Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!
Be a fly on the wall of our homeschool today!

A blogger friend of mine, thinking of homeschooling, recently asked our blogger group what we used for our homeschools. This post is for her and anyone else that would like to learn from what we are successfully using in our homeschool this year.

Our homeschool family: 3 girls – one in Kindergarten, one in 2nd grade and one in 3rd grade.

Our challenges this year: I, the homeschool mom, am having a “difficult pregnancy” and am due the end of June. I am on rest and light activity only. I have very little energy or strength.

Our philosophy: to teach our kids about God and what He created each of them to be and do with their lives, to teach them to be productive, useful, serving, and free from things like debt and entitlement. We also find it important to teach them practical skills as much as academics, including how to maintain a household and to start and run their own businesses. We teach them that they, at least to a degree, have a choice between reward and chastening, between blessing and cursing, between life and death.

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links.

Math: We are currently using A Beka for 2nd grade and 3rd grade math. To save money, I skipped purchasing the Teacher’s Guides. Other than a couple of exercise here and there, I have not found that I need them. Cost of each book was $16.95.

Language Arts: We find the simplicity of Queen Publishing’s Language Lessons for the Elementary Child and Language Lessons for the Very Young a fun way to learn the basics of grammar w/o painful stuff like diagramming sentences. Cost of each book was $22.95.

Reading: The library. We make a monthly trip to the library to get fiction and non-fiction books that the children enjoy and fits our set of criteria for acceptable reading. I review / scan everything before they read it. We also peruse thrift stores and used book stores to add some classics and such to our small home collection of books.

When we teach reading, we use phonic flash cards and Bob books to start. I used Rod and Staff 1st grade phonics curriculum last year when I had a 1st grader. I am still debating if this is what I will use next year for my kindergartener. The first year we used the Rod and Staff phonics curriculum, it was given to us as a gift. The readers and teachers guides are reusable.

Writing: Pentime Penmanship – I have the girls back one year as their writing /  printing is their weak point. So the 2nd grader is on grade 1 printing and the 3rd grader is on grade 2 transition from printing to cursive. The girls like the dot-to-dots and little saying that are on the pages with the writing practice, makes it more interesting. These only cost $5.50 each.

Spelling: Sequential Spelling Level 1 – The volumes do not correspond to years and contain more than one years worth of work. We will get halfway through the book this year for my 3rd grader and the second half next year. Its cost was about $20.00

Bible Curriculum: We use The Action Bible for morning devotionals and Christian Light Publishing’s workbook based Bible curriculum for each grade. The Action Bible was $14.95 and worth every penny. The one year, CLP Bible Curriculum was $17.00.

Art: We are using A Beka Art Project workbooks this year for the 3rd grader and the 2nd grader. Lots of fun and very colorful projects. There is some supplies to purchase, which has been a challenge for us and we don’t celebrate all the holidays they cover, so we have skipped quite a few projects, but there are so many, we couldn’t do them all anyway. They were $12.95 each.

History / Social Studies: We do a group / unit study type history called Story Of the World – Vol 1 – The Ancient World. The girls love how the book reads like a story, we use questions and narration to reinforce, there are coloring pages and map work, and finally, a choice of hands on projects to make the history come alive. We got the book and activity book used as a gift.

Science: Same as the history, we are doing group / unit study type science. We are using New Leaf Publishing’s The New Astronomy Book for the 1st 3/4 of the year and their Bug Book for the last 1/4. I did reviews of The New Astronomy Book here, along with a sample unit study and the same for the Bug Book here. These books were free to me for doing reviews.

Music: We were using Music for Little Mozarts Volume 2, but the children were fighting it and I did not have the energy to continue. So now we use YouTube for vocal warm-ups, sing alongs, and occasionally a beginning ballet or tap lesson.

Kindergarten: All three of my girls have loved their Rod and Staff A – J Kindergarten Workbook series, and the latest one is no exception. She also participates in the Science and History unit study curriculum to her ability. We get picture books from the library and I read to her. I am teaching her numbers, letters and basic phonic combos with flash cards. The Kindergarten workbooks were less than $40.00 for the 10 workbook set.

We occasionally do some special, short term unit studies, but that is for another post:-)
Language Lessons - Charlotte Mason Style Language Arts

10 comments on “What Our Super Simple (And Cheap) Homeschool Looks Like”

  1. I’m really struggling over what to use for science. We are not (shocking, I know) young earthers. It seems like the only choices I have are either young earth Christian material or old earth secular material.

    • JPM, we’ve had great luck with Pandia Press science/history program because they’re easily customized for both world views.

  2. Well, I do know that Gerald Schroeder (sp??) is a Jewish old earth creationist and has some good, although advanced books on his theories. I would suggest Googling him and seeing if he has any educational resources on his site. I have heard of old earth Christians, so there must be something out there… try Google. But if you are ever up for a discussion about why you don’t believe, I am game:-)

    • LOL I just wasn’t brought up with “young earth”, and my husband was raised French Catholic – they learned old earth in school. Then the church where I was baptized was a Baptist church with an unusually high number of members with science doctorates. Brilliant people, but also very strong Christians. When young earth was mentioned at church once, they spent a good long time explaining why young earth and Christianity are not necessarily synonymous. Not that I remember the argument these many years later. I’m willing to accept that it might be a young earth, and I teach my children about creation, but I also want them solidly based in what science says.

      • If you have a little budget, I would suggest getting one of each: One christian young earth science book, one christian old earth science book (I think you might have an answer where to look – Catholic educational resources), and one secular science book on the same topic – then compare the science.

        I will note that I am continually impressed by the hard science behind Answers In Genesis / New Leaf Publishing’s materials, they are almost all written by PhDs, some from very prestigious colleges. These people are also Scientists and Christians.

        Apologia’s Science books (young earth) are as through and educational as any secular science book I have seen, and are the ones on my wish list:-)

  3. After much discussion, and reading some Catholic resources, we’ve decided to start with Creation, then later on add in Intelligent Design, and THEN when they’re a bit older, we’ll bring in evolutionary theory.

    Talking with our seven year old today about evolution vs creation, and he’s clear that of course, God made the earth. (That’s not in question). Okay, he asks, who do the scientists say made the world and everything? I tell him “Well, no one. They say that it just slowly …. made itself.” He started laughing, then said, “That’s funny.”

    So that makes picking science stuff for grade 3 easy. “Exploring Creation with Astronomy”. 😀

    • That is awesome. We wanted “Exploring Creation with Astronomy,” but didn’t have budget for it this year – God provided the NLP book instead. Good, but not as through as Apologia’s stuff.

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