Day two for the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop is all about Homeschool Curriculum.
Curriculum... where do I begin? This is the hardest part of homeschooling, for me... choosing what curriculum to purchase. I spend hours researching each purchase I am going to make. Then, I stress about the choice for days, weeks, months, hoping I am making the right choice. I'm not kidding here... Sometimes it keeps me up at night.
I recently posted about the curriculum I have chosen to use this coming school year. Check that out if you want to know the exact details of what we are using this year. I am thrilled with our choices and can't wait to start using them! I get SO excited when our books come in the mail!!!
Today, I thought I would share a few of our favorites, ways that we save money on curriculum, and some great sites I use to buy curriculum. Also, I am going to share a few sites that I use to help me decide what to buy.
How Do I Choose?
Like I said, I spend lots of time online researching. Here are a few of the sites that I frequent in making my decisions:
Cathy Duffy Reviews
The Well-Trained Mind Forum
I scour the reviews on each of these sites to see which curriculum has better reviews. I love The Well-Trained mind forum because there are some great discussions on there comparing different products. I also talk to other families that I know who homeschool and get their opinions. Sometimes they have even brought different books in for me to look through.
Some Old Tried & True Favorites
These are books that we have used all the way through and purchased more of the series because we LOVE them! :) Some are more "living books" than a curriculum. We are trying a lot of new things this year, too. If you are an old timer homeschooler, what are your favorites?? What could you not imagine life without? Share with us in the comments.
Story of the World
Apologia Science- Exploring Creation Series
Life of Fred Elementary Math
Thornton Burgess Books- Animal, Bird, & Seashore books
Family Math & Family Math for Young Children
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series by Mike Venezia
Magic School Bus books- they have chapter books for older kids, too.
Historical books by Ingri D'Aulaire
Core Knowledge Series by E.D. Hirsch
Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedias
Childhood of Famous American Series- great for learning history!!
Saving Money on Curriculum
Definitely shop around when looking for curriculum. Buy used if you can. There are lots of places to get used curriculum. Also, try to buy things that can be used by multiple children at the same time as well as re-used later.
Christianbook.com always seems to have great prices on homeschooling books.
Local Homeschool Sales/ swaps
Used Curriculum Yahoo Group
Thrift Stores- I have found some very useful things at thrift stores & used bookstores
Another thing that has been a HUGE help to us in buying curriculum is to partner with charter schools. We have several charter schools in our area that partner with homeschoolers. You enroll with them as a "distance learner". This allows them to offer you state funding to purchase curriculum. Some people may disagree with this method as they do not want to take any state funding, but if this doesn't bother you, it is a great way to go to help out your budget! This year I have my kids at My Tech High. They are an online program that works with students of all ages (1st grade and up) in Utah and California. They are very flexible with your choices and also offer online and several tech classes. Without these programs, we would not be able to purchase nearly as much as we do for our kids.
I have a couple of other non-conventional things that I do to get a little extra money for school books. I will tell you in advance that the next two are affiliate links and I get credit when you click through and/or sign up for these programs. Just wanted to put that out there! :) I do really like them, though because they are simple ways to earn a little money- a very little bit, but it does help.
Inbox Dollars- this site sends you emails that you just have to click a link & earn a few cents for each click. They also have promotional offers that you can sign up for, surveys to complete, and other tasks that earn you a little bit, too. When you get referrals under you, you earn more.
Swag Bucks- this site is very similar to Inbox dollars, but you earn "Swag bucks" by completing different tasks, or using their search toolbar. When you earn a certain amount you can exchange them for different prizes- I always exchange mine for Amazon gift cards & then credit my Amazon account to buy books that we need. Referrals also earn you more here, too. I have earned more through this program than Inbox Dollars.
So now... on to today's giveaway! Don't forget to stop by each day to see what books you could win. Make sure to enter yesterday's giveaway, too! I also have a giveaway going on for a 3-month membership to JumpStart ending Aug 4th.
Today I am giving away three science related books.
The first, Science in Seconds for Kids by Jean Potter, has over 100 simple science experiments that you can do in 10 minutes or less.
Also in this giveaway are two Magic School Bus Chapter Books- Polar Bear Patrol #13 and Twister Trouble # 5. My son absolutely loves these books- and they learn a lot while reading them!
To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck to you! All of these giveaways will end at midnight on Monday, the 6th of August.
a Rafflecopter giveaway