Nowadays, with so many family breadwinners out of work completely, it is even more important to find ways to cut costs. But the good news is, there are many inexpensive and even free resources available, thanks to the internet and community networks, which allow you to provide a rich and individualized education for your children without losing your shirt in the process!
Here are some of those resources that one mom shared at our meeting:
Online resources – complete curriculum
www.amblesideonline.org– a Charlotte Mason method using many free online resources
www.oldfashionededucation.com– free online curriculum organized by grade level or subject
Used or discounted curriculum
www.currclick.com– has a free item each week; also click the Free Stuff icon
Many homeschool curriculum suppliers have freebies on their websites, such as a free lapbook or notebooking pages. Some of them offer a free resource if you sign up for their newsletter. You can unsubscribe later if you find your email getting out of control.
Downloadable books and audio resources
www.books.google.com– when you do a search, click on full view only on the left side; most items that allow full view are out-of-copyright and can be downloaded in .pdf format; you can download numerous old textbooks such as McGuffeys or Elson Readers, Harvey’s Grammar, Rays Arithmetic, history books by such authors as Helene Guerber and James Baldwin, nature books by Jean-Henri Fabre, and MUCH MORE!
www.librivox.org– free audio books
iTunes University – Download iTunes, then click on the link for the itunes store to find free podcasts including resources for preschoolers to adult.
www.homefires.com/clickschool- links to some of the best online educational resources; sign up for a daily email
Many museums and government websites have kids sites that are excellent.
There are yahoo groups for many curricula where users can share ideas and additional resources.
Swapping and Bartering
Look for opportunities to exchange tutoring, lessons, or non-homeschooling services in exchange for services. For example, two of my friends traded lit/writing lessons in exchange for math lessons by having their kids spend the day with the other family once a week, giving each mom a “free day” to run errands, etc.
If you don’t live in Wake County, it is well worth the $25 annual fee for a nonresident card. You can use the online catalog and have your items shipped to the branch nearest to you so that you can just run in to drop off and pick up books. Interlibrary Loan is now available online so that you don’t have to go to the library to complete the form. The book I currently have checked out via ILL sells for $150 on Amazon. Check out the online database – you can access Consumer Reports, and all sorts of academic and professional resources.
Homemade Math manipulatives
Numeracy – Egg carton and beans or buttons – use a sharpie to write a number in each hole, then have the child count out the correct number of beans or buttons to put in each hole.
Base ten set – popsicle sticks – rubber band 10 together, then 10 sets of 10 to make 100, then 10 sets of 100 to make 1000
Print from internet or make in excel – 100 board, multiplication tables, number lines
Triangle flash cards – print from www.donnayoung.org onto cardstock paper and cut apart
See www.montessorimaterials.org for ideas for manipulatives for all subjects, not just math