Every homeschooling family you talk to will surely have different resources they use for school. I am of the philosophy that you do not need a huge amount of money or a room filled with resources to get the job done. I seem to teach best when I have the opportunity to make my own curriculum from resources that are readily available. What are those resources? I picked my top 10 that I use most frequently (not in any specific order) to share with you.
1) A Computer with Internet. There are many generous people out there who post resources that can be used for schooling purposes. Just browse Pinterest for a while and you will see what I mean! There are websites like Easy Peasy-All in One homeschooling and Old Fashioned Education that can be completely done with just the internet. I used several different websites for the notebooking part of my Earth Science/ Astronomy curriculum and I am forever grateful for those people who share their hard work so freely with others (which is why I have never even thought of charging for the curriculum I post). There are also sources like www.currclick.com where you can find cheap, and sometimes free, resources.
2) A Duplex, Wireless Printer. This has been a lifesaver. My wonderful husband bought me the Brother HL-2270DW Compact Laser Printer and it has saved us so much money! If you watch the price I have seen it as low as about $85. I love that it can duplex for me (print both sides) and that I can print from anywhere in the house. Eventually I would like to get a color laser printer, but for now, this works perfectly for us!
3) The Well-Trained Mind (First Edition) & Home Learning Year by Year. Both of these books have guided me in how to make sure my children are getting the most out of their education. After reading The Well-Trained Mind, it is so easy to understand and execute a classical education in our home. Yes, we do add some other elements in, but this helps it all come together. Home Learning Year by Year shows me the overview of what a child at each grade level should be learning. With this book, I feel confident that there are not any huge gaps in the education I am giving my children.
4) Garage Sales, Library Sales, and Used Books Websites. These places have saved me so much money when it comes to buying books. I loving going to garage sales of retiring teachers! This past week I went to one and got about 40 books for $2 (and one of them was D’Aulaires Columbus!). Our library has 4 book sales per year and the books are either $.25 or $.50. There are some treasures to be found around there! I have also had good luck with websites like www.betterworldbooks.com, www.abebooks.com, and www.homeschoolclassifieds.com. There are several others, but those are the ones I use most frequently.
5) Scholastic eBooks (Dollar Days). I certainly have a nice stock of Scholastic eBooks from several years of dollar days sales. If I needed to I am pretty sure I could put together a pretty full curriculum using a lot of these. Right now I use them mostly as fun supplements, but I do use the science eBooks in our Magic School Bus curriculum. I can’t wait to use all of the books I have for American history…they look like so much fun!
6) Well Trained Mind Forum. Now this one you need to be careful with. Every time I had a question about curriculum and searched the internet, the answer always seemed to be found on the Well Trained Mind forum! There are some great resources people post or link to and everyone is very helpful to answer questions on their experiences with certain books or curriculum. On the flip side, it can be very easy to catch “grass is greener” syndrome if you spend too much time there. But in moderation it is very helpful. And it is always good to connect with other homeschooling parents, especially if you don’t have many homeschooling friends in real life.
7) Yesterday’s Classics eBooks. This was a purchase that I really debated about, but I am so glad I gave in and purchased the eBook collection. I purchased it for $49 (they do run a special a few times a year) and with the collection of books I have now, we are set for years to come! There is just something I love about the language of older books before they started to water down the language. I am working on putting several of these books into our history curriculum and am hoping to add a few to our science as well. There are so many books to choose from and there is something there for every one at every age. I know most of these can be downloaded free, but I love the working table of contents and the pictures that come with this collection. It is also nice to just have them all in one place right at my fingertips whenever I want to use one.
8) The Library. Even though our library is just a small town library, we are still able to get a lot of use from it. The books that I really want and are not available I buy used from the resources listed above, but many times I find a certain book can be replaced with something similar. I spend hours in the library mapping out books to use for subjects like literature, science, history, and even some math and language arts. Just get to know your librarians and you may be surprised at how far you can go with your library, even if it is a small one.
9) Homeschool Helper app. This is the first year I will be using this app and so far I am very pleased with it. I really like paper and pencil, but I get too obsessive about days not getting complete or missing work for any reason. With this app I can simply bump the assignments without having to erase or redo anything. I also figured out last year that despite my best intentions, if I don’t write down something we want to do, it just doesn’t get done. Now that everything it entered I just print out the list of lessons for the week and know that we are covering everything. For only $4.99 you really can’t beat the price!
10) Managers of Their Homes. This book has finally helped put our daily lives in order, both school work and everything else! It took me some time to work through the scheduling process, but I am so glad I did it! It is amazing how much can be done when it is put to paper. Since we have 4 children moving in different directions all day I was really feeling the need to organize things to be sure everything got done, including finishing school work. Managers of Their Homes is just what I needed. There is also Managers of Their Schools and Managers of Their Chores. I haven’t tried either yet, but if they are half as good as Managers of Their Homes, I probably should!
Without these resources I am sure homeschooling would be possible, but for me they make homeschooling SO much easier! What are some of your favorite resources?