; Geography Songs and maps all over the house; LoF starting in 5th grade; Lively Latin; Singapore Math; so many audiobooks, ebooks, and library books for history, literature, and art; Growing with Grammar from 3rd-8th grades; BBC Spanish and French stuff; online chemistry and biology stuff; online and homemade geography games; online logic stuff; WWS 1-3 as beta testers; and online spelling stuff. I think that's everything. It was less than $150/year for both boys (with the one exception mentioned below) which was easily made up for by what I didn't spend on school clothes and supplies. We just spent that on the bare minimum of school clothes, shoes, and supplies for ds in second grade this year.

 

The most expensive thing, and it was hugely expensive for us, that I ever bought during those years were the OUP middle school history books. They were well worth the money but it was a big deal to spend that much money on anything. I love those books.

 

Our biggest curve ball for those years was the moving, but that's also why we homeschooled. Homeschooling gives you educational continuity even when you're in three different countries during high school. But the moving means that we have never had a real-life homeschooling community to rely on for support and that made a bigger difference when we didn't have much money. Another problem was that we didn't have a public library for three of those years. We got by without one when my boys were little, but when they were in middle school, it was a challenge to be without a library, especially the year when we barely had Internet access. That was not a sustainable homeschooling system, especially given the constraints on my time since we didn't have a car or a lot of basic amenities in the house we were living in so I'm glad it just lasted one school year.

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So, we took a 55% pay cut during our second year of homeschooling. Prior to that, I'd worked FT and my husband and I were off shifted with some very PT childcare help. This took us from a pretty high income to a modest one in a HCOL area. My older son has ASD and significant educational needs.

 

Things that we have done to make it work over the last 3 plus years:

 

-using online resources and free printable from various sources.

 

-using our public library. A lot. For printing, for books, for free classes and plays, for free journal and online database access, for free online language classes, for a place to study, for free passes to museums and stuff. Seriously, we have the best libraries here (not that that helps everyone, but do check and see what your library offers. I had no clue for instance that I could print free musuem tickets once a week from their website!) Yes, not every book we want is available when we want it. But we can for instance, get several books on whatever topic we are doing a unit study on, even if it's not the title listed in the SOTW AG. This also teaches valuable skills. I give him the topic, he finds a number of related materials and then must assess if the book is the right level for him, covers the subtopics he is interested in and if it is a quality book. He might pull 8 titles but he decides to check out 3, stuff like that. Not being attached to a set booklist is crucial for using the library.

 

-not being afraid or ashamed to ask for financial assistance for some things. One set of enrichment classes we use to pay $250/class for waives that entire fee because we fill out a short financial assistance application every term that shows that we fall into the reduced lunch bracket for our family size (<45K for a family of 4). They get funding for student like him so that there is socioeconomic diversity in these classes. He usually does 6-7 of these classes a year (2-3 per trimester during the school year). The Y also reduces our fee for homeschool PE and stuff like that. It wasn't easy for me to do this- I was used to being the one donating to scholarship funds, not the one benefiting. I volunteer what I can and I also know that this is a season of life- my husband works PT (.8FTE) so he can slog through a long, advanced education. When he graduates, we will pay it forwards.

 

-if you live where there is a cable internet option, you are almost certainly in a coverage area for Internet Essentials. This gives families who would qualify for free or reduced lunch (so less than $45k for a family of 4) access to $10/ month high speed internet access.

 

-buying used and reselling anything that will get me back more than a couple of dollars. I limit my purchases to things I can't use for free or need to keep longer than the library would need it. And I try to buy only things that will hold their value. For example, I bought Minimus used and resold it used. It was essentially a private rental program since I recouped my entire purchase price.

 

-if I am at a library sale and I see a nice bit of homeschooling material I know has resale value but that we do not need, I have occasionally bought and resold it at a small profit or traded it with someone. That is then money I have to use to buy what we need. The $3 bag sale at the library and the bag sale the last day of the elite private school rummage sale are great, mostly for restocking our library but also for a little capitalism. ;)

 

-registering for, and using on the PT basis a public school affiliated program for homeschoolers. This means free classes like art, robotics, theater, guitar etc, access to a curriculum library with many good things (I have for example, the grade one Oak Meadow set checked out and can keep it all year) and a small sum to request curriculum that remains property of the program. I use that money almost entirely for expensive spelling bee prep materials.

 

-When we get our tax refund after filing with TurboTax, we usually elect to receive our annual book and supply budget in Amazon credit which is 5% more than the part of the refund allocated to that. Then I have an Amazon credit to use that doesn't expire and I can apply towards many used books and supplies. It's not much extra, but it helps.

 

-I pay Quizlet $15 a year and we use the heck out of that app for my son to generate his own personalized spelling and exam questions.

 

The last thing I will say is that education ranks pretty high on our list of priorities. Food, housing and healthcare are the only things that trump educational activities. Even with all that we do to save money, I will still find money when needed for things we can't get done otherwise. For example, even with a merit and need scholarship, my son's summer robotics challenge was still $$$ for us OOP.

 

We are very fortunate that we live in an area with many community activities, great libraries and non-invasive options for homeschool support that is publicly funded. We are really fortunate that their music teacher is the mom of one of my oldest and best friends and she lets me pay her in fits and spurts as we can at a below market rate. We are also fortunate that we are a two parent family and that we came into this without debt and with low monthly living expenses. If we had high housing costs or lacked some of the resources I've listed here, it would be pretty hard for us to educate them the way that we want.

 

ETA- I would say we are on a budget and that we have high goals/high standards of what we want to provide for the boys. It's not a tiny budget but it's a lot of value for the dollars we do spend.

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I planned way out I advance and hoarded when I knew a paycut was imminent. I made a plan, a back up plan and an all hell has broken loose plan. And I bought everything for all of them. [Obviously I know that was a lucky thing to be able to do and all fingers and toes are crossed at all times for no natural disaster to carry everything away, but that *is* how I handled being faced with limited resources!]

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Back in the 90's, most of us homeschooled on $100.00 a year. No internet. No home printers. No ebooks.

 

But most of us were not trying to emulate a PS in a high COL suburb.

 

You can educate on less than $100.00 a year, but you cannot accomplish upward mobility.

 

You need to take stock of YOUR strengths, and YOUR community's resources, and focus on preparing your children to thrive in their current environment.

 

With just your community's resources and your background and no money, most people will fail at trying to prepare students for an alien environment.

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I have homeschooled, self-educated, and tutored in a variety of challenging situations. Each situation has been different.

 

Currently, I am pretty challenged. Sometimes when the challenges are greatest, academics need to take a back seat to life. Life is short. Academics is only a part of life.

 

Sometimes academics keep you sane when in chaos. I have one tutoring student that is 2E and has many challenges, but has become quite the unschooler. She refers to learning as self-soothing and is proud to tell all her doctors how she has reduced her hospitalizations.

 

She has a Kindle hooked up to my accounts. I can take ebooks out of the library, send them to the Kindle, and all she has to do is get to a hotspot to download them. Sometimes she is in another state when we do this. She is one mobile young lady. :lol:

 

I have no home WiFi right now, and I have to pick out the books and transfer everything just on my phone. But it is possible and we do it.

 

Sometimes she squeals as she sees the book appear on her Kindle. It is worth it.

 

We always seem to have SOMETHING available in our environment. Sometimes we have to settle for what we have and be satisfied with that.

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Early years  (K to about 4th or 5th grade) - 

 

Made do with only one car.  Dh used it 80% of the time.  I used it for shopping on the weekend.  If I needed the car for something I had to get the sleeping kids up, carry them to the car, drive dh to work, drop him off and then go home.

 

We recycled a lot.  We used paper we got for free from businesses that were throwing it out.  I had tubs of art and science stuff.  

 

We did free field trips to parks and free museum days etc.

 

We schooled from the library.  We bought no textbooks except for math in the early years.  We did history, art, science, literature, reading etc. from the library.  Later I discovered that the library had the Life of Fred books so we did math from the library as well.

 

I spent a lot of time in thrift stores.  I got great books there as well as puzzles and games.

 

In later elementary years when I started to buy some textbooks, I bought most of them at a homeschool consignment shop.  (This isn't all that cheap, btw.)

 

 

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I have already said how we're doing it this year in the other thread, but to go further, one of the best things I learned was not to rely on a textbook if I don't have to.  A textbook is very limiting in most subjects.  It creates the work for just one year, but leaves you looking the rest of the time.  I own them, but I prefer to build using them as resources.  This year, two of the freebies I found were science texts.  One being an actual second grade textbook, the other the workbook to go with the first grade textbook in the same series.  After looking them both over I realized they followed the same scope & sequence, the second grade one going just a little deeper than the first.  Well, then.  Okay. Each week I mark whatever lesson corresponds to what we're doing in the 2nd grade book.  I look it over, highlight words, and then build a lesson using all the resources we have. 

When we started out, the only thing I had was a Saxon 5/4 kit.  LOL  and that didn't work for us at all.  It was torturous.  The rest of the subjects I broke down by what I wanted to cover that year...then that month...then that week...creating my own scope and sequence and praying our podunk library had something.  If not, well, we were going to create our own lesson, weren't we?  Saxon fell to the wayside when I simply looked at the sequence and created our own math until I could save up for something different.

 

 

I make my own gap curriculum.  I make unit studies that bring in primary sources, I make grammar pages, I make math...I've lived in some wacky places where I can't rely on internet (including a few weeks out in the woods)  I like to be able to pick up and go, cheaply.  I can't always print, nor do I want to, but I have Notability on my Ipad and a stylus, and both suffice for even the littlest to use. 

 

We notebook, but not every day.  Notebooks are reserved for one lesson a week, after a lesson is learned thoroughly.  In the meantime we use whiteboards or chalkboards, easy to erase mistakes and try again.  I keep in mind the whole child when I design a lesson - feeding his brain, eyes, ears, hands...giving him many opportunities to apply the material as he learns.

 

We take advantage of all the FREE our area has to offer.  Free museum days, free use of art supplies, free field trips....I combine our days so that we don't use more than one tank of gas every two weeks.  It costs nothing to use our legs, so we take a lot of walks and do nature study.

 

If I buy, it is a reusable resource.  Something we can continue to go back to at different points in our lives.  A kindergarten book does me no good.  A book I buy for a kindergartener that enchants a teen is worth it.  I bought a copy of Anno's Math Games for $1.  The book has been read so many times it's not even funny. 

 

 

To me, homeschooling for cheap/free is an opportunity to be creative. :D  Who doesn't want that?

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I have one in college and one 11th grader, but we had to do very low cost for a number of years when they were young. Our situation improved over time, but I'm still very careful even though I have more to work with now.

 

It is NOT a bad thing to have to think about your choices and purchases. When you have to make a curriculum work all year with no option to buy another, you're more thoughtful about it.

 

I used Sonlight for PK-6th grade for literature and history because I was able to buy older cores used and get most of the books used, at the library, or borrowed from friends. I used the same core for both and supplemented with library books upward and downward as appropriate. Most years this cost me under $100 for both children which I usually covered by selling the previous year's books.

 

We did just informal nature studies when they were young including a lot of no-cost or low-cost field trips. When they got older, I bought used copies of BJUP science that I used for both.

 

I bought curriculum year-round, mostly used or seconds. We used Christian Light for math, and I bought seconds from them most of the way. 

 

Which brings up an important point for us. I was very aggressive about reselling books. I kept a few favorites, but I kept things moving. That financed new books. I was also aggressive about reselling their clothes and toys at local consignment sales and on eBay. I'm on several local homeschool lists and have bought-and-sold there.

 

As they got older, I began teaching local paid classes, first in science and later in other areas. That paid for their extras and gave them some classroom experience. Out of that we started a history club with a few families, and did other free or low-cost activities. When I found a local group that was beyond our budget, I also taught there, and that paid for the fees, gas, and some curriculum.

 

I also bartered for activities. For some years I bartered with our piano teacher, an older single lady, by bring her several frozen meals each week. I just made extra portions for our dinner, and brought them frozen in small containers. She charged us $5/lesson in an area where conservatory-trained teachers charge at least $25. For martial arts, I managed his website and helped him with his email list for a discount. As mine got older and began teaching, he reduced it further.  Because my teaching and website work has expanded over the years, I'm currently bartering for high school math and have negotiated discounts on other outside classes in exchange for work.

 

A lot of variables, but you can do a lot if you're creative about it.

 

I have a local friend who even took it to the next level, largely homeschooling with public school discards, the library, and borrowed curriculum. Some years she homeschooled six children for $100. She also is very aggressive about gleaning from local farms, getting food from local groceries stores/restaurants that was going to be thrown out, and gardening. She did home daycare and afterschool care, and cleaned offices at night to keep their finances going because her ex wasn't reliable on child support. Some of hers have graduated, and they each went to college with full scholarships.

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Some ideas:

 

1.  We use the library for most of our literature, science and history books.

2.  For science, I email links from Youtube clips/documentaries to my junior high-aged kids.  

3.  We've started using a lot of used textbooks in the past year or so...Lial's Algebra was 88 cents on Amazon.  I bought used copies of Holt Biology and Campbell/Reece Biology - both for about 5 bucks.  I think our German textbook was something like $1.99 before shipping on Amazon.

4.  When I do buy a book, I usually look for used copies first.  This doesn't work for paperbacks or cheap books...but if you're buying something expensive, you can usually find a much cheaper used version.

5.  When I buy curriculum, I also look first at a homeschool consignment store in our area.

6.  For record-keeping, I'm using Microsoft One-Note...so I'm not dropping 30 bucks on a big planner every year.  Each kid has a notebook.  If my 13 yro writes a paper, she doesn't even have to print it out...we can just revise it, save it and paste it into her One Note notebook.

7.  Having all of my kids on the same science cycle is saving money this year.  We did a snail lab yesterday, so *everybody* did the snail lab.  I don't have to buy stuff this year for biology and then buy stuff next year for it, too.

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I planned way out I advance and hoarded when I knew a paycut was imminent. I made a plan, a back up plan and an all hell has broken loose plan. And I bought everything for all of them. [Obviously I know that was a lucky thing to be able to do and all fingers and toes are crossed at all times for no natural disaster to carry everything away, but that *is* how I handled being faced with limited resources!]

 

I actually thought about doing this, too.

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I have ranged from spending little to a very generous(by my standards). This year we are a bit in the middle, we are spending significantly more on extra-curricula(art and activities have been the biggest and I'm happy to have the funds to do so) but our school books have been reasonable; dd2- 5yo- $10; dd2- $100(the biggest chunk activity science and WP unit studies- some I could have done on my own but I wasn't feeling good at the time and thought haven't it pre-planned would be a lifesaver). Ds about $250, half of that math, my nemesis, it seems the best programs for him are the most expensive(first RS now BA and moving onto JA). Perhaps around $350 for everyone so far, a chunk in the last few months but some things bought up to a year ago, so it helps to spread it out. I'll be buying more throughout the year, it is a combo of vintage, library, and re-using so we can afford to use some of our favored more expensive curricula by cutting in areas that I find stuff that we are more than happy to use that is free or cheap.

 

Things we have done/do to save money:

 

1) vintage texts- dd1 is using 2 vintage texts this year by choice, there is a lot of good stuff out there, of course you have to wade through plenty of bad, also we invested in a used iPad last year as a Christmas present for everyoen and it has greatly enhanced our ability to use vintage and PDFs. Ds' main science this year is Bite-Size Physics, the pdf cost me $6 on sell, it is supplemented from books and videos from the library, coursera stuff, youtube, etc. 

 

2) hand-me downs- dd5y's books cost me nearly nothing this year, only thing I bought for her was a lab annotations that I had stupidly donated. For dd1 a lot of stuff I used with ds didn't work but I sold the stuff and bought stuff that did

 

3)reuse consummables- I make/made copies of lots of stuff(I have a printer that copies black very cheaply- and I did have a stash of free paper(which was used on one side) that lasted us over a year) we've also used the white board, notebooks or orally did work to keep from using books. These days I don't usually reuse workbooks because things aren't that tight but I have went to buying some workbooks PDFs so I can just print/reprint as needed or use notability.

 

4)heavy use of the library- ours doesn't always have what I need but quite often I can find books I want and ILL them, it just requires a bit of planning

 

5)buying used- I always buy used if I can find it, from hs books to books for our home library- the majority has been stocked from Goodwill for 30c-50c, or $4 from Amazon.

 

6)we are doing plenty of paid activities now but we started with free or very cheap activities in the community, we love to visit parks and museums which are usually free and hit educational performances for the cheap entrance fees

 

There is also a homeschool library that has opened up in our area, which although it doesn't usually have my preferred materials I would use that for my basics if I had to.

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One of the best pieces of homeschooling advice I've ever received (probably from someone on this board -- thank you!!) was to spend more money on the subjects that you (the teacher) do not like as much/are not good at.

 

And so, most of my money goes to high school math and science.

 

My budget is not as tight as others', but I do need to teach 6 kids on it.  We are working through high school for the first time, so these are probably going to be my most expensive homeschooling years.

 

Because I do have 6 children, I am more willing to spend extra $ on some of the resources I want; I figure that it is not really that expensive when you realize that you will be using it many times.

 

Also, this year I purchased some extras (Art of Argument, for example), that if the budget had been tighter we would have just skipped.

 

I shop ahead, so if I see a book on ebay that I know we will use in the future, I will buy it if it is cheap.  Even if we won't use it for 3 years.  Also, I do not buy all the pieces for all of the curriculum, especially in the elementary years.  In fact, I'm not sure that I have any teacher's editions of anything, with the exception of Saxon solutions manuals for high school level classes.

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Usually when we are at our most broke, there are other challenging things going on besides not having a book budget.

 

This last crisis gave me a distaste for a literature and nature study heavy curriculum. I remember this happening once before in the early 2000's when we chose to do a radical Climbing Parnassus type education of mostly Calculus, Latin, and Greek. We were so broke, that I remember washing clothes in the bathtub with my feet, while dressed in a winter jacket, and prereading the Calculus text for the upcoming lesson.

 

After a recent betrayal or move away from people or something like that, I just want to study and teach skills and topics we don't interact with in daily life. This time I have been drawn to the study of chemistry.

 

Reading literature and even doing nature study, instead of being grounding and comforting, is overwhelming. It starts flashbacks and brings to my attention everything that is gone and wrong. What should be fun and easy puts my brain on fire.

 

Intense study of a textbook chapter can be distracting, though, right now.

 

Even if you don't know why you are drawn or repulsed by certain resources, it doesn't mean you don't have a good reason. Even something that worked in the past for YOU when low income, might not work later on.

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I have realized this year, that using the TWTM rotations for the content subjects and arts can work well on a very low income. Even if the resources you have access to vary widely year to year, you can still stay on track.

 

This year I decided to commit to a year 3, chemistry and early modern history. The resources for this rotation are plentiful for me this year. I think, for SOME people starting with year 3 makes it easier and more affordable to try and do it "right", but "right has been a bit overwhelming, even when I have the books and use them behind.

 

I am finding that sticking to the TOPICS of a year 3 rotation IS working though. I don't have to worry about any topics not covered in year 3. I have a nice defined and manageable group of topics. And I know which big topics are coming next, even if I don't know the subtopics or what I will use to teach them. I just trust I will have SOMETHING for physics and modern history next year. And I'll worry about it then.

 

If I separate rigor and doing it "right", from the TWTM rotation of topics, I'm finding the rotations very helpful.

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I'm sure people will chime in on this topic, as we always do, but if anyone would like to peruse a nearly bottomless list of links to threads where we've discussed it before, you could just do a search. We talk about this a LOT.

 

In your search bar (I use Google), type exactly this:

 

site:welltrainedmind.com "homeschool for free"

 

There are SO many threads. Not trying to be a threadkiller here, just offering a bit more than was asked for. :)

 

 

And I hope you don't consider the threads which list Easy Peasy, Mr. Q LS, Treasures, MEP, and KISS over and over to be an answer to this question.

 

I mean, sure, those cover lots of subjects. If your homeschool philosophy involves covering subjects in a "normal" manner, great. If you have the time to individually teach MEP, great. And hopefully none of them are a very poor fit for your kid, because you don't really have the option to "buy" something different.

 

Sorry, I'm on some FB homeschool groups, and every single time someone asks "how can I homeschool for cheap?" Someone always says, "Oh that's EASY. Just use EASY PEASY." It's making me really mad.

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We used the library and field trips. Camp Fire and 4-H projects counted as part of our curriculum, as did Highland dance. I taught dd to read with Spalding, which required only the manual and a set of flash cards. We picked up cute little math-y and other workbooks at ToysRUs and teacher supply stores. We bought random textbooks as needed, never a whole box of them. No copies, no co-ops.

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Ditto the others who have said they only have one car. It isn't always fun, but it's the most significant way to cut your budget down I've found. We've been a one-car family for 8 years now and while it can be a pain every once in a while, it's just become our normal at this point. 

 

Additionally, we are holding off on certain classes and lessons we would otherwise love to do. (We can afford gymnastics right now because our girls love that, but are holding off on music lessons for a year or two. Wish we could do both, but we can't right now, financially.) I find that classes/extracurriculars eat up a ton of money, so that's a good place to cut. 

 

And, as everyone else has said--LIBRARY!

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Is there something wrong with Easy Peasy (besides that the name is silly)? I have been using it. My oldest is 6 if it matters. I am overwhelmed with trying to piece together a curriculum on my own from the 50 million options out there, many of which are referred to by ititials on here when I have no idea what people are talking about.

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My girlfriend chose a curriculum and stuck with it. She bought mostly used and sold everything at the end of the year to supply money for the next year's curriculum. She went in with friends to save on shipping when she had to buy new. When she decided her family's homeschooling days were behind them, she didn't have bins and boxes and shelves to unload, just one years' worth of books and texts. Keeping stuff would have been justified, since she has four evenly spaced boys of similar learning strengths and styles, but she needed the money each year.

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You can educate on less than $100.00 a year, but you cannot accomplish upward mobility.

 

 

 

I think this is true. But it is not acceptable to me. I'm not saying I want my children to have more money than God, but I do want to finally break the generational poverty.

 

And more than that, break the generational antipathy to education and intellectual pursuit.

 

"Giving my children the classical education I never had" is not a statement of nostalgia, but a statement of the incredible lack of expertise I labor under. With funds I can buy the expertise (SWB, RR, et. al.) and offer my children something greater than my own limitations.

 

And yes, there is self-education. But that also costs money. Buying WTM costed money. I've read WEM from the library, but not bought it, because money. There are lots of little examples of this.

 

And I'm about to move to place where the library and thrift stores are smaller/non-existent and there's a minimal market for used homeschool material, classical or not. So making up the small dollars with greater value is not going to be really possible. It is freaking me out a little.

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Is there something wrong with Easy Peasy (besides that the name is silly)? I have been using it. My oldest is 6 if it matters. I am overwhelmed with trying to piece together a curriculum on my own from the 50 million options out there, many of which are referred to by ititials on here when I have no idea what people are talking about.

 

 

It does not meet my educational goals.

 

It is not the right curriculum for every child.

 

 

My frustration is largely with people who have never used any of the "free" curriculum they link to for others thinking that their mere existence proves that money is no obstacle to quality education.

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When my oldest was learning to read, DH was working on his master's so we had no money for an expensive phonics program.  I taught her with homemade flashcards (index cards cut in 1/2) and McGuffey Readers (that I printed from Guterberg.org).  We added ETC for 1st grade.  I did read parts of The Writing Road to Reading, so I guess that was my only "splurge".  In the end, I liked this method so much that I've invested in hard copies of McGuffey Readers and only added a phonics workbook to introduce letter sounds (My younger DC have used either ETC primers or MCP K for this).  My DC are all reading very well with our mostly free phonics program.   ;)

 

Aside from that, I use mostly materials I can re-use with my younger children or materials that we can use for a variety of years.  As I'm considering new curriculum, this is a big consideration for me.  SCM's Laying Down the Rails for Children was a $50 investment, but we'll be using it as long as they are in school.  When you factor how many children will be using it for how many years, it comes out to a very small expense for a character program.  I've switched to ELTL and Spelling Wisdom for our LA program.  Both of which are one-time investments.  All of the ELTL literature books are public domain so I could get them all on my Kindle for no (or little) cost.  I've found it to be a very solid program so far, and while there is a bit of cost up front, it's a relatively inexpensive program.  Most of our curriculum is similarly chosen.  I have built a decent library over the years keeping these factors in mind...I could teach all of my DC elementary science or history without spending a dime.  We haven't spend much on fine arts in awhile, except for the occasional used book I pick up.

 

For our music studies, we use a set of classical CDs my mom has given us (I think she bought them at the grocery store years ago).  In addition to this, I use an old 1950s Childcraft Encyclopedia which has wonderful, living biographies of various composers.  Since my mom bought me the encyclopedia set, I haven't invested any money in our music program, yet I feel it's very rich.   If we choose to do different composers, I'll probably use the materials at AO.  For Folksongs, we are using Youtube and AO's schedule.  Our Picture Studies and poetry are included with ELTL's books.  For nature study, we use the Handbook of Nature Study, which is in the public domain, but I've invested in a hard copy of this.  I feel like we have very good enrichment studies and most of the materials we use were inexpensive or free.  The one downside is that I have purchased (or downloaded) some materials that I didn't care for.  However, I've also figured out what works for us and now spend very little from year-to-year on our enrichment subjects.

 

This year I am using several public domain books as well.  We are using Paper Sloyd for Primary Years and Lessons In Practical and Experimental Geometry.  I have both books printed and placed in a 3-prong folder.  I was a bit intimidated by using old British math books, but I've found them fairly easy to work with...especially the Paper Sloyd.  I added some inexpensive scapbook papers and my DC have a fun art/math program to do once a week!  Youtube has been another great resource that we've used to enrich many of our subjects.  There are so many great science, music, art, and handicraft videos for free. 

 

One area I have splurged on is good books.  I try to buy them used, but that only saves us some.  I've found it difficult to keep renewing books from the library since they are often put on hold.  As my DC get older, they go through their assigned books slower and can spend a couple months working through a long chapter book.  For that reason, I often only put picture books on hold.  Another issue is that it's more difficult to find Christian books at the library and that makes a large part of our planned history readings.  I also enjoy having a large home library, so I see it as money well spent.  The upside to this is that if we had a non-existent school budget in the future, I could probably get by without any new books.  

 

In short, the main downside I've found to working with free materials is the time it's taken me to search them out.  I've wasted money (even inexpensive programs can add up).  I've also downloaded free materials that didn't work for us (or weren't very good to start with).  I've worked with many materials that were given to us and some of these have turned out to be real gems...many more ended up at the local thrift store.  Experience has also helped a lot...I find myself picking "duds" much less than I did when we first started HSing.  I think a big part of it is figuring out what works for your family.       

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We had no real out of pocket budget this year but we homeschool through a charter school. Basically my kids are independent study students through the public charter school. We get instructional funds. So this year I budgeted the funds to cover all our curriculum, office supplies, and extra curricular activities they'd be doing.

 

Not really the same thing as what you're looking for, but honestly, if it's an option where you live you might want to try it. It provides for a far bigger budget than we would have.

 

On the other hand, I have thought about how we could make it work on less out of pocket if for some reason we decide the charter option won't work for us. We also homeschooled independently our first year, so that year, starting out everything was out of pocket.

 

Some ideas-

Get whatever you will only use 6 weeks or less from the library

Use what you already have (lots of homeschoolers have curriculum on the shelf they haven't used

Internet resources and net flicks --- lots of online curriculum now

Buy used----I have been able get stuff for 50% off

Buy what you need as you need it so you spread out the spending (maybe purchase quarterly)

Find inexpensive or free extra curricular activities--- our YMCA has a free sports class, AWANA and American Heritage Girls are very low cost. I joined a local homeschool group that has a park day (free) and field trips that usually free to under $20 to attend on weekly basis

 

You might also be able to check out curriculum from you local ps. It might not be what you would have picked but it could work with supplements from the internet and library.

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You can educate on less than $100.00 a year, but you cannot accomplish upward mobility.

 

You need to take stock of YOUR strengths, and YOUR community's resources, and focus on preparing your children to thrive in their current environment.

 

With just your community's resources and your background and no money, most people will fail at trying to prepare students for an alien environment.

 I am middle class in thinking and upbringing and education so I'm trying to maintain the status quo in mobility but on a tight budget.  I suppose you could say that the education and the trappings of a middle class thinking is part of my personal resources that I bring to the table.    Also I've been trained as a teacher, which means nothing for homeschooling as far as all the classroom management stuff goes, but a lot as far as being able to present ideas and to know what resources might work to teach what concepts.  And I am very very fortunate to live in a county with a lot of really good free resources - many within walking or biking distance.  And I've been fortunate that even in our one car only times, we've had a car that I could use even if it was just on weekends and we had the gas money.  And that we have bicycles.  And that I'm close enough to higher class areas where I've been able to benefit a lot from their garage sales.  You wouldn't believe some of the nice things we've found at nicer area garage sales, totally unused, in boxes, sometimes marked free or for very little.  

 

I think that we need to define what it means to educate on $100. a year.  Does that mean just the "school stuff"?  Or does it  mean the other stuff that kids learn from outside of school.  We've scrimped and saved a lot but we've never been food insecure or shelter insecure.  So having those extras meant that I could teach simple geometry by having the kids get boxes (rectangular prisms) and cans (cylinders) from the pantry and we could look for cones and spheres and cubes in our home as well because we have a fair amount of stuff here even when I haven't had much to budget for "school supplies".    And we had games and books in our lives and home that weren't specifially "school" but are still educationally enriching (like Monopoly).  I think there will be differences like that in what different people mean when talking about low cost homeschooling.  

 

I have found it harder to homeschool with a low(er) budget as the kids have gotten older.  I do use a lot of YouTube but that assumes that you have a computer to begin with.  I suppose you could do some of that at the library with headphones but we haven't had to.  I could totally homeschool the humanities with nothing but the library in the middle and high school years but that relies not only on all the classics and even the Teaching Company DVDs that they have there, but also my own mental bank of knowledge.  I have the mental bank of knowledge in elementary and middle school math and sciences but not for high school.  I did just get the "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments" (it's on the table next to me) from the library but it assumes that you can buy equipment from somewhere like Home Science Tools (and I do).  

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Is there something wrong with Easy Peasy (besides that the name is silly)? I have been using it. My oldest is 6 if it matters. I am overwhelmed with trying to piece together a curriculum on my own from the 50 million options out there, many of which are referred to by ititials on here when I have no idea what people are talking about.

 

With a little 6yo person, all you need is something to teach her how to read, something to teach her how to write (as in actual penmanship), and something for arithmetic. Everything else can be accomplished with the library and stuff. :-)

 

If you like EasyPeasy, and your dc is learning, then of course there's nothing wrong with it.

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Ugh, a bad couple of years for us.  DH lost his job, and our only other income failed abruptly.  The perfect storm.

 

1.  Started a HELOC just in case during the period between the layoff notice and the end of his employment.

2.  Thankfully DD could read already.  Focussed on her reading aloud to me, on my reading aloud to her, and talking about what we read, a lot.  

3.  Signed up for an email list where people posted field trips, like $4 tickets to a $60 event.  I was very selective about those, but every once in a while I would pick one, usually a play or science experiment focus.  I generally bought extra tickets and took others along--I wanted to give back to my community, and they also took DD to things.  And I did full days.  So, for instance, when we got tickets to a science museum program an hour away, I took two other kids, and I brought my knitting.  We spent the whole day there, and then I escorted them around the city as well.  They had a phenomenal time and all it cost me was $12 plus gas.  
4.  Avoided science CLASSES, which are pricey.  Did a lot of research to find free nature studies events locally.  Also used curricula that I already had to teach hard science.

5.  Asked for and received a full scholarship for her choral group.  

6.  Didn't start anything new in extra curriculars.

7.  Hosted playdates that were low key/low cost at our house.  Socialization does not have to be expensive or facility- or activity-oriented.

8.  Saved money very pointedly on home expenses like food and clothing.

9.  Shopped my own library for ideas for unique homeschooling activities.  Made our own Christmas presents and Valentines.  Planted some veggies.  

10.  Scrounged.

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And I hope you don't consider the threads which list Easy Peasy, Mr. Q LS, Treasures, MEP, and KISS over and over to be an answer to this question.

 

I mean, sure, those cover lots of subjects. If your homeschool philosophy involves covering subjects in a "normal" manner, great. If you have the time to individually teach MEP, great. And hopefully none of them are a very poor fit for your kid, because you don't really have the option to "buy" something different.

 

Sorry, I'm on some FB homeschool groups, and every single time someone asks "how can I homeschool for cheap?" Someone always says, "Oh that's EASY. Just use EASY PEASY." It's making me really mad.

 

 

It does not meet my educational goals.

 

It is not the right curriculum for every child.

 

 

My frustration is largely with people who have never used any of the "free" curriculum they link to for others thinking that their mere existence proves that money is no obstacle to quality education.

 

 

Why do I feel like you're trying to attack me for sharing the advice to Google-search the forum for more discussion on the topic?

 

Of course, I don't endorse every post of every thread on frugal hs'ing that one might find here on the forums. I'm just letting people know that endless discussion exists, if they care to sift through it. I'm very old-school in that I think parents should read for themselves and choose the advice that applies to their own situation. In amongst the offerings with which I do not agree are my very own posts on how I have homeschooled for cheap-to-free, but I couldn't possibly know whether my posts or someone else's would apply to all the random people reading along here. That's their end of the business. Sharing resources is my end.

 

As to the second quoted post ^^^ I do not use top-of-the-line curriculum, myself, while pointing impoverished persons toward Easy Peasy or Walmart math workbooks. Like you, I disagree with that approach. If I'm going to take the time to spell out how to do this on the cheap (as I have, in probably two dozen threads here over the years), I'm going to share the methods and materials that I personally do use and endorse.

 

I hope this makes you feel better about my post.

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But, really, the biggest thing for us was staying home and doing school with cheap, used books.  And not buying all the electrical gadgets and related paraphernalia.   

 

And, yes, I feel like we more than met our hs goals.  My goals were to educate my kids while allowing them the free time at home to pursue their own interests and that's what I did.  It can be done and done well without going broke.  :)    

 

:iagree: :iagree:

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I try to keep curriculum costs down to have money for the extras.

 

Math – MEP.  I print two sets of student worksheets, selected copymasters, and one set of lesson plans each year (I save the lesson plans and reuse with ds2).  Ds1 has completed reception through year 4 and is doing well with year 5. Ds2 is currently working through year 3.  I do not use MEP because it is free.  I use MEP because of the way it makes my children think about math.  The only thing I’ve seen in other programs that is not in MEP is color.  A set of colored pencils takes care of that.

 

Language Arts – I tried adapting a vintage program into a workbook format for ds1 when he was in first grade with mixed results. If I really had to, I think I could make a vintage program work, but this is an area where I spend.  One year I was able to get damaged copies of Language Smarts for half-price.  The damage was superficial.  We have been using the Galore Park Junior English series as one of our resources.  These texts are non-consumable; Ds2 uses each book two years after his brother. We use library books for reading and literature.   [Just to note: one year I purchased a very expensive language arts curriculum.  It did not fit our needs any better than the free vintage programs did.]

 

History – I used A Child’s History of the World as a spine for 3 years.  I supplemented with library books.  If a desired book wasn’t available, we read something else.  I am finding with our second history cycle that the individual titles are more important.  We are reading fewer, but longer works this time around.  So far, I have been able to juggle our readings on those occasions that a desired resource has been delayed. 

 

Geography – The Complete Book of Maps and Geography is inexpensive.  We used parts of it for ds1’s 1st through 3rd grade years (he likes this style of resource).  This year I purchased an ancient civilizations map workbook in e-book format. I was able to print two copies for less than I would have had to pay for one printed workbook. 

 

Science – early elementary was easily covered using library books and free online resources.  I do buy in this area since my children love science and have deeper interests than our public library supports.  Ellen McHenry materials work well for my children.  Otherwise, trade books have worked better than curriculum for us. 

 

Civics – We use a lot library and free online materials.  I do not like The Complete Book of Presidents and State as much as I like the Maps and Geo book, but it is an inexpensive option if a workbook is needed.  We are getting two year’s study out of it. We could get three, but I do not plan to require completion of the states section. 

 

Foreign language – free options did not fit our needs.  We buy these. 

 

Health – unit studies using library and free online resources.  We tried a workbook one year. My children hated it.

 

Art – For several years, I used the ‘visual arts,’ section of What Your … Grader Needs to Know (borrowed from the library) and added related projects.  This year we are trying Arttango.  The cost is in the materials.  I buy art supplies on sale or with JoAnn/Michaels coupons.  Our projects are basic.  For example, my children like to paint.  I buy large bottles of red, blue, yellow, black, and white poster paint.  Blobs of paint are dispensed onto plastic plates.  If the children want other colors they mix them themselves.     

 

Music – Classics for Kids is free online.  So are Classical KSUC’s Creative Kids Central (Hansel and Gretel, Brahms in 1890’s Vienna, and Scheherazade) and Carnegie Hall’s interactive version of Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.  There are also some really good classes available on Coursera as well.   We’ve also taken advantage of free local performances and low price tickets to educational symphony orchestra concerts.

 

Where I spend money:

 

Piano lessons. Oldest ds and I worked through the primer and first levels of a traditional program with occasional free lessons from a family friend.  Ds outstripped my abilities with the second level materials.  It was either pay for lessons or give up on piano. 

 

Gym classes and sports – Neither dh nor I are at all athletic. We pay others to do what we cannot.

 

Cub Scouts, field trips and special interest materials.  Most of our field trips are to free or low cost-venues, but gas and parking fees do add up.  Cub Scouts is a good value, but again, not free.  I spend whatever money I have left after purchasing core materials and budgeting for specific extras on supplemental materials, particularly in areas of interest to my children. 

 

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With a little 6yo person, all you need is something to teach her how to read, something to teach her how to write (as in actual penmanship), and something for arithmetic. Everything else can be accomplished with the library and stuff. :-)

 

If you like EasyPeasy, and your dc is learning, then of course there's nothing wrong with it.

Don't know the age of OP's kids. I'm on my mobile. But for kids in k-3, maybe even 4, I think Ellie is absolutely correct. Teach the 3 R's at their level and fill the rest in with library books and internet. Get some arts and crafts supplies. Go to park day and affordable field trips. Done.

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Ok, this is hard to respond to appropriately without more guidelines, really. One person's cheap or free is not another's. Do you have a computer, internet, a printer, and a car and gas to get to the library, used curriculum sales, the park, field trips, etc...?

 

My cheap looks like this. $100/year for Amazon Prime for free shipping, documentaries, and lending library. MM1-6 in pdf for 50% off through HSBC which covers all 3 kids for 6 years, library card, copy card at local UPS store (30 free copies a month and $0.05 additional copies for teachers) so I print once and then make copies, Intelligo unit studies ($15), spiral notebooks, GaVS (free), CK12.org (free), free classics on Amazon like Heidi, The Secret Garden, Aesop's Fables, etc..., and used curriculum sales. I borrow from friends! I am happy to share in return. I am doig IEW-TWSS, right now. There is no way that I can afford this, but I am lucky enough to have a friend who could last year and is not using it this year. I have another friend whose microscope we borrow on occasion. We got our music books for free because friends used them last year and they weren't in good enough condition to sell, but my girls can still learn from them perfectly fine.

 

I buy only on sale and preferrably used. I only buy as needed, not ahead of time. I save as much as I can from my older child for my youngers. Sometimes, curriculum doesn't perfectly "fit" one of my children, but we make do because life isn't going to always perfectly fit.

 

Our biggest splurge is music and sports. For music, we do a co-op (cheaper than lessons), and I volunteer to reduce the cost. Sports, unfortunately, are just expensive.

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^^^that's true! What is "cheap" and what's OP's budget and ages of kids. As well as what resources do they have already?

 

To me, a reasonable "budget" would be about $500 for the school year to include math & Lang for each child and our core materials that we'd use on a regular basis as well as restocking office supplies. This could be broken up by semester if it makes it more doable. Books I would get at the library. I could also look up stuff online since I have internet and a computer and printer. We have met flicks so I could find educational shows related to what we're studying. I would also plan about a $10-20 a week budget for field trips / craft supply/ office supplies fund. Then for extra curriculars we'd go cheap to free. I've mentioned before AWANA, scouts, and local YMCA are usually affordable. The YMCA offers some free program and financial aid.

 

$100? For the year? Maybe if you only by workbooks and only have a couple kids. What about all the additional expenses that add up on a weekly basis? Is this seperate or included? Gas for field trips, office supplies, craft supplies, etc? That I can not really see being covered with $100 for the year honestly.

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$100.00 was what replaced attending public school. It was paper checks sent snail mail to mom and pop homeschool catalogs that sometimes took 3 months to ship.

 

Often 1/2 the order was a Saxon math kit for the oldest child.

 

There were big spending families, but they were not the average family.

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The OP and a few others here are asking for something they haven't been getting yet. It might seem to onlookers they were getting plenty and onlookers might not understand their frustration, and even be offended by it.

 

I know that when I've been struggling, and asked for help, sometimes onlookers get really frustrated with me. I get hurt; they get hurt. It stinks. I'm talking beyond academics as well as about academics. As the OP said, BTDT advice is different than theory. It is.

 

I'm having to tweak things again just this week, and even today. More unexpected surprises. That is poverty. Little issues with HUGE impacts because you have no cushion.

 

If mom was planning on using free ebooks and the ereader breaks, she is really in trouble.

 

If mom was planning on using the library and the car breaks, she is in big trouble.

 

Poverty makes you feel like pin ball being smacked around the inside of the machine. Smack, smack, smack. The only thing that can be counted on is the continuous smacks.

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My husband is disabled, and we had several really tight years. I don't know if my ideas are anything new. Our monkey wrench was my husband's health--I needed to put time and energy there and in schooling and daily life and not researching every last possibility--I looked for things that would work with my needs as well as the kids. Basically, I borrowed curriculum from a friend, bought used locally next (I was blessed by people using Sonlight in our local area, selling books for .50) and then bought used items online. I only bought new when I couldn't find used. I held garage sales to raise money for curriculum, so I usually had $200-300. The kids helped work the sales, and I paid them out of the proceeds, and they used the money to buy their school supplies for that year. They were so excited to choose items themselves! Many years I didn't have a clothing budget. We got hand-me-downs from friends and if we needed anything we shopped the local Salvation Army. I did a cash envelope system and kept a very tight rein on food and household items needed, and we just didn't shop for other things. If you aren't out shopping, you aren't out buying. Priorities--ours were food, clothing, shelter, health, homeschool--we didn't get things for the house or yard etc... People in our church were a great blessing. One year someone online gave us--GAVE US! a Sonlight core D. Unbelievable. We didn't do a bazillion activities. If it wasn't a need, we usually did without. That was back when mortgages were dropping--we refinanced for 3% less and saved $100 a month on our mortgage. God provided in so many different ways for us--I'm still amazed at those years.

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I have realized that I really hate doing math without a hardcopy book.

 

MEP--no way! Just no! For multiple reasons, it does not work for me. MEP is available as a free download, but doesn't fit the poverty lifestyle for so many people. Especially me.

 

I've been having to skip math. I hate eBook math on a computer or device. I keep trying it. I hate it. I was successful doing it back in early 2000's when I had nothing else one year, but I cried over it and hated it. Am I just a big baby? Am I stupid? Am I being difficult? I don't know. It makes me cry. That is all I know. I'm not in the mood to cry. So week after week, I skip it, hoping next week is going to get better.

 

I never could have predicted these roaches. Last night and this morning my apartment was swarmed. I have lived in a semi-tropical country and never saw what I saw last night and this morning. I only had a few books left, but they are all trash, now, after that. And no hope of hardcopy until this is over.

 

I'm being fogged again tomorrow. Well see what happens. It did nothing but poison me the last time.

 

For now I have my phone and Chromebook. I have library ebooks, but I can't bring any hardcopy library books home. It's not fair to the library and other patrons.

 

Sometimes I can meet students at the library and use books at the library, but that is not the same as bringing them home.

 

And I really want to use Strayer-Upton math right now, but wanting doesn't mean you can have what you want.

 

I'm rambling. I'm going to stop. Before you all wonder if a roach climbed in my ear like on that Star Trek movie. Did it eat the guy's brain or what? I don't remember.

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Hunter, when you are ready to have paper books again, please let the Hive know. I would dearly love to help you restock your library as a thanks for all of the beautiful wisdom you share with us.

That is so sweet, but I am not planning to restock much. I have lost all desire to own stuff.

 

Unless something goes incredibly different than I hope, I'm planning on repurchasing Strayer-Upton, a Merriam-Webster large print dictionary, and an English handbook. Maybe a large print NIrV Bible, The 3R's, and TWTM, but maybe not. I think I'm going to wing the rest with whatever life throws my way, year to year, with no fear or grief.

 

I have lost everything so many times. It gets old replacing stuff after awhile. I can't be bothered. And...I guess I expect to lose it again. I'm okay with losing it again.

 

But if I need to teach math, I prefer hardcopy. I really really prefer hardcopy math.

 

I guess I need to look at math books like toilet paper. Some things just repeatedly get disposed of and immediately repurchased. There is no acceptable substitute. If I don't have any, I'll hold it until I do. :)

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Thanks everybody. It is encouraging to read the above experiences and advice. I mainly started this thread in response to a chat board topic that was starting to look discouraging for homeschooling on a tight budget for the long haul. A few parents there posted how they homeschooled with limited funds, and I was just looking for more stories like that in one place.

 

Addressing the excess of this topic coming up on the boards: I was hesitant to start this thread because I know, as Tibbie mentioned, there are multiple low cost homeschooling posts on these boards. But what I found when lightly searching the archives (maybe I was lazy and didn't search specifically enough) was some listings with what is available or what could theoretically be done if money was tight. and a few posters saying how they did it here and there (the latter being what this thread is about). I didn't realize it is burdensome for some to see the topic come up again. After all, how many times does MFW vs. HOD, CLE vs. R&S, and math suggestions for 1st grade come up in a given year? I didn't mean to clog up the forum, and will try to resist the temptation to start new posts unless I've searched the archives more thoroughly first ;). i guess if anyone has anything recent to discuss on a popular topic, it is best to resurrect an old thread vs. starting a new one. J/k

 

Of course, it is always easier to have money for anything. It is easier to buy clothes than make them, it is easier to buy veggies at a produce market than grow them, and it must be easier to buy curriculum than make your own. I think low cost homeschooling can be overwhelming, but not in all cases. There are so many variables as to what low cost means, which is why I didn't say specifics. I was expecting some to say "we had to reuse workbooks and had limited access to the outside world" on one extreme and some to say "we had a computer, Internet, printer, free loans by friends, great library, reliable transportations, assistance or low cost access for extracurriculars, and all basic supply set up- buying little besides that" on the other extreme. We are in the latter situation. Hunter's and other's suggestions on this board the last year or two I've been lurking here has been a HUGE help in helping me locate low cost or free homeschooling resources. Thanks for all the contributions. xoxo

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Thanks everybody. It is encouraging to read the above experiences and advice. I mainly started this thread in response to a chat board topic that was starting to look discouraging for homeschooling on a tight budget for the long haul. A few parents there posted how they homeschooled with limited funds, and I was just looking for more stories like that in one place.

 

Addressing the excess of this topic coming up on the boards: I was hesitant to start this thread because I know, as Tibbie mentioned, there are multiple low cost homeschooling posts on these boards. But what I found when lightly searching the archives (maybe I was lazy and didn't search specifically enough) was some listings with what is available or what could theoretically be done if money was tight. and a few posters saying how they did it here and there (the latter being what this thread is about). I didn't realize it is burdensome for some to see the topic come up again. After all, how many times does MFW vs. HOD, CLE vs. R&S, and math suggestions for 1st grade come up in a given year? I didn't mean to clog up the forum, and will try to resist the temptation to start new posts unless I've searched the archives more thoroughly first ;). i guess if anyone has anything recent to discuss on a popular topic, it is best to resurrect an old thread vs. starting a new one. J/k

 

Of course, it is always easier to have money for anything. It is easier to buy clothes than make them, it is easier to buy veggies at a produce market than grow them, and it must be easier to buy curriculum than make your own. I think low cost homeschooling can be overwhelming, but not in all cases. There are so many variables as to what low cost means, which is why I didn't say specifics. I was expecting some to say "we had to reuse workbooks and had limited access to the outside world" on one extreme and some to say "we had a computer, Internet, printer, free loans by friends, great library, reliable transportations, assistance or low cost access for extracurriculars, and all basic supply set up- buying little besides that" on the other extreme. We are in the latter situation.

I didn't say your topic was burdensome or that you were clogging up the forum or that you should have searched the archives first or that people should resurrect old threads instead of starting new ones, j/k. Gee whiz. I could not have been more clear about my desire to offer more than was requested for those who might benefit from prior conversations, and about how I did not intend to stifle this thread by doing that.

 

As many, many, many other experienced home educators and old friends here have done (and left the boards as a result), I am getting the hint from the new crop of WTM forum homeschoolers. We older moms do not see homeschooling, child rearing, or even conversations the same way as you, and we are weary of defending our attempts to be useful. We do have other things to do. Good luck.

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Before I returned to work we had to keep costs pretty low. 

 

Bought Math Mammoth through 6th grade from the HSBC for $85.  We are still using this although we've added a few other resources.

ETC and HWT are very inexpensive workbooks

Evan Moor Teacher's File Box when it's on sale through HSBC has printable worksheets for a lot of topics.  We still use this too.

The Complete Book of.... are inexpensive workbooks

 

I was lucky that my kids work well using worksheets.  Both are very visual so it was necessary that they have something to look at.  Reading out loud to these two was useless, they would get nothing out of it.  It has to be visual and hands-on.

 

I ran a 4-H Cloverbud club back then and shared the cost of various science and cultural activities.

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On this topic and others, please, please, please start new threads. There are topics that have tons of threads, but it is always best to start with a nice fresh thread. There are people that want to participate, but are overwhelmed thinking they need to read 55 posts first. If we add links to past threads, people have a CHOICE whether to read them or not, when participating in the new short fresh thread.

 

For those in poverty, who don't have new shiny stuff to talk about, poverty threads are where they get to talk and share. Homeschooling can be isolating. Poverty is isolating. We need these threads. They are bonding moments. Yes we learn new tips and tricks, but more importantly we bond. Humans are social animals. We crave inclusion and acceptance. We need these threads. New ones. Frequent ones.

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