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Frugal Homeschooling by Colette

What follows is an open letter concerning how to keep the costs of homeschooling under control. Some of these are practical suggestions, some philosophical. It also deals with the concern and discouragement that may be driven by the concern of tight financial circumstances while attempting to educate our children.

Dear homeschooling friend,

I hear you loud and clear about the cost of homeschooling. I want to respond to that concern specifically, as well as the other recent post about discouragement.

Jesus wrote with a stick in the dirt, and He was the greatest teacher that ever lived. He used no curriculum or flannel graphs or lesson plans. I think that homeschooling is made far more complicated than it should be, and that a simpler approach is much more effective.

I am just one homeschool mom, and this is only my opinion, but here it goes.

1) Stick to the 3 R's. They form the foundation of life-long learning in every field because they are the tools of study. There will be no need to "teach" any other subject if the children are doing their best in these 3 because people who are well grounded in reading, writing and math will approach other subjects boldly, independently and confidently.

2) Let the children teach themselves as much as they are able to. This teaches them responsibility, intellectual independence, and builds confidence. It's also better for the parent/child relationship because you can focus on parenting instead of playing schoolteacher.

3) Use the most direct method available. For reading, read. For writing, write, for math, calculate and for Bible, read it. Don't fall for catchy curriculums or methods that are really just something else for you and your child to learn.

4) Don't worry about your child's age or grade. Just let him do the best he can on each day. Children grow intellectually like they do physically; in spurts. Although we may have an audience of skeptical relatives, homeschooling is not a circus, and we refuse to train our children to do tricks for people.

5) Minimize distractions in the home. Watch for excessiveness in entertainments, snacking, outings, phone conversations and the like. These things, although positive, can compete with the effectiveness of a homeschool.

6) Seek quality over quantity. A few tapes of great music, a small case of carefully chosen books, a few special play mates, and an occasional outing is better than a large, but poor quality collection.

7) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and don't neglect to seek him early...giving him the first fruits of your day and teaching your children to do the same. I know that you are tired and that there aren't enough hours in your day already, but we serve a God who can make the sun stand still. (I have to credit my dear friend for teaching me this principle and holding me accountable for it.)

I hope this helps a bit. These are the ideas that heve helped me the most in homeschooling.



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