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 homeschool books and supplies, I write a list of the topics the girls desire to learn and the things I believe are a must for them to learn. After writing my list, I list the potential homeschool resources I want to use to teach my girls the different subjects. Usually 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.
What are our curriculum choices?
Being able to use the same curriculum consistently helps our homeschool flow with very few hiccups because my daughters know what to expect, and it also helps me to stay on top up our homeschooling budget.
Items we purchase to home school effectively ...
Every year I purchase, math and some type of language arts program. But there are years when we do not use a structured language arts program. Math and Language Arts are often seen as the core of learning, and I happen to agree so I make it a point to use a boxed curriculum for these subjects. It helps me to keep my daughters on track, and I appreciate the neat packaging of these subjects. I am not a fan of having tons of worksheets all over the place.
Foreign language programs also fall on the list of items to purchase. I am not fluent in any language so I need the help and knowledge of curriculum to help me teach my daughters. Purchasing curriculum for foreign language learning is valuable. In the past, I have pieced together resources to teach my daughters Spanish vocabulary and sign language, but now I think we are all to the point where we should be striving for at least conversational abilities. We're using Classical Academic Press Latin programs to help with Latin and Foreign Language for Kids to teach Spanish.
In the earlier years, I also purchased many supplemental workbooks such as handwriting books and writing workbooks. As the girls have gotten older, I find that I need fewer supplements since I can build onto textbook exercises using computer programs or websites. I also still enjoy making my own resources and since I don't have to start from scratch I find it easier to create supplements versus buying in this stage of learning.
Other topics of learning ...
As you know homeschooling isn't just about curriculum. My daughters learn from their environment. This doesn't normally require additional resources, but we have books on our bookshelves for topics that are of interest to them, and we take advantage of opportunities in our community.
Chipping away at 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. I am thankful for the times when we are able at times to receive scholarships or reduced class cost to offset our budget. The cost of ink can be really expensive when it comes to printing at home. We have HP Instant Ink to help offset the cost. It is definitely budget friendly in my opinion. We do utilize the library to keep our bookshelves lighter and pockets fuller except when I forget to return books and get late fees :). We still purchase books which can also impact our budget. I try to buy used or the Kindle version for books that we are all reading together. 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?