We started homeschooling our oldest when she was just about 17 months old. I used a subscription to ABCMouse.com to began teaching her the basics, like the alphabet, numbers, colors and shape. We sang nursery rhymes and danced to their silly song. It was great. We paid for the subscription for about two years. And it was money well spent. With my second daughter, I find that she’s not so into it, so I don’t pay for it anymore. She likes more in the hands kind of learning, so we do worksheets and coloring sheets with her. So while I feel like ABCMouse is worth it, I find myself reluctant to pay for other similar programs because there is so much free stuff that available.
I have begun my search for an affordable curriculum to use for the coming school year. My oldest turned five after September 1 of last year, so this year is our first official on the record year of school. Last year for kindergarten we used a combination of materials that were given to me by a neighbor that had homeschooled a child previously and many workbooks from the dollar tree/family dollar and a couple of textbooks I’d picked up from thrift stores. I don’t believe I’ve spent more than $50 on educational materials. I’ll keep a better record this year (Especially if these school choice vouchers become a thing.). I thought I wanted an all in the box kind of curriculum this year but as I research prices and research what’s included in these packages, I find myself feeling like we can write our own curriculum and put together our texts for less money. We are, after all, a single earner family so any money we can save is great.
In order to build this curriculum, we have to find the standard for what should be taught for our grade level. She will be officially enrolled at a kindergartener this fall but we’ll be working on grade 1 work. Here in Georgia, our department of education has its standards laid out plain, simple and easy to follow on their website for all grade levels. It’s a great resource to see where your child stands compared to the mandated standard. This is good whether you’re homeschooling or in traditional schooling. I also stumbled upon IXL which is another great resource that allows you to see where your child stands against the standards.
Once you have your list of what your child should learn in each subject, then you build your course work. I like a combination of textbooks and workbooks. I’m not a fan of too many printed worksheets because ink and paper can get expensive and I can pass the textbooks down to my younger child and I can buy two workbooks. For those that like printed worksheets and I do use them whenever it makes sense and not waste cents, there are so many resources. My go to websites are Education.com and Teachers pay Teachers, both of these sites are paid subscriptions but there is so much available for free that I have yet to need to pay for anything yet.
Last year we used workbooks from Bendon, Evan-moor, School Zone, Flash Kids, Mead. We used a science book from Harcourt and social studies book from Houghton-Mifflin (Actually they are the both from the same publisher).
Now, I’m not saying we will be able to build our own curriculum every year but I know for the next year or so, we should be able to easily. I know at some point that my girls will be smarter than I will able to keep up with, so we’ll learn together and if they turn out to be geniuses, then we’ll hire tutors lol!