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August 2017

Schedule your books

Have you ever been so wooed by a product description that you have purchased it right on the spot? Or so convinced by friends or cyber-buddies that your children’s education will not be complete unless you use a certain curriculum? Perhaps you have felt so intimidated about teaching a certain subject that you have purchased everything available on the topic to be sure that you cover it adequately and not leave holes in your children’s education.

Whatever the reason, many well-meaning homeschooling parents over-buy when it comes to curriculum. This is certainly not an unforgivable sin – in fact, I am the first one to say that we should not skimp when it comes to providing the atmosphere and resources for our kids’ learning.

But let us discuss some ways we can control the financial outflow during this season of buying.

Here are five ways that you can avoid over-buying and successfully plan for a bountiful year of learning:

1. Make Your Plan – Take some time to map out your upcoming school year. What subjects would you like to cover? How does each of your children learn best? How much time will you have to devote to schooling each day? What subjects will your children need you by their side and which ones can they study independently? These are big questions. Take one child at a time and map out some goals. Take into consideration his/her age and preferred learning style. Take stock of his progress in each subject area. Will you need to emphasize a particular subject more now because of overlooking it in past years? Are there subjects that he is truly motivated in and can pursue more independently, thereby freeing up your time as the teacher? Make for yourself a rough plan and schedule for your family and then move onto step #2.

2. Take Inventory – Scan your bookshelves and dig through those cabinets to find your educational resources. Pull out those unused math books, grammar and spelling workbooks, literature guides, etc. Make three stacks – 1. Will Never Use, 2. Might Use Someday, and 3. Will Use This Year. Take a look at stack number 2 again and ask yourself, “When will I use this?”, “Who would I use this with?”, and “What am I waiting for?” If you truly feel like you have a good sense that you will actually use the resource sometime in the near future (a year or two) then put it away until next year. If you just cannot nail yourself down on when you would use it or what the circumstances would be for you to use it, put this book or curriculum with stack number 1.

assess curriculum

3. Clear It Out – Take your books and curricula in stack number 1 and get rid of them. The best thing you can do with used educational resources is put them up for sale. Someone out there is looking for what you already have and are not using. There are many online places that you can sell your school books – homeschoolclassifieds.com, Facebook Used Homeschool Books page, and many others. Place a reasonable price to it, then add another couple bucks to the price and sell it “postage paid”. This means that you as the seller will take care of the shipping costs (this just seems simpler to me and the buyer feels like she is getting a good deal). Media mail is the cheapest way to send books and other media products – CDs, video’s, curriculum in binders, etc.

4. Buy The Basics First – Now take stock again of what you have and what you now need. Buy your basic subjects first – math, grammar, spelling, history, science. You may even find some of what you are looking for on those used swap boards while you are listing your items to sell. If you have time, wait until these arrive before purchasing anything more at this point.

5. Fill in the Gaps – Once you receive your basic materials, read through them. Take notes of what else you are going to need to fill out the program. Does the math program that you chose require that you purchase manipulatives? Does the grammar book contain writing exercises and does it meet your requirements for a good writing program, or will you need something more? Does the history curriculum contain geography lessons? Will you need notebooks, composition books or planners for each child? Finally, decide how much time and energy you will have to devote to the extras, such as hands-on projects, foreign language study, logic, music, art and look for materials that will fit the bill.

Follow these five steps and you will bring spending under control. Educating our children is not cheap these days and does require some financial outlay, but we do not have to buy everything out there to ensure that our children receive the best education possible. Your commitment to raising your children well, training them to be contributors to the family, and spending time with them – over the books or playing in the backyard – is what will bring about educational success. There is no perfect curriculum just waiting to be discovered – it is you that will make the difference in your children’s lives.

Blessings to you on your educational journey. Now, back to Homeschool Scheduling

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A 5 Step Plan for Scheduling Your School Year!

This is Part II of August = Organization Month for Homeschoolers.

It’s that time of year. Everyone is gearing up for school. All of the stores are having “back to school” sales on everything from school supplies, clothing, and even furniture. Parents are anxious, students are feeling uncertain, and everyone’s pocketbooks are getting thinner. BUT this need not be the case!

We can keep our spending under control and we can be prepared and confident for a new school year. We can even pass that enthusiasm onto our kids. This way, any sense of uncertainty they are feeling is replaced by a sense of anticipation and excitement. So let’s get started…

scheduling your homeschool year

But first, take a moment to read an archived article on the subject of How Not to Overspend on Curricula if you still have some purchasing to do. Then click right back here to get your scheduling plans in place. Continue reading Homeschool Scheduling the Easy Way

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A little organization now means less chaos later.

Every August, we homeschool moms start feeling a little rise of panic in our chests as we consider all that we must accomplish before the beginning of school. We have books to buy, activities to schedule, lesson plans to create, rooms and closets to organize. It’s time for a little organization.

bookshelf organization

It’s tempting to skip this step and get right to the good stuff – buying new Ticonderoga pencils topped with perfectly formed rosy red erasers, fresh shiny notebooks in every color of the rainbow, cellophane wrapped packages of 3×5 cards, sticky notes, highlighters, rulers, and markers. It’s enough to bring a smile to every homeschool mom and child. A fresh new year with no mistakes in it… yet!

BUT before you go shopping, let’s get our house and mind in order. Only then will we know where we are going and what we need to get there. Continue reading August = Organization for Homeschool Moms

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