Homeschooling Inexpensively

Hey Loves!

I am going to try to make this quick but this is important. Very important. As overwhelming as homeschooling can already be, the cost can sometimes be very daunting. I know this personally. I am no millionaire, but even if I was, I wouldn’t want to spend a ton on homeschooling. I could you know, feed the hungry or something. For those who aren’t millionaires, have budgets and bills, but want to homeschool and can’t get over the cost, there are ways around that.

  1. Buy used: I know some people abhor this concept but hear me out. Buying used curriculum is a great way to save money. You can see in a previous post that I saved a ton on our math curriculum. If you are worried about germs, Lysol. Most homeschool moms take great care of the curriculum they invested in hoping to recoup some of the cost so you get a good product at a fraction of the price. Look for homeschool sales in your area or search online. You can also buy books used from local thrift stores and online. This has saved me a ton and I am sure it will save you a ton as well.
  1. Download free curriculum: Well, duh! So many people have created free curriculums and units studies for your taking. Take them gleefully! My Pinterest board is full of them.
  2. Create units and activities from books: This may not be for everyone but for some, it can be a great teaching experience and yield awesome results.
  3. Buy supplies inexpensively: Stock up during back-to-school sales. Crayons, pencils, markers, composition notebooks, glue sticks- grab them all. During the year or for more specific items, check your local Dollar Tree. They have amazing items for ONE DOLLAR. You can’t beat that price.
  4. Use what you have: If a project calls for something you don’t have, look for substitutes or another version to see if you can use something you already have.
  1. Buy and split: If you have some homeschool friends that all need the same supply item that needs to be ordered, but comes in larger quantities at a higher cost, split the cost and share the quantity.

Ok, those are my tricks and tips for now. Did I miss something? Please tell me if so!

Love you. Mean it.

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My Lesson Planner

Hey Loves!

Ok-if you are new here, planning is my jam. Planners are my joy. My old friends, nothing new here.

So, this was my first year researching and purchasing a lesson planner for homeschool. The past 2 years, I created our curricula and typed them up as I planned them. With purchasing curriculums and planning for two kids, I needed a planner to stay organized.

Now, I don’t want to delve into the amount of time I spent researching planners because that will just end in a judgment of me but I will say in my research I stumbled across the Scholastic Teacher Inspiration Planner.

Total transparency here, it was the cost that drew me in. Then, I did more research. How were others using this? How functional was it? Is it one of those “you get what you pay for?” deals? I learned that it was very similar to the Erin Condren Lesson Planner and, well, let’s just say in my pre-mom days Erin Condren planners were my world. 

I did know I wanted a little flare with this planner but it also had to be extremely functional. Hold up for at least this school year, and hopefully last on the shelf for following school years.

Armed with my research, I decided to try it. I got in the mail and was pleased before opening it because it was longer than I originally thought. I assumed it would be the length of my day planner. This meant I had more room to write in each subject session.

Opening the planner and reviewing some of the pages, I realized quickly, like I did with just about every other planner, some pages I would not used as-is and, thus, I entered the world of washi-tape and made those pages my own. I also used washi tape to indicate field trips, and days we would not have school.

While I have written in lesson plans up until the end of December, I haven’t finished adding everything to the planner I want. I will share the updates when I have them. Until then, happy planning!

Love you. Mean it.

P.S.- I have since joined some new homeschool Facebook groups and, y’all, my planner game is about to be seriously upgraded.

Our Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Hey Loves!

So, as I mentioned earlier, with homeschooling too kiddos, the time and research to create another curriculum were daunting and more than I could bear. Also, James was excelling at a rate I could not have predicted and I wanted to be prepared for that if the acceleration continued.

 Enter research. Getting Overwhelmed. Giving up. Repeat 96 million times.

Determining a curriculum is hard work, people! I had NO idea. So, more research. I happened to stumble across a youtube video from My Busy Bees and Me that shared their curriculum picks for the year and Erica detailed “The Good and The Beautiful”.

“Ummm what is that exactly?” I asked myself… and then google… and then more youtube. Then, in my heart, I knew this was the literacy and language arts curriculum for us. It encompassed all of my goals for James and enable him to confidently learn. It was also broken down into short lessons that, if needed, could be repeated. We purchased the hard copy and digital download. The hard copy came with the lesson book, flip books, and manipulatives. The digital download includes all of these items as well.

 Then, math. Ok friends, I had a budget to stick to and as amazing as the Good and The Beautiful math curriculum seemed to be, it was simply out of my budget as I knew I wanted the hard copy and digital download. So, more research and more giving up. Because Facebook is all up in my beeswax, it showed me several of my friends were interested in a used homeschool curriculum fair in a church about 8 minutes from my house. “This seems interesting,” I thought. “If nothing else, I could meet other Black homeschool moms and get good information.”

I went with $40 cash as my budget because I refused to come home with a bunch of stuff we “might” use because “it was such a good deal!” I’ve been there. Done that.

I went in not expecting much honestly. I walked around and found Math You See. I remembered it from my research and knew I liked it but did not like the retail price. The learning level was about first grade. I knew James was at Kindergarten level in math and was not sure how fast he would accelerate so I asked the seller some questions about it and pondered on it. It was listed at $10 which was already a great price but then the seller said, “if you want it to you can have it, I’ll sell it to you for $5,” “SOLD!” I replied with glee. So, winning, right? Not exactly. I needed a math curriculum for this year…

Again, I perused and found a table with what seemed to be all middle school curriculum. We definitely aren’t there but research doesn’t hurt, right? As I am looking through, I see she has a BJU K literacy curriculum and I begin to ask her about it. She explains how she has everything with it and how she loved it. In my head, I am repeating to myself, “You only need math. You only need math.” She then points to the BJU math curriculum and explains how she has the teachers manual, disc and all the manipulative for $20. I quickly look up how much it retails for… the teacher manual alone was $70-$80. The workbook was $26. I paused and thought… I looked more and couldn’t resist it. I loved the curriculum and the seller so helpful. She also sold me an entire 4-inch binder of math worksheets in page protectors, making them dry erase for $5. 

Y’all! I scored our math curriculum for 3 years for $30!!! I got all the things and stayed under budget!

Now, for social studies, I knew I wanted to focus on elections/voting, maps, and a lengthy Africa study. I purchased These 2 inexpensive workbooks from Amazon: 

180 Days of Social Studies for Kindergarten

DK Workbooks: Geography Pre-K

These will be integrated with map exploration and, well, whatever else we want because we homeschool. 🙂

Science… you guys should know I said I would never be one of those homeschool moms that have multiple curriculums for their kids. That’s just too much. Doesn’t make sense, I thought. 1. Never say never. 2. Repeat number 1 often. 3. See numbers 1-2.

I was struggling here. I knew what concepts and terms I wanted James to be familiar with. I knew I wanted him to keep a science journal. I knew what his interests were. Making it happen in a timely fashion and still having hair and sanity at the end of it did not seem likely. So, back to the Good and The Beautiful I went. I truly do love their science curriculum. It grows with the child, expanding their knowledge of subject matters from year-to-year and encompasses all of my goals. I selected Arthropods and Human Body units and purchased the digital downloads. I am seriously considering getting the space unit. I knew I wanted to do an expansive human body study with the boys so that was easy. Arthropods and Space and my kids’ interest. We are also learning a lot about the weather because my kids are interested in that as well. Lastly, we got a small book of Experiments from Usborne that I will use as well as activities from our Koala Crate Subscription.  

 Black History

This is a very important subject. James is at the age where I want to do more than just repeat facts every day. I want him to learn and understand how Black History is American and World History. We will use a variety of storybooks, short videos, and other items to explore and learn about African American first and heroes as well as field trips and other activities. We will do a lengthy Harlem Renaissance study starting in 2019.

Bible, Music, and Art will mostly be used from God’s Little Explorers. This is a free curriculum, although she does have a paid option. This curriculum does exactly what I need for Bible exploration and learning about classical composers and historic artist. I purchased Anholt’s Artist series books (USED, of course!), to assist with this. We will also use parts of the literacy and math for Jude.

So, yes. That does seem like a lot. This is why we plan. Any questions? Comments? Concerns? Suggestions?

Love you. Mean It.

Homeschool: How To Get Over the Hump

Hey Loves!

So, I’ve had lots of conversations about why I chose to homeschool (I’ll work on that post later) but mostly how I do it? I mean, having kids 22 months apart doesn’t lend itself to lots of downtime to research and explore. Then, you add the special-needs and therapies in the mix and I wonder how I do it sometimes.

For me, it starts with planning. Hope is wonderful but it is not a plan. You have to plan! However, I know just a quick Internet search can leave you feeling overwhelmed and, frankly, inadequate. At least that was my story. So, I started with the basics:

-What did I want my children to learn?

-How much time would we spend on school per day?

-What were my goals?

Those 3 questions can save lots of time and heartache. Next, I suggest finding out where your kid is academically. For example, I knew James was advanced but I didn’t know how advanced. Once I did a preliminary evaluation, He easily is doing most Kindergarten math at 3. That’s not boasting, just an example because I would not have guessed that.

 

Also, learning styles- find out how you and your kid learns! This will greatly impact how you teach. This will also impact what curriculum type you will be interested in if you choose to do one at all.

Goals are a tool of the prosperous. I make goals at the beginning of the year, check in in January and see where we are, and at the end of the year do a summary. It really is that simple. One of the amazing benefits of homeschool is you can customize learning. DO. IT. You guys know I am a crazy type-A planner with zero cares about your need to be flexible. However, homeschool has taught me flexibility is a little bit ok. I promise.

What You Can Expect

Hey Loves!

Ok, so maybe my last post was a little too much. Like, full-frontal too much. So, let’s take a step back and discuss what you can expect from me here at hitswiththemrs.

Things that will stay the same:

You guys, yes, a lot of me is changing but so much is the same. I’m still a wife. I’m still a mom. I still homeschool. I still have crafty moments. I still plan. Those things will not change. You will still get tips, tricks, thoughts and ideas that have helped me or possibly improved my life in the slightest.

Things that will change:

For starters, we are going deeper. No more BS. Marriage is hard. Parenting special needs kids is hard, very hard. Exercising and not always putting me last is a new concept that proves difficult at times. My desire to get back to happy may not be an easy walk in the park. Thus, you will probably hear about all of those things. Why? Because facades don’t help anyone. They don’t help me. They certainly don’t help you. Also, I don’t have time for that anymore. You may read more about what I am loving or things that I am trying. Basically, you will get me authentically. That means, my new experiences, should I choose to share, will be new. Also, and this a hard one, I’m putting my guard up more. It is not that I don’t want to share with you it is just that things are so new to me, I am worth it to figure it out and decide how I feel about it and decide if I want to share. Also, you are worth more than some words in your email because I wanted to put up a blog post.

So, I hope you will stick along for this ride and maybe even invite a friend or two to share all my hits and misses.

Love you. Mean it.