Welcome back to the 2nd annual event of 10 Days of Homeschooling for Free and Frugal. You can read the entire series from the beginning on the Homeschooling for Free and Frugal series beginning post.
A Day in the Life of our Free Homeschool
This post is by Kathy of Kathy’s Cluttered Mind.
In 2011 I quit my full time job to become a stay at home/homeschool mom. I had planned and prepared though for a year prior. I wanted to be sure we could live on one income and still provide all the necessities for our family without making any HUGE sacrifices or ever using another credit card (we are debt free). I had figured that we would need to spend a minimum of $300-$400 on curriculum per child each year. I began to worry a little bit. In 2011 we were barely scraping by and I was getting ready to quit my job.What was I thinking? How would we be able to go on any field trips? Let the children participate in extracurricular activities? Buy art/craft supplies? Deal with an increase our grocery budget? These are just some of the questions that popped into my head. But after more research and many internet searches later I realized that we didn’t NEED to spend ANY money on curriculum. We could save that money and use it for other things.
So your probably thinking, “really you don’t buy any curriculum?” And the answer is yes. Since we began homeschooling I have not purchased any curriculum. The money that we would have spent on curriculum goes towards the purchase of used books (purchased from the library, Goodwill or Amazon), fieldtrips, extracurricular’s
You too can homeschool for FREE to and here’s how…
All you really need is internet access and a library card. Oh and a few planning hours each week! We are a very eclectic, delight directed homeschool family and do lots of unit studies. The unit study method is fantastic because it allows flexibility, encourages children to follow their interests, works with all ages and learning styles and is FREE. A unit study topic will in most cases cover all subjects, yes even math can be covered in a unit study. Creating a unit study for your children is as easy as 1,2,3, REALLY!
1) Have your children pick their topic(s).
2) Find books, DVDs, etc related to the chosen topic at the library.
3) Search the internet for FREE resources your children can utilize. Like worksheets, lapbooks, videos, craft projects, science experiments, etc. Pinterest is a great place to find homeschool resources.
I also suggest contacting local companies, organizations, etc to see if they will perhaps assist you with your unit study topic. 9 times out of 10 when you them that your child is studying a topic related to their industry and really excited to learn more, they will gladly offer their assistance. For example when we did our sand unit study I contacted a local sand supplier to see if they would donate some sand samples and they did an entire box. You can also incorporate fieldtrips that are related to your topic as well and yes you can even do these for FREE as well. For example when we did our bird unit study I contacted a local aviary to see if we could come visit and they said yes. And again when we did our sand unit study I contacted a glass making shop to see if we could get a demonstration and they said yes…and even allowed some of our friends to go as well. For Chinese New Year I searched to see if there were any events going on locally and found a Shaolin Institute offering a free family event. For geography related topics you can contact local embassies, travel agencies, etc for great resources.
Remember when doing a unit study the opportunities are endless. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Provide your child with the resources and watch them immerse themselves in their topic. I generally do our unit study planning monthly. So the last weekend of every month I request our books from the library and begin finding and pinning unit study resources. Pinterest is great for organizing your FREE unit study resources.
Now in all fairness I do need to tell you two more things because though we don’t buy curriculum we do own many amazing curriculum’s, but they were not bought. One way I have accumulated curriculum is by entering giveaways. I enter about 10 giveaways a week from various resources including blogs, Facebook, Twitter/Facebook parties, websites, etc. Actually the last two years 90% of our children’s Christmas presents were won via giveaways. It takes me maybe 1-2 hours total to find and enter giveaways each week.
And the second way we obtain the curriculum we own is by doing blog reviews. We are so very blessed with all the curriculum we receive to review. However for our first year of homeschooling my blog was still new and it wasn’t until Fall 2012 that I really started getting review products regularly. Blogging is something you can get into as well if you choose and guess what it’s FREE depending on the blogging platform you use. Blogging has opened many doors for our family and has been a great way to also earn extra money for our family.
I hope this post has given you great information and inspired you.
For more information on homeschooling for FREE be sure to visit Kathys Cluttered Mind. Each month myself and a blogger friend share valuable FREE resources on our FreeBEE Friday posts. I also share giveaways, product reviews, fieldtrip ideas and unit study resources. For specific unit study resources/ideas search by topic at the top right corner.
Kathy quit her full time job in July 2011 to stay at home and homeschool her two children. She is also a wife to her wonderful husband whom she married on her 19th birthday in 2000. She lives in Georgia just north of the hustling and bustling city of Atlanta. When she is not homeschooling the kids she enjoys blogging, scrapbooking, hiking, geocaching and watching movies. Kathy is also the social media manager for A+ TutorSoft Homeschool Math. Read more about her homeschool journey on her blog, http://www.kathysclutteredmind.com.
This series is part of iHomeschool Network Hopscotch 2013.
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