The first question everyone always asks when you tell them you’re homeschooling is the classic, “What curriculum do you use?” I have met a few homeschoolers who mostly use one or two things but I think most of us use a little of this and a little of that.
My contribution to the homeschooling community is to show that you can homeschool on a dime. It truly does NOT have to cost an arm and a leg! You do not have to buy the most sophisticated (read: expensive) curriculum out there to produce smart, well-rounded children.
So what do I use?
Basically just my own compilation of ideas and things I think my children should be learning at the time. I don’t need a formal math book to teach math, at least not for the young ages my children are now. I don’t need a literature book to teach literature. My brain and some paper/ pencils is mostly all I need!
I do enjoy getting cheap materials at garage sales and thrift stores. And I have been blessed with quite a few hand-me-downs from other homeschool families. And I do enjoy going to Mardel’s with a coupon and getting a workbook here and there that I think would be more helpful than burdensome for my children. We especially like games and activities that incorporate learning, instead of just sitting at desks all day. I have scored many great games and hands-on activities at garage sales for super cheap prices. I also make many homemade games/ activities of my own for pennies, the possibilities for homemade games are endless. There are a ton of free printables and ideas for free online. And I also enjoy looking through materials at Mardel’s and homeschool book fairs just to get ideas and inspiration.
So there you have it, that’s my “curriculum.” A total hodge podge!
And this is my 6-year-old’s list:
And then from these master lists, I make them a daily list that they can cross off:
Each day (M-F or M-Th) I make my children their daily homeschool lists. They are in charge of it and do a pretty good job of completing the list every day. They enjoying crossing things off as they finish them. I put lines between sections of homeschool things and these lines mean “Break Time!” They work hard to get to those break times! So they only have about 4-6 things to do and then they get a break. And some of those things are super easy and quick. So I by no means overwhelm them. But I do challenge them! By them being in charge of their own list, it gives them ownership and I don’t have to be nagging them all day!
The main objection to our “hodge podge” method might be “What if you miss something? Since you’re not following a curriculum guide, how do you know your children are learning everything they should?”
We do accelerated homeschooling and draw from a number of different resources and I’m very plugged into online homeschool blogs/ communities. I don’t think I miss anything that would ruin my children long-term. I think people need to be more trusting of mom’s. Both with our child’s physical health and education, I really do think mom knows best! (If in doubt, there are numerous online free “checklists,” if you want to see what your child’s public school counterparts are learning. I have referenced these lists at times but in my home I am determined to not just reproduce what the public schools are doing. Because I don’t like what they are doing and I don’t believe in their methods).
So homeschooling frugally really does work! My 6-year-old is getting really good at multiplication and can read the KJV Bible by himself. He has over 150 Bible verses memorized.
My soon-to-be-4-year-old has been reading for over a year now and is about 75% through all the phonics sounds that often aren’t all learned until the end of 1st or 2nd grade. He’s almost finished with a Kindergarten math book and does most all of the same Bible memory verses that his big brother does.
I do not say these things to brag. Actually, I really don’t want other moms to feel like they’re not doing enough. I’m constantly learning and growing and I’m sure my methods/ lists will continue to change and grow. All children learn at different paces and as long as your child is loved, he’ll go far no matter his current academic standing!
You know what is best for your child. I just want to encourage others that you can homeschool without buying expensive curriculum! And you don’t have to feel bad for winging it, hodge-podgin’ it, or whatever other method you choose!
My Homeschooling Motto:
-Teach my children diligently to love God with their whole heart. Teach them when we sit, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
-Help them to become deeply rooted in the Word. Teach them to serve and to live their lives with outstretched arms. Teach them to have solid character at all times. Guard their hearts from evil. Prepare them for their future. Train them to be strong warriors for Christ.
-Oh, and maybe some math and reading too. 🙂