Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Homeschooling for Less

Since I only have two children, I don't spend a lot of time over at the Large Family Mothering blog. But last night, Sherry posted an article entitled, "Homeschooling--less is more links and lists," that's a good reminder for those of us who sometimes take our homeschooling too seriously - and make it too expensive. Homeschooling does not have to be expensive; there are a lot of benefits in keeping it simple, especially in the early years.

What kinds of things does she recommend? I won't go into all of them, because I want you to click over and read her article for yourself. But here are a few of the highlights:

- Read aloud -

first the Bible (children can understand the simple stories-from Genesis on-as they are presented verbatum, no need to purchase a "Bible story book") all sorts of picture books, etc. I would have them draw about what we read, or not--whatever they wished. I would encourage whatever they drew--not worrying whether they were staying in the lines, or even that they were "artistically correct", but just appreciating what they created as coming from their hearts and enjoying it. I would place these creations on the fridge or any other nifty place where we could all enjoy them.

- Buy books for Mom, not for the kids.

- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - this has worked really well for her, but it didn't work for me, with either of my girls. In my opinion, the more specific the lesson book you use, the less likely it is to work universally. Still, you need some kind of phonics materials - but keep it inexpensive as you may need to try something different if it doesn't work for you. Explode the Code phonics, Phonics Pathways, Modern Curriculum Press phonics, Pathway Readers "Learning with Sounds" - these are some inexpensive ideas to get you started.

- Dr. Seuss

- Mother Goose

- The Science of Cooking website

. . . and much more. Please take the time to follow the link and see all she has to say. I've been homeschooling for 8 years, and I still needed the reminder - the curriculum is not the most important part. Homeschooling is about the relationship between us and our children, and about how that relationship can help our children become lifelong learners.


Shawna said...

The only things I have really spent money on is documentation, some videos, field trips and classes/programs/outsourcing.

And to be honest, the videos and field trips probably would have been expenses had my child been in public or private school.

As for books, the library is great and as an avid reader I was already buying books on a regular basis... there was no cost there.

Curriculum also not a cost as we went through the District's ISP program, but in the beginning I had purchased some items on most subjects for a combined total of under $60.00.

Our greatest costs is the outsourcing--wilderness classes, Language Learning classes, theater performance classes, etc... this is where and how my child learns best. The worksheets, texts and workbooks have really contributed little. Real life has provided the greatest impetus for learning.

If I had to do over again... I wouldn't worry so much about a curriculum, whether the District's or one I purchased on my own. I would use a library to create an outline of a curriculum and find what I need in the community from that.

Now off to read that article :-)

Melinda S. said...

Good thread--I keep forgetting that!

(I am really enjoying reading your blog again, though I don't always comment. Don't know what's with the comments from the other day. Trolls, I think.)

Marcy Muser said...


I'm afraid I've had the tendency to over-buy curriculum. We get some from our district, but the majority of what we use comes from my own pocket. I am a real book-lover, so I am constantly buying yet another book on "Topic X," just because my kids might like it. I might have done that anyway, but homeschooling has encouraged me to do it a lot more.

I really needed the reminder that "less is more." :)

Marcy Muser said...


Thanks! So did I!

(And I'm glad you're enjoying my blog again. Sometimes I am so busy I can't get to it for a few weeks; I tend to lose most of my readers at that point. Then I spend a month or so getting them back with great articles, only to lose them when busyness overtakes. Oh, well! If nothing else, the writing keeps me on my toes!)