I shared much of this information below during my presentations at conferences during the month of April. It occurred to me that people are always looking to save money; why not post some thoughts here? Also, though I find myself jaded with two teens in the house, I forget how many homeschoolers are just beginning with little angels, and looking for simple options that don’t overwhelm them with textbooks.
To cover my entire presentation content would make this post rival a Hemingway novel, so for this portion, I will cover only those ideas that might be feasible for younger children.
Notebooking is a staple in our home. The beauty of creating these hand-written pages is that they help children to own their own learning. Notebooking pages are an excellent way to help a child retain his learning; when children “translate” reading materials into their own “language,” they have to process information and then think about what to write. And, notebooking can be as inexpensive as the paper that you choose to purchase. Over the years, we’ve used everything from that “old school” computer paper with the perforations, to purchased notebook paper, to college-ruled notebook paper that eventually lands in a 3-ring binder. The children have had different preferences as they grow older, and as long as the work is quality, I follow their interests. Personally, I prefer purchased pages. With boxes for diagrams and special quotes pages/ bio pages, etc., the kids are forced to think more creatively about how they capture their work. Here are some of my favoerite sites for purchased pages, and more elaborate “how-tos” on notebooking:
Lapbooks are excellent, especially for hands that learn even more when the kinesthetic (hands-on) component is involved. Like notebooks, a lapbook can create a lasting keepsake of a child’s work on any subject. Also like notebooks, a lapbook can be used for just about any subject. My only caution, based upon my experiences, is that lapbooks take significant preparation time. The scrapbooker in me loves developing the books and putting them together, but I enter into the prep work knowing that I need to carve out a block of time. If you choose to indulge, however, here are a couple of sites that I enjoy:
There is also a Lapbooking Yahoo loop (try email@example.com
). Jimmie Lanley, the Notebooking Fairy, is a tremendous resource within the homeschooling community, and her Squidoo lens on lapbooking
does not disappoint. Lynn over at Eclectic Education
is also very skilled in this area. Finally, Dinah Zike’s Big Book of Books (costs about $20 at Amazon, new)
is an excellent resource for creative ways to use various book folds.
One question people often ask is, what is the difference between lapbooking and notebooking, and what is the best suggestion for when to do either? Jimmie does a good job addressing this in her post on lapbooking versus notebooking
I will confess that I have not made good use of games; my husband tends to lead the kids in that effort. However, I get the point. Uno teaches number recognition and colors. Twister also teaches colors. You have to spell to play Scrabble; Monopoly helps kids learn the value of a dollar. Mastering Clue requires analytical skills and critical thinking. How much of a teacher could Milton Bradley be in your home? Also, games can be repurposed
to teach even more skill sets.
There isn’t much to say here; what is a homeschool without a field trip? All I can suggest is that field trips don’t have to be to a designated attraction in order to be fun and educational. Opportunities that are off the beaten path offer a dual benefit. Because they are not the main attraction, they often are accessible for far less money, and as a rare tourist, the attention is more personalized.
AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
How do you use the Internet in your homeschool? Do you find it overwhelming? Do you spend more time than you need on the wrong searches, or on “bunny trails” that take you everywhere but the place you need to go? Two toolbars exist that take on much of the work of educational searches for you. Karen
, respectfully, have done their homework and they’ve covered you, too. The toolbars feature drop-down menus that contain links to educational video sites, the best of homeschool tools–you can even listen to the radio from the drop-down box!
Homeschool Resource Toolbar
Homeschool Lounge Toolbar
Before this post becomes horrendously long, I’ll stop and begin on the next post with thoughts for customizing curriculum for older students. I’d love to hear from you, though: in what ways do you customize curriculum and cut your costs?