Homeschooling on a Budget

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an unlimited budget to spend on school books????  You know, where all of that “nice-to-to have” curriculum actually becomes yours instead of just gazing wistfully at it at a homeschooling conference. Alas, many of us are on a strict budget (and it is a good thing because it keeps me from overindulging)!  I love to buy books!  For me, there is nothing like getting a whole box of books in the mail.  Unfortunately, I only have so much money and space to store all of my treasures.

Here are my top 5 tips for staying within a homeschool budget!

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Motivating your kids to READ!

There is no question that one of the single most important skills to teach our kids is to read.  I would argue that it is not only our job to teach them HOW to read, but more importantly to LOVE to read. The amount kids read has a direct relationship to better scores on standardized tests and an easier time with grammar, spelling, and writing.  As we approach the summer months, how can we motivate them to spend part of their days reading and not lose all of those skills we have worked so hard on during the school year?

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Practice Makes Perfect

When my oldest daughter, The Musician, was 4 years old, she came to me and said, “I am going to need a little violin and a little stick.”  She wanted to take violin lessons so badly that it was all she talked about for weeks on end.  Seeing visions of the New York Philharmonic in my mind, I dutifully signed her up for lessons.  Everything went very smoothly for about 6 months.  She willingly practiced every day, sometimes even twice. Getting her instrument out of its case brought joy and happiness.  After her first concert, she came home beaming and even more excited.

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Free Classic Literature Guides!

When my oldest daughter entered middle school, I wanted to discuss the books she was reading.   When I was a kid, I loved to read and even more, I loved to discuss the books I was reading.  It helped me to discover details that I missed and look at the story from a little different perspective.   So I began a quest to find curriculum that would serve as a basis for these discussions.  Kolbe Academy has an extensive literature program with reading comprehension questions as well as paper ideas.   Rainbow Resource has Christian Novel Studies that include questions, vocabulary, recipes (in some cases), and background information.  I own parts of each of these program, but for sheer money-saving purposes, I felt that I needed to write some of my own.

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Celebrating the Feast of St. Nicholas

Well, I’m back!  Mary is taking off another week from blog writing (but don’t worry, she’ll be back next week with something spectacular!).  She has asked me to expand on St. Nicholas and some ideas to celebrate his feast day on December 6th.  What a glorious time of year to bring the Faith to life for our children!

There are many exaggerated legends associated with this great man, but we do know some indisputable facts about his life.  St. Nicholas is one of the most popular saints, among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He is the patron saint of children and is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any other saint, aside from Our Lady.  In order to understand where this popularity comes from, we can look at this saint’s history.

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Advent Traditions

(NOTE:  Mary is taking a break this week from blog writing.  So she has asked me (Sue, the other mom on this blog) to write my first ever post!   This is so exciting!  Mary has posted the lion share of the content on this blog, but I am hoping in the coming months to step it up!  Just a forewarning, my blog posts will never be what Mary’s are.  That lady is AMAZING!   Mine will be more of a cross between Erma Bombeck and C.S. Lewis.  So here it goes!)

As we head into one of my most favorite liturgical seasons, I thought it would be nice to share some of our family’s Advent Traditions. I LOVE to establish different traditions around the Church calendar.  First, the kiddies go crazy about them!   We are talking, absolutely have to do this stuff without a doubt, even when I am too tired and just wanting to read a book and take a bath. Second, we are covertly teaching them about the Faith, and it doesn’t involve anything BORING (as they put it)!  So each year, I try my best to do something exciting but liturgical.

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What Not to Say When Your Friend has a Miscarriage

October. The air grows chill, and the leaves begin to fall. Pink ribbons decorate the stores reminding us that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Much lesser known is the fact that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Statistics say that among women who know they are pregnant, 8-20% will lose their child to miscarriage by the 12th week. That’s as high as 1 in 5 pregnancies ending in loss.  There are countless women who bury the grief of miscarriage in their hearts, rarely ever speaking about it.

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How to Avoid Homeschooling Burnout – Part 2

In last week’s post, I offered some suggestions about running the school part of homeschooling to avoid homeschool burnout. This week, I want to talk about managing the home part of homeschooling. For many of us, it is not the schooling part that’s throwing us over the edge, it’s the household work and the outside activities that we have to do in addition to educating our children at home.

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Surviving Sibling Squabbling

Now that summer is in full swing, are your kids driving you crazy yet? Know what I’m talking about? The fighting, the crying, and the tattle-taling? Are you tired of playing Solomon – always trying to sort out the arguments between children who insist that they are right and the others are wrong?

Ladies, here is the two-word solution:

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Ten Boredom Busters and Brain Boosters

Here’s an article I wrote for Mercatornet years ago:

Ahhh… the lazy days of summer are here.  School is over, and it’s time for a more relaxing and peaceful – “Moooommmmm!!!!” screamed my daughter. All-Star is bugging me!!!”  “Well, she won’t let me play with her,” complained All-Star. “He keeps knocking over my dolls!” exclaimed Big-Sis. I could tell that All-Star was bored and looking for trouble. “Big-Sis, come here” I said firmly. He reluctantly came. And I handed my six year old a knife.

  The summer time is often peak time for boredom among children.  They have too much time on their hands and they often don’t know what to do with it.  Boredom in children precedes trouble, such as nagging for new toys, self-pity, loneliness, bickering, and irate parents. So, aside from summer camps and field trips, how can we keep our kids happily busy and productive? Here’s my top-ten list:

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