Friday, June 12, 2009

Homeschooling on the cheap

This post began as a response to a lady who is trying to figure out if homeschooling is going to be expensive, but I decided that it would make a good post to anyone trying to make that decision.

I would first: decide with your son what interests he has that you can work on designing your lesson plans around. Second: check out something like WorldBook or other website to see what subjects 7th graders typically cover.

Next: Free resources. Two very good books are "Homeschooling on a Shoelace" and "Homeschool your Child for Free." You can probably get them at your library.

Online there are scads of free resources. If you have the internet, the world is your oyster. If you are interested in more "classic" type educational products, I highly recommend you look at the resources at An Old Fashioned Education. There's everything there, and its all free. Online you can also get complete math curriculums for grades through college, classic literature, plus an amazing source of online classes from HippoCampus and MIT.

Okay, now cheap resources - not the same as free, but cheap is good, too. If you want to study literature, go to your local St. Vincent, GoodWill, Salvation Army or whatever thrift shop. Peruse the used books. Around here, I am able to find lots of excellent books that cost me all of a quarter a piece. On my last look, I found Frankenstein, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Tom Sawyer, and Of Mice and Men. Some looked as if they'd never been opened. Occasionally, they've been someone's for a class, once-upon-a-time, but it doesn't really matter unless they're really written in. I also look for any other things that I can use. Sometimes I find math workbooks, games, puzzlebooks, and other resources.

Another really cheap (and underused) source is the antique shops. I have a row of classics I picked up for a song at an antique shop, and also readers and schoolbooks from the turn of the century. They work well for poetry memorization, etc.

Of course any homeschooler will be drawn to the library book sales as well.

Other cheap online sources can be found online. CurrClick regularly has sales and freebies, and there are a lot of middle school and upper level coursed from which to choose.

I think that the most important thing is to keep an open mind about what your child wants to learn, and how you want to teach it. Homeschool does not need to be just like traditional school, and you don't need to purchase the latest whistles and bells to give your child a really excellent education. It just needs a little creativity.