You can homeschool on a budget, there isn’t a need to spend hundreds of dollars if you do a little research and find the best frugal options. (edit- the original curriculum post is here: Charlotte Mason First Grade) Charlotte Mason has helped with this because the resources I use are classics, we can find a lot of the books in the public domain or rather cheaply at used book stores. My number one piece of advice, is to do your research. Also, you can find free curriculum guides online at Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason. The other is an e reader or an iPad will help to condense books that are in the public domain. We invested in one last year with our tax money and it has definitely been worth the cost. Also, check your libraries, I have found most things in the Library if you plan ahead.
Earlier I posted on our homeschool curriculum for the year (1st Grade), here’s where I break down what it cost this year. I was surprised.
Bible: Free for us because we already owned it (Guide $19.99 new and Bible $29.99 new) or you can just follow a Bible plan with whatever resources you have at home, or just buy the Long Story Short Devotional, which I actually recommend not using both for simplicity but Emma likes both the devotional and the Bible so Happy with it. – Long Story Short/Gospel Story Bible.
Memory Verses: Free- Simply Charlotte Mason Memory Verses
Character: Free- Parables of Nature. We are just reading through the Parables of Nature which you can find for free in iBooks.
Literature: Free Mostly (5.00)- We are doing the Ambleside Online Literature selections, these include; the Blue Fairy Book, Aesop’s Fables, Shakespeare for young children and many others. We already owned Aesop’s Fables but there is also a free app by the Library of Congress that you can download that has all the stories as well. I found a free copy of Just So Stories for the year on iBooks but will definitely be investing in a hardcopy from our local bookstore when I can. Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers was my first real cost, it is 5.00 for the e-book.
Free Reads: Free- I am using the suggested reading lists from both Ambleside and Simply Charlotte Mason and the books so far are ones we already own, we purchased a really lovely copy last year because of daughter Alice being born. I started this year with Alice in Wonderland and we have since moved to Alice through the looking Glass. Next up will be Winnie the Pooh. Do not forget how valuable the Library is for these Classics.
Poetry: Free- A Children’s Garden of Verses. We own a hard copy of this book which we bought in set when Emma was a baby. You can find all the book and all the poems in the public domain with having to buy a hard copy. I would suggest it as a Library staple though for those that read it and love it. You can also find this in any Library.
Math: $34.00 for the entire year- Math Mammoth. I have only spent 16.50 so far because you can purchase the part A e-version from their site. We use an abacus I bought during Emma’s pre-K years, but you do not need one you can use anything on hand you can count with; beans, buttons, blocks, etc. So far I have no complaints about Math Mammoth and it really was the most affordable option for us that met our educational needs.
Phonics/Reading: Free-McGuffey’s Primer. We started the McGuffey’s Primer last year and we had found a free version to print and put into a notebook. We are continuing thisyear with McGuffey’s and so far so good.
Copywork: Free or $1.00- Worksheet Works or McGuffey’s Copywork Set. You can make up your own free copywork sheets to correspond with the Primer or you can use anything else you choose, a verse, sentences about the child, poetry, etc. If you don’t want to do that work there is a Copywork set that corresponds to McGuffey that costs just $1.00.
History: $15.95 but I already owned it – Beautiful Feet Books- Early American. I bought this last year with the intention of starting it in K and settled that she would get more benefit by waiting a year. So far that has been true. We check out the books from the Library so is no extra cost for us and the books are rich Living Books that fit our Charlotte Mason style nicely.
Spanish: We are using a sequence of the Gouin Series, this happens to be completely free if you can find a native speaker to translate. I translated myself and had my Mother, who is a native speaker double check the Spanish. I talk about here: http://ellieeugenia.com/2013/07/22/homeschool-this-year-first-grade/
Art, Composer, Nature, Folksong and Poetry Co-op: Free- Augusta Charlotte Mason Co-op. We started a Co-op starting in September that will use our pooled resources and knowledge to teach these subjects to our children. I am very, very excited, so is Emma.
Piano: Free because we already own it, $8.46 new- My First Piano Adventures. If you do not know how to play Piano or teach it and want your children to learn without affording a Piano tutor this is a great option. My husband plays piano but he plays from ear and that is almost impossible to teach, this way she gets real lessons in a fun way.
Handicrafts- Free- Sewing and Baking. We will just be using the things I already have here at home. She is learning hand stitching first and moving from there. Baking wise, She just helps in the kitchen, measuring and doing anything that needs doing.
Total Cost for Homeschool for us this year: $41.00
If you used this plan and had to buy a few things listed new: $64.41 or $114.39 if using the Bible sources above.
I can’t imagine doing homeschool any cheaper than this unless you just digested Living Books from the Library, which is a great option actually. Anyways, I hope this is helpful for those that are homeschooling on a budget like we are.
Please let me know if this have been helpful to you or how you have utilized this in your own home schools.