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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

In the first three entries in this series, we talked about Exploring your options, Investigating the possibilities, and Planning your experience.  Today we talk about Purchasing supplies.

If you’ve chosen to go with a pre-planned program, then all you have to do is pay the fee and the books are sent to you in the mail.  Do take a few minutes to find out if you need to get any additional materials (such as science or craft supplies) that are not already included.  Often the programs will expect you to supply items for the science portions, for example.

You may want to take a moment and consider what kind of schedule you want to keep.  In the younger years a continuous program is often more helpful as many children lose what they’ve learned over such a long summer break.  I’ve been careful to keep my younger boys mentally active and practicing their letters this summer…they just don’t necessarily know I’ve been doing it.  One of the great things about home schooling is that you can do what works best for your family.

I follow the traditional American school schedule for 2 reasons.  First, it’s what I’m used to.  Second, in the climate that we live, it’s easier to stay inside and do lessons in the colder months and enjoy the hot months free from obligation.  Third, most of the boys’ friends attend public school, and the peer pressure helps.  Oh.  That was more than two reasons.  Oh well, lol.  You get the picture.

Whatever form that schedule takes, you’ll need to order your books and supplies as much in advance as possible.  In my case that means I’ll be ordering my books in the next day or two.  Since we want to start working the first week in September at the latest, I should be able to order things and get them quickly.  If I were to wait another week or two, that would not be the case.  Many companies get quite busy filling orders for other schools and families and delays can happen.  If you don’t get your ordering done early don’t stress about it.  Just do your best and work from there.

Ideally, I would have ordered my materials in June for fall.  Factors like finances and scheduling just haven’t allowed it.  So I’m ordering now, and life will go on.  🙂

If you’ve located a local homeschool group, you can ask the members there where any used book sales may be.  There’s a large city not far from me that has a big homeschool store, and each June a used book sale is held.  Participating families can set up a table and sell as well as look over other tables in the hunt for materials. 

Another place to get books would be a homeschool convention, where vendors are often found on-site.   Then there are the online sellers and services, and of course your local library.  Don’t forget that very valuable resource.  Oh!  Put that on your todo list if you haven’t already: get library card.

You’ve already made your purchase list, so now just swing into action and go get your supplies.  I’ll list the web sites that I have either used myself or have had recommended by local homeschoolers that I know.  From there, you know what to do.

Sites I’ve ordered from and trust:

Sites recommended to me by friends I trust:

Something I haven’t discussed but want to mention is the gigantic resource that the Internet really is.  There are probably hundreds of sites available that have free or inexpensive lesson plans at the ready.  To find them, simply type a few key words into your browser search box and go. 

There are a few reasons I have not taken advantage of these resources.  First, I like having a structured plan to follow.  Second, the possibilities are endless and I find the search both overwhelming and time-consuming.  Third, I just like to read from books that I can hold in my hand, so paging through endless web sites is just not my thing. 

I have friends who send me sites they’ve found with really great possibilities, and I’m honestly amazed that they are able to find them so easily.   If you’re more patient and determined than I am, you could most likely get enough material online for free or nearly free to teach all the subjects you could dream of and more. 

Okay, that concludes what I wanted to bring up here in part 4 of the series.  In the final article, I’ll talk about setting up your work area and give a few organizing tips.

Earnest Parenting: tips for creating a successful homeschool.