Homeschool can get expensive quick. Our large family of 9 is on a budget but still find ways to get a great home education for our children.
We tried public school. Before we moved to our current home we actually drove our 3 big kids to school out of our district everyday to make sure they could get a good education. With both my husband and I working we were not able to homeschool. I honestly thought my dreams of being able to homeschool my children was over. I needed to work, and I had no reason not to work.
Then came the triplets. Once we had the triplets and moved to our current home we were able to revisit homeschooling. We went ahead and put them in public school the fall after we moved. This gave Brent and I a chance to get into a groove with having 3 infants. We talked a lot about it and did a ton of research. After knowing our state laws and looking into the curriculums, we decided that after spring break we wouldn’t be sending them back to public school.
On March 13, 2020, our 3 big kids had their last day of public school. It just so happened that our country was pretty much shut down because of Covid-19 so they wouldn’t be returning even if they were in public school. Luckily at this point I had already gathered all my homeschool curriculum so being forced to come home was not an issue for us.
At this point we had 6 kids. Two 9 year olds, a 6 year old, and three 8 month olds. With one income, budget is the name of the game. I searched and searched to find something affordable, yet actually teach them. It was hard to find. One day I happened across a Christian curriculum called The Good and The Beautiful. ( I am not sponsored by The Good and The Beautiful, I just love their curriculum and want to share what we love) I looked through all the samples and fell in love. The prices were amazing. When I didn’t think I could love it anymore I found they give FREE PDF files of their level 1-5 language arts. I mean come on! It was a dream come true!
The only issue I could find is the cost of printing 1,500 or so pages. Printing them on our old printer or taking them somewhere to be printed would cost more than just buying them. Then I went on a search for an affordable way to print this amazing free curriculum, and I found it. The Epson Eco Tank printer.
A printing we will go
Oh my goodness, I had no idea this existed. I spent around $300 on this printer and found a case of paper at Walmart for $27.00. With this $330 I was able to print off all 3 kids curriculums, and only go though about half of the ink that came with the printer. That was almost 2000 pages I printed last year! After that my next thought was how am I going to bind this. I was able to find a spiral binder for around $100 and was able to order several different sizes of the spiral binding all from amazon.
After everything was purchased we spent around $450 for our equipment to print and bind our own homeschool curriculum. The best part is that I don’t have to spend that again this year. I still have plenty of everything.
The best is yet to come
I am not even going to share what we tried for math this year. It was horrible and I don’t want people to think we recommend it at all. We mostly ended up printing off math worksheets from this site and doing our best with it, while still looking for a better option.
I guess we were not the only ones looking for a better option because The Good and The Beautiful is providing once again. I swear, they are not sponsoring me, I am just so in love with them. The upcoming year they are releasing a new math curriculum. This one is very affordable and much easier on the parents (or so the video says and the samples look great). The best part is they are also going to make the PDF for levels 1-5 free. This is so exciting for me! We are on a serious budget. Since we started homeschooling we have added another baby to the mix, bringing us up to 7 kids.
Science, history, ect.
This year for science I purchased Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman. I was able to find a printable curriculum to go with it, though I do not remember where I found it. All I remember is I looked on Pintrest for Nature Anatomy printables and found amazing free printables to go along with it. For History this year we took full advantage of our library. We are able to download audio books via the Libby app on my phone. We listen to several of the “Who am I?” books and went over those, including the Declaration of Independence and the authors of it.
Homeschool where ever you want
One of the kids’ favorite parts of homeschooling that they can do their independent work where ever they please. Sometimes this means swinging and writing a story, or maybe labeling the parts of a butterfly while sitting in the treehouse.
At this point in our lives we have to do all indoor homeschool during nap time. We tried, the triplets just won’t let it happen. I know as they get older it will be easier, but for now we just make sure we get all the book work done while the babies are upstairs.
Learning more than just “the 3 r’s”
As I have watched the kids learn and grow this past year I am amazed. When we started Gage could hardly read, and now we are moving on to chapter books. Olivia was really struggling with math, but now she is excelling. Cameron was really having a hard time with writing and now he is writing his own comic books and a “movie script” that he and his siblings film in the back yard. I am so proud of how far they have come. If they were still in public school they would not have the time to write a movie and film it with their tablets. I wouldn’t have the one on one time with them to make sure they were comprehending everything that they read.
Being able to homeschool has allowed me to be able to read countless books to them, and give me the ability to let them read countless books back to me. We have the time to get to know each other better. There is no yelling in the mornings because Gage can’t find his shoe or because Olivia’s book is missing. There is no rushing after school to make sure homework is done, kids are fed, bathed, and in bed on time. We can read together, snuggle, have meaningful conversations. I am so very glad I am blessed enough to have this time with my children. We have all grown and learned so much because of it.
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Spiral binder (not the exact one I got but the closest I could find)