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Very interested in the responses to this, as to be honest this is where I am right now while planning for my dd's coming middle & high school years. Someone else mentioned on the minimalist thread they would be interested in a Poverty level schooling thread so here goes. 

 

Rules {feel free to tweak slightly - these are my personal set of rules}:

 

~No public Library usage {other than perhaps a rare visit to use resources without checking out}

~Limited electronics usage {main items cannot require internet / electronics}

~Everything possible available on Amazon.com {new or used doesn't matter}

~Non-Amazon books need to be easily found at homeschool book sales for less than $10-$15, and preferably less than $5

~No co-op / online etc classes {unless free}

~Items used need to be non-teacher intensive 

~Total budget of less than $250, and preferably under $100

 

Obviously this is easier in the early grades - but please try to list out what you would do / use for middle & high school levels. 

 

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For high school, look for used textbooks on Amazon--if you go back an edition or two from the most recent these are usually dirt cheap. High school level or introductory college level will work for many subjects.

Edited by maize
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Very interested in the responses to this, as to be honest this is where I am right now while planning for my dd's coming middle & high school years. Someone else mentioned on the minimalist thread they would be interested in a Poverty level schooling thread so here goes. 

 

Rules {feel free to tweak slightly - these are my personal set of rules}:

 

~No public Library usage {other than perhaps a rare visit to use resources without checking out}

~Limited electronics usage {main items cannot require internet / electronics}

~Everything possible available on Amazon.com {new or used doesn't matter}

~Non-Amazon books need to be easily found at homeschool book sales for less than $10-$15, and preferably less than $5

~No co-op / online etc classes {unless free}

~Items used need to be non-teacher intensive 

~Total budget of less than $250, and preferably under $100

 

Obviously this is easier in the early grades - but please try to list out what you would do / use for middle & high school levels. 

 

I spent very little money homeschooling middle and high school (until kids were ready for college classes, then we had to pay tuition)

1. math text. We use AoPS, at $50 our biggest single expense, but one could use Lial which is inexpensive. (For example, Algebra text 4th edition available for $4.50 incl shipping.)

2. science text. Older edition college intro text. under $10

3. history text. Older edition Spielvogel available for $5.20 incl shipping.

4. literature. Classics and anthologies can be bought dirt cheap at Goodwill. Or are free online at gutenberg. 

5. Notebooks and writing utensils. Stock up at back-to-school-sale when spiral bound notebooks are 20ct.

6. Add free online resources if internet is available. Khan Academy, Annenberg.org, MOOCs. There are tons. If you need a specific subject, I can look through my notes.

7. Foreign language. Text+CDs+workbooks. I got materials for 3 years of study for about $100 used on amazon. 

 

The two hard things are science lab (if parent does not wish to spend time designing lab) and foreign language. Self study is hard. There are some free online resources. Without a fluent teacher, progress will be limited for most students.

Edited by regentrude
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I would hit up our thrift store on their $.10 book days.  Even at a dollar a book, I'd buy one in each subject per year.  There are always old college textbooks and even public school ones there.

 

I've come to realize it doesn't so much matter *what* we use.  I can tweak everything.  The main thing would be for us to have a plan, develop a work ethic, and prepare the child enough for college.  What money buys me is convenience and ease.

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I think you'd have to have either the library or the internet, and you'd definitely need teacher-intensive, to homeschool the dialectic and rhetoric stages for cheap to free.

 

Educating children requires some combination of money, talent, time, and resources. You can't take away

 

1. money (poverty!)

 

2. resources (no internet! no library!)

 

3. talent (non-teacher intensive!)

 

4. time (non-teacher intensive!)

 

and get good results.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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One possibility for foreign language would be to seek out local immigrants and exchange language instruction/conversation. If you pick up a few self study books or textbooks (used, inexpensive) and have a native speaker to work with you could do well.

 

If the language you choose is relatively common in your community there may be radio stations to listen to as well.

Edited by maize
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I don't understand fully why lack of library access would be a poverty level thing. We live in an inner city so we're walking distance to two libraries and a short subway ride away from the central library with great resources. If we fell on harder times, I'd probably use them more, not less.

 

For middle school, I've splurged by getting the teacher editions for the vintage texts we've been using. I'd make do without, I guess. That way they'd be cheap. Certainly less than $40 a year. Currently, I buy used books for nearly everything else. I probably already spend only about $100 per kid in addition to math. I'd just move to doing all or almost all library books. Spanish would be tricky... we haven't found anything we like that is paper based. Taking Duolingo off the table seems hard. The no online resources as a primary seems totally fair to me (unlike the library restriction) but I don't know how I'd take care of that. Maybe just not do Spanish.

 

High school lit, history, and so forth would be a cinch. More library books. High school math and science would be a lot harder just because while I could easily get the texts used for not too much, I don't feel equipped to teach math after geometry right now and I don't know about science labs and providing them at a low cost. But we're not there yet, so it's harder for me to speak to that. 

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Very interested in the responses to this, as to be honest this is where I am right now while planning for my dd's coming middle & high school years. Someone else mentioned on the minimalist thread they would be interested in a Poverty level schooling thread so here goes.

 

Rules {feel free to tweak slightly - these are my personal set of rules}:

 

~No public Library usage {other than perhaps a rare visit to use resources without checking out}

~Limited electronics usage {main items cannot require internet / electronics}

~Everything possible available on Amazon.com {new or used doesn't matter}

~Non-Amazon books need to be easily found at homeschool book sales for less than $10-$15, and preferably less than $5

~No co-op / online etc classes {unless free}

~Items used need to be non-teacher intensive

~Total budget of less than $250, and preferably under $100

 

Obviously this is easier in the early grades - but please try to list out what you would do / use for middle & high school levels.

Let's start with what you do have. What are your strengths? What are your resources? What fascinates and motivates you?

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I don't understand fully why lack of library access would be a poverty level thing. We live in an inner city so we're walking distance to two libraries and a short subway ride away from the central library with great resources. If we fell on harder times, I'd probably use them more, not less.

 

 

For me, it's because I can't count on being able to use the library consistently. The small branch nearby in a public high school is not well stocked AND full of in school suspension kids for most of the day. The large branch downtown is great, but it's an hour bus ride each way AND $4.12 for fare for dd & myself. There are a lot of times when I don't have the bus fare / time to spare to go. Which snowballs into late fines and our library has a policy of $10 in fines = your account is locked. Online renewals to avoid fines are iffy, at best. 

 

I think you'd have to have either the library or the internet, and you'd definitely need teacher-intensive, to homeschool the dialectic and rhetoric stages for cheap to free.

 

Educating children requires some combination of money, talent, time, and resources. You can't take away

 

1. money (poverty!)

 

2. resources (no internet! no library!)

 

3. talent (non-teacher intensive!)

 

4. time (non-teacher intensive!)

 

and get good results.

 

I agree. But hypothetically, with a motivated / self-guided learner. And internet is allowed, just not for main subject content as access can be sporadic {I have great wireless internet for $10 a month BUT it tends to go down when we have storms}. It's too easy to develop dependence on an online program {Khan academy lol} and then have net access go down for a week, derailing all progress.

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There are many small towns which are without libraries.  I grew up in a county in FL which didn't have a library until I was an adult.  There were larger towns within a half hour drive but I would have had to pay a yearly fee since I didn't live in those counties.

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Library or internet cafe would be essential if I didn't have internet at home. (Unless, of course, the nearest library required me to use unaffordable public transport.)

 

We can use the free internet at the library to download/research anything else not available on the shelves, to print (if i didnt have a printer) and to order books from other libraries. Libraries here are used a lot by those on low income.

 

Apart from a library, I think contact with other homeschoolers would be the next essential resource: companionship, advice, and sharing/borrowing resources. There are plenty of threads on here about frugal homeschooling, but rarely a mention of the importance of a supportive homeschooling/friendship network when you're on a very low budget :)

Edited by stutterfish
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Poverty snowballs. What outsiders think about it in theory doesn't always carry over well into reality. The hardships seep together and cannot be dealt with individually. Lack of access to the library is common. Lack of access to reliable wifi is even more common. Lack of time is a definite.

 

We used to collect free broken but overlapping sets of encyclopedias. Different sets organize information differently, but most of the time, what is covered under one letter is covered in another set. And usually we had the indexes.

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Let's start with what you do have. What are your strengths? What are your resources? What fascinates and motivates you?

 

Hmm. Okay. 

 

My strengths academically are history and literature. Grammar is okay - I can proofread great, and tell you if something is wrong but not necessarily WHY it's wrong. I'm also excellent at pulling off miracles financially lol, but that doesn't help much with homeschooling. 

 

Resources: Almost nothing. A few texts for upcoming grades I've picked up in free bins / less than $5 at used book sales. Saxon Math 1st/2nd editions, Apologia 1st editions mostly. Time maybe? But even that is iffy based on what work I have going that week, where I need to be, etc. Everything needs to be portable to allow for waiting in lines / offices while schooling. 

 

Fascinates / motivates : Currently, almost nothing. Very burnt out, trying to just get it done and keep trudging along. PS isn't an option. Hoping I can get past the burnout before dd starts 6th this fall. 

 

DD is a science nut. Likes reading but only for pleasure. Good at math but detests it because it's boring & she lacks confidence. Can't tell you a bit of grammar despite attempts to teach it, but conversely is a very good writer with a sarcastic sense of humor in her writing. Hasn't had any formal writing instruction either. 

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For me, it's because I can't count on being able to use the library consistently. The small branch nearby in a public high school is not well stocked AND full of in school suspension kids for most of the day. The large branch downtown is great, but it's an hour bus ride each way AND $4.12 for fare for dd & myself. There are a lot of times when I don't have the bus fare / time to spare to go. Which snowballs into late fines and our library has a policy of $10 in fines = your account is locked. Online renewals to avoid fines are iffy, at best. 

 

Ah. That's unfortunate. While we have been using it less lately and while we could do without it (we definitely are not facing poverty, knock on wood), I am glad our city funds our libraries so well and that they take a very non-punitive approach to fines (juvenile materials don't have fines at all).

 

I hate to say it, but I feel like one needs the library or the internet in order to school well, particularly for high school. I mean, it can be done without... but I think you end up being at such a disadvantage. :( I'm not sure what the solution is though if there are no libraries and the internet is out of reach. For us, I think it's a situation where - unless there were specific reasons not to - I would likely send my kids to school for high school and spend time advocating for them and any resources I had supplementing and afterschooling.

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Library books, remember librarians can adjust due dates. You can't necessarily ask on 20 books unless you develop a great relationship with the librarian but on a few you can ask for a longer due because your daughter will be using it for the next few weeks/months for school. If it's not a popular book your request might be granted.

 

Also check out at the main library and return at your branch.

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I would focus on used college textbooks. A few editions back. There are so many on Amazon, and they are so cheap. (Way more people buying and then selling college textbooks than high school textbooks.) Lial's is a college textbook series that covers all of middle school and high school math. I would also steal from the Ambleside Online reading lists. They use a lot of public domain books, which are often cheap on Amazon, as either used or inexpensive reprints, if you don't want to use the library or read online. I would definitely get an old set of encyclopedias if you could find one for free or near free. My set of encyclopedia Britannicas is at least thirty years old and still chock full of good stuff. Latin as your foreign language. Plenty of used and public domain textbooks for that. I don't know how you solve lab science. Can you dual enroll at the local high school? That's what I would do in my state.

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I live near one of the best libraries in the world. So many people flock to the wifi that it is dead slow. My Kindle Fire drops the signal quicker than a windows laptop. It cannot compete with the laptops. I often cannot get online at all, there.

 

We only got proper interlibrary loan a year ago. Books went out, but they mostly didn't come in.

 

My library is better than it was, but the reality after you stop gawking at the marble statues, fountains, ornate woodwork, and oil paintings is not what outsiders think.

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And this is when I'm bummed that The Book Samaritan closed down.  I used to send them all of my homeschool curriculum that I no longer needed.  

 

Another possibility is to make an Amazon wishlist and let relatives help out with schooling expenses by purchasing items on the wishlist.  Not always the most exciting option for the child.

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Many people experiencing poverty don't have available schools that compare to those available to people not living in poverty. People in poverty often really truly have a lower bar to reach. That needs to be factored into goals and decisions of home vs school.

 

Not everyone homeschools with academic excellence as defined by the mainstream as their goal. There are many good reasons to HOMEschool that have nothing to do with academics. Most Western country governments have legalized parochial schools. It is considered a right to bring children up in the faith of the parents. That right carries over into homeschool. And covers culture as well as faith.

 

Yes, I am unabashedly oldschool, starting when the average homeschool parent was a weirdo and I was probably weirder than many, and my younger kid was called things like "demon baby" and "wolf boy" and was probably weirder than me. School wasn't an option. It just wasn't. End of story. I did my best. End of story.

 

Homeschoolers in poverty outperform THEIR peers to a far greater degree than wealthy homeschoolers outperform THEIR peers. As I said, there are reasons to homeschool that supersede academics, but when we talk purely academics, poverty stricken homeschoolers are often the MOST successful when measured fairly.

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Personally, I would choose to buy a Kindle Fire when they go on sale for $39.00. That size isn't good for PDF reading, but it is good for flowing text and there are sites with free and nicely formatted ePub and mobi books. I don't have links handy to those sites as the links never made it over to this device when I lost my old device they were on. Yup, you cannot DEPEND on tech, but we need to use it when we do have it.

 

We don't put all our chickens in one safe place. There is no safe place for us. We spread it around and adapt. Despite the challenges, we still rock when compared to OUR peers. So our best IS good enough. We need to just keep moving on whatever paths ARE open.

 

As I'm trying to look where to put my chickens, I'm realizing that statistically, depending on being able to use and replace the bargain Kindles is good odds for me.

 

Sometimes shooting for the moon gets us lost in outer space. "Among the stars" is dead, not pretty. If we are shooting for the moon because of pure love of a subject, and failing is worth it, as the ride was such a rush, we should go for it. But we shouldn't just copy wealthier people in heading for the moon, when we don't have the resources they do, unless the rush is worth it.

 

And really, sometimes, we truly don't even want what they want and that is okay, too.

 

I'm doing a lot of reevaluating this week.

Edited by Hunter
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If you don't mind Catholic materials, setonbooks.com has very good, fairly inexpensive workbooks for many subjects.  I particularly like their English workbooks.  They are very straightforward and fairly self-teaching, but you don't get bogged down.

 

I like Human Odyssey for history, and all three volumes are very inexpensive used on Amazon.  We mostly just read our history and watch associated videos (Horrible Histories mainly).  Not much output.  Although quizlet has some free quizzes.

 

 

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And this is when I'm bummed that The Book Samaritan closed down.  I used to send them all of my homeschool curriculum that I no longer needed.  

 

Another possibility is to make an Amazon wishlist and let relatives help out with schooling expenses by purchasing items on the wishlist.  Not always the most exciting option for the child.

 

 

I'm sorry to hear that this has closed.  We donated to them for many years and loved knowing that our curriculum was helping someone else.  They provided an amazingly valuable service. 

Edited by Artichoke
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I have really struggled with the "buy inexpensive textbooks off of amazon" method.  I have found that I need full answer keys, which can sometimes be hard to do.

 

I think the WTM method really works well--especially with 1ed methodology.

 

Jr. High History: KHE $30ish/$8year, with outlining and the occasional essay when you can get to the library or use the internet.

High School History: buy an older version of Spielvogel or one of the world history books recommended by SWB

Jr. High Science: Prentice Hall Science Explorer textbooks (earth, life, physical science). I picked up the textbooks for under $15 on amazon, plus the workbook (price varies but $10ish). You totally can figure out the workbook answers on your own. I did that for earth science. I ended up buying the cd with the answer key to all three textbooks for $70ish to save time.  I bought a second set of workbooks and made an answer key as I have more kids to go through the materials.  The cd doesn't completely line up with the workbook, but it's close.  My motivated child went through the series on his own without much input from me, other than grading.  I did buy a few science supplies, but I think they are optional at the jr high level.

High School Science: I've struggled here

Jr. High & High School Math: I have gone the generic chalkdust route. The ISBN numbers are all available here.  I just assigned the odd number problems so that I had full answers. The student book I picked up for $15-20, the student answer key is usually $5ish, and I splurge and buy the dvds.  A lot of the videos can be streamed, but I watch listed the dvds and have purchased them for between $40-90/set.

Literature: Norton Anthologies--World, British, American (usually under $10 each); at some point I'd try to own WWS1

 

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I think you'd have to have either the library or the internet, and you'd definitely need teacher-intensive, to homeschool the dialectic and rhetoric stages for cheap to free.

 

Educating children requires some combination of money, talent, time, and resources. You can't take away

 

1. money (poverty!)

 

2. resources (no internet! no library!)

 

3. talent (non-teacher intensive!)

 

4. time (non-teacher intensive!)

 

and get good results.

I'm going to have to agree with Tibbie on this one. A public school would likely be a better idea than this combination of lack of time, resources, personal investment and yes, money.

 

Now if you could replace even two of these criteria, depending on your overall situation, it could possibly work. By overall situation I mean, If you have an enriching life running a farm on rolling hills and your child is some kind of weaver or 4h livestock winner or, I don't know, if you live in the Australian outback and your child has an enriching life running the ranch he will inherit one day then those type of factors also weigh in. Kwim?

 

The no library and no internet thing is what really throws me, and causes me to assume you are in the country somewhere :)

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I'm doing 9th, 6th & 4th grade for little money this year. A lot of what I'm using was purchased previously and I do a lot of teacher-intensive things since I don't have a lot of money to spend. I find that usually you spend money or time.

 

9th grade:

 

Math: We're using Jacobs Geometry (I bought a used set that came with Ask Dr. Callahan, but honestly, I'd be able to use just the text)

English: Writing across the curriculum ala WTM and any booklist for literature. I make a beeline for the classics section when I go to Half Price Books outlet store. I used The Giggly Guide to Grammar in middle school.

Science: Any used textbook. Labs could be difficult to do with little money, though.

Foreign Language: I use Easy Peasy and DuoLingo. Both are internet based though.

History: Any used textbook. I use Build Your Library - you could do the Sonlight, BookShark, or Build Your Library booklist which would cover lit and history.

 

6th grade: I am choosing unit studies using all of the lapbooks that I've gotten on sale or free over the years. 

 

History: Medieval History, Early Americas (Native Americans, Incans, Aztecs, Mayans), Geography units based on Paddle to the Sea and Christmas Around the World

Science: Anatomy and Human Reproduction, Naturalist unit based on My Side of the Mountain, Evolution, Horses, Manatees

English: literature tied to the unit studies as well as a unit study of the Hobbit and writing across the curriculum. She is using The Giggly Guide to Grammar

Foreign Language: DuoLingo

Math: uses Beast Academy. If I didn't have this, I'd probably use Math Mammoth or my library has Life of Fred.

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Very interested in the responses to this, as to be honest this is where I am right now while planning for my dd's coming middle & high school years. Someone else mentioned on the minimalist thread they would be interested in a Poverty level schooling thread so here goes. 

 

Rules {feel free to tweak slightly - these are my personal set of rules}:

 

~No public Library usage {other than perhaps a rare visit to use resources without checking out}

~Limited electronics usage {main items cannot require internet / electronics}

~Everything possible available on Amazon.com {new or used doesn't matter}

~Non-Amazon books need to be easily found at homeschool book sales for less than $10-$15, and preferably less than $5

~No co-op / online etc classes {unless free}

~Items used need to be non-teacher intensive 

~Total budget of less than $250, and preferably under $100

 

Obviously this is easier in the early grades - but please try to list out what you would do / use for middle & high school levels. 

 

These rules are a nonstarter. I homeschooled DD while living under the poverty line for K-5th grade. Near the top of our list of resources was the public library. Why in ever loving anything would you bar the library as an option???

 

As for Amazon...while poor, secondhand bookstores were my second option, and sales on the forums another place I looked. Amazon is expensive.

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Keep in mind that most college texts (for math and science particularly) do have answers in the back to select problems (usually the odd ones).

 

Another option is to download .pdf files when there is internet access, to be used offline.  

 

I feel like it *can* be done very cheaply, but only if the parent is willing to assume a heavy load of teaching and planning.

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This may have been mentioned up thread.  

 

Co-op classes - ask about the availability of scholarships.

 

I've been to a few used homeschool book sales where there was a "free" box.  Also, if folks didn't pick up their items after the sale, those books were offered for free.

Edited by PollyOR
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The Goodwill near me always has a lot of textbooks for the upper grades, along with lots of literature. I have snagged a ton from there. Last week I got Spielvogel's Western Civ for $2.

 

For the younger kids I like Alpha Phonics and Climbing to Good English. Schoolaid materials are fairly inexpensive and can be done without a lot of teacher time.

 

When I was a kid we mostly learned math from a set of dominoes until we were ready to tackle Saxon 54 on our own. In the old days of homeschooling before the internet was so common, many kids self-taught from Saxon math books and encyclopedia-related books, like the World Book of Word Power. I had a nice middle school English textbook that my mom got out of a high school dumpster at the end of the school year.

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I second the idea of getting used college texts. Having taught from a book that was updated every 2 years, there was very little difference between editions - you could go back 5 editions and still be fine for what a high schooler needs to know. I've found used old editions very cheaply on amazon. In the sciences, books for the general education requirements (science taken by non-science majors) are at the level of a high school class. I would also see if it was possible to get books that we being de-accessioned by the school system, private school, or library. Years ago when I was in elementary school, teachers would sometimes give away really old textbooks (we used them to play school). A few years ago, somebody showed up at our co-op with stacks of elementary school reading books that a local school had been going to throw in the trash. A retired/retiring teacher might also have stuff to give away.

 

One thing that really frustrates me about these discussions is that I don't see any good way to link up students who want to learn with people who want to help. At one time, I was interested in volunteering, and my husband worked at an organization with a lot of STEM folks with advanced degrees. I contacted their volunteer coordinator, and she said that she'd add my name to their list, but they had a hundred names of people willing to help tutor and they couldn't get anybody from the schools to take the help. Some of these folks would have been happy to have a long-term relationship with a homeschooled student, answering questions by email or meeting a couple of times a month to help, but there's no good way for them to get in touch with each other. So, I might also suggest contacting any local company or organization that has people with the knowledge that you need. I know that this isn't available in some communities, but other high-poverty areas are in cities with a college, industry that requires engineers, etc...and also retired schoolteachers and other folks like nurses who have a good knowledge base in fields that they had to learn. In some places, high schoolers need volunteer hours to graduate, so a good high school student might be able to help with a younger student.

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I absolutely understand the library restriction. I am not homeschooling in poverty, but my library access is very limited. The closest library to me is a 20 minute drive from my house and only free to city residents. I would have to pay $50 a year to access it. The next closest library is a 30 min drive in a neighboring county. Fortunately, they allow me a free library card. I do use their electronic resources, but it is really inconvenient to get physical books and return them.

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OK, with no library, unreliable internet (at least unreliable for daily lessons and study), since this is for an actual student, may I suggest that we move the topic a little? Move out of the hypothetical and long-view, and focus on this coming semester or school year for your dd?

 

If there's anything I know about frugal homeschooling and poverty, and I do know about both, it's that an over-arching plan is good, but one day at a time is how it really happens. May we help you figure out the next stretch of road, without also having to figure out all of high school? For instance, what grade level is your daughter now, and for what grade level do you need a plan? Just the immediate next season, whether semester or school year?

 

For the over-arching plan, I always think you can't beat The Well-Trained Mind. The philosophy is there, along with methods, and can be adapted for use with varied materials. (2004 edition used at Amazon for under $5).

 

In another post, I'm going to direct you to some materials for all subjects that can be found cheap-to-free, but the thing that nobody can help you with is gumption. It is going to take work on your part, to apply philosophy to scrounged materials and take responsibility for your child's education. You have to bring something to the table. If you can't bring money, resources, outsourcing (BTDT on all counts), then the thing you'll have to bring is yourself.

 

If that's not possible, because of burnout, time constraints, other responsibilities, or frank unwillingness, then I would strongly suggest reconsidering public school, especially if the reason for the problem focusing on hs'ing IS the poverty, for several reasons:

 

1. Even crummy public schools will have some resources, and some teachers and administrators who offer something toward learning. They might have a school library, for example, and academic classes even if they're not great.

 

2. The schools also have resources for families of children in need. From free school lunch to special needs evaluations to help with Christmas gifts, the aid is sometimes more available to children who are in the system. The guidance counselors and teachers will know where to look, at least. And honestly, schools in lower income areas that are poor on academics and even discipline, are sometimes very good at resources for needy families. My school district is like that.

 

3. If your child is in school receiving some help and instruction, you can be connected into community. There are likely other struggling families in your community, and most of their children are in school.

 

4. If your child is in school receiving some help and instruction, you have more hours in your day to either seek employment or otherwise increase your resourcefulness, to help change your family's situation. Doesn't have to be forever. But it can be true that if we can't focus on homeschooling, or obtain materials to educate our children with, we might be moving into a new category of where to focus needs for awhile.

 

Having said all that, in the next post I will find you the resources if you must continue homeschooling in spite of these challenges. I respect that, and I've been there myself.

 

 

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For me, it's because I can't count on being able to use the library consistently. The small branch nearby in a public high school is not well stocked AND full of in school suspension kids for most of the day. The large branch downtown is great, but it's an hour bus ride each way AND $4.12 for fare for dd & myself. There are a lot of times when I don't have the bus fare / time to spare to go. Which snowballs into late fines and our library has a policy of $10 in fines = your account is locked. Online renewals to avoid fines are iffy, at best. 

 

 

I agree. But hypothetically, with a motivated / self-guided learner. And internet is allowed, just not for main subject content as access can be sporadic {I have great wireless internet for $10 a month BUT it tends to go down when we have storms}. It's too easy to develop dependence on an online program {Khan academy lol} and then have net access go down for a week, derailing all progress.

 

 

FrugalmamaTX, I feel compelled to address the internet/library issue.  For any of us who have schooled on a shoestring budget, I have to say that some outside source of information is a must.  The public library is an awesome resource.   If this were me, I'd learn everything I could about my library systems services and polices, including inter-library loans.  Don't worry about the ISS kids at the local branch.  If they notice you, just smile and  nod.  Later if you feel compelled, get to know them.  They're probably great kids.  

 

 

 

Best wishes as you decide what's best for you and yours. 

Edited by Artichoke
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I absolutely understand the library restriction. I am not homeschooling in poverty, but my library access is very limited. The closest library to me is a 20 minute drive from my house and only free to city residents. I would have to pay $50 a year to access it. The next closest library is a 30 min drive in a neighboring county. Fortunately, they allow me a free library card. I do use their electronic resources, but it is really inconvenient to get physical books and return them.

Abacus2, I'm springboarding my love of libraries from your post :-) 

 

 

We pay $50 a year for a neighboring county fee.  Our closest branch is roughly 25 minutes away, but it more than pays for itself in the books that we can read without buying.  We have access to magazines, music, electronic books, videos, Audible, and physical books.  We can renew books online for up to nine weeks as long as there is no hold it.  We  have access to free interlibrary loan from other systems, but there are hoops to jump through. Our card limit is 100 books but I personally limit it to 15 so we don't go broke if I miss a due date:-)   There are lots of libraries out there with the same features, so I encourage folks to explore their library options.  They may be pleasantly surprised. 

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Taking Duolingo off the table seems hard.

 

I've seen at least two sales this fall/winter of Rosetta Stone where 5 levels are $144. I think most people consider 5 levels of RS to be more than one year of high school foreign language (I've even seen someone claim it's one year per level, but I think that's an exaggeration). I'd still want some beginner textbook to explain grammar and have some more writing/reading exercises, but, you can get college textbooks for almost nothing. So, it wouldn't be cheap, but it wouldn't require internet (you do get three months of some online stuff with it that you'd want to use if you've got internet, but you'll live without), and, if we say it's 2 years worth of foreign language, it could fit into the $250 plan (or the $100 plan if you really spend virtually nothing on anything else).

 

ETA: wait, not sure if you meant $250/$100 total or per year - if it's total for middle + high school, then this would obviously not be an option.

Edited by luuknam
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For me, it's because I can't count on being able to use the library consistently. The small branch nearby in a public high school is not well stocked AND full of in school suspension kids for most of the day. The large branch downtown is great, but it's an hour bus ride each way AND $4.12 for fare for dd & myself. There are a lot of times when I don't have the bus fare / time to spare to go. Which snowballs into late fines and our library has a policy of $10 in fines = your account is locked. Online renewals to avoid fines are iffy, at best. 

 

 

I agree. But hypothetically, with a motivated / self-guided learner. And internet is allowed, just not for main subject content as access can be sporadic {I have great wireless internet for $10 a month BUT it tends to go down when we have storms}. It's too easy to develop dependence on an online program {Khan academy lol} and then have net access go down for a week, derailing all progress.

 

Given sporadic internet, I would look for internet resources that can be downloaded for use offline. For example, for a kid who is in K-6 math, I would get Math Mammoth when it goes on sale on Homeschool Co-op. Or, I'd download one of the free vintage math texts available online.

 

I taught DD to read with a free program available on Don Potter's website called Word Mastery.

 

I wouldn't let ISS kids stop me from using the branch library. Can books checked out at one branch be returned at another? Can you request books from the main library to be picked up at the branch library?

 

More than once I paid late fines at the library when they did "food for fines" drives. 

 

We are admittedly fortunate in that youth in our town can get free bus passes, and that we've been in biking distance from our library since DD was a baby.

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I've seen at least two sales this fall/winter of Rosetta Stone where 5 levels are $144.

 

Btw, RS also has payment plans. I don't remember the details, and I'm not *sure* if they're valid for the $144 sale, but anyway. Mainly just mentioning all this because not everyone is aware how far RS prices have dropped - up till this fall their lowest had been $169 or $179 or something for 5 levels.

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Discussion of poverty mindset is interesting to me. Mostly it is done by outsiders. It reminds me of talk about another religion by outsiders. The idea is that there a group of people living in sin and crippled by their beliefs.

 

I am on a private subforum where many of the members are or have lived in poverty and at times we have posted a link to an article and discussed it. The assumptions of mainstreamers seem bizarre to us at times.

 

Poverty is isolating. It keeps our eyes firmly planted on what is right in front of us. This is both good and bad. Yup, we know the nitty gritty of what we are facing, but we also sometimes are not able to imagine what we are not being exposed to, that might be a possibility for us. We are not always 100% aware of our full situation, but we are usually far more accurate about it than outsiders.

 

There is a condescension and shaming and denial of poverty that makes it uncomfortable to reach out to outsiders to help us problem solve. Sure they have a better picture of options we don't know about, but...all too often it hurts and is confusing to listen to the feedback.

 

I'm going to say it again. Poverty stricken homeschoolers consistently outperform their OWN peers, to a degree that wealthier homeschoolers cannot even touch. No poverty stricken homeschoolers should ever have to defend their right to homeschool. We have proven ourselves for decades. We shouldn't have to waste our limited resources continuing to do so. We shouldn't have to compete with or conform to the expectations of outsiders, to have access to the opportunity to problem solve through our realities.

 

Of course many oldschoolers schooled without library access and internet. Or course it can be done. It has been done. And done so well that it was a core part of the events that created the current belief that homeschooling is generally better than brick and mortar.

 

Sure times have changed. The world has become dependent on the internet. There is constant talk about the effects of limited internet access for the poor. But like lack of access to a lot of things, I don't expect to see widespread reform of this, anymore than access to other critical things.

 

My library is plastered with posters about their happy success at balancing inequality. Yeah, right. Our cheap little tablets and Chromebooks cannot compete or access many of the things they are bragging about. Homeschool or brick and mortar, kids in poverty are not going to have the wifi that the rich kids do, even if they get to the library.

 

I sometimes interact with homeless families that homeschool. I don't talk much about that here. I don't want a mom to click on here and see me talking about it. But those kids rock. And putting them in school is not going make things better. All the social worker people rave about them and at the same time express concern they are not in school. :confused1: And get more confused the more I try to explain. It is like religion. Outsiders don't get it.

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Hmm. Okay.

 

My strengths academically are history and literature. Grammar is okay - I can proofread great, and tell you if something is wrong but not necessarily WHY it's wrong. I'm also excellent at pulling off miracles financially lol, but that doesn't help much with homeschooling.

 

Resources: Almost nothing. A few texts for upcoming grades I've picked up in free bins / less than $5 at used book sales. Saxon Math 1st/2nd editions, Apologia 1st editions mostly. Time maybe? But even that is iffy based on what work I have going that week, where I need to be, etc. Everything needs to be portable to allow for waiting in lines / offices while schooling.

 

Fascinates / motivates : Currently, almost nothing. Very burnt out, trying to just get it done and keep trudging along. PS isn't an option. Hoping I can get past the burnout before dd starts 6th this fall.

 

DD is a science nut. Likes reading but only for pleasure. Good at math but detests it because it's boring & she lacks confidence. Can't tell you a bit of grammar despite attempts to teach it, but conversely is a very good writer with a sarcastic sense of humor in her writing. Hasn't had any formal writing instruction either.

Okay, so we are dealing with a 5th grader, but we are looking ahead to high school?

 

We all have resources, but we are sometimes so conditioned to downplay them or not use them if they don't conform to outside validation by the mainstream.

 

You have some time here. It is good to start looking ahead. That is what we do, isn't it? That is what keeps our nose above water. As critical as it is to do that, it ca also harm us.

 

There is one thing we can depend on. It is that we will be surprised by the future. To try and fully prepare for the future with just what is available now is foolish. It cannot be done. Or at least will be an unnecessarily limited future.

 

It is more important to collect ideas and stories than stuff. Mostly to bathe in stories of success by non mainsteamers. You can do this. Non mainstreamers do it all the time. And not only do they outperform thoer peers but sometimes blow away those with so many more resources.

 

Isolation and minimalism is a funny thing, sometimes. It allows for specialization and mastery and excellent problem solving skills. It builds character. If results in some unique relationships that span generations and other boundaries between people.

 

History and literature strengths are common among those in poverty. For the past few decades, trade books have been plentiful; the wealthy strew them around liberally instead of throwing them in the trash. They landed in our laps. We took advantage of the bounty. There are still lots of books around, but I do wonder if that source in time to come is going to dry up. But we don't need to worry about that yet.

 

Build your future plans off this strength.

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I agree with you Hunter. I also get annoyed when I read magazine articles about "the poor" and I'm left wondering what planet the author lives on.

 

But I also agree that homeschooling takes at least one of the four things listed above. A homeless mom can homeschool, sure, but she's going to have to put in the time. Grab the day old newspaper, even a local rag of a paper, find a good article, read, discuss. That's fantastic, absolutely. No matter where it's done, in the library, in a shelter, under a bridge, in the laundromat, it's fantastic.

 

But if the mom can't do anything like that - and can't swing the other three, I think it's dicey. I mean, growing up I wasn't homeless or even in poverty per se, but we definitely bumped against the bottom more than a few times. What money we did have was spent on Gothard or other "character" books which we either didn't use much, or weren't good quality. We got cast off text books, but my mother never tried to help organize them into a coherent plan of study (I tried to do that myself, and failed). We went to the library plenty, but my mother mostly just browsed the video section and never looked at the books I selected. I've mentioned before that I think she has a language LD, so I try to keep that in mind and offer grace when I mention these things, but the best homeschooling year that happened in my house was the year my mother bought Lifepacs for my older brother (that was good for him, not me, I was jealous of him). They got done, my brother loved them - she never bought them again.

 

So yes, the resources were there for us to have an awesome education within a small budget, except for the hampering LD, but it was squandered. So that's the thing - resources plus will. You can do a lot with a resource as small as an old newspaper, but there also has to be the will.

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Eta....I just saw in Hunter's post, 5th grader. I thought she was a few years older. I am going to leave my information up in case it helps someone with older kids. Sorry.

 

I just want to say a great deal can be done on little Kindle tablets. My kids have done a many things using their second generation kindles. Dd learned several languages using Duolingo. Both have taken several Coursera classes. Ds learned to program and kind people on different forums worked with his poor technology, saw it as a challenge. ;) Papers have been written and submitted. It can be done. That being said we have good internet in our home because of where we live. We are very fortunate for good cheap internet and I know it. BT provides it to most homes with a BT line in the UK for a relatively small additional fee. Only very recently did they both start using inexpensive larger computers.

 

Foreign language can be done fairly well by Duolingo and the Practice Makes Perfect Complete edition available for under $15 used on Amazon. The Complete editions are for French and Spanish. I would suggest Duolingo whenever she has a chance and working through Practice Makes Perfect on days when there is no internet access. Duolingo also has immersion groups where they translate news items, books etc. They are where much of learning beyond the basics happen. Dd works with people from all over the world in her immersion group. Their are native and more experienced speakers hanging out willing to help. The advantage for the native speakers is they get to practice their English. It really is amazing. The app does have some practice abilities without being online, I can ask her if you need the information. She has used it at my Mother's. Dd did test via Clep and passed out of 2years of foreign language using these resources and a couple of cheap travel tapes from bookstore discount tables.

 

Wheelocks Latin also has exercises available online for free. http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/latin/wheelock/index.htm. They go with a textbook that Hunter recently found free to download. The old edition that we bought was cheap through Amazon.

Edited by mumto2
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Even if a poverty stricken person doesn't already have PTSD, poverty can cause PTSD. Poverty creates a basic universal feeling of unsafety. This unsafety leads to a variety of copy methods. A common coping method is always looking ahead and trying to meet the challenges head on.

 

This is just ME, but I have found that looking ahead to collect ideas and stories helps, but collecting stuff doesn't. So I do like the opportunity to be immersed in chatter about what is coming. Far ahead of when I will be dealing with it. That immersion creates a net of ideas, that pays off big time when I get there. Hearing the nitty gritty, even if a lot of the nitty gritty is different when I get there, is still part of the immersion process.

 

I know I am maneuvering in fear right now, and suffering some of the negative aspects of poverty mindset. January is a planning month, and extra so for me. December is hard on me, and I expect to just weather it by the seat of my pants and re-evaluate in January when the dust settles. I expect to be stupid in December, and don't assume I will continue what soothed and nourished and worked in December into January.

 

I immersed in Latin. It was good. Really good. No regrets. I did it for love of the language. Reaching a goal or doing it right didn't matter. It felt good in the moment. Sitting wet outside the makeup boutique didn't hurt or weaken me, because I was in love.

 

Usually I don't come up for air until after New Year, but this year, I seem to be done with whatever the muck happens to my brain over Christmas. I not used to being that mucked up and coming out of it so quickly and fully and before New Year. This year seems to be different than some others. So I'm already in planning ahead mode. And Sprint. I don't know hat I'm doing about tech and Sprint. :lol:

 

But first, I need to evaluate my mental state and take stock of that. How accurate is what I'm feeling? I'm feeling a lot of fear, I'm realizing, and making choices that are fear based. Is this POST trauma, or fully still being in the thick of vulnerability? Is this safety first, or do I have some room to take risks for the sheer pleasure of learning a subject? Do I love the subject enough to take risks?

 

One of the very few things I do know for certain is that whatever I choose to do is going to look super mucked up by mainstream standards and I don't care. :lol:

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The usefulness of texts without answer keys varies.

 

Even 1/2 answers does not always work. Some problems sets are very incomplete doing 1/2 and were never designed to be used that way. Others are designed to be of great use, doing only the 1/2 with answers.

Edited by Hunter
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