In Part One of this series, I shared ways that I save money on homeschool science curriculum (generally spending less than $20 a year). Today, I will be sharing some ways that I save money on history curriculum.
For K-2nd grades, history is basically full of learning about historical characters and holidays. The cheapest way that I have found to teach K-2nd grade history, is to use the library! There are so many cute picture books on historical figures, that I can not possibly list them all. To streamline the process, we usually try to study historical figures during their appropriate holidays. (For example, US presidents around President’s Day, Columbus and other explorers around Columbus Day, important African Americans during Black History Month, etc.) Luckily our public library usually has a display of books set out around these holidays that make it really easy to find many books on each historical figure.
After picking out which historical figure/holiday we will be learning about, I always head over to Pinterest to find some fun crafts for my kids to do. All kids love coloring, cutting, and glittering so why not learn and have fun along the way??
**Another great way to introduce history in K-2nd grades is through videos. My family has especially loved the Liberty Kids DVD series (It follows a group of kids during the Revolutionary War years as they experience the events leading up to the war and all of the historical figures they meet along the way)
**One very popular history series that we have loved is the Who was ….? book seriesThese are really entertaining and well-written biographies about various historical figures. The best part is that most libraries have many books in this series, so check there first!!
For 3rd grade and up, once again textbooks are best. Amazon and Ebay have an amazing selection of used history textbooks year-round to choose from, including Abeka history books which I have found for under $10 many times. Besides the usual homeschool history curriculums, another really cheap option is to buy used public school textbooks, which can be found for under $10. Some homeschoolers do not like to use public school textbooks, but I really do not mind at all. In fact, I kind of like them because they always have review questions, include writing assignments at the end of each chapter, and they are usually really well written also.
**If public school textbooks are not your thing, you can also try out two of our other favorites: Mystery of History or The Story of the World, to see which one fits your family the best. We have used both series and they are really engaging textbooks. You also can usually find used copies on Amazon for less than $20 or just borrow from a friend:)
Another way to teach history in 3rd grade and up, is to have your child read “living history books”. The most popular curriculum that uses living history books is Sonlight. I personally have never bought Sonlight curriculum but know several people who have and they love it because: #1. Everything is planned out for them and #2. It all comes in one huge shipment that they do not have to piecemeal together.
If you want to go this route and save yourself a lot of money, you can easily go onto the Sonlight website and download the suggested reading list for your child’s grade. (Sonlight really does not care if you do this, I checked!) After downloading the suggested reading list, head over to the library to see which books they have in stock. While I have never used a Sonlight “curriculum”, I have had my children read some of the books on the Sonlight reading list. Surprisingly, my public library usually has about half of the titles in stock. After checking out the library, I usually keep a list of books to look for at yard sales and the thrift store. Usually between the library and yard sales, I find about 75% of the books that were suggested for my child’s grade.
** I very rarely buy any additional books on the Sonlight reading list because the reading lists are quite extensive and you can easily supplement with history books from the library that focus on the same time period you are studying about.
I hope that some of these ideas might help you to save money while teaching history this year:)
How do you save on history curriculums? Do you piece together your own curriculum or do you prefer the full curriculum sets offered by companies like Sonlight?
One thought on “How I Spend Less than $100 a Year on Homeschooling My Children(Part 2)”
I’ve done both (Sonlight and pulling my own together) over my many years of homeschooling. Both have their ups and downs. The biggest “down” about Sonlight is the cost. The second thing is how much material is in the lesson guides. For someone else, that could be an “up” but I am a box-checker and struggled with not doing every single item. Once that hurdle was passed over, I did better. I really, really love Sonlight up until Core 100. After that, it gets rather intense. For children who are super academic in nature (which I know many of) it’s probably perfect. For my kids who usually would rather have hands-on, it was a struggle from Core 200 onward. So, the second time I used Core 200, I just picked and chose, skipped the intense books, read aloud quite a few, and it worked much better.
I loved how everything was there in Sonlight, during some very intense, busy times of my life with lots of kids to manage at the same time. On the other hand, I loved making my own unit studies and did that off and on for years. No matter what curriculum I did, it involved lots and lots of reading aloud, including the upper high school years, because that’s what worked best for my children (and my niece, who I am still going to homeschool this coming year.). I did lots of hands-on, field trips, crafts, etc. when the kids were young. Once they got older, it took all the time to get the work done, except for a few field trips.
For my niece, I’m doing a blend. I will get the Core 100 (American History) teacher’s guide and use it as a base for her history, buy I’m not re-buying the books. I already sold them all. Her parents are going to take her on an extended trip to the east coast in September, with a history emphasis. I will use their journey for a springboard for assignments, which will be as hands-on as I can make them. I will fill in the parts of history they missed with books off the Sonlight list (from the library) and use the guide to make sure I’m not missing any important pieces. I plan to use the literature guide for reading and writing assignments. Her math will be something else (not sure yet, but her dad’s a math professor, so he can think it up), and that’s all she needs to finish up her credits, as we did most of the traditional 12th grade curriculum last year.