Thursday, September 24, 2009

Use What You Have Homeschooling


Most of my local homeschooling friends have joined charter schools, which, if you haven't heard of them, provide funds to purchase curricula and other materials for your children. I still have a wild independent streak and this year we are once again using the private school option. At first I was thinking how great it would be to give myself the same budget that I would get if we joined a charter. Luckily (for my savings account) my frugal side kicked in so for the most part this is going to be a year of using what we have. Making use of what we have will free up funds for what we really need.

I will admit that I have bought a lot of homeschooling resources over the years. Curricula that looked good, programs that other people said were fantastic, books recommended by various people, etc. A lot of it never got used ~ all the books in the world won't do the planning for you.

I've sold much of it over the past two years; I've made so much money doing so that I am afraid to even consider how much I actually spent. So far this year I am actually ahead, having spent less for this school year than I made selling items in August.

But I did hang on to several things that I thought we might use, and I am glad that I did. I have the Miquon Math Lab materials to supplement Oak Meadow Grade 4 Math. My boys learn really well with manipulatives and I love how Miquon introduces concepts far earlier than other programs.

Another program I have is the set of 8 Draw Write Now books, which I bought used from a friend. The boys still need copywork to practice their writing and these books will provide that as well as simple drawing lessons. The OM art lessons are enjoyable but the boys are having a hard time translating what they learn into their drawings. Part of that is fine motor control; I am not a good artist but everything we do is easier for me because of the control I have. J-Baby has decent control but T-Guy doesn't and his drawings haven't progressed for several years now. That tells me that we need a different approach.

I have BrainQuest workbooks that we can use to practice and reinforce what we've learned with OM. Putting some of the worksheets into the boxes on the awful no-good very bad day made me see that my boys really don't know what to do with worksheets (they haven't used them that often in the past), but we'll work on that as we'll probably take the workbooks with us on vacation.

We also have a small cupboard full of science kits and experiments. You know, the kind of kits that family members buy your children as gifts because they are homeschooled. I hate these kits ~ they sit there waiting to be completed and I have no desire to do them. Hey, we all have our failings; I love science, I hate science experiments. Hopefully Papa will do more of these kits with the boys this year. I'm not kidding when I say we have a lot of them. Light kits, electricity kits, physics, simple circuits, volcanoes (why did we need two?), and a prehistoric plant that can be brought back to life(!).

I have all the craft stash any budding young artist could need. Watercolors, tempera paints, acrylics, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, beeswax, clay, weaving kits, fabric crayons and paints, and more. The Native American suede vests we made Wednesday came from the craft cupboard. I bought the kits, oh, two years ago; I got lucky as I had purchased a size 10/12 and a size 12/14 (they were on clearance, so maybe those were just the sizes I was able to get). The boys had a blast decorating the suede pieces and I sewed them together last night. I think I can put together a fun art/craft project every week using things we already have.

No comments: