This post shares one way to homeschool. The ideas listed below have collectively formed a great low stress, low cost, limited screen way to do school in our home, so much that I wanted to share it!!
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
In this post you will find the following:
- A sample homeschool schedule
- A low cost, low stress way to teach reading
- A suggested book, one for each grade (K-5)
- A year long overview, one for each grade (K-5)
- A must try spelling strategy (included in each overview)
- FREE additional materials for each subject
Alright, let’s learn one way to home school!
One Way to Homeschool
There are, what feels like, an infinite number of ways to home school. The key is finding what works best for you and your family.
What Should We Teach?
When I began homeschooling, one thing that I kept getting hung up on, was “What do I teach?” That might sound funny coming from a licensed school teacher. But, I honestly wasn’t sure where to start. I conversed with several veteran home school moms who directed me to various curriculum like, Sonlight, Abeka and Classical Conversations. These were great options, (and something I will revisit for middle school and high school), but also a bit costly for a family who chose to give up one full time income.
Finally, one day, a mom of 5 who had home schooled her children through middle school, introduced me to the book titled:
Everything Your Kindergartner Needs to Know* by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
A Perfect Fit!
The book only cost about $17 (vs. several hundred for a full curriculum) so I gave it a whirl and bought the book. In turn, this book series, my friends, has become the perfect fit for our family! They also have the books titled:
Using these books has worked well for our family for two reasons. One, the amount of material is just right, not too little and not overwhelmingly too much. Each overview that I’ve typed up and attached below lays out what to cover each WEEK. It’s ideal for a family who needs direction on what to teach, but who also wants some time and space to add their own ideas, activities or events.
Second, I don’t spend much at all each year on material. I have one Kindergarten book and use the same book for each child. The same goes for the 1st-5th books. I only need to buy the book one time and can reuse it year after year.
If you feel like you need a day by day, hour by hour break down of what to do, you will probably thrive better on a complete curriculum, like Sonlight, Abeka or Classical Conversations (mentioned above) or FREE Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool.
Alright, here’s how we homeschool!
Putting It All Together
The E.D. Hirsch Jr. book is our primary guide for what to teach. It gives us the content to cover for all major subjects.
A Daily Schedule to Follow
This is the schedule that has worked well for our family. I take the weekly content suggested in the overviews below and plug it into this schedule for each day/week.
A Low Cost Way to Teach Reading
In regards to teaching a child how to read, I’ve found writing with a child to be a very successful approach. As a result, I’ve written the following posts to guide parents (and teachers) on how to teach a child to read by writing.
- Drawing With Your Children Has Long Term Benefits
- 15 Easy and Effective Ways to Use Stickers
- Help Children Learn to Write: 10 Strategic Steps
- An Easy and On-Going Spelling Strategy
- Learn to Read by Writing
Soon, I’ll be posting (and sending to my subscribers) a step by step, page by page PDF that incorporates all 5 articles. Parents (and teachers) will be able to follow each gentle step to teach their child how to read and write independently and confidently.
Year Long Overviews by Grade
Below, I attached a PDF overview for each E.D. Hirsch Jr. book (Grades K-5). Each overview tells which pages of the book to complete each week. Our goal is to complete scheduled content over the course of one week.
That way when doctor’s appointments, family outings or a fussy child interrupts our day, we can easily make up for missed content.
A Must Try Spelling Strategy
Most importantly, each overview includes my easy and on-going spelling strategy. This strategy is the most effective spelling strategy I’ve seen or used in my 20+ years of teaching hundreds of students from varying ages, experiences and languages. It’s also the fastest, most comfortable way to teach a child how to read and write confidently, in my opinion.
During Covid-19 Quarantine, more parents are trying it and liking it. They’re seeing progress in their children and surprised that their children don’t squawk about writing!
Actually, young children can learn to read by writing these sentences. If you have any questions about this strategy, simply subscribe and hit reply to my welcome email. I’m happy to respond and answer!
Now for the overviews for you to print and use!
In addition to using the the E.D. Hirsch Jr. books, I use the following FREE materials.
Spelling and Writing
Again, my children work through this easy and on-going spelling strategy that I created. (Links to this strategy are included in the PDF overviews above.)
Secondly, I print the following FREE writing sheets from Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. These links are also included in the PDF overviews.
Free Writing Worksheets
- 1st Grade Writing (Or, purchase the complete workbook.)
- 2nd Grade Writing (Or, purchase the complete workbook.)
- 3rd Grade Writing (Or, purchase the complete workbook.)
- 4th Grade Writing (Or, purchase the complete workbook.)
- 5th Grade Writing (Or, purchase the complete workbook.)
I print these pages out at the beginning of the school year and put them in a manila folder or binder. I take one page out each day for my children to complete during independent work time. If I see that they’re going to need help on a specific page, they complete it during their learning time with me at the kitchen table (This is noted in our sample work schedule above.)
Third, on Thursday and/or Friday, they complete a guided writing lesson (in place of spelling sentences or writing pages). This is where all of your children can complete the same writing lesson at the same time. My article titled: Guided Writing Lessons for Grades K-5 explains this method of teaching writing in detail.
We complete E.D. Hirsch Jr.’s Literature pages. (I read these stories TO my kids for enjoyment). My kids read their spelling sentences and eventually books at their level to me.
Our house is always full of library books, yard sale books, grandparent books etc. for the kids to enjoy.
Additionally, my children begin using the website, www.starfall.com, at age 4 for basic phonics and reading skills. They continue to use it for 15-30 minutes each day, through 1st Grade.
Beginning in 2nd Grade, I highly recommend: Scholastic Success with Reading Comprehension books. (Just $5 each!) They have a book for each Grade.
Over the course of the week we complete E.D.Hirsch Jr.’s Math pages as well as Math sheets from Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool (also included in the the PDF overviews!) Or, use these links to print your own set of Math worksheets now.
Free Math Worksheets
- 1st Grade Math (Or, you can purchase the workbook.)
- 2nd Grade Math (Or, you can purchase the workbook.)
- 3rd Grade Math (Or, you can purchase the workbook.)
- 4th Grade Math (Or, you can purchase the workbook.)
- Combined 5th/6th Grade Math only comes as a workbook.
- Combined 6th/7th Grade Math only comes as a workbook.
- Pre-Algebra only comes as a workbook.
Just like writing, I print these pages out at the beginning of the school year and put them in a manila folder or binder. I take one page out each day for my children to complete during independent work time. If I see that they’re going to need help on a specific page, I will have them complete it during their learning time with me.
To practice math facts, I use flash cards and time my kids each month. Their goal is to beat their time from the month before. This is a fun little gig that we do.
We complete E.D. Hirsch Jr.’s History and Science portion of the book. Within the book, Hirsch Jr. suggests additional activities that we do.
It’s important to note that we only work on one subject (History or Science) at a time. The overview that I type up and attach below, covers Science for a few weeks, then History and back to Science. Once we’re done with History and Science we work through the Art and Music portions of the book.
Documentaries and Short Videos
Finally, we watch documentaries found on Youtube, Netflix or Amazon Prime that correspond with the History and Science lessons that they’re learning each week. We especially love videos from Blue Planet II and National Geographic.
Simple Science Experiments
If there’s time, we love to complete super simple science experiments found at Little Bins for Little Hands.
We didn’t have time to complete these free worksheets (below) in Grades K-2, but I’m including them here in case your children need additional work/activities. We will use them in Grades 3-5. They all come from the FREE website: Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool
Free History Worksheets
Free Science Worksheets
We complete the E.D. Hirsch Jr.’s Art and Music pages and complete most of the suggested activities.
Our PE time is mostly exercise and outdoor play. Sometimes the kids play independently outside while I tend to a baby, cook or cleanup. Other times, I’m able to play catch, soccer, basketball etc. with them. We often go on walks, jogs and bike rides too.
There are a handful of Health/PE videos on the website Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool. I started showing them in 2nd Grade.
Also, there’s GoNoodle! After reading the original version of this article, a good friend of mine sent me an email and told me about GoNoodle. She informed me that schools use it for indoor recesses. My family will definitely be turning to GoNoodle this fall!
Lastly, here’s an exercise video that the I play (and do) a lot. Haha! Sometimes the kids do the video with me, but most times they just watch or play. This exercise video includes squats, kicks, jumping jacks, punches, push ups, jumps….I just love it! Meanwhile, my kids are exposed to easy and effective ways to strengthen their own bodies. Bottom line, it’s my (Mama’s) quick go to video when I need to exercise and there’s no other way to get it done.
In Kindergarten and 1st Grade we allow the children to free type words on the computer using Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
End of Year Assessment
Then, at the end of each school year, I purchase an End of Grade assessment from Christian Liberty Press for each child to complete and have on record.
General School Materials:
- copy paper (K-1) and notebooks (2-5)
- binders (to store drawings and writing work)
- markers and pens
- scissors, glue sticks, Elmer’s glue, tape
- acrylic paints (50 cents for each color at Walmart)
- paint brushes
- plastic page protectors (optional and cheapest at Walmart)
- stickers (optional)
- old calendar pictures (optional)
- small whiteboard, dry erase markers, socks to erase (optional)
- construction paper (optional)
- Googly Eyes* (optional)
Lastly, if you’re interested in attending a Home-school Co-op while homeschooling on a low budget, there are many all across the nation. A few things to consider if you’re looking for a co-op.
Classical Conversations has a great reputation. However, it’s important to know that they are a bit costly and you have to stay and participate along with your child.
Co-Ops with Local Certified Teachers
Local co-ops typically range from $500-800 per child per school year. The advantages are that they hire licensed teachers and you can drop your children off, giving you a break.
Local Parent Run Co-Ops
Parent run co-ops are usually run by homeschooling parents and honestly are the best option if you are homeschooling on a low budget. They are very affordable. They generally cost around $35 for the entire family per semester. The condition is that you, as a parent, have to teach a class and/or help out with child care.
Honestly, there are so many ways to home school. I hope this post was helpful to you!
Again, if you have questions, simply subscribe to my FREE newsletter. Reply to my welcome email and I can help you from there!