Posted in Parenting

Record Keeping when Unschooling

Unschooling log
Unschooling Log

Our homeschooling style is eclectic with a generous sprinkling of unschooling so record keeping can be difficult with traditional homeschool planners.

A few months after using the planning forms that I created I realized that while they were getting the job done, it wasn't a perfect fit for our style.  We don't do all subjects every day, we don't limit our learning to Monday thru Friday so I went back to the drawing board and simplified even more.

So far I like it and it seems to be working better for us, it's simple but efficient.  Everything is logged as it happens without having to separate by subject or type of activity.  

If you are an unschooler you may find this helpful as well so I have added this new template to the list of free downloads.  Simply subscribe to receive the downloads for free.  If you are already a subscriber, send me an e-mail and I'll make sure that you get it too.

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Posted in Homeschooling

DIY Science Kit

There are so many cool experiment kits in the market that it’s easy to get carried away buying them all. They are great for the parent that doesn’t mind spending a bit more to get everything they’ll need in a neat little package. Alternatively, you can invest in a homeschool science lab kit for a lot of money but I don’t have that type of budget. For a while I would grab kits on clearance at Barnes and Noble or during Amazon lightning deals but the quality of many is plain horrible and you are limited on the experiments that can be done with them.

I had been drooling over the Magic School Bus Science kits for over 2 years but kept telling myself that I would just be paying a premium for licensing and pretty graphics so I decided to make my own kit.

Most of our experiment ideas come from blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, etc so I paid attention to the most common items in them and made a list. A lot of these items can be found at the dollar store.

Still due to the length of the list the cost does add up so I created our kit over a period of time, I started it back in 2015 and got some generous contributions from a friend and I still occasionally find something new to add.

I am 99% complete, still trying to find a cheap microscope that isn’t total junk but we have enough to do most experiments that we come across.  I have a couple of items not on the list but the items below will suffice for many elementary level science experiments.

My list:

  • 1-2 Clear Plastic Containers with Lid (quantity depends on size)
  • 4 Good Plastic Disposable cups
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Assorted Batteries 9 Volt, C, and D are the most used
  • Balloons
  • Beans
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Candles
  • Coffee filters
  • Corks
  • Cotton Balls
  • Disposable Plastic Gloves
  • Distilled Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Insulated Wire
  • Large Handkerchief
  • Lemon Juice
  • Magnet
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Marbles
  • Measuring Tape
  • Modeling Clay
  • Paper Towels
  • Pennies
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Protractor
  • Purple Glue Stick
  • Push tacks
  • Rubber bands
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Stirring stick
  • Stop Watch
  • Straws
  • String
  • Tape
  • Test tubes
  • Thermometer- immersion
  • Thermometer- outdoor
  • White Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Yard or metric stick
  • scale
  • safety goggles
  • basic microscope
  • basic telescope
  • droppers or pipettes
  • food coloring

What else is in your kit?

Posted in Homeschooling

Curriculum shopping when broke…

…It CAN be done!

This is the 3rd year in a row that I’ve done it.

I am thrilled to report that I am DONE shopping for next year’s curriculum. I know that I say that I am done every year and then buy more later but at least I am done with my core shopping list and anything else is just gravy.

I always like to get this shopping done early in the year because everybody else’s birthday in my house is in July so things get expensive for me starting with Father’s Day and I wouldn’t be able to do any homeschool shopping then.

I still managed to save a good chunk of money but not as much as last year mostly because of some supplemental purchases and 2 of the books were harder to find used so their used price was higher than I usually pay but it was all worth it.

The final stats curriculum for 2 kids =
$137 spent with a savings of 63% over retail.

If we don’t count my supplemental purchase of 2 Reading Eggs (discounted of course) and some workbooks I impulse-bought at Aldi the total would have been $103 and the savings 73%.

To make it easy on the wallet the expenses were spread out between the months of January and May and the most I paid at once was $27.

It may be more time consuming that just going to an online catalog and clicking “Buy Now” but the savings when every penny counts are more than worth it.

Now all I have left 2 buy is 2 notebooks that I’ll pick up at Walmart when they are on sale for $0.18 during their Back to School Sale. I am swimming in pencils, crayons, glue and construction paper so we are good with the rest.

Coming soon, what I bought to use for next year.