Homeschooling Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank!
Encouragement from Brandon and Margo Frantz
In these tough financial times we want to encourage homeschooling families in the valley. What you are doing for your families has eternal benefits, and thankfully homeschooling does not have to be complicated or expensive. All you really need to homeschool is a library card, an internet connection, and a willingness to be creative. There are many, many free resources online and at the library to help your children learn.
If you like the security of following a curriculum, check out www.oldfashionededucation.com and www.amblesideonline.com Both of these websites have almost complete curricula in a Charlotte Mason-style of instruction. Charlotte Mason lived in the 1900’s and emphasized learning from real literature (she called them living books) and providing a wide variety of subjects/experiences to keep the children from being bored. Neither site provides math, but never fear! There is a website based in
Britain that provides a completely free math curriculum from kindergarten through grade 12, www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mep/default.htm. This math won’t look like your average American textbook but provides a strong foundation in all areas of math and is unique in that it integrates all the math subjects from arithmetic to upper algebra in the high school years.
Following a full curriculum isn’t necessary though. If your child reads about what he is interested in, writes, and does some math each day he can still progress and have a well rounded education. You can visit www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?curriculum to see a typical course of study for public schools. But don’t feel like you have to cover it all! This site can guide you in choosing topics at the library, especially in science and history. If your child is interested in horses, go get every book and video about horses at the library and use the guide when you need new ideas. The best way to “test” whether or not a child has understood what she has read is simply to ask her to tell you about the book. If she can go on and on then her comprehension was high. If she can only say a generic sentence or two, her comprehension may not have been as high (or she needs help expressing her thoughts with a specific question or two).
If you need extra practice on a specific math topic you might want to try www.themathworksheetsite.com . If math is getting really difficult or boring try taking a break and reading some of the books listed on www.livingmath.net . Quite a few of them can be found in our local library system. If not you can look for the book using
www.worldcatlibraries.org . I have found that if the book or video is within the state, it is much easier to get through interlibrary loan. Don’t forget to use your favorite search engine too! Searching for “free worksheet [topic]” usually provides a plethora of choices just waiting to be printed.
Writing can be as easy as copy work when the child is young. Have him carefully copy a word, sentence, or paragraph (whatever he can comfortably accomplish) from a favorite book, the Bible, or any other well-written piece of literature. You can point-out how words are built (spelling), sentences are formed (grammar), and what makes the paragraph flow (writing). After the experience of copying good writing you can proceed to helping your child write his own words.
Don’t forget the learning that happens all around you every day. Learning to cook or ride a bike, playing a game, doing chores, watching an interesting movie, or tending a garden all teach. But especially don’t forget that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If we do “nothing” but teach our children the Bible and the grace Jesus provided for us we have laid an eternal foundation that is richer than all the math and grammar worksheets in the world.
Keep on keeping on!
Brandon and Margo are SPICE council members and homeschoolers of 6 children.