Friday, October 26, 2012

The why and how of frugal homeschooling, Part Two

Part One is here.

One part of frugal homeschooling is making better use of the books and other materials that you have.

Another part is to take resources--or things that you've never thought could be resources--and use them in ways that they weren't originally intended.  Like this summer when our cutlery box became my jewelery box.  Or the bits and pieces of the Aunt Sarah Scrap Challenge.  Or a Chinese-style sauce made with ketchup.

How does that work for school?

We've had a thrifted copy of Kids' Magnetic Poetry Book and Creativity Kit (Workman Publishing) for years.  Originally I had great ideas for incorporating the included poetry suggestions into our language arts time, but that never really happened.   We did use the magnetic words that came with the book, but mostly on the refrigerator rather than on the shiny blue fold-out panel inside the cover.

This week I was looking for a white board to use for some math review with Dollygirl.  I found a small magnetic board stuck to the washing machine, but I wanted a bigger one.  I thought there was a larger one somewhere in the school cupboard.  When I went to look for it, I saw the Magnetic Poetry Book, and thought of the shiny blue fold-out panel.  It worked!   What a great resource for math, or for other wipe-off work like spelling words!  As a bonus, it's already marked into centimeter-sized squares:  good for graphing, or geometry, or Cuisenaire rods.

We've used many resources for French lessons that weren't intended as curriculum--but they happened to be in French, like magazines bought from the library's discard rack.  We've also used real stuff from around the house:  toys, fruit, and so on...and not just for French, but for math and other subjects.

Magazines in general can be a great learning tool.  A few years ago we subscribed to Canadian Geographic, and that became the core of our high school Canadian geography course.  What could be more current and more relevant?--plus the magazine has a website with expanded articles, maps, and other resources.  Also we had a two-subscriptions-for-one coupon that we shared with another family, which made it even more frugal for all of us.

Recently I came across one of Emilie Barnes' Twelve Teas books.  This would make a great resource for young ladies (even very young ladies)--there are recipes, crafts (such as invitations), suggestions of ways to acquire basic "tea party equipment," thoughts about keeping friendships strong, and illustrations that, while slightly overdosing on lace tablecloths, show ways to make your house homier.  It wasn't written as a "home ec" book, but you could do worse than spend a season trying out some of the ideas.

What else do you have that you could use in an unintended way, or for a subject other than the obvious? 

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