Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Frugal Homeschool - Keeping Curriculum Affordable and My Plans for Next Year

One of the many benefits of homeschooling that I listed in my previous post, Falling in Love with Homeschooling, is the affordability of homeschooling. And depending on which curriculum you choose, it can be even more affordable! I tend to pick and choose curriculum in a more eclectic approach instead of buying an all-in-one package per grade, which fits my teaching style better and saves our family even more money.

After doing some research, I've already purchased my curriculum for next year (so exciting)! I'll have a second grader and kindergartner to teach. I wanted to share with you what my plans are and how much I spent (less than $60 for each grade)! This is a great deal in comparison to some of the package deals. For example, the Sonlight Curriculum for the full second grade package costs over $800! 

Here's what I spent per grade:

2nd Grade:
Horizons Math Workbook 1 & 2 - $19.96 each
Explode the Code Phonics 2 - $12.08
DK Workbooks 2nd Grade Geography - $5.83
K12Reader.com 2nd Grade Spelling - Free
What's in the Bible DVDs (my mom-in-law owns the set) - Free
Total: $57.83

Horizons Math Workbook 1 - $19.96
LIFEPAC Language Arts Set - $39.96
Total: $59.92

We have been using Horizons for first grade math this year and love it! The reviews are very good
and I enjoy how it's an easy format to teach with the workbooks and repeats the content throughout the book for mastery of various concepts. We usually do 1-2 pages of math a day and it works really well for our schedule. I bought this curriculum again for both of my kids. 

The Horizons phonics/language arts curriculum wasn't as well rated as their math, so I decided to go with something different for Language Arts. For my second grader, I'm pretty privileged to have a retired school teacher/administrator for a mom, so she has been putting together literacy lessons that correlate to various books for our reading. I also purchased Explode the Code for phonics instruction and use K12reader.com for a free 36-week spelling program.
I wanted something more put together for my kindergartner that I wouldn't have to do a lot of prepwork for and decided to try the LIFEPAC language arts set (with teacher book and two student work books). I like how there are additional activities suggested in the teacher book to go along with each lesson, and many of these are Bible based activities.

My kids also go to AWANA each week, which I consider part of their Bible curriculum. They
memorize verses and learn various lessons. In addition, I'm using What's in the Bible for my second grader as my mom-in-law has the entire DVD set, plus there are free resources online to go along with the DVDs. They're very thorough, informative, and fun with catchy songs and funny puppets.

I'm trying DK Workbooks for 2nd grade Geography. The workbooks are relatively cheap on Amazon and I thought I'd try one since it has good reviews. If we like it, I may purchase the 2nd grade science workbook also. 

My kids also go to an all-day homeschool enrichment program at a local charter school on Fridays, so I'm very thankful and blessed that they get many electives taught to them by amazing teachers for free, including art, music, and science. Plus, they enjoy the social time with friends and the fun of going to a "big" school.

I'll let you know what I think of these different resources as we use them and if I plan to buy them again in future years.  It's always nice to hear what other home school families are doing and I'd love to hear what curriculum you use and recommend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Impossibly EASY Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

I've never made a pumpkin pie, let alone a gluten-free one, but I thought I'd give this "Impossible Pumpkin Pie" recipe a shot with Thanksgiving approaching! I did a practice run this morning and it was super easy AND delicious! The kids loved it. The recipe does still call for eggs and dairy, but if you need a gluten-free alternative, I definitely recommend this recipe (it can also be made with regular Bisquick if you don't need it to be gluten-free, but want an easy pie recipe)!

2 tbsp. melted butter
13 oz. evaporated milk (or non-dairy creamer)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cup pumpkin puree (16 oz.)
1/2 cup gluten-free biscuit and baking mix
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan and set aside.
2. In a blender, combine all ingredients in order given. Beat for 1 minute on high (or 2 minutes if doing by hand). Pour batter into pie pan. Bake until knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Shoe box time!

"I had never received a gift before, but inside my shoebox I found a yo-yo, a toy car, and some pencils—pencils made in the United States! I felt so proud that someone in America loved me. I don’t have the yo-yo anymore. I don’t have the toy cars or the pencils either, but I have one thing that has not changed: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The shoebox gave me all that I need and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ." Kojo's story of receiving a shoe box when he was a boy in Ghana

Image result for operation christmas child
It's my favorite time of the year... time to pack Operational Christmas Child shoe boxes! If you haven't participated in this ministry before, you're missing out on a wonderful privilege to bless impoverished children around the world with a shoe box full of presents (plus the amazing gift of the Gospel). National Collection Week is November 14-21, so there's still time to pack a shoe box (or more)! Find out how at Samaritan's Purse.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A home school afternoon - dead heading marigolds and collecting seeds for next year

It's such a beautiful time of the year with Fall approaching. Today was a lovely day to be outside, so after we finished a majority of our homeschooling in the morning, the kids went outside to play. I asked my daughter if she'd like to help me dead head the marigolds in our flower garden (which is always kind of fun and relaxing to me). She quickly learned how and took over the job, also finding out that the really dead heads had a lot of marigold seeds to be had. Little brother soon joined in on the hunt for marigold seeds, and now we have plenty of marigold seeds to grow new flowers next Spring!

I love when these sweet little learning moments happen during our day and I decided that Social Studies can wait until tomorrow, as we enjoy our impromptu Science lesson today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gluten-Free "Bisquick" Quiche from Scratch.

Quiche is one of my favorite foods that I rarely make because of my dear husband's egg allergy. However, I had a friend drop off some farm fresh eggs this past weekend and I decided to make a quiche as a treat for myself while my husband was away for a work trip! Here is my adapted version of a quick and easy Bisquick quiche recipe, using rice flour and potato flour to make it completely gluten free:

Step One - Prepare the Bisquick substitute
Makes about one cup.

1 cup flour - I use mostly rice flour, with about 1 tbsp. potato flour (you could also use regular wheat flour if you don't need it to be gluten-free)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. shortening

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening.

Step Two - Prepare the Quiche
(adapted from this Bisquick Quiche recipe on Cooks.com)

1-2 cup fillings of your choice (example broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, etc.)
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups milk
All of the Bisquick mix from the step above
4 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease 10" pie plate or 8" square.
3. Sprinkle fillings, onions and cheese in plate.
4. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth and pour into plate.
5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean.
6. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I didn't have many extra ingredients on hand, so I prepared a simple cheese quiche using some yummy sharp provolone and colby jack cheeses. We also happened to have some green onions growing in the garden, so I diced them up and added them in. The kids and I ate up most of the quiche pie in one sitting. :)