Curriculum can cost so much money!
Let’s face it, we’ve all done it. You see that awesome, perfectly-packaged program at a conference or curriculum sale, and you think “THAT’S what I need! My kids will learn SO MUCH MORE with that program!” Then, as you drive home, it hits you: You just totally blew your book budget on ONE program.
Sticker shock sets in. As you and your children begin using this “can’t miss” program, you may realize that it’s either way too much work for you, or that your kids just plain hate it.
Dave Ramsey has a name for this idea: “Stupid Tax”. It’s the price you pay for making hasty purchases.
Why pay big bucks to learn hard lessons?
There are SO MANY free resources for homeschooling now than there were when I first began that it just blows me away.
I’m a pretty frugal homeschooler these days.
I don’t have the luxury of a big budget for my kids. I don’t spend $400-1000 per child for a full, packaged program, or for anything for that matter. I am a firm believer in paying what is necessary for your MUST-HAVEs, but for those only.
Our must-have is Math U See curriculum. I do buy used when I can, but if I can’t find the level I need, I will pay the $55 for it because it is worth the money.
Beginning handwriting, for me, is also a must. Both of my boys have fine motor problems and we need Handwriting Without Tears. Once D1 gets the hang of cursive better, and D2 gets the hang of printing better, then I’ll use HappyScribe Copybooks (of which I think I have 11 or 12?) or my own poetry copybooks that I made for them.
Early on the focus is on letter formation, which is better addressed by HWT than by copying sentences. So handwriting is also something I do spend a little on…. not a lot, but it’s a must. So what about the rest?
I use free, public-domain books from various sources.
Two free, full curriculums which available online are Ambleside Online and An Old Fashioned Education. Both feature K-12 resources and links to free books that you can download and either print out or read on-screen.
I choose to print them out (I have a black & white laser printer with auto duplexing, cost under $160, through Amazon.com.) The books cost me next to nothing to print out. Including binding at the office supply, I pay around $3 for each book. The laser printer was a one-time investment that is paying me back big time, and worth every single penny of its affordable printing capability!
Most of the books listed on these two sites come from book depositories online. You can either download books or you can copy & paste them into Word and format them yourself.
My favorite copy & paste sites, complete with Illustrations, are:
Heritage History– Click on a title, click the little SHOW ALL button, and then copy. They also offer Libraries, which are collections on CD, of books all in a certain genre or on a specific topic. I own the Young Reader’s Library, and I love it. We are getting good use out of it. (My Heritage History review is here.)
The Baldwin Project– You have to go chapter by chapter through these, but it’s worth it! And as for downloadable books in PDF format, GoogleBooks seems to be the very best! Type in a title and select FULL PREVIEW ONLY so it will only give you books that have full previews. Then right click DOWNLOAD, hit SAVE AS and save it.
I always rename what I download by author (ex: “Baldwin- Fifty Famous Stories”). I don’t like text documents without pictures, so I try to stick with the PDFs or to format them myself from the above sources.
We don’t HAVE TO spend our grocery budgets on curriculum, ladies!! So why do we?
I hope I’ve made seeking for free books something which is within your reach! What’s your favorite source for free teaching materials?