How do we afford to Homeschool?

That is a great question for any homeschool family.

I have several friends that have said in the past, ” We would homeschool, IF we could afford it!”

GUESS WHAT! YOU CAN!

Homeschooling

Most people who don’t know much about homeschooling believes that you have to spend thousands of dollars and buy the absolute best curriculum out there. You don’t.

When we first began our homeschooling journey 5 years ago I went to my first conference. It was very overwhelming to see all the different curriculum we could choose from. Who knew there were SO MANY CHOICES!

We went from booth to booth in awe of every curriculum. We saw curriculum that was way out of our price range and some that was right in our price range.

Did you know there is even FREE curriculum you can get? Yes, FREE!

I am going to share some ways that we afford homeschooling in our one-income family.

First and foremost: I am not a huge spender. As a teen I was. I would go clothes shopping for myself with almost every paycheck. As soon as I got myself into the “real world” that changed. I do not spend if I do not have to spend. By that I mean, I don’t go clothes shopping when it is not needed. We buy the clothes we need and we don’t spend more than what is needed on clothing. My child has enough clothes for each season and so do we. I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes for him to wear once either. I buy clothes I know will last and will be useful to us. I try not to buy things we do not need.

We live in our means: We do not live in a house we can not afford. We do not have car payments anymore. My car was given to us from my mom. Our truck was paid off a couple of winters ago. Both vehicles are drivable. Both get us from point A to point B and that is all we need. I don’t want to have to buy a brand new car every other season just because someone else got a new car. I don’t work that way. Never have either. I know one day we may have to buy a new car, but it will not be new. I have never bought brand new. I am perfectly fine with buying used to get a lower payment as well. Saving money where we can. We also buy groceries every time hubby gets paid and we make our plans for lunches and dinners for the weeks. Sure sometimes we will also go out to eat, but not every day and not every week.We really want a patio in the backyard, but instead of spending the money to have someone come build us one, we are saving for one. Then we will use plans we found online and build ourselves. There are many things we “want” however, we put aside our wants and think about our needs before anything else. We know we plan to homeschool for awhile, so that comes before material objects we can do without for now.

Curriculum: This is where you can spend some money or not. When Preston was little and he stayed at home with me before starting Kindergarten, I would find ways to have him learn, but for free. Free online resources, Free games online, Sand box activities, hand games for example. Now that he is older, there are still free curriculum you can find ( for example: Easy Peasy ).

Now there are ways to get discounts for curriculum too that you want to purchase.

  • Buy at convention- Most of the time vendors are doing discounts or free shipping at convention. Even the free shipping is savings.
  • Buy used- Thats right. There are several Facebook pages you can find others selling their used curriculum. Also, stores like Half Price Books have tons of homeschooling curriculum you can buy used.
  • Borrow- If you have homeschool friends in your group, they most likely will let you borrow their curriculum when they are done. Just make sure to return it when you are done using it.
  • Price match- Places like RainbowResource.com and Christianbooks.com may have the curriculum you are wanting for cheaper than what the actual company sells it for. It may only be a few dollars cheaper, but hey, that is a few dollars saved!
  • Save year round- This is something I tell myself every year I need to do and don’t. If you know you want to buy a curriculum that may be a little more, save for it. We use Teaching Textbooks for Math and that is our most expensive curriculum at $149.90 each year. Knowing this I should be saving for this. Even if you have a change jar and just throw your change in the jar each day. It will end up adding up and helping you when it comes time to buy curriculum.
  • Timberdoodle.com- If you can order your curriculum from this website, they give doodle dollars. Saving these will you get money off your next purchase. I use this site for some things. Right now, my plan is to order Math from them and a container. I have enough doodle dollars for $6 off my order. It may be only $6 to some, but that $6 can go towards something else.

Field Trips: Most places like the Zoo, Aquarium, Theme Parks, have homeschool days. Sometimes, they will even give discounts. We always do the Dallas Zoo in the months of January and February because they do their penguin days and its way cheaper than a normal priced day. On of our local Museums does a homeschool day and actually plans out stations for the children to have an activity. One of our Aquarium does a homeschool week. They give discounted tickets to homeschoolers. We go during that week. Same for our local Great Wolf Lodge. They have one week they discount for homeschoolers. These are when we plan our trips. Discounts help any kind of field trip.

We also look for places with free admission. Dallas Museum of Art, Klyde Warren Park, Downtown Fort Worth, which is one of our favorite places. It has a ton of history, plus the atmosphere is just wonderful itself. We could literally go and spend a whole day there.

Of course, not every place is going to give discounts and that is ok. If you are willing find other homeschoolers in your area and the more you have in your group most places will give you a group rate. Which may save a few dollars again.

Again, these are just some of the ways that we save to be able to homeschool. We make sacrifices to be able to teach our son the way we feel like we were meant to teach him. I just want others to know if you are struggling with the though of homeschooling because you are worried you can not afford it, I promise there are ways to do so!

Round Up (April Instagram)

Since I was not around much in April, I thought I would do a round up of life in April through my Instgram post.

Collage

i figured a collage would be easier than 20 something different photos! Plus, you can always click the photo to make it bigger.

Starting at the top left corner and going around like a clock:

  1. Winnie Wood ( our cat) now loves to play under the blanket while you try and make the bed.
  2. A colorful plant I saw one day while going to dinner so I took a picture of it.
  3. P enjoying the nice weather and blowing bubbles.
  4. P also enjoying the baskets at Brookshire’s. We used to do that as kids as well when I went to shopping with my grandmother.
  5. Sunset at the lake that is right down the road from us!
  6. Me, cooking dinner one night!
  7. Menus at Arboledos in Royse City. Went to have lunch with my sister in law.
  8. Trees at a beautiful park in Richardson.
  9. Road construction in Royse City. So fun…
  10. Winnie trying to play while I work at the computer,
  11. Got my first order of prints from Artifact Uprising! Will be ordering more soon!!!
  12. P at a birthday party at the park!!! Love birthday parties like that!
  13. P doing the last few pages of his Language Arts.
  14. P Learning all about Thomas Edison.
  15. P done with his Language Arts book for 3rd grade!
  16. Making myself spaghetti squash for lunch! I am the only one in my house that loves it! I add a little bit of Olive Garden dressing and it is amazing!!!
  17. P watching the roofers tear apart the roof across the street.
  18. P at the dentist! This was actually one of his best times! He did so well.
  19. P working on Spelling Words outside. He wrote them with chalk!
  20. P mixing colors. We got a color mixing kit from The Homegrown Preschooler at the homeschool convention.
  21. Me and my wild hair. I woke up like that…
  22. P got his Tinker Crate in the mail. We have only gotten two so far, but he really enjoys them!
  23. P spray painting planters we got to plant some new flowers for the front yard! We needed some color!
  24. Some plants I found at Home Depot.
  25. Myself and P at the movies watching Zootopia! We LOVED the sloth!!!

 

Great Homeschool Convention

Friday, March 18th we decided to head out to Fort Worth to the Great Homeschool Convention.

I have only been to one homeschool convention since I started homeschooling and that was the very first year we homeschooled. It was time to visit another.

This was the 2nd time that the Great Homeschool Convention has come to Fort Worth. It is only about an hour drive for us so it was a perfect day trip.

I have been on the hunt for new Science and new History curriculum for P. This gave me a chance to see hands on what is out there.

When we first got there, we stopped at the CursiveLogic booth. When I had my homeschooling blog I did a review for them. I love how easy their workbooks are to follow along to. P learned very quickly how to write in cursive using their workbook.

My SIL and her daughter K went with us. I am in the process of helping her decide if homeschooling is a fit for them. Since K is a little bit younger ( 6 years old) we were able to visit several booths to help her mom look at curriculum in person to see what would work best for them as well.

We found Owlegories, which is a adorable animated gospel centered series and app for kids. They have 2 DVD’s out in the series with a 3rd on the way. They also had a special edition DVD. Each DVD has 3 episodes on the disk. These look cute and very entertaining for young ones to learn about Christ.

After leaving that booth, we found Doodles Ave. Cute coloring books with different themes. I picked up Birds ( since we are studying birds right now!), The Lone Star State Coloring book and United States Coloring Fun. I like these because it is a fun way to add to the lesson. P even used his Bird coloring book this morning during Science!

bird

Since I was on the hunt for a Science curriculum, I looked for booths that had product I could look at and browse through. One of those being Real Science 4 Kids. I had already checked them out online, but wanted to see their product in person. I was very pleased with their workbooks and how easy it seemed to be to teach. One thing I really liked was you could use the Science curriculum for multiple ages. The Elementary ones are perfect for grades Kinder-4th. Which would be perfect for us. If I get P and my niece K to do Science together, then we will be purchasing this curriculum to use.

One of our FAVORITE booths was The Reading Corner. The lady that we spoke with was amazing! She sat on the floor with the children and did a couple of lessons with my niece. She demonstrated their curriculum and told us which level we should start with based on her interactions with my niece. She sat and talked with us for a good 30 minutes and answered any questions we had for her. Her curriculum was so well laid out, so easy to follow along and very hands on. I really wish she had this curriculum when P was smaller because it would of been perfect for him. She even has a learning center in Florida that she uses her curriculum with.

readingcorner

One of the last booths we checked out was The Homegrown Preschooler. Even though P is far from a preschooler, they were selling water beads and color mixing kits that he just had to have. So, I grabbed him a set of each and he has already played with the water beads several times through out the weekend!

waterbeadswaterkit

P and K also had a blast collecting free gifts that the booths were handing out. P got quite a collection of wrist bands. 🙂

bands

March Came in Like a Lion

It’s March.

Wait, When did that happen?

Gosh, we have been so busy and time seems like it just flashes by. Even with that extra 24 hours we got this year!

This week we went and visited our sweet kitten again. They are waiting for her to gain just a few more ounces till we can bring her home! We got her some new toys this weekend, so while when we went to visit we took one with us to see if she would like it. She LOVED it!

She played and climbed on P. She actually let him hold her and she is getting more used to us. After she was wore out from playing she cuddled up on a blanket for a little bit and then she let me hold her while she fell asleep.

Homeschooling has been going pretty good. We are down to our last couple of months. We should be done with “3rd grade” by the end of April. Although, I am not even sure to call it 3rd grade when he does several different grade levels of subjects. He is almost done with 4th grade Math and 3rd grade Language Arts. Every other subject is spread out.

For Science, we decided to take the month of March and learn about Birds. Just have to make sure I have enough to do for the whole month!

Tomorrow, we have a very fun and messy project coming up that I will share with you when we are done! It is a great and fun project for kids of most ages ( young ones too as long as they don’t put things in their mouth!).

Electronic Snap Circuits

One of our favorite things about homeschooling is being able to do things that keep the attention of my 8 year old.

P’s learning style consist of hands on activities and audio.

When I was searching items that we have for his Electronic Free Moments, I came across his Electronic Snap Circuits. Now I don’t know if they actually classify as Electronic Free since technically they are electronic and require to be plugged in. However, he is not sitting in front of his Ipad or a TV when he uses them! So, that is fine with me!

 

These are great for children who like hands on activities. The object is to attach the snap circuits together to make sounds, lights and even spinning fans. It comes with instructions and SEVERAL different ways to connect them for different responses.

This will stay in our rotation this week. If I feel like he is really enjoying it being out I will leave it out for another week before trading it for something new.