Fact: I love scouring the internet
Fact: Next school year I'll have a 6th grader, a 5th grader, a kindergartner, a toddler, and a newborn all under my roof at the same time, so I need some pre-made lesson plans like I'm gonna need extra dark coffee.
Conclusion: Time for some budget homeschool wranglin', y'all!
See, this year I homeschooled for free, paying for just the cost of printer ink and paper by using the subject guidelines and links on Lesson Pathways (click it. It's awesome, and free) keeping the grade level expectations from the state of Michigan's Department of Education website in mind. The girls also had free piano lessons, a theater class, and a ceramics class as well as multiple field trips through our local homeschool partnership. Combine all of that with a library card and lots of free books contributed by friends, and we were good to go.
|I swear this photo wasn't staged. Look at me all skinny! And my kids all obedient! And my floor all clean!|
Except that it required a lot of planning on my part. I couldn't just pull out a workbook or a lesson plan and say "do this". I had to find the workbook and decide if it was useful, and if so which pages we should do. I had to write my own lesson plans and make my own schedules, printing off what needed to be printed off, gathering supplies that needed to be gathered, coordinating field trips with history projects for a sort of unit-studies approach at times. It was good and fun. And very time consuming.
So next year, to increase my potential for semi-full nights of sleep, I'm gonna take the pressure off a bit. I'm gonna let someone else do the lesson plans for me! At first I thought the easiest thing to do would be to purchase a fully pre-planned curriculum. As in schedules and lesson plans and all the textbooks and workbooks and every single manipulative all in one neat little box. But after some research I realized that those plans are a) fairly expensive and b) fairly inflexible.
Those are my two least favorite things.
I needed to find the right balance of cost and flexibility, providing my kids with what they need while paying attention to what *I* need. (And before we go any further, let me assure you that sending them back to school is not what any of us needs. So far, we LOVE homeschooling. Every one of us. And as long as it stays that way, we're gonna stick with it.)
After hours of research using all the thoughtful amazing recommendations in the combox of this curriculum call for help , I realized that through Angelicum Academy, I could choose individual lesson plans by subject. So if I like the 5th grade books list and study materials for language arts but I like the 6th grade art textbook and syllabus, I can purchase them separately. If I don't want to do their religion program but I do like their science program, I can just buy the latter and skip the former. Flexibility + premade lessons = WINNING!
Also, and here's where the cheapskate comes in- you don't have to buy the actual books from them. You can buy them from wherever you want. They just tell you the titles and make a suggestion as to where you can purchase them. Hello, used book fairy! Time to pay us a visit!
Now for some people, the selections from Angelicum are too secular. For me, that was actually a selling point. I don't especially think I need a Catholic science text book or for my kids to learn to read using Genesis. It might turn them off to the Church and school at the very same time. It's like a futon- not a good couch and not a good bed. I'm not into futons, ya know?
So for my 5th and 6th graders, I've chosen lesson plans primarily from Angelicum. Once the materials get here, I'll do a run down of the awesome low prices I paid, how I found the best deals, and which modifications I did depending on learning styles, but I'll tell you right now that used books from amazon.com and alibris.com and new books from christianbook.com (not just Christian books, I promise) are the most reasonably priced I've been able to find online.
For my kindergartner, because I didn't really like the kinder book suggestions from Angelicum (check me out with all my flexibility! I'm like a gymnast or something!), I've decided to get the syllabus from Mother of Divine Grace instead, and do the math and reading lessons as per their schedule for him. Again, you buy the books from the book list wherever you want, and you can choose to skip entire subjects altogether and do your own thing, but the syllabus is there for when you need it. I also chose some other stuff, which I'll tell you all about later once it arrives.
You guys, I am so excited. I really think that what I've been able to put together is going to be a great combination of just what each child needs. Plus, I love a bargain high (finding a $70 book for $4? Yes please.) and I've been able to keep that going for at least a week now. It's just TOO much fun for me and actually useful to my family.
25 mom points for me!