February 26, 2014 Edition 

Homeschooling on a Budget              

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Hey, Mama     

Gena Suarez

Hey, Mama,


With seven kids, although some of them have graduated, money can be tight for everything -- not just homeschooling.


Homeschooling doesn't have to be expensive. With the internet, the library, the support of other homeschool families, and the use of creative budgeting, you can homeschool inexpensively. Take a look at some advice from the magazine:


ABCya: A Great Library of Educational Games - Andy Harris

Creating a Free Curriculum Using the Public Library-Part 1: Language Arts - Dr. Mary Hood

Teaching Children How to use the Library- Part 2 - Dr. Mary Hood

Using the Library to Create Your Own Curriculum-Part 3: Science & Social Studies - Dr. Mary Hood

Homeschool on a Budget - Joy Kita

Enrichment Activities on a Shoestring Budget - Molly Green


Now for some encouragement ...


It's easy to get overwhelmed these days, especially with all the news about politics and our economy out there. We know that during the days leading up to Christ coming back, there will be a great falling away, as well as trials upon trials. It's going to come down to a real testing of our faith; will we endure to the end? Are we His? Are we teaching our children to endure in Him, always, as well? How do we do this? Get God's word into their hearts. Learn His word too, Mama. You need to know what the King of the universe has to say, and it's all found right in His word. Endeavor to know it, because by doing so, you will hear His voice and not be deceived.

But for tonight ...

Do not be burdened; do not be overwhelmed. None of what's going on in the world comes as a surprise to the Lord. He has everything under control. And He is the God of your children; He will not forsake your family. So whether it's scary news reports, rebellious children, friends who are grievous in actions, difficulties with jobs or finances, a home about to foreclose, a sadness that will not lift, He is with you, Mama. His hand is on your head tonight. Joy is in the morning.

Psalm 52:8
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. Amen, Mama?


~ gena

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I definitely should have my wife write on this topic, because I'm a little budget-challenged. I'm not really a spender, but numbers make my tongue swell. My wife, on the other hand, loves number crunching and budgeting, and if she was a squirrel, she could gather a hoard of nuts from the Sahara Desert (in other words she knows how to make a dollar stretch).


She's really busy right now, so let me just imagine the kind of advice she would give:

  1. Make eBay your best friend. Most likely, you'll pay a fraction of the retail cost by looking for used curriculum and supplies instead of new. Used curriculum sales are a good option too. Give yourself some extra school money by selling the unused curriculum that has been cluttering your shelves. My wife is working through a small stack of books that she's selling on eBay right now.
  2. Be content and use what you have. There are indeed times to change curriculum, but most of us hop from curriculum to curriculum in hopes of finding the "silver bullet." Chances are the curriculum you want won't be any better than what you have, so stick with what you presently use or see if you can borrow what you need from a friend.
  3. Work with your husband. If your husband thinks you're breaking the bank to homeschool, he may not be real excited about doing it. In fact, he may want you to quit because of it. So talk with him. Decide together what you should spend and then don't go over it. We've seen so many homeschooling moms stand at our convention booth and say, "I've already spent all that I was supposed to, but I really want these books." I'm telling you Mom, that's a good way to put a burr in your husband's homeschool saddle. So once you've spent your budgeted homeschool money, don't spend any more. Need more money? See Tip #1.


I think that's all she'd say.


The only thing I would add is ...


Be real,



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Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


Several weeks ago, I saw some extremely cheap apples at the store--so cheap, in fact, that there was no way to pass them up! I love apples, eating at least one a day, so this was a no-brainer purchase. The problem was when I got them home and actually tasted one. The flavor was insipid, the texture unpleasant, the fragrance absent. No wonder they were cheap!


I am embarrassed to admit this, but I left a 3-pound bag of apples in my refrigerator for about three months--WITHOUT EVER EATING ANOTHER--before finally throwing them away.


A bargain is no bargain if you never use it.


When it comes to homeschooling on a budget, you will discover that there are things that can be purchased inexpensively and other things that are so valuable, that they are worth every cent!


So, let's get practical. What can you skimp on?


How about designer jeans for your kids? Yep, they won't need them at home. Same thing for expensive shoes, backpacks, and all of the other paraphernalia required these days for school kids. Cool! Depending on how many children you have, you can deduct hundreds to thousands of dollars a year from the budget.


How about all of the small bags of chips for school lunches? Yep, unnecessary when you are eating lunches at home most days. Same thing for fruit cups, packaged crackers and cheese, and all of the other things stressed-for-time moms rely on when making their kids' lunches at 6:30 a.m. Wow! We just saved quite a bit from the budget, AND we got to sleep in.


(Don't you LOVE homeschooling hours????)


How about art supplies (cheaper when you can use and reuse items at home) and field trips (go when and where YOU want to go)?


Okay, you get the idea and you can do the math.


Now, let's consider what we must splurge on.


Curriculum that makes your child's eyes light up! Absolutely. Remember what you are doing -- teaching your children at home. Whatever assists you in the task of encouraging your child to love learning is priceless. Don't skimp here, because, just like the apples in my opening story, if the curriculum you are using is tasteless, insipid and uninspiring to your child, you might end up throwing it away in three months -- which is what I did the first year of homeschooling! Don't set yourself up for huge struggles and even failure. Your time and your child are FAR too valuable for that!


This does not mean, however, that the books and curriculum you use have to be expensive. Far from it. You can use great books from the library, shop used-curriculum fairs, and barter with others in your area for what you need. What it does mean is that you need to sample things with your child. Just like you would never buy a car without a test drive or a house without seeing it, take some time with your child to look at online samples or try your friend's curriculum for a week or two to see if it works with YOUR unique and specific child. If you need to be extremely careful with your money, keep watch for the great opportunities that come up from time to time. Something my family did a lot was to pray. Boy, did we see some fantastic answers--like the time my son, who really wanted to study Russian, won a set of Russian language recordings worth $300.


And, I have to say it: your dollars might go a LOT further if you did homeschool at home ... rather than at a place that charges hundreds or thousands of dollars. It is, after all, where this whole idea of HOME-schooling actually began, and was the site of so much success in the early days. You really can do this! Families like yours have been homeschooling at, well, home for years.


If there is still money in the budget, use it for laughter. Believe me, this is one of the wisest investments on the planet. Funny books, funny games, funny movies, even funny animals (or trips to see monkeys at the zoo).


And, if there yet remains a few dollars, take your kids out for ice cream, or something equally delightful, to bring a zest to their day.


Whatever you do, remember to stay relational.




By the way, I have a passion to see children LOVE learning, and my curriculum reflects that. If you want to sample something that will open new horizons for your children where they can actually choose what is interesting to them and dig into all kinds of adventures in history, go HERE.


And, if you need encouragement, we got this covered! Check out my Encouragement for Homeschool Moms at


Finally, if you want to know how I made it past that first year of failure in homeschooling, take a look at Beyond Survival: 


You can homeschool your
child with special needs!
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at the February
Spotlight on Five
on Special Needs!



in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


Also, don't forget to reserve a seat for the Schoolhouse Expo on Thursday, February 27! Molly will be there talking about how to help you to get your family to eat healthier on a frugal budget! Click here to get your ticket.




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Contest Corner 

For the month of February, 2014     


Goldtown Adventures Series: Tunnel of Gold


Susan K. Marlow began writing stories when she was 10 years old. She obtained an elementary education degree and taught in Christian schools before homeschooling her children. Now over 20 years later she is "back in the saddle" helping homeschooling families by teaching writing workshops as well as writing good historical fiction books for kids.


Susan K. Marlow is best known for her Circle C Adventures book series. Set in California in the 1880s, this series features a girl named Andrea Carter and her horse Taffy. It has become a very popular book series with an off shoot series for younger readers called Andi and Taffy. The newest Susan K. Marlow series is called Goldtown Adventures.


Set in 1864, 12-year-old Jem his sister and cousin have many adventures along Cripple Creek. Jem leads the way in many adventures including finding out why Cripple Creek is losing water as well as getting trapped in an old mine. Through all of his adventures and mishaps Jem is given opportunities to learn trust in God.


In Tunnel of Gold, Jem is caught in the middle of a miner's riot. He quickly finds out the trouble is over a gold mine that has been "played out" or not producing gold anymore. Jem has to think quickly to save the Midas Mine.


Read the Crew reviews to find out what our team thought of the Goldtown Adventures!


You can WIN the Tunnel of Gold!


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Tunnel of Gold" for a chance to win* the book for your family!   


In this week's issue:

Great Homeschool Conventions

Molly Green

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