Friday, March 21, 2008

Heart of the Matter:What you Wish You Had Known Your First Year of Homeschooling

What You Wish You Had Known Your First Year of Homeschooling

My first year I wish I had known that you don't have to spend a fortune on curricula. When my oldest, who is now in his 11th year of homeschooling, was in first grade I think I spent $300 on a full curriculum. I found out that much of it was just busy work, designed for a classroom of kids who need to be kept busy while the teacher help students who need extra help. Now, I realize that many homeschooling families use curricula like these and it works well for them, but I found that we didn't really need it.

My oldest son was very advanced, especially in Language arts, so he didn't need all those workbooks. Also, he since he read all the readers for the year in the first week, I could've saved a lot of money by just going to my local library. My 2nd son was more average when it came to learning to read. I bought Teach your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons for $11 and it worked wonderfully.

I found that the money I spent on an expensive curriculum (especially with elementary grades) could be better spent on good books, craft supplies, a good microscope, and educational games and toys. Here is an example of a fun game that we played often that didn't cost anything. I would hide stuffed animals ( or printed animals that you can cut out and laminate) around the room and I would ask the kids spelling words (or a grammar, history or science question) and if they got it right they could go find an animal. We played until all the animals were found. This game was a big hit!

For the high school years I have spent more on a curriculum, but I never buy new, there are lots of ways to get used curricula. I've found the internet is the best way to buy used. I've bought (and sold) a lot through The homeschool classifieds . I've purchased used curriculum at used curriculum sales, e-mails sent out by local homeschoolers, and a used bookstore in our area that sells curricula in addition to their regular book supply. I've also borrowed books from friends and loaned out books that I'm not using.


  1. I spent too much on curriculum the first few years and then we didn't even like it. It's interesting how some of our best learning experiences have been free.

  2. I spend too much also during our first year because I placed all of our dc in an umbrella program. Wrong move! I was so frustrated at teaching according to someone else's plans with such a huge price tag.

  3. I am so glad that we have been broke - - and had no money to spend on expensive curriculum - - otherwise, I would have made the same mistake.
    Thanks for sharing!! : )