It's a week into October and I finally got the last of the books I need for schooling the girls this year.
One of the most frustrating thing about homeschooling on a budget is dealing with the curriculum. School supplies like paper, pencils, crayons and so on come so cheaply from the early bird school supply sales. I have so many 10 cent notebooks from 2 years ago that I only bought about 10 this year and I still think I will have leftovers. Finding things for the girls to read for pleasure is easy as pie as well. We have some great used book stores. Here is where I admit that despite being pretty tightly budgeted, I don't use the library. Why? Because I am terrible about getting books back on time. It is cheaper for me to buy used than to check out books. Isn't that awful? It's my weakness, and I have just given up on it. It's the same reason I splurge $10 a month on netflix instead of renting movies locally. Late fees are just expected from me.
Anyway, back to the original topic. School curricula is expensive. A textbook will easily run $60-$100. This wasn't so much an issue when my girls were younger. We were unschoolers, and there are a million and a half fun resources for teaching kids how to read, write and add. Now however I am trying to make sure my kids learn history, the scientific method, algebra. That requires a little more output.
This year, my kids are doing math out of college textbooks. No, I am not kidding. My older kid is a 6th grader. She is working out of Introductory and Intermediate Algebra for College Students. The first lesson? Fractions. It starts off at the perfect spot for what she already knows. It isn't that Intro Algebra is harder in college than it is in jr high. It just moves faster in a college environment. The way to make it work is to simply slow it down. It will take 2 years to make it through the book but it is more comprehensive than the typical grade level stuff.
The same can be said for science. Older is working Biology. Younger is working Weather. Again, instead of assigning chapters, I assign a couple of pages at a time. Sometimes it means explaining more of the words but really the girls have an amazing vocabulary, and most of what they don't know is defined in the text. Math, science, and the Arts are all being taught using college textbooks that my husband and I have used previously for classes.
History comes from two sources. Older kid is using The Last Two Million Years left here by my brother. It is in depth and covers a very broad range of history. I ordered the book I am using for the younger kid. For that history book, two writing books, and two grammar books I went to amazon.com. I am totally in love with their buy it used deals. The history book I ordered new runs $94. I paid $13 plus $3.99 shipping. I am also in love with amazons deals plus free shipping. The total for 5 books was $62. That is still less than the one book runs new.
The other thing I have learned is to backdate editions. What I mean is that for my classes, if they suggest I get the 9th edition of a book, I will order the 7th. At my school (WGU, will post about that later) it isn't a huge deal and it saves me hundreds of dollars per term in books. Most of the time the newer edition is almost identical to the older one. The only things I would be hesitant about is things that need to be cutting edge - computers, nursing, etc. But seriously, ethics haven't changed that much in the last 5 years.
Anyway, I told the girls 8:00 they had to get back to their assignments, and I have to supervise. Check out amazons used books. The savings is really worth it.