One of the challenges that comes with any kind of teaching is managing the cost. With so many great books and resources available, it would be easy to spend the equivalent of school tuition on fun materials. While there are some things I did splurge on, many of the materials I will be using are available at little or no cost.
The first place I looked when I started preparing my scope and sequence was in my bookshelves. In addition to owning a frighteningly large collection of children’s and young adult books, I also have the textbooks from Miss N’s and Mr. B’s year at home as well as some other textbooks that have found their way into my library. In addition, my Kindle provides access to many free books (particularly classics). These resources provided a starting point for planning my curriculum.
The second place I looked for needed books and resources was the public library. Knowing that there were certain books that they would have read this year if they had continued in their old school, I decided to include some of those books in our plan for the year at home. A few minutes on the city library’s website confirmed that these books are in circulation, and I need only make sure that I check on a regular basis to ensure that the books are available when needed.
My next resource for finding teaching materials was the internet. Teaching and planning aids are readily available from many websites devoted to teachers and homeschoolers alike. Lessonpathways.com is one resource that provides a full curriculum for elementary grades. I prefer to develop my own scope and sequence, but with so many pathways (or thematic units) available, I have found this site to be a treasure. There are also great interactive programs that provide practice and assessment for skills. PeakSmart is a math program that I intend to use for skills practice for Miss C. and Mr. D. Currently, they only offer Pre-K through third grade, but they plan to add additional grades in the future.
So, what have I bought? I bought a large world map for the wall of the schoolroom, a handwriting worktext for Miss C., and some activities for Mr. D., who will need to be occupied while we are working. I will purchase a subscription to Looney Tunes Phonics for Miss C. to reinforce her phonics skills and to SmartTutor Reading and Math for skills practice for Miss J. I’m sure there will be other purchases, but for now, I’m grateful to have such a wealth of educational resources available at little cost.