Monday, March 20, 2017

Homeschooling - Can You Afford It?


If you are finding yourself wondering if you can even afford homeschooling, here are some tips to keep in mind to save money:

Set a Budget

Have an idea of how much you want to spend each year and stick to it.  It can be really tempting to buy everything you see when you walk into a used curriculum sale.  Research ahead of time the prices for each item.  Write it down and bring it with you.  Just because all the other moms are equipped with roll carts and bags, doesn't mean you have to be.  Relax and look for what you need.

Make a Spreadsheet

I started one when our daughter was in Pre-K.  I keep track of the item's retail price, how much I pay for it, and how much I sell it for.  

Borrow or Swap

If you know someone who has what you need but they are not using it this year, see if you can borrow it or swap it for something you have for the year.

Use the Library

If you have a well stocked public library nearby, this is a cheap way to find all those books on your reading list.  Take advantage of their interlibrary loan system.

Buy used

Buy from friends or shop your local used curriculum sale if you have one.  In the past I have had good luck with the Homeschool Classifieds.  It was pretty simple to set up an account and look for what I wanted.  I was able to buy and sell a few things, which worked out great!

Shop Sales

Buy school supplies when everything is on sale, and during the tax-free weekend if your state offers it.

Shop Online

I have found that if I can't find something used, I may be able to find it cheaper on Amazon or Books-A-Million.  Both offer free shipping if you buy over $25 and Books-A-Million has a 20% off educators discount for teachers.  You just have to sign up for the card and then register the card number to your account.

Join a Co-op

Co-ops offer support and ideas that you would not have available otherwise.  If there is not a co-op near you, you could join the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, the world's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschoolers.

Hand Down/Combine Kids

We only have one child so we sell things after we use them, unless they would be a good resource for the future or they were consumable.  But for bigger families, hand down books and curriculum to younger siblings.  

Search FREE Sites

If I can find a free online site that has games, resources, or materials, I have tried to incorporate it into our schedule.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about FREE Homeschooling Resources. 

Netflix
Last year we decided to cancel our Direct TV and get only our local channels and Netflix. We LOVE Netflix!! There are many educational movies on there and you could probably find something to go along with any topic you are learning.

Amazon Prime

We don't have Amazon Prime at the moment but I've thought of getting it for the instant streaming of movies and TV episodes. Plus, there are over 350,000 Kindle titles to borrow for free. Still something we are thinking about. 

I hope this has been helpful!  There really are ways to stay within your budget so you can homeschool!  





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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 17, 2017

Homeschool Conventions


I love homeschool convention time!  It's not every year that I can attend, but when I do, I enjoy visiting with the vendors, looking at new products, flipping through books, and listening to the speakers.  It is so great to have all the homeschool companies in one place at the same time.  

So how do you prepare to attend a homeschool convention? 



Check the speaker schedule


Several weeks before the convention, get the speaker schedule and decide who you want to hear.  Once you have narrowed that down, make a note of how much time you will have to walk around the vendor hall and when you have to leave to listen to the speaker.  Sometimes this can be hard to decide because there may be several great speakers and their times may overlap.  I think most conventions offer recordings of the speakers that you can purchase afterwards in case you miss out.


Make a list of vendors


Before you get there, scroll through the list of vendors and highlight those you really want to visit.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming once you get there and you may miss that booth you really wanted to see.  


Scope it out first

The convention closest to me is not tremendously big, so what I usually do is walk up and down the isles first and just check everything out.  I don't stop at any booths the first time around.  I'm just taking everything in.  


Take your time


When I've gone through once, then I start on one end and take my time.  Keep your eyes open, listen to questions other parents are asking, ask questions yourself, grab brochures and business cards, and check out samples.  


Make notes


If there is a vendor that you liked, make a note of it so you can come back to review it again.  If you are in a large convention hall, also write down what isle you are in so you can find it later.


Bring snacks  


If you have your children with you this is a must.  Even if you don't, sometimes the food options are not the best and there can be long lines, which just wastes precious time.  Pack snacks, and even your own lunch, to save time and money.


Get there early


If you can, get there as soon as they open to get the most for your money.  Parking alone can take a long time, depending on how large the convention is. 


Set a budget


This may be the most important thing.  In all honesty, I rarely purchase from the conventions.  I just love to go to flip through materials and check out curriculum I've never seen in person.  It's easy to go overboard.  Set a budget before you get there so there is no temptation to buy more than you need!


Have fun!  


Leave the kids at home if you can and go with friends.  Make a day trip or weekend out of it.  Enjoy your time!




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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Guess the Ride


Can you guess the ride?

This is from our trip in January. We got to the park early enough to be in the first group to ride. We wanted to ride the top row though so we stepped back and waited for the next round. After everyone boarded from all three boarding areas, it was empty. Even the workers left for a few minutes and they hadn't let the next group enter yet. So we were alone in this huge room. It was a little strange with no crowds.



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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Update on Our Homeschool Reviews


So here's a little update on what's going on with Our Homeschool Reviews.

I started my blog way back in May of 2010 when I began writing reviews for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. I happily reviewed some wonderful products and posted about our day to day homeschooling adventures for about four and a half years. I loved it and so did our daughter!

The first picture I posted back in 2010

Then after some thought, in December 2014 I decided to step down from reviewing for TOS simply because our daughter was about to start Jr High and she needed a break. It was hard to say goodbye to that close-knit group, but it was best for our family. I was still pretty active on my blog and enjoyed writing and interacting with readers and friends.

As time went on though, I needed a break too. 

Fast forward about two years and I'm finding myself with more time. Our daughter, who is now 13 and in 8th grade, has been pretty independent over the past year with her school work, and, well, I still love reading through curriculum! I miss it!

So here I am! Ready to dive into some new curriculum and share my thoughts with you. I'm excited to get started! I hope you are too!

***Stay tuned for some exciting announcements! I'll be sharing with you some of the curriculum that I will be reviewing over the next few months. ***



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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Favorite Curriculum Over the Years


Oh wow!  This picture is bittersweet!  My girl is 13 and in 8th grade now but this brings back so many wonderful memories of homeschooling. And a lot of those memories were created with great books! I thought I would list a few of our all time favorites. 

All Time Favorite Curriculum
Before Five in a Row/FIAR
Explode the Code
Hooked on Phonics
Heart of Dakota {LOVE!!}
History for Little Pilgrims
Draw Write Now
Draw and Write Through History
Song School Latin
A Child's History of the World
IEW's Writing Courses
Apologia's Science
A Pioneer Sampler
Mystery of History

All Time Favorite Books/Readers
Grandpa's Box
Mr. Pipes Books
Viking Quest Series
One Small Square Books
The True Story of Noah's Ark
Daughters of the Faith Books
The Family Under the Bridge
The Little Riders
Toliver's Secret
Twenty and Ten
Life in the Great Ice Age

There are many more books and curriculum sets that we have enjoyed but the ones listed above bring back the sweetest memories of sitting together and just enjoying life and learning.



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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

25+ Christ Centered Easter Activities


If you are looking for Easter resources, Raising Homemakers has a list of 25+ Christ Centered Easter Activities

A few things that we have done in the past have included:

 Making Pretzels on Good Friday.  You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry.

 Making Resurrection Rolls on Holy Saturday.  These are so easy and fun to make...and pretty yummy to eat too.  Plus it is a great way to explain the true meaning of Easter.

*  Telling the Easter Story with Resurrection Eggs.  


*  Watching The Gospel of John.  This is a tradition every year.

*  Dying eggs.

*  And of course, going to church Sunday morning. 



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©2010-2017 Our Homeschool Reviews. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://ourhomeschoolreviews.blogspot.com/