Today I am back to share with you some of the ways I save money while teaching my children the subjects of English and spelling. Make sure you check out Part 1 and Part 2 for ideas on ways to save on Science and History.
The early years of elementary school are basically devoted to learning how to read and write well. (In one of my earlier posts, I shared the different ways that I have taught my son to read this past year, that really worked well for us.)
Here are some of the ways that we teach English to K-2nd graders in my house:
1. Pick out a learning to read book.
There are so many different ones out there, but we really love The Reading Lesson: Teach your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons. It is presented well and has cute stories that my son loves to read. **Remember to check on Amazon for used books, they are way cheaper than the newer versions and work just as well
2. Keep a writing journal
Almost every child loves to draw and tell stories, so if you combine the two, you have the perfect formula to teach writing. I usually have my children write a few sentences about something that has happened in the past week and then they draw a picture at the top to illustrate the story. **This is such a great idea, because kids love to look back on how far they have come in writing and drawing over the years** We sometimes use just simple spiral notebooks, but if you can find these in a store, they are pretty awesome too. (I think Target and Walmart carry them for around $3)
3. Spelling tests
For K-2nd grade, we usually focus on sight words to use as our spelling list because these are the most common words that your child will be reading and writing for awhile. Here is a great website that contains all of the Dolch sight word lists that you can use for your spelling tests.
For 3rd grade and up
Starting in the 3rd grade, students begin to learn grammar and the best way to teach grammar is to find a great workbook. I have used many different types of grammar workbooks over the years, but I think my favorite one is the Easy Grammar series by Wanda Phillips.
I really like this grammar workbook a lot because each lesson is presented well and they provide many different sentences for the student to work on. Amazon usually has a nice selection of this series year round and they run about $10-$15 a book. **A great thing about this book series, is that there are over 300 pages in each book. So if you teach grammar every other day, one book will easily last for two years which of course will save you money.
Another fun way that we study English is to use literature guides. I love using literature guides because they really help the student to review what they have read and are proof that the child actually did the reading:) One of our favorite companies that makes these guides is Progeny Press. Amazon has a great selection of used guides for under $10 and they also resell very well, so you can recoup most of your cost.
Another really affordable place to find literature guides is on Teacherspayteachers. This site is filled with all things educational and better yet, everything is created by real teachers who use these products in their own classrooms. ***There are no real books, just digital downloads of the products, but I love that because it takes up no room on my bookshelf and you can print off however much you want of the product.
The number one way to teach grammar and increase your child’s vocabulary, is to expose your child to high quality literature. My daughter has always had an easy time in grammar and spelling, which I credit to the fact that she loves to read. So every year, I print out a list of books that will expose my children to good classic literature.
**I usually have my child to write a book report or an essay on one of the books that we have read each semester. This reinforces grammar and helps to improve their writing skills at the same time.
If you have read any of the other posts in this series, you will already know that the number one way to save on homeschooling is to utilize the library. We almost always choose books to read in English based on what is available at the library. Luckily for us, our library has a really great selection of children’s books so we hardly ever need to buy literature books to use for school.
Spelling for Grade 3 and over
There are numerous spelling programs out there that are really affordable. We have used Abeka for many years because it can be found easily and very cheaply on Amazon for less than $10. However, this past year I found an even simpler and cheaper way to teach spelling to my children….it’s called the dictionary!
One day it just hit me, that our Abeka spelling books were basically just glorified spelling lists. I thought to myself, “Why am I spending money on something that I can create by just using a dictionary?” So this year, we are simply picking out challenging words in the dictionary for our weekly spelling list. This is working out great so far, because it is already December and we have not even made it all the way through the letter B yet! **I wish that I had thought of this years ago and saved myself a lot of money…
Next week, I will share some of the ways that I save on math curriculum.