28 July 2014

The Cost of Homeschooling

Our first official homeschooling purchase was a pair of $1.99 writing tablets from Walmart, one for printing and one for cursive. Dino has been begging since last Christmas to learn cursive. Tim told him to practice printing neatly, and when he had that down, we would teach him how to write in cursive.

Next I bought two Complete Curriculum workbooks (2nd and 3rd grade) and two in-between-grade "summer" workbooks from Sam's Club for math, spelling, reading, and reading comprehension worksheets.

Tim and I picked up 30 classic chapter books from a flea market. Most were "Great Illustrated Classics" like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Three Musketeers. I'm not counting these in our school cost, since we would have bought those anyway for our home bookshelf.

We bought notebooks, pencils, and erasers, pencil boxes, and all of the other regular school supplies from Walmart. These don't really count either, since we would have gotten those for public school anyway.

Tim picked up several math games and flash cards from some neighborhood yard sales.

And I bought puzzles, math games, states-and-capitals flash cards, and a few other school supplies from Dollar Tree, where everything is $1. I was surprised by the variety of school supplies stocked in Dollar Tree in June!

My biggest purchase was the Life of Fred elementary math book series. The 10 books are used for several grades. Since they are textbooks (not write-in workbooks), I will be able to resell them for the full price. Initial investment cost was $140, but I will get that full cost back when we are finished with them.

I also purchased the 7-book series of Sonlight Sequential Spelling books. I bought the set for about $90 on eBay, and like the Life of Fred books, I should be able to resell them around that cost.

I still want to get a book for music class, either piano or recorder, I think.

I splurged and ordered the Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner, July 2014 - June 2015.

I'm sure I will think of something else between now and then that I just have to have. We will definitely utilize the public library, and take advantage of local museums' homeschool days for discounted field trip rates. It looks like it will cost us right about $100 for this year's disposable homeschooling supplies, not counting textbooks which we will get our money back on resale.

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21 July 2014

2014-2015 2nd Grade Homeschool Daily Schedule

Below is what I came up with as a beginning schedule. This is just a starting point, and I'm sure we will end up moving some things around as we get going and see what really works best for us.

I don't know yet whether Dino will respond better to a strict schedule or a flexible one. Since everything is broken up into 30-minute blocks, I may print them out and let Dino rearrange them from week to week, if sticking to my schedule is difficult for him. Giving him some control over the schedule may make him more eager to follow it.

8:00 - Breakfast
8:30 - Morning Chores
9:00 - Worksheets
9:30 - Bible
10:00 - Handwriting
10:30 - Snack; Mom Read Aloud
11:00 - Dino Read Aloud (M-Th) or Cooking (F)
11:30 - Computer (M/W) or Music (Tu/Th) or Cooking (F)
12:00 - Lunch Prep
12:30 - Lunch
1:00 - Gym Day (M) or Reading Alone (Tu-F)
1:30 - Gym Day (M) or Math and Spelling (Tu-F)
2:00 - Gym Day (M) or Science/Geography (Tu/Th) or Art (W) or PE (F)

Morning chores will consist of making the beds, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. I won't make him get dressed if he does ok in his PJs, as long as he gets dressed by lunch time. I've heard some kids do fine in their jammies, but some people really need to get dressed in order to feel like their day has really started and to get focused.

I tried to separate hand-intensive subjects from each other (worksheets, handwriting, computer/music) so he doesn't get physically fatigued. I also separated reading aloud from reading alone to give him a mental break.

I put reading alone right after lunch so that I can use that time to clean up from lunch.

Science, PE, and Art are at the end of the day so that we can take longer with them if we want to, like if we go somewhere for a hike together for PE. Monday's PE will be in a church gym with other local homeschoolers. He already plays with our neighbor kids almost every day after school, so he has several hours of recess time, and I'll make sure he gets up and moving during the day whenever he is restless!

He can help me make lunch (he's really been into that lately), and I want to do some baking with him on Fridays. We'll make cookies, bake bread, or cook something for lunch. This will teach him life skills as well as science and math.
 
We will make time for other life skills around the house also, like laundry and cleaning. He is quite old enough to do a fair amount of chores now, which will help teach him how to take care of his own house when he is grown. I cannot tell you how many young men graduate from high school and have no clue how to make themselves a meal or do laundry, because their mom or sisters always did it for them! Boys need to know how to run a house, just like girls need to know how to change a tire. Wait, didn't I already rant about this once before on the blog? Hang on......

Yep! Here you go: Geek Girls

Back to the topic at hand.

There is a lot that I have crammed into this year's goals. We may or may not accomplish everything, and that is ok. All we really want is for Dino to learn and grow, and I have no doubt that will happen. He is a great kid who is self-motivated, driven to investigate, and loves to learn!
 
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14 July 2014

2014-2015 2nd Grade Homeschool Weekly Plan

The long-awaited plan! This is what we have come up with so far. I purchased 2nd and 3rd grade "Complete Curriculum" workbooks at Sam's Club. They have worksheets for spelling, reading, reading comprehension, and math skills. We will use these as a jumping-off point. Dino can breeze through the easy ones, and we can focus more on the skills he isn't as familiar with. These should give him some "easy" work to start each day with.

I have also purchase the Life of Fred elementary curriculum. It is primarily a math curriculum, but it includes reading comprehension, history, and life skills as part of each lesson.

For science and geography, we will do a lot of hands-on activities: go on nature hunts, study anatomy diagrams online, and flip through a good ol' paper atlas for geography.

I have writing tablets, notebooks, and lap-sized chalkboards and whiteboards to use for handwriting.

All of this is extremely flexible, and will likely change and evolve as we go through the year, so that we can focus on his education gaps and on things that he expresses more interest in.


Five Days a Week:

o Bible - Scripture memorization, Memorize the books of the New Testament, Daily Bible story to read and discuss
o Reading - Alone (silently by himself)
o Breakfast & Lunch - Obviously
o Chores - Make beds, Get dressed, Brush teeth, Do laundry, Clean house, etc

Four Days a Week:
o Math, Spelling, Reading Comprehension - worksheets; math focus: multiplication, fractions, and telling time; Life of Fred
o Reading - Aloud (Dino to Mom, Mom to Dino)
o Handwriting - Cursive writing tablet, Journal

Twice a Week:
o Science - Anatomy (Human, Bugs, Animals), Biology (Plants)
§ Alternate in a unit of Geography
o Computer - PBS Kids website and other educational web games, Typing practice
o PE - Exercise videos (aerobics, yoga, etc), Walk, Hike, Bike ride, Gym Day on Mondays
o Music - Piano and/or recorder (his choice)

Once a Week:
o Arts and Crafts - Color wheel, Shading, Shapes, Make gifts (Christmas, etc)
o Cooking - Bake bread and treats on Fridays to learn measuring, fractions, and chemical reactions!
o Cub Scouts - Monday evenings

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07 July 2014

Homeschooling FAQs, Part 5 of 4

What follows is the fifth weekly post with questions that we frequently hear when we say we are going to homeschool. You gave me your questions and comments, so now there is fifth post!

You asked me:

Do you have to take training, or get any kind of certification?

No. My state does not require any particular training or certification for parents to teach their own children.

Do they provide all the materials?

No. Who is "they"? No, we must select all of our own teaching materials. We have selected our books and supplies to teach from. My state does not mandate the use of any particular books, and does not have any approval authority over our chosen curriculum. My state legislature concluded that that would go against the very intent behind homeschooling.

Will you be in a Homeschool Co-op?

No. We will participate in a weekly gym time with other homeschoolers, and may join in field trips, but all of our educational time will be at home. I would consider a co-op if our child was older and in classes harder than what I am comfortable teaching, or if Dino needed to be in a group setting to learn best.

Will Dino have to take tests to make sure he is being taught the right stuff?

No. There are standardized tests with various companies that we can choose to order, and some schools offer to include homeschoolers when they test their students at the end of the school year, but there are no requirements by my state to do so.

Next week, I will be discussing our chosen curriculum and daily schedule.

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