We’re going to jump right into part two of Janet Berry’s awesome post, full of tips for saving on homeschooling. I know that lots of you checked out the post last week. Please comment with your own tips this week! I love getting new ideas for homeschooling!
For Jan’s bio, please check last week’s post. Here’s the link for her amazing blog, full of gluten-free recipes, herbal remedies, and more: http://thenerdyfarmwife.com/.
Homeschooling for (Almost) Free, Part Two
By: Janet Berry
|Learning Life Skills
The third, and what I feel is the most often overlooked resource available, is real life experience. Don’t underestimate what your children are learning and being exposed to just by being included in your daily routines. I’ve always found it slightly humorous that kids in traditional school go on special field trips to the library, grocery store, post office, apple orchard and other such places that my children and I visit on a regular basis. My kids know how to pay for an item at a checkout, pick out the best fruits at an orchard or farmer’s market, use a pocket knife, gather wood and kindling then start a fire, give the dogs a bath, cook basic foods, shoot a bow, wash their own laundry and then hang it outside to dry and many other things that quite a few boys and girls their age aren’t allowed or expected to do. My goal is to have two highly independent, free thinking, fully functional members of society by the time they’re ready to leave home.
I’m not a fan of having homeschool students complete a mind-numbing amount of worksheets just because some curriculum intended for a classroom of twenty students says they have to. However, as they get older, it’s important to me that mine know how to fill out forms and take tests. Friends and relatives, especially those who are teachers or have school age children, can be a great source here. Don’t discount the value of a free half-used math or language workbook. You can go through it, pull out the sheets your kid might need practice on and discard/recycle the rest.
|Loves to Read!
We are conditioned to think that everything must be brand-spanking-shiny-new to be of any worth. That is so far from the truth! Some of my greatest finds come from Goodwill, flea markets and used book sales.
Occasionally though, you will discover a resource that you just really want but there’s no way to have it other than buying it outright. An example of this, for me, is the Time Travelers series that Home School in the Woods puts out: http://www.homeschoolinthewoods.com/
. I’ve used several of their products before and am completely in love with everything they produce. Right now, I am practically salivating over their recently released Middle Ages study. However, when balanced against the fact that I’d have to use half of this week’s grocery money to buy it, I can’t rationalize pulling that much from my bank account. For instances such as this, I utilize Swagbucks
If you’ve never heard of Swagbucks, you might want to check it out! Basically, you use their search engine just as you would Google and every so often, you’ll get rewarded with swag bucks. Swag bucks can be traded in for gift cards or other prizes. There’s plenty more ways to earn swag bucks, but searching is the least time-consuming way, and something I do a lot of anyway, so that’s the method I prefer. You can’t get rich doing this, but you can earn enough to get at least ten dollars in gift cards each month (some dedicated souls make far more.) The two most valuable rewards to me are Amazon.com cards and Paypal cards. These are what I use to get extra homeschool items and a few Christmas gifts. Anyone age 13 and older can have an account, so it’s also a fun way for your teens to earn a little bit of pocket money!
Search engines rule for finding exactly what you want, when you want it. However, here are a few favorite sites of mine that some of you may want to investigate further.
Besides these places, check out your local library’s web site (ours has a free online language program) and your state’s Department of Education (I skim over the Virginia Standards of Learning for our grade levels a few times each year for more topic ideas.)
I know I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg with this post, but I hope reading this gives you some reassurance that you don’t have to have the latest, greatest and fanciest curriculum around in order to provide your children with a well-rounded quality education at home.
****Once again, just blown away with your resourcefulness, Janet! I see so many things I want to integrate here…especially the kids doing/hanging laundry! And I’d never heard of Swagbucks. Thanks so much for this comprehensive post. What about you? Have you discovered any ways to save on homeschooling? Have you gotten some ideas from Janet?****