Monday, August 29, 2011

I finally pulled together our complete reading list for beginning reader to high school

Our Complete Reading List

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Does a quality education have to cost a lot?

In a word... I'd say no!

It's the time of year when many homeschoolers are gathering their materials and purchasing for the new year. I'm not really one of those homeschoolers because nearly everything we use now is free. Yes, you read that correctly.... almost no cost involved outside of normal household expenses. The things like printer paper, internet, pens, crayons, composition books and Bare books, are all things that would be what I'd call a typical expense in our family regardless of if we were homeschoolers or not. Of course if the kids were in traditional school I'd be spending quite a bit on school supplies from all the lists I've seen floating around. Boy I only remember needing a few notebooks, a box of pencils (crayons, glue and scissors when I was younger) but those lists have really grown it seems. : ). Oh and not to mention the clothes purchases I'd have to make. Ugh that'd be quite a bill I'm sure.

A family who has been inspiring is that of Dr. Art Robinson who homeschooled his children incurring very little expense. You can read about the adult children here.

I once read of a family who only used what they had access to each day in their public library to educate their children. It worked very well for them.  

This Mom is also an inspiration on homeschooling on a budget and doing it very well. And someday soon she has promised to share her booklist : ). Which I can't wait to see! 

I use is my own mash up list which is based of Dr. Robinson's list. This covers our history, geography, science, well honestly it covers everything : ). By mash up I mean... I've added other books as well that I want my kids to read, and it's just easier for me to put them on the "required" reading list. Required is such a strong term. What actually happens here is that the kids just read through their books, and check off from the list once a book has been done. Pretty straight forward. : ) 
Some other great free reading lists: 
Old Fashioned Education:

If you are someone who likes something to cover each "subject" Old Fashioned Education has links to all of that, all free as well. You may need to do some printing or prefer them on E-readers. 
And speaking of E-readers. Talk about allowing a homeschool to amass a fantastic library. And to do so for free (aside from the initial purchase price of course) and to have it be portable. Wow a great invention these little guys are! 
The free Ebooks are so plentiful, you can truly just search by a topic and hand build your own E-reader Education : ). 

Of course there are some books that I prefer in print. The McGuffey series is one of those. You can find them on Ebay,, Amazon, Homeschool Classifieds, and online used bookstores. Or you can buy the set new. But as they are non consumable it's a one time purchase and all your children get the benefit of using them.

This is something I love, and it's bare books. They are just that, books that are empty and waiting for you to fill them. I'll bet if you were industrious you could even print the Ebooks free offline and then glue or double sided tape them into a bare book of your choosing. 
How we use/have used the bare books:
-Chore books
-notebooking (when we did unit studies)
-nature journals
-sketch books
-I put our bible copywork into a book for the kids. 
-I'm going to make a book for each of the girls to use for Life of Fred. 
-Making personalized books for my 2 year old to learn her colors. 
There are tons of sizes and tons of uses. 
They even have blank game boards so you can make your own games with your kids or create personalized puzzles. 

Don Potter has some great free resources, phonics, math, etc.

Strayer Upton math is one that is written old style but can be purchased on the cheap in written copies. 

What I love about out of copyright books is that they are of such high quality. So them being free does not devalue them as fantastic resources. I'd say it's quite opposite, as you will find high quality books written in fantastic language that is not as plentiful in some of today's books for children. 

Our New year looks like this:

We take time out for God and encourage the kids to have a close relationship with God and to speak to him through their days. 
Family prayer time each evening. 
Family devotions over breakfast using The Big book of Animal Devotions (then we have fun watching the animals we read about on You Tube videos and it sparks some fun conversations. 
Attending church and being in service together as a family. 
Acts of service. 

We do family crafts 4 days per week, and have a tea party one day per week.
We have one on one time with each child during the week and do family projects. 

Reading alone 
from our reading list - same as we did last year. 
Daily devotions 
Daily bible reading
Read to younger children picture books during the day and/or before bed. 

Write: (Also covers, spelling, grammar, vocabulary)
-Bible copywork 5 days per week, from the book I made. (this is new this year)
-Mother/Daughter journal - we've been doing this a few months. Not as part of "school time" the girls write to me before they go to bed if they like and I write back the next day. 
-Back and fourth with penpals. 
-Write a story of their own imagination once per week.
-Write about something from the bible once per week. 
-Mad libs once per week with each other for fun. 

-We just began with Life of Fred elementary. It's a very different approach to math. Hard for me as Mom to think of math being taught in this format. But I'm staying out of the way and just letting LOF stand on it's own. I have very high hopes based on the reactions from my kids though. 
-Games (we just play a lot of games as a family) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life of Fred Elementary

We are on chapter 6 of Life of Fred Apples. The kids are really enjoying math in this fun way. I printed math sheets that were inspired by Donna Young's math sheets for younger kids but modified ours a bit from what she has. I like the large boxes for the kids to write the "Your Turn to Play" in and it keeps them from getting confused with problems running together.