Homeschooling on a Shoestring—Spotlight On: Social Studies
More on homeschooling on the cheap:
• “Homeschooling on a Shoestring Budget” HSLDA Homeschooling Toddlers thru Tweens
• “Navigating the Used Curriculum Route” by Vicki Bentley, Practical Homeschooling magazine
• Search for free homeschool + subject
Ask an Elder
“Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not instruct you and tell you? Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?”—Job 8:8–10 NIV
Social studies resources:
• Learning History through Living Books series is just one of the Charlotte-Mason-style materials available from Queen Homeschool.
• Trail Guide to Learning unit studies (includes all but math)—Paths of Exploration and the new Paths of Settlement units for various ages; includes study of primary source documents, biographies, and more. From Geography Matters
• Galloping the Globe (ages K-4th) and Cantering the Country (1st–6th) Geography resources from Geography Matters
• Travel 15 states (plus Washington, D.C. and the I-95 corridor) with Kids Love! Publications travel guides.
• “Holidays as Homeschool Curriculum” includes patriotic or historical holidays.
• Student News Daily—This free website focuses on current events from a conservative viewpoint, geared to middle school and up. Sign up to have a different feature emailed to you each day; Wednesday’s feature highlights an example of media bias, while Friday’s feature is a quick quiz.
• God Has Big Plans for You, Esther! By Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt (Discover 4 Yourself inductive Bible study series; ages 9–12). Readers ages 9 to 12 join young investigators Max, Molly, and Sam for a great adventure in Washington D.C. While they explore the exciting dynamics of the Capitol, they uncover an amazing Bible story of a young girl named Esther who God used to change the course of her nation.
By Vicki Bentley
When it comes to homeschooling, expensive is a relative term. While the average cost is roughly $500 a year per child, this goes down a bit in families with more children, since resources can be shared, membership costs are not multiplied, etc. If your children have been in private school for $4,000–10,000 a year per child, you’re probably planning a vacation with your homeschooling savings and are only reading this article to kill some time! But if they’ve been in a conventional school setting or are just beginning school, it’s prudent of you to count the cost, to be prepared. You’ll want to invest in your core curriculum materials first, then add other items as your budget allows. (See sidebar for more ideas.)
It is possible to homeschool with just a Bible and a library card, but most of us will add a bit. I was able to homeschool seven children at a time for less than $100 in a year, once I had accumulated a few non-consumable resources. (Our family was without a full-time income for four years during that time, with eight children at home.)
In the next few newsletters, we’ll highlight some activities for the basic subject areas on a shoestring budget. Since election season is coming up, let’s begin with social studies!
How to Save on Textbooks and Other Curricular Materials
Use Multi-Level Curriculum
Use grade-specific materials for each child for skills subjects such as math and language arts, then use multi-level materials for content-area subjects such as science, social studies, character/Bible, art, health, etc, working with all of your children together, to economize on time and money! Here are a few suggestions for materials that are designed for or easily adapted for multi-level use:
And many others.
The most effective learning often takes place in the context of everyday living or family activities, and many are free or very inexpensive: