Jump to content


Homeschool Challenge: 80's and 90's Style K-12 Curriculum in a Box for $2000

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I feel freedom to do something different since others have posted awesome more traditional approaches.

I am not tutoring anyone right now, but I like to stay fresh and ready. When I do tutor, it happens fast and is intense and I need to teach not self-educate and research. So this is the stuff I will be reviewing when I am bored.

I am going with a lot of books that come in BOTH hardcopy and pdf, so that depending on what happens, I can continue on with the same plan. I keep a hardcopy Bible no matter what. I did splurge on a 13" e-ink note-taking tablet and ereader, so I am adding that to my list that is both real and theoretic.

Onyx Boox Max Lumi e-ink tablet

Solar Bible player (with Thru the Bible radio program)

Thru the Bible Radio Network Bible KJV Giant Print

Layers of Learning years 1-4, Planners, Research papers. pdfs

How to Tutor pdf (includes math)

Don Potter Shortcut to Manuscript

Write On by Karen Newell pdf

Strayer Upton Book 1 ebook

mathessentials.net videos and pdfs

nononsensealgebra.com videos and pdfs

Cozy Grammar/Essay videos and pdfs

Handbook of Nature Study ebook

Mr Q ESP Labs

Some of these authors did not publish till the late 90's or right after Y2K, but they developed and tested their curricula in the 80's and 90's for remedial and alternative students, or modeled it on what was available then, or stripped it down and used real stuff. I am going full throttle with "inspired".

If the original Student of the Word curriculum ever comes back in print, I will dump the newer Layers of Learning to use my favorite oldschool curriculum again. I don't think that is going to happen. I gotta live in the full reality of the present.

I am going to take a chill pill about cursive, math beyond the back-to-basics streamlined pre-algebra and Algebra 1 workbooks, art, and everything else. I will use what I have, when I have it. The more mucked up my world, the less I care about the details. Students ask me to teach those beyond these things, but years later, it is the stuff above that I see them using and talking about.

I don't need a box. All the tech will fit in my matching quilted Vera Bradley shoulder bag and duffel carry-on bag. The Bible I will carry in my arms. Customs didn't weigh my coat or the Bible in my arms last time. I used the Bible as my pillow and my coat as my blanket on the plane.

I already have everything loaded on the devices except the Yesterday's Classics ebook version of Strayer Upton 1. I don't need it right away, and will purchase it in ebook or hardcopy when I need it or use something else.

Yup, this level of dependence on tech is RIIIISKY, but my whole freaking life is a risk. In context, who cares. In context of real life and especially in context that I don't have kids anymore. I always have the Bible and solar Bus when the lights go out, no matter what.

The past couples days have impacted my final curricula choices for good and bad. 



Edited by Hunter
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I understand, the surge protectors only protect a certain number of times, before they burn out. I have them, but I am not sure they are acting as anything more than an extension cord at this point. There is something even better and more involved and expensive, but I read an article recently about problems solving by removing things, not adding things. I just starting yanking cords and leaving them unplugged. I stood in the middle of my more quiet space and thought, hmmm... what CAN I still do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just checked my e-mail. Layers of Learning is on sale 20% off till Sunday. Coupon Code SUMMER2021. Perfect timing. I need the research paper pdf. I don't have that, and my other two English choices look like they will be the exact perfect preparation for this curriculum. I am curious to see the curriculum and if I am right about that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really miss Writing Road to Reading 4th edition. I found a pdf copy in my Kindle Docs account. I do have it, and it is legal that I have it, but it is not legal to share. So in general. I don't like to talk about something that is getting harder and harder to get.

We have gotten some great new stuff, but we have lost access to some treasures. It makes me angry to lose these things. Before ebooks, books going out of print was necessary. Now it is not. A publisher could offer an old edition. But these more simple single volumes threaten the publishers chance to make a much greater profit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, I purchased and skimmed Layers of Learning Research Papers. It is perfect to follow the Progressive Reports in Write On. If a mom/tutor needs to compact a curriculum to get a student to the research paper as fast as possible, she can skip all the Write Ons that are not part of the Progressive Reports sequence and then jump straight into the LOL Research Papers. With more time, the other strands of Write On and Cozy Grammar/Essay can be used as enrichment.

In my opinion LoL Research Papers is above average. I am sure you could find better, but I have seen a LOT that is worse. And my biggest need was something that complemented what I already have used and love. There was a hole in my plan. This plugs it.

Now I am curious how well it works on the e-ink tablet. I will see tomorrow if I can write directly on a copy of the pdf without lag. It is a workbook approach meant to be printed and written on.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Okay, so ... I was able to purchase and download the Yesterday's Classic Strayer Upton Book 1 part 1. Then I was able to upload it as a Kindle Doc. If the Kindle app is installed on an Android tablet, you can use the "share" feature to "send to Kindle". I checked BOTH "archive" and the device I wanted to view it on. 

I do not think I can write on this file on the e-ink device. I know how to write on pdfs, but not epubs or mobis.

Strayer Upton is hard to use as suggested. It is a lot of work and it gets difficult really fast. In the 1920 and 1930's these graded maths were seldom used at the pace suggested. Instead of skipping problems, schools usually did not use the volumes as quickly as suggested.

Math essentials book 2 was originally designed to help 7th graders complete all of 7th and 8th grade in a single year so that the most talented students could start Algebra a year earlier. If you were to take 4 years to complete S-U Book 1, instead of 2 years, you would still have plenty of time to complete Math essentials and start Algebra in grade 8 or 9.

Math Essentials is a pdf. It can be written on in the e-ink device.

How to tutor includes all the math needed to prepare for Strayer Upton.

This is all sliding into place nicely.

Edited by Hunter
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Until I get bored with this project, I will continue to see what can be accomplished with minimal tech and no home wifi.

Using a cheap android tablet on a cellular data plan, I went onto the Heritage History website and added a shortcut to the site on my Android Home Screen. It is an option in the menu of Chrome browser to create an icon that looks like an app icon, but is actually a website link.

Young Readers Study Program


This study plan is useful for all ages, and the easiest to align with group LoL lessons (there are other study plans available). If you click on the history periods you will see timelines. When click on links for people and events on the timeline, it will list books for all levels: green-younger, brown-middle, red-higher. The Old Testament topics are the only topics not well supported with titles for the higher levels.

Unlike Yesterday's Classics, there are no Mobi files, but Kindle Docs can store pdfs. Kindle Fire and SOME Kindle apps on other platforms will automatically display pdf Docs in the Kindle Docs library. It can take up to 5 minutes and a manual sync to have them pop up in the Docs library.

When I downloaded the pdf from Heritage History, it automatically opened, and I was delighted to discover that the 3 dot menu in the popup provided an option to "send to Kindle". It was that easy to get the Doc as a permanent addition to my Kindle library.

With the icon on my homescreen, this is a super simple way to add history content aligned to the weekly history topic.

EDIT: If i click on individual book pages, I don't see mobi files listed. But if I click on this page with books listed by genre, I see a mobi option for each book. Weird.


Edited by Hunter
incorrect information
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Gutenberg: similar, but a little different.

Add the link to Gutenberg Bookshelf webpage to the Android tablet Home Screen as an icon.


Download Mobi with images. (I downloaded Runaway Bunny. It is so cute!)

Find the mobi file in downloads. Rename it. From the menu press "share" then "sent to kindle".

Wait 5 minutes. Manually sync. It should show up immediately in a device connected to cellular data. The Kindle Fires will need to wait for wifi access, or access to the limited hotspot data from a device connected to the cellular data.


Edited by Hunter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/8/2021 at 10:12 AM, Hunter said:

NO!!!! LOL

I've figured what might go in the 2nd box, though it wouldn't be full.

But a lot of people need that much when starting from scratch and some people are being handed that type of money.

And some people are NOT being handed that type of money. So anyone that can model smaller and cheaper packages, please do so!

Foreign Language: without internet access. Price varies tremendously but a medium high estimate is $130-200 if you have 3 students doing different languages. If you have multiple students doing the same language, then the price drops.


A Boombox that is a CD + Cassette Player with speakers new $40-80 depending on the brand. Buying 2nd hand on eBay or at thrift-stores can cost $5-40 depending on the brand)
A Personal CD Player + headphones ($30 per person used on eBay)
--these are smaller, personal devices and if you have a lot of kids doing a foreign language, then this might be a better option because then everyone can do their Language at the same time without disturbing each other.

These devices can be plugged in or use batteries, so there is a little flexibility in how you use them and what it'd cost you over the years to run them.

Teach Yourself XXX - Guidebook + 3CDs
for whatever language that your interested in. ($5-50 depending on the language)
Barron's Mastering XXX - Guidebook + Audio (either CD or cassettes) $5-50 depending on the langauge. Fewer offerings than Teach Yourself, but supposedly really good courses.
Pimsleur Language Courses  you can often get Level 1-3 (90 lessons) or Level 1-5 (120ish lessons) of a language on eBay for around $150 if you look around.

Pimsleur can be a lot more limited, but it lays a solid foundation -- or so I've heard.

Other publishers sell/sold CD courses so if you are choosing a common language in the US, then you have a wider variety of affordable foreign language options but if you want an "exotic" language like Welse, Serbian, Gaelic, etc then Teach Yourself is the publisher to go with.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent ideas Mathmarm!!

The reason that a lot of people crash and burn with Pimsleur is that they try and follow the pacing instructions. The pacing is way too fast. Lessons need to be repeated. 30 lessons is enough for six months, not one month.

The first time you listen, don't try and do anything but take notes. Don't write down the entire lesson!!! But take some notes on the new material. And check the spelling of words in another resource that is not 100% audio.

If you can get to wifi or use cellular data, Audible has Pimsleur and the lessons can be downloaded onto the app and used offline. 

If you can get access to online resources once, you can download these oldschool resources and use them offline. https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/index.html

If your library offers access to Mango languages, you can download the app, and download lessons for offline use.

Udemy course go on sale for $9.99 and you can download videos for offline viewing, but they take up a LOT of room on the device and download slowly on public wifi. It is better to stream on cellular data that to download.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...