Classical homeschool, Homeschool
Comments 3

How to Save, Part II

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If the books aren’t important, and academics aren’t our goal, then do we forget all about it and sit around reading the Bible all day?

Well, yes and no.

Every subject must come into conformity to the Word of God.  In our home, we notice that after our day begins with time alone and together around the Word, each subject we study comes right back to Him, too.  We are copying verses into our copy book; discussing words fitly spoken  in grammar; marveling at the logic and order of the universe in mathematics; looking for the Hand of God over the affairs of man in history; studying the Creator’s handiwork in science.  The most common phrase when I discuss something with the children is, “Let’s get out our Bible and turn to …”

Less than one bookshelf holds all the “school books” for our three studying children (my two-year old isn’t doing book work yet).  The rest of my shelves hold reference materials, picture books I adore, our favorite classics, and family books. It seems like each year I realize I need less and less “curriculum” to teach my children biblically.  Instead of workbooks and study manuals, they use more and more “real experiences, ” writing, research, and classical reading.  I never buy tests except for math.   Assessment is measured by parents for parents’ sake and is done in each subject by written reports or science projects.

Here is what we use:

Bible ~ KJV Bible (one for each child)

catechism sheet I printed from the internet for free (the one we use is no longer available, but there are many out there)


English ~ copybook (purchased inexpensively from Half Price Books)

Webster’s Blue-backed Speller (lasts for years of spelling and copying)

Handwriting workbook for young one (I only use one or two; they can just copy after learning the letters)

Grammar workbooks for each (I use ABeka, but anything easy for you to teach is fine)

Three-ring binder to record grammar rules, spelling rules, book reports, book reading, etc.

Consistent reading from home and public library

Nearly weekly book reports

Math ~ Saxon Math

high-quality manipulatives, in easy-to-put-away containers to encourage little ones to play and explore

constant real-world application of principles in daily life situations

since I save the teacher’s edition, I only purchase a workbook for each new child

after the first child, I realized I don’t need to teach the lessons as scripted; very little even of the primary math needed a formal “teaching” but seemed intuitively obvious to each of my children because of their math-rich lifestyle

History ~ BJU History for Home Schools

I only use the Teacher’s Edition and textbook

We read and discuss the chapter, then supplement with library and home reading

Each child keeps his own Book of Centuries to add dates and maps from this and other subjects to record learning

Family trips and museum outings enhance our understanding

Older Son does frequent reports and projects to deepen his learning

Science ~ BJU Science for Home Schools

I teach the chapters “out-of-order” to ensure all my children are studying the same science (biology, physics, etc) at the same time and to ease my preparation

Oldest Son does frequent projects and experiments independently to assess his understanding and increase his responsibility for his academics

Logic and Thinking~ Building Thinking Skills workbook for Oldest Son

The Thinking Toolbox (a non-consumable)

The Fallacy Detective (a non-consumable)

God’s World Magazines (a monthly Christian news and educational magazine with which we discuss worldview and biblical life application)

So, you can see that the only thing I need to purchase each year is  copy books, grammar work books; math workbooks; one complete math curriculum; one history TE and text; and one science TE and text; God’s World Subscription; and logic workbook, if needed.  It really doesn’t add up much.  This year I sneaked in some good finds for our home library!
Now, of course one could educate their child quite well with different materials.  I, myself, was educated somewhat differently.  Thomas Edison and John Quincy Adams used no academic books at all, but read and copied from their friends’ and family’s libraries.  There are many ways to skin these cats.
But cat skin is still cheap.


  1. It’s so exciting to find and use what works best for YOU and your family, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your personal finds….hopefully it will help those who are looking for some new ideas! Happy Weekend!


  2. I’ll be honest…I’m still kind of overwhelmed with all the information. Did you work most of this out yourself, or did a lot of direction come from “Teaching the Trivium”? I guess I’m going to have to get that book…as soon as I can afford it. 😉

    What are your local school boards requirements for homeschooling? Are you under and umbrella school or is it lenient where you live? Just curious…



    • I really did come to most of this myself, but little by little. “Teaching the Trivium” has a LOT of great resources, but what I like most is the ENCOURAGMENT I got from it. I found it right after having finished my own spiritual journey I talked about previously.

      I really don’t mean this to be overwhelming … the point is DON’T be overwhelmed. Instead, Nicole, simplify and focus on what is important. Then use the tools that are easiest for you as you are working on those goals.

      Texas is one of the greatest states in which to homeschool. We are legally considered a “private school” and expected to teach listed subjects (like math, history, citizenship, etc) to our children as such. However, a goverment official would need just reason to suspect a home educator was not following this before even questioning a family’s curriculum. Some do choose to be under umbrellas anyway, but there is no reason legally to do so.

      HSE Mag has a great column, by the way, called “The Underwhelmed Homeschooler.” I get great tips every single issue from there on how to make education more meaningful and less work for me. It is just brilliant. If you can’t get a print subscription yet, you can get a free digital subscription at the website.


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