Monday, July 13, 2015

Next School Year Won't Cost a Fortune!

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Next School Year Won't Cost a Fortune! (Working with a Tight Homeschool Budget) on Homeschool Coffee Break @
I've been working on pulling together the curriculum we're planning on using for the next school year... at this point, mostly to check what I'll still need to buy, and how much I'll need to spend. I should be able to get by without spending much at all, which is excellent news since my budget is a bit tight this year. In fact, if it was truly necessary, I would be able to make a couple of adjustments and not buy anything at all.

Landon - Grade 11

Analytical Grammar
Student Writing Intensive (Institute for Excellence in Writing)
Consumer Math (Switched On Schoolhouse)
Exploring America (Notgrass)
Practical Drafting
Drums With Willie

Kennady - Grade 9

Student Writing Intensive and Fix-it Grammar (Institute for Excellence in Writing)
Lightning Lit and Comp - British Early-Mid 19th Century
Life of Fred - Pre-Algebra and Algebra
Cultural Geography
Health (BJU Press)

Of the courses listed above that we know we are doing? We already own all but one of them. Several titles are non-consumable, which is one of my favorite ways to make the most of my curriculum budget. I spent money on Notgrass' Exploring America (and Exploring World History) several years ago, and all four kids are using that curriculum. Analytical Grammar and DrumsWithWillie are things we own and can use thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew! One of the Life of Fred books I've got for Kennady to use next year was purchased second-hand at a discount from the new price. The Health textbook Kennady will be using was acquired for free when a homeschooling friend was clearing her bookshelves of things they were finished with.

Through wise purchases of curriculum that can be used over and over, and by taking advantage of frugal deals and free things when they are available, I've got the majority of next year's resources ready to go before getting out my checkbook or credit card.

The one thing on the above list that I must purchase is Lightning Lit and Comp - British Early-Mid 19th Century, at a cost of about $33 for the student and teacher guide. The novels in that study are ones that I already own or are obtainable from the library. I would like to purchase a matched set of all six Jane Austen novels to go with the Miniatures and Morals study. That's just a bonus though, not necessary!

There are no Sciences listed for either student. Landon already has his required Science credits, so that's optional for him. Kennady hasn't shown any interest in a Science for her Grade 9 year, and she could take a year off from Science and just see what happens. However, a check of the Science materials I've got on hand reveals that I have all four texts for this general Science survey course from MasterBooks. The purchase of a downloadable Parent Lesson Planner for the Survey of Science History and Concepts course would make this a ready-to-go Science credit for either kid or for both. My cost would be under $8.

My cost for curriculum this year? Forty-five dollars. Not bad.

My tips for budget-friendly curriculum shopping:

-More than one student? Consider non-consumable rather than workbooks. Given a choice between spending money on consumable or non-consumable products, choose non-consumable whenever it's practical.

-Buy used curriculum from fellow homeschoolers. (Sometimes we give the stuff away when we're done with it! Homeschoolers have a pretty good reputation for wanting to pass along our blessings.) Build a support network of homeschool friends and make it a practice to be generous when you can help others, and be gracious in receiving help when you need it or it's offered to you.

-Use the library. For middle school and high school level Literature, there's a good chance your library will have all the novels you need, and you can borrow them for free! With some creativity, an entire course of study in most subjects can be completed using borrowed books from the library.

-Get familiar with free and low-cost options on the internet. Everything from study guides to printables, to books that can be read online for free. If you have a reliable internet connection and a printer, you've got lots of choices. One fantastic choice I highly recommend is For only $12.95/month (or $139 annual membership), you get access to well over 100 classes in all subject areas, and for all grade levels. Plus great teacher tools and helps. This is one of the best bargains anywhere on the web for homeschoolers. I've found some great course material there over the past few years, and try to remember to check regularly to see what else is being added. Yes, it's possible to use this site for ALL your homeschool curriculum. 

Be sure to visit the Working With A Tight Homeschool Budget Round-up at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (starting Wednesday, July 15th) for other Crew members' ideas for keeping curriculum costs under control!

Working with a Tight Homeschool Budget
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