10 Homeschool Resources that Save You Money

A Unit Study Based Curriculum is Inexpensive

Whether you choose to use an organized program that is unit study based, or want to design your own unit studies each school year, using the unit study method is an effective education choice as well inexpensive. 

We all know that the quality of any education program is not determined by the amount of dollars spent. The flexibility and creativity of unit studies allows you to spend less money while your children learn more.



Once you and your children have chosen a topic to base your study around, you are ready for the fun and learning to begin. 

Here are ten educational resources to use in your homeschool that will save you money!

Cooking

Cooking and baking with your kids as part of your lessons is beneficial in about a million ways! Kids are learning life skills. Once your kids are proficient in the kitchen parents enjoy the benefit of having another cook in the house. Children love the kitchen and the treats they can concoct there but you may not have realized the many ways cooking adds to their learning experience.
  • Choose a dish from a historical time and cook it up
  • Create a meal based on a geographic area
  • Bake a dessert as part of a holiday study like "Christmas Around the World"
  • Make an edible science experiment
Cooking and baking require your children to use logical thinking skills, learn how to follow instructions, practice basic math such as time, fractions and measuring skills. Kids can accomplish a lot in the kitchen.

Field Trips 

I have always been amazed at the day trips in our area that were a perfect compliment to whatever topics were were interested in during the year. Seek out art, science or history venues and museums. 

  • Take a trip to wildlife rescue when studying animals or birds.  
  • Visit local events like the state or county fair. 
  • Homeschool support groups are an amazing resource when it comes to field trips. 
Field trips can reinforce skills your children are learning, they can bring to life things they have read about and can be a source for learning all the details about events and places that never actually end up textbooks.

Libraries 

Libraries are a top resource for most homeschoolers, but always deserve a mention. Libraries have books for every topic you can think of and we always started out a new unit study with a trip there first. 

  • Let the kids pick books they want to read on the topic
  • You can find movies or documentaries
  • Borrow music or audio books 
Libraries also have loads of programs that homeschoolers can benefit from and space for meetings when we need to plan our own activities. Access to online resources, like language learning programs, community classes and e-books are also reasons why libraries are my go-to resource! 


Handicrafts

By using the term "handicrafts" I am trying to encompass several types of things: 
  • Artwork such as working with clay, painting and drawing
  • Handmade crafts such as needlework, jewelry, leather craft
  • Sewing or Knitting and Crochet
  • Handmade up-cycled items 
These activities are generally thought of as just for "fun" but in truth, the arts help us better understand human experiences both past and present. Arts and crafts require children to solve problems, and make decisions creatively when no exact answers exist. 

An understanding and experience of the arts and handicrafts of an era help us to understand the culture of a time period or a geographical area. Arts and crafts help children develop visual and spacial acuity.  Not to mention the value of simply being able to express themselves non-verbally and creatively. For many students this is more than just a fun supplement; they are learning and thinking during these hands-on activities. 

Projects

Projects that students come up with themselves are the best part of unit studies. Often while we were learning together in an integrated unit study, my children would think of a project they wanted to do. At first, this seemed like an unnecessary "rabbit trail" to my classroom teacher trained mind. Pretty quickly I realized that by making time for these "rabbit trails" I was seeing a lot more academic progress.

You may end up with a pretend zoo or circus, or even a "store" in your house and a child who wants to sell their handmade items to their siblings, or with handmade mailboxes outside every bedroom and a child that wants to deliver mail. Enable them and then enjoy watching them plan, organize, create, overcome, learn and execute their project.

Let your coder, code and admin their own Minecraft Server. Enable your writer to write novels, scripts, a homeschool newsletter or yearbook with their friends, or match them up with a penpal across the state. Got a voracious reader? Let them share their favorite books with fellow homeschoolers by creating a book club that meets at the library. Sporty kids may want to hold a summer sport camp. 

Your compassionate child may long to help at a food pantry or animal shelter. Your future politician may join the local 4-H club to do presentations or join the debate team. your Hollywood star may want to start a drama club or make their own movies. A nature loving child may plant their own garden. Often these projects require your kids to learn teamwork and collaboration. 

You will be amazed at how these activities and projects translate into incredible learning experiences for your students and at how often they seamlessly flow from something they learn that they love during a unit study! Trust me- let go of the homeschool schedule and find a way to let them be in charge of a project they want to do. They will learn and grow immeasurably. 

Experiments

This one goes without saying! There are so many amazing ideas for teaching Science using experiments. Many times you have items around the house that will allow you to do a great experiment that will fit right into your topical study. Invest the time in this - the clean up is worth it.

Nature Study

Nature study activities are a wonderful way to begin your day. Take a nature walk and allow them to collect natural materials along the way. Many children have learned to love the creation around them through time spent in nature. Even if you live in a city, you can see incredible insects, birds and other living creatures, along with lovely trees, leaves, acorns, pinecones and rocks. Take along your drawing notebooks, a compass and a magnifying glass or bug collector. 



Experts

You may be surprised at how many experts you already know once you start to look at people who are experts in their field as a resource for your unit study. If you don't already know one, this is a great way to get to know people. Your local extension office or 4-H club leader may have connections to Beekeepers, farmers, orchard keepers or animal rescue workers. A local historical site has experts on all kinds of old fashioned things like blacksmithing, making butter, dancing...you get the idea here. 

State or Local Parks

State and local parks have great resources that will enhance any nature study. Many of them have closet experts on subjects you are learning about. Their programs can be inexpensive and high quality learning experiences. If you are not somewhere safe to walk about for a nature walk, you can take a walk on the wild side at a park. 

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Theater, Concerts & the Ballet

Anyone who has read Shakespeare has heard that you really have to see the play performed since that is how it was intended to be seen by the author. I agree completely. So take them to see a Shakespeare play once they are old enough to sit still for that. Many theater groups put on plays that are literature based specifically for younger kiddos too. Even younger children will enjoy hearing a symphony performed live or seeing the colorful Nutcracker ballet. These types of experiences expand their horizons and allow them to make connections with things they read about in their literature or textbooks.  

For More..

There are so many resources that I don't have room to mention in one blog post, but hopefully there are some ideas here that you have not yet thought of incorporating into your unit studies. 

Maybe you never thought you would try unit studies, but looking at these suggestions you are beginning to see how they might mesh together into a personalized learning plan for your children. Let us know! 

Also, drop a comment with your own ideas for things to add to a unit study that are inexpensive learning tools. 

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