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How to Homeschool for Less Than $100 dollars a year.
The decision to homeschool is never taken lightly. You will probably ask yourself… Can we survive on one income? Do I know enough to be the teacher? How will I teach 3 kids at different levels? How will my kids meet new friends? After answering these questions there will be more… How do I teach my child who struggles in reading? What curriculum should I use? Should I try un-schooling, self-teaching, teacher directed learning?
With all of this to weigh on your mind it will be nice to know that homeschooling doesn’t have to deplete your savings. Homeschooling parents are creative giving people who are dedicated to their child’s education. These facts will help you be successful in becoming one of them. You CAN homeschool for less than $100 per year. In all honesty you can do it for free if you have access to a library, the internet, and a few other homeschool families.
The Dangers of Homeschooling a tongue and cheek evaluation
Getting the Basics
Reading, writing, and math are core concepts that must be mastered by your students. If your child can read, write, and do math up through basic algebra they can easily be successful in society. Many of us will want to go farther than this with our students, however, these goals should not be considered optional.
If you are lucky enough to be starting your student off from scratch then you will be starting with basics. The alphabet and phonics will start your journey. Then on to blends and sight words (words that do not sound the way they are spelled). Next, on to simple readers and so on. McGuffey Readers are an excellent way to teach your students how to read. They were used when America was first becoming a nation but have lost nothing over time in their effectiveness.
Since these books were published before 1923 they are no longer copy written. You can find scanned copies on line and print them. You can also find the books themselves for sale online. Check out all of your options before you choose which way to go. Sometimes printing them out can be more expensive than a cheap copy you find online.
If you are removing your student from school and they already have some basic knowledge scan through the readers allow your student to read allowed to you until they get to information that is new to them.
Once your student has begun to read include library and online books on a variety of subjects to introduce him to subjects they may not encounter in the everyday. Books on history, biology, science, atlases, whatever you can get your hands on.
Use these links to find great books to use in you teaching
Paper and pencil is all you need for writing. You can buy pads of paper made for early readers with the blue and red lines, use regular notebook paper and have them use 2 lines instead of one, or you can print lined paper from online sites.
Have your student practice lines, slants, and curves. Move onto letters, numbers, words, and then sentences. Eventually have them copy entire paragraphs.
At some point you will need to have them start creating their own sentences. Start with exercises that have them write a sentence about something they like or can see. They could also write about things they have done. Move on to more structured prompts. Include prompts that require reading and relaying information as well as creative prompts that allow your student to generate the information written. Check and have them correct grammar and punctuation. Encourage the use of plenty of adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases to make their sentences are interesting.
Print handwriting sheets with your own lesson
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Saxon Math is an excellent and affordable curriculum to use once your student can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. While your student is learning the basics you can create your own worksheets and flash cards. Start with number recognition; single digit, double digit, triple digit and so on. Move on to adding with the single digits then subtracting. Do some double digit adding then subtracting. Start multiplication of single digits then division resulting in single digits. Make sure your students understand how these processes are happening by using manipulatives like pennies, Legos, or whatever you have. Incorporate money when you go shopping by having them keep track of how much you are spending in the store or when they are saving up to buy something they want. You can also introduce fractions with things like pizza or pie.
When your student has a good understanding and a basic level of memorized facts (i.e. …4x5=20, 7x6=42, 3x2=6…) it is time to start in Saxon 54. You need to purchase a complete set including student text, test book, and answer book. You can do this online in variety of places for as little as $25 for a used set (or free if you borrow from another family). You will be able to resell them when you are finished for pretty much the same price.
A great site where homeschooling families sell the books they are no longer using
- Homeschool Classifieds
Homeschool used curriculum marketplace and group, event, and activity listings.
Beyond the Basics
Once your child is reading, writing, and doing math it is time for you to decide where your student will be going from here. My goal when I started homeschool was to enable my children to go to college if they wanted to. This means they need to be able to learn from reading and be able to take notes. Many classes in college consist of a text book and a lecturing professor. They need to have mastered Algebra and Geometry but would benefit from having Algebra II and Trigonometry (Advanced Math). They would need to have a writing ability equal, at least, to what is seen in a credible newspaper. (Ironically most newspapers are published at an 8th grade writing level or lower in order to be readable by the general population.) They need to be able to take a standardized tests. They will also need extracurricular activities as well as electives.
These levels of education can still be achieved in your $100 budget. Math is covered in the Saxon program all the way to Calculus but you do not need to go that far. Reading for learning will require you to obtain tests on books you have your student read. You can create your own tests or you can get text book sets that include study questions and tests. Buy these items used. The basics in science and history haven’t changed in decades. So an edition published even 10 years ago will teach your student what they need to know. For more contemporary history use your library or a trusted website. Search online for tests already made for books you can easily get your hands on. You can also go online to practice standardized tests. Make sure your student can read and answer a multiple choice question as well as generate essay type answers from a specific prompt or question. You can find samples to use with your student online or you can pick up a test prep book.
For elective classes and extracurricular activities look to your students hobbies and interests but you also need to include a foreign language. If you have your student in soccer you can count this as PE. If your child likes to sew and cook take time to teach them how to budget and you have home economics. Perhaps you keep a garden (or could start one). From Boy Scouts to Driver’s Ed, the things your students do should be recorded as classes. Another great option to get classes that are in areas you have no skills or talent in is a homeschool co-op. These are when homeschooling families come together to create and have classes together. Often these classes will have a fee but if you have a skill to teach you can probably cover your students’ costs with money you make from the class you teach. Don’t have a skill you can share? Run a daycare for little ones while the other kids are taking classes in order to make some money. Your student can take their foreign language at a co-op like this or do a computer course. You may want to duel-enroll your student, which can be done for free in many states while your they are still registered as a high student. If your child’s aspirations include Ivy League or a specific career path your goals will be more specific. They should do the research to find out how to qualify for their desired school.