Preparing for New Learning Experiences without Spending Like Crazy!

It's that time of year! I have started preparing for our upcoming school year which usually commences the first week of August.

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In order to get ready for the purchasing of material I write a list of the topics the girls desire to learn and the things I believe are a must to learn.  After writing my list, I list the potential resources I will use to teach the girls the topic. By the time I get to the ordering stage many items have been removed simply because we don't need them.  I appreciate being able to sit with my list before ordering because it keeps me from spending frivolously.

Curriculum selections for grades K and 2

Curriculum selections for grades K and 2

What are our curriculum choices?

After homeschooling for over five years, I have learned that it is best for us to use a variety of materials to get the job. There are some items I create like this reading comprehension guide, and there are some things that I purchase.  Of course, purchased items cost more than those that I make myself, but I find the cost worth it when it comes the time it takes me to make some items.

Items we purchase to home school effectively ...

Every year I purchase, math and some type of language arts program.  Usually, we use Christian Light Reading and Mathematics. But there are years in which we do not use a structured language arts program.  This year the girls have expressed a desire to use the reading program versus the language arts program. We seldom use both the language arts and reading programs simultaneously.  Luckily, I don't have to purchase every component of the reading program because we already had quite a few pieces from my oldest daughter's leftover curriculum.

Foreign Language Programs: The girls enjoy foreign languages, and since I am only fluent in English I find purchasing curriculum for foreign language learning is valuable.  In the past, we have pieced together things, but I think we are all to the point where we should be striving for at least conversational abilities. This year we are going to try Song School Latin.  We will also enroll the girls in group Spanish classes.

Workbooks for other subjects: I have ordered a few supplemental workbooks for language arts. The girls will use the Spectrum Language Arts Workbook, A Reason For Handwriting, and Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing and Spelling.

Other topics of learning:

The above purchases are not the only areas that we will be studying, but they are the only areas that I will be placing an order for this school year.  We have quite a few resources on our bookshelf from previous years or prior purchases which allow me to build the rest of our course work.  We also supplement our work with books from the library, internet sources, etc.

About the budget ...

Although I believe we are a pretty low cost home school when it comes to curriculum purchases, I know that we spend more than what is listed above.  The girls often participate in classes which cost although we are able at times to receive scholarships or reduced class cost. The cost of ink is really expensive when it comes to printing at home (consider HP Instant Ink to save), but paper not so much because I buy a box at a time which lasts us for a few years.  We do utilize the library, but we still purchase books and supplemental items which can also impact our budget. Overall not including classes and books for enjoyment, we tend to stay under $350 each year for both of our girls.

How do you plan for your home school?  Do you incorporate a budget?