Homeschooling is a wonderful experience, but it is a lot of work. Some people who decide to homeschool enjoy reading books to get ideas, learn from others, and assess the new task. There are many resources for 1st time homeschoolers as well as many of us who have been homeschooling for a while.
I learned a lesson many years ago when my husband asked me to marry him. We sat down and started planning everything right away. There was a problem. We really did not know where to start! We had good ideas, but did not have a solid plan. After trying for about a day, we both looked at each other. Frustrated, we decided that other people have gotten married before, so there must be a book. We went to a local bookstore and bought a couple books on wedding planning. We ended up using these books throughout the entire wedding planning process.
The same lesson applies to homeschooling. Many people have gone before you. There are plenty of written resources available written by former and current homeschooling parents. While I have enjoyed many homeschooling books, there are some that standout as books that either I used heavily or I simply enjoyed. Some of these books are:
100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy – This is a good all round comprehensive resource book that addresses the different types of learners as well as the homeschool educator. I think every new homeschool parent should read this book before buying curriculum. Personally, I did not follow all of her advice on curriculum, but I was able to make a more educated choice. I appreciated her in-depth coverage of the curriculum reviews. Also, check out her website.
A Survivor’s Guide to Home Schooling by Luanne Shackelford and Susan White – The book is enjoyable with a lot of helpful advice. More geared toward families with many children rather than a family with one.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – I really liked this book. It is important that while we are planning the homeschooling year, to remember the homeschooling child. I have to admit that there were some moments that I felt that Tedd Tripp was talking about me! I learned about myself and my daughter while reading this book.
The Well-Trained Mind A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise – Classical Education is a type of homeschooling involving three stages of learning. This book is full of ideas regarding classical education. If you are thinking about classical education, this book is necessary have or must read.
The Core by Leigh Bortins – Mrs. Bortins is the founder of Classical Conversations, a nationwide organization offering classical approach curriculum for elementary, middle school, and high school students. I enjoyed the book very much and received many great ideas.
Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride – This book is comprehensive. I found it great as a resource, but it can be overwhelming especially when you are new to homeschooling.
So, You’re Thinking About Homeschooling, 2nd Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It by Lisa Whelchel – I really liked this book. By the time I got around to reading this book, I was so overwhelmed with information. Ms. Whelchel shows that homeschooling is about educating your child. Each child and family is different. The book is an easy read and enjoyable.
Each book has its Pros and Cons. Collectively; these books provide well-rounded information about homeschooling. Many of these books are available at public libraries, garage sales, eBay, homeschoolers, and at book distributors. In general, I liked the books that actually gave me information that I could use in my homeschooling planning. There are plenty of books, which address the differences between homeschooling and traditional public school. I was not interested in those books, because I already made my decision. I was past comparing homeschooling to public school or private school. What I needed were books that addressed concrete concepts and ideas. I hope this list will help you in your search for comprehensive resource materials.
So grab a book and a cup of coffee or tea and read! Have a wonderful day!
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Just as the snow thaws and the weather starts to turn warmer, is a time that many homeschool parents begin the process of selecting curriculum for the next year. Whether you are doing it for one child or many, this can be very nerve racking. Depending on your curriculum, it can cost a pretty penny.
Homeschooling one child has a unique and sometimes frustrating inherent characteristic. You are homeschooling ‘one’ child, so that the homeschool curriculum you buy is only for ‘one’ child. Therefore, the investment cost per child can be higher compared to our multiple children homeschooling parent counterparts. The homeschooling family wants to get the curriculum right. You do not want to waste money.
I confess. I have bought math curriculum and discovered 2 months into the curriculum that it was too easy for my daughter. I had to go out and buy another curriculum. Did I feel bad that I had to do that? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. The bottom line is that we as parents select the best curriculum programs that we think fit our child’s needs and learning style.
We have a finite amount of money in our family to buy curriculum each year. In order to maximize the money, we follow a few basic suggestions or ideas:
Assess a starting $$ for your curriculum budget. We start the year with an idea of the amount of money it will take to buy curriculum for my daughter. Most importantly, we decide how we will put aside the money. One year, I started saving money for curriculum in the fall of the previous year. Little by little, the savings added up.
Plan a basic curriculum outline. Decide what subjects you are going to cover in the next grade or homeschool year. For instance, are you covering the Middle Ages this year or are you covering the Ancients in history, etc.? It is important at this stage to get an idea of what you want to cover, not necessarily specifics. By the way, I find that I tweak this throughout the curriculum process. If you are new to homeschooling, look at some of the comprehensive programs to get an idea of costs. Some of the programs that I look at to get budgetary costs are Bob Jones, Abeka, Alpha Omega, Classical Conversations, Sonlight, Saxon, etc.
Pad or add extra $$ to your curriculum budget for workbooks, supplies, and experiment requirements. For instance, we know that we will spend around $50.00 for my daughter’s science curriculum. However, I usually pad or add extra money on the curriculum estimate. Therefore, the science curriculum entry is $75.00. I have learned that sometimes you need that extra money for workbooks, experiments, or other supplements that were not clear in the beginning.
Do not forget about Co-op costs. If you are part of a homeschool co-op, plan to set aside an appropriate amount for textbooks and supplies. Include this amount into your budget. I signed up for a Co-op type program late one year. The books and supplies were above my budget. Thankfully, I set aside an ‘oops’ budget category.
Create an ‘Oops’ budget category. I find that throughout the year, I usually need a resource or literature book that is not in the library. The ‘Oops’ category allows me the freedom to be able to purchase the book during the school year. You may have another name for this category. I like ‘Oops’, however others like Miscellaneous.
Plan for appropriate level. Starting in the springtime, homeschool curriculum vendors offer discounts. It coincides with the start of the homeschool curriculum conventions. If you know what curriculum you want, it can be a good way to save money. However, I do caution at this point. I found that between March and September, my daughter learns a lot of material. The books that I felt were the right level in March and April, changed by the time we got to September. This is why we purchased an expensive math program only to replace with a more advanced math program once the school year started.
Do not assume free curriculum for the budget. Many homeschoolers are tight on budget whether it is curriculum or just daily household needs. One of the traps that sometimes, homeschoolers fall into is thinking that we can get the curriculum we need free or reduced price. While we may in the end be able to find the curriculum at reduced prices or free. For budgetary purposes, I have found it better to put a budget amount for each subject.
Building the curriculum budget is a task that I do not take lightly. It takes a lot of effort to earn the money for curriculum and time to find the right curriculum. Please do not minimize the task. You will save money through planning the curriculum budget. If nothing else, it starts the planning process for the next year.