Friday, June 24, 2016

Homeschooling on a TIGHT Budget!

HOMESCHOOLING on a TIGHT Budget

*A list of FREE printables, great websites, blogs, and books that I love to use for our homeschooling. 
*Programs I've looked into and used

I can only say what I've used for Pre-K to 1st grade at this point. But most of these resources have Pre-K to 12th grade so it shouldn't be too different.

Try not to get too overwhelmed. There are SO many resources out there (thousands!). Look up what your child needs to learn for their grade level in your particular state and THEN go from there! If they are doing more advanced work than "required", awesome! If not then you know what to work on. Make a list of what YOU want them to learn and what is required. Then make a schedule that works for you. I have little ones (under 1, 2, K and 1st) so nap times, and anytime the baby is sleeping or distracted or when we are traveling is my "School time". Daddy doesn't have a normal 9-5 job (We own our own business. Yes, I'm insane.) so that means sometimes he's home early to help and other times he's not home until after they go to bed. So our "schedule" doesn't always work perfectly. I just kind of wing it and just refer back to my schedule when I need to, making sure we are on track. I'm hoping as the kids get older a schedule will work better for us. The Harmony Education Program really helped with all this. (See below)

THE LIST:

Educents.com --This is a referral link. I get Edubucks,$10, for every person I refer that signs up with my link and makes a purchase of $25 or more on their site. You can also earn Edubucks by making purchases and referring friends!) There are also TONS of FREE printables, resources, and apps on there! Just search "Free" and you'll have 100's of pages! You can search by grade level as well. They also have a gift $10 get $10 program. So ya, awesome!

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Abcmouse.com --You can access some things for free without signing up. I personally have LOVED the membership! It's only around $8 a month for all 3 of my kids. They are all on one account and they have games, prizes, learning path, printables, pets, rooms they can decorate, tickets, and so much more for all subjects! You can also track their progress, etc. It's been worth every penny! They have a free trial too so you can check it out for free for awhile.
*Update*
I was going to cancel my membership and as I went through the cancellation process I was offered $23 for a year subscription! So I jumped on it!

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Confessions of a Homeschooler Blog --She is absolutely amazing and has helped me be more organized and make more sense of the whole homeschooling world! She has SOOOOOooooo much stuff on there! Free printables and whole curriculum sets and advice on what programs she's used, etc. Hands down she is my go to for any homeschooling questions and answers!
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Reading Resources I Love:
(Ones with '*' by them are my updates!)

*www.readingbear.org 
Just discovered this online, easy to follow, lots of visuals and videos (so great for the kids and mom!) And completely FREE! So fantastic! It's a great place to start (Pre-k/beginners-3rd grade reading level)

"Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"
You can get it on Amazon.com
I live it! I wish I had used it with Allison. Sophia wishes it had pictures, but I think it gets right to the point and each lesson only takes a short time. And I already see her little reading light coming on and we've only done 6 lessons. 
It's not for every kid, but It works for us. 

Once I'm done with this book I'll be moving to the Usborne Usborne's Very First Reading Library and other Phonics books

*www.abcmouse.com (cost isn't bad if you have multiple children. It's very affective and the kids see it as a game! And you can use it on any device, Android,apple/mac,windows,apps,etc. They have it through 2nd grade and there's printables galore to go with each section!)

*www.sightandsoundreading.com
(This is great for free printables and they also have a learning to read app/videos which isn't super awesome, but it seems to work ok) 

*www.sightwords.com
(Also just descovered. Has some great free printable flash cards and lots of other great stuff for teaching your child to read!)

*www.readingeggs.com
(We get this free through our school, but I have to say, it has been fantastic! My 5 yr old is learning to read and she doesn't even realize that's what she's doing! She just thinks she's playing games! Also has an app)

*I also love Usborne books (s5085.myubam.com) phonics readers,workbooks,beginner reading sets,etc.
once they get the basics down. They also have a great app/site that goes with their "Starting to read pack" (which Im really loving the activity book and poster and duel readers that come with this set!) Anyway the app/site is free here: teachyourmonstertoread.com

*And you can usually snag some great printable's over at education.com
or teacherspayteachers.com

These phonics books are free and have printable worksheets too:
I LOVE this site! They have free ebook that you can view via pdf or print them out. They also have free printable worksheets to go along with most books. My daughter really likes them. We have used Bob books as well, but for some reason it's like pulling teeth with her on those.

Another great website is
I'm not sure what the pricing is now, but it has done a TON to help Allison. They have gaves,books,lessons,etc to help with reading. She seems to like abcmouse.com better though. Prob. because it has more than just reading stuff. And she gets tickets she can buy things with, it has her own little world with pets and stuff she can take care of too. And it has printable! So it's a better value for your money than reading eggs I think, but reading eggs does focus just on the reading so if that's all they really need it's great!
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BookOutlet.com --This has been one of my favorite sites to find new and used books, coloring books, educational books,kids-adult books,sticker books, and even Usborne books, shhh don't tell....OH WAIT! TELL! TELL EVERYONE! Because guess what!? They have a referral program too! How sweet is that!? Just click on the link above! OH! But DO NOT FORGET, after you've signed up, go HERE and sign up for Ebates and get 10% CASH BACK by shopping at Bookoutlet.com (and TONS of other places! I pretty much don't shop online without first going to ebates and checking for deals and seeing if I can get cash back. Christmas time I especially save a LOT!) Um yes, I think we have a awesome winner here! 
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BUT, EVEN BETTER, If you want to get lots of FREE Books (with little effort) you should Host a Usborne Books & More Facebook Party! You can also get tons of 1/2 price books! Now who doesn't want FREE BOOKS!?
Go HERE to book a party or comment below for more details.
The Harmony Ed program also uses mostly Usborne Books for their Elective Kits! I am way excited to get ours this year! 
And if you use Harmony you should just become a Usborne Consultant because you will want to get more books even after you've spent your allowance ;)

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rainbowresource.com
has great prices and some great curriculum choices. I like the Brain Quest full grade curriculum and their cards to go with them. They also have other books that are "Full Grade Curriculum" which is great! (HERE is anotger one we like) And they won't break the bank. If they are color I just tare them out and put them in the page protectors and if they are black and white I like to make copies and let them color/write on the actual pages.

"Map Skills" by Teaching resources is great. They have lots of other books too.

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If you are overwhelmed by the cost of ink to print things off:
Get a Canon printer ($30 at walmart or nicer if you want) and REFILL YOUR OWN INK! Yes, I tried it and it was super easy and it will save me a killing this year! 
Just go to youtube.com and look for a tutorial for your particular priner/ink and then head over to  ebay.com and find an ink refill kit for your ink cartridges. I haven't tried my color yet, but I know it can be done! 
My black looks awesome and no problems. 
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Target--
When I went to Target about a month ago they had some AWESOME homeschool materials in the "$5 and under section". Workbooks, flashcards, mini dry erase cards,etc. And all only $1 each! Not sure if they still have them out, but it's totally worth looking into!
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The Dollar Tree -- They have a website but you can only order in bulk. I guess if you need stuff in bulk it's pretty awesome! We have a local store so it's fantastic. Some aren't as lucky though. I have gotten educational workbooks, prizes for incentives, tickets, play money, containers to organize things, flashcards, things for our bulletin board, school supplies, craft supplies, etc. there. Be sure and compare pricing at Walmart before ordering though. Some things can be cheaper at Walmart. See my post HERE about my laminated quiet book. I got a lot of things from the Dollar Tree and Walmart for it. 
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Walmart.com--Or just our local Walmart. They have TONS of resources that won't break the bank. Such as school supplies, a Laminator (See Post HERE on how laminating your printable worksheets can save TONS!), clear page protectors (which you can use instead of laminating),etc.
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The Homeschool Mom is also a great blog especially those of you homeschooling in Idaho.
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TeachersPayTeachers.com--you can buy things but there are also tons of free ones.
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Harmony Education---If you live in Idaho, Utah, Hawaii or Minnesota this is pretty much the best program! And guess what!? Not only is it FREE but you also get an educational allowance to purchase school supplies and you have a wide variety of curriculum to choose from (which they purchase for you). You can choose to do all your schooling online or do flex worksheets. I did Flex worksheets with my Kindergartener and she blew through them in the first few months. I was able to focus on more things or broaden upon what the worksheets where teaching, etc. It was VERY nice! We also got readingeggs.com to help with her reading. They have mentors to answer any questions you might have.
The downfall is you still have state tests and it is through a local school district which means you may not be in a school district that offers it. They are currently looking at finding a different school district to take us that are outside the West Ada Meridian) school district so there's a chance I may not be able to do it again in the fall. Which would suck. The other downfall is because it's a state thing you can't choose any religious based curriculum. But I found that I could easily incorporate scripture study, and religion into our school work. I was a distant learner from a private, LDS based school out of Utah all through High School so I already had some books and knowledge to do this.(Liahona Academy is the name of it. It's quite expensive but it was the BEST homeshcooling experience one could ever ask for! Mainly because I didn't feel homeschooled because they filmed their classes and we had Super Trips and Youth Conferences to get together!)
There are also other options like Charter or Montessori schools and there's a Heritage Academy in Rexburg that looks great. But there again, they were either impossible to get into or they are expensive. And I want to teach my kids myself if at all possible.   
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*Update*
I came across several other sites over the last week that you might really like! 
This lady has a great method of learning! It's exactly what I want to do for my kids! Just 3-4 times a week she does a few simple lesson then expounds upon things with everyday lessons and methods of learning like cooking,building,etc. And she uses videos,books and activities to teach history and other subjects to really bring them alive.
Check out her FREE curriculum over at
Plain and Not So Plain

Here are a list of 10+ free sites at
 Passion for Savings
as well a some on
Free Homeschooling Deals

And here are others I found:
Mobymax.com
My kids get bored with this but it's great for testing what they k own and at what level. You can sign up as a Homeschooler.

IXL.com
IXL has everything but you can only do practice things so much per day without a membership. It's not as interactive, but again, good for practice and testing their knowledge.

Here are some great phonics worksheets as well HERE over at Super Teacher Worksheets.

I was also talking to my wonderful umm what is your cousins wife called to you? Adopted cousin (haha)? Cousin by marriage? Anyway, she's awesome! She gave me some advice about teaching my kiddos to read. She starts with site words then works on letter sounds then goes from there. I plan to do that with my others since I totally did it backwards with my oldest and it's really confused her!

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Videos and Shows--
I like to use Youtube.com to help my kids visualize or learn more about a certain subject. If they have a question about a certain animal, how something works, or want to learn about another country I usually hit YouTube.com first!
They also have a lot of popular educational shows on there that are on netflix and such if you don't have the luxury of having netflix,hulu,amazon,etc.

Some things to search for on youtube: 
Sid the Science Kid--on netflix but there's videos on youtube as well
HooplaKidzLab --science experiments
HooplaKidz -- this is the reg. channel. It has great alphabet and number videos. My kids love them!
Signing Time-- It's on Netflix but just search "Signing Time" and it should come up with the sign language videos. These are great for teaching your children sign language. My girls love it!

If you want to learn about a certain animal the Animal Planet channel is great. It's easier just to search for specific things like if you want to learn about blue whales search "All about blue whales for kids" I always add the "for kids" at the end so it doesn't come up with things that are over their head. 

For Traveling Stuff my favorite Channel is Travelwithkids

Music--If you want to learn a instrument there are hundreds of channels for learning instruments. All for free! 

Crafts, DIY's, and just about anything you can think of you can find on youtube for free! You just have to search for it! I even found a video that explained "the birds and the bees" to my 6 year old that was to the point but not weird or over her head. Ya, it made that talk a LOT easier for sure! Then if she had any other questions it was a lot easier to expound upon. 

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood--
I love this show! It teaches so many good principles! It teaches about going potty, sharing, taking turns, trying new things, getting along, what to do when you're afraid and adds the abc's and 123's on top of everything in such a cute way! And so much more! Check youtube.com

Barney and Friends-- A classic. My young ones also enjoy this show. It teaches lots of good things as well. A lot in song form so that your kids remember things in a fun way!

I hope this all helped! If you have any questions please comment or message me! 

Here's some other resources I've used to buy supplies:
and many other sites for supplies!

My best advice is to decide what works best for you and your family, pray about it, and do your research on the type of schooling you want for your child. There are TONS of different ways to homeschool and you have to decide what is best for you and your children. Every child learns differently and may respond to different types of schooling. Some are more disciplined and thrive with just worksheets and reading books. Others need more interactive, hands on approaches. I have a little of both so we do a little of everything. 

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