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Building Your Own Curriculum

Posted by on May. 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM
  • 10 Replies

So, we are just starting out homeschooling and don't have the money to put into a pre-packaged curriculum. 

What do you Ladies who build your own do to get to this point?  How do I know what to use and not use?  Are there good websites to use?  Is this a special group here on Cafemom that you use?

Sorry if this is a lot of questions.  I just would like to learn how to do this.

Thanks, Melinda<3

I am a homeschooling, vaccinating, non spanking, nightmare cuddling, dessert giving, bedtime kissing, book reading, multiple movie watching a day MOTHER. I believe in spoiling Loren everyday. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child - I will do that, Thank You! I wear ripped jeans and t-shirts, I cant go without my flip-flops or lipgloss. I believe that a woman's place is in the home taking care of her house, children and husband. I am submissive and proud, my husband is head of my home! I am a proud Christian, as is my husband. I wear my heart on my sleeve all day, everyday. I drive way to fast with Loren in the car and I have daily “duh, blonde” moments, but that’s JUST ME

by on May. 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM
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by on May. 22, 2011 at 2:36 AM

When we started, I bought a lot of stuff from the dollar store!  They also have comprehensive curriculum workbooks at Sams, though I haven't bought those.  I researched what they should be learning at that grade level, and tried to come up with units that would interest them as well as give them the opportunity to learn those skills. 

During my first trip to our state convention, I met a mom who used a unit study similar to Weaver, which we'd been researching.  I really liked the approach that Weaver had, but I really wanted to get the materials in my hands and explore them, to see if it would be a good fit.  I didn't want to spend that much without being able to check things out.  I was not able to do that, but this mom did introduce me to another unit study, that was a whole lot cheaper, called Learning Adventures.

I got a little off track though...what ages are your kids?  Preschoolers, K's, and other lower grades often do better with a lot of hands on, active learning, and tying concepts into things they want to learn about.  There are many places to download and print free supports, but it can also get overwhelming.  The Dollar Tree was a great resource for me with materials for younger kids, from math to reading, even story starters and penmanship!  And it probably cost less than the free stuff by the time I printed it all out :).

Now, we use Learning Adventures, but I supplement with information that I find that takes us more in depth into the material.  I love those 3 tabbed folders.  I punch holes in the papers that I've designed/downloaded, and then label each notebook.  Every child has a folder for each subject, and everything is easy to find! :).  I definitely tend to stock up at the Staples 1 cent sales though!  I need some more folders right now, but I can't bring myself to pay the non school season price of $1!

I don't know if there's anything there that will help you, but here's our website that I just started building.  Please excuse the inexperienced site builder!

The Tools for School and Curriculum Resources sections might be of the most help.

by on May. 22, 2011 at 9:58 AM

How old are your children?

Betty in Ky

by on May. 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

My daughter just turned 5.  She has been wanting to learn and do things since an early age.  I bought her a some preschool and K workbooks from Dollar Tree and she has completed all of them by herself without any help in about 3 weeks. I am just at a loss of what to do.  She can add and subtract, read, do all the sutff they learn in K; but I am afraid of doing much more since she is only 5

by on May. 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM

This is a pretty cool site: I only just started using it yesterday.

by on May. 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM is a free preschool curriculum that could easily be adapted for older kids. We also get daily emails from which has a lot of good ideas. 

There's nothing wrong with letting her move ahead in her education, despite her age. My younger sister was multiplying at age 5. She was in a great private school that just let her keep going at her pace, and when she got bored with one thing they'd give her something harder. Nothing wrong with that, you never know how far she'll go!

by Group Admin on May. 22, 2011 at 12:40 PM

We started Hsing in 1st, so ours was a bit older, but what I did was get different "guides" for that grade (other another ahead since he was already way ahead) on what kind of things he had to know, and then went from there.

I used:

and the learning standards from our local school district (online as well)


I saw what he had to learn for his grade level (and went up higher for subjects like math where he already knew most of what was taught for that year) and used it to figure out what to teach and then books to use from the library, workbooks to buy (walmart used to have some cheaper ones) and worksheets to use from online. I also looked for activities online that I could include, and got some ideas from homeschool books (The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas - that's a good one.) The forums here also bring a lot of ideas when people ask questions about what they want to do or share what they have done. 

Can she read? Maybe just focus on that right now if she can't or is starting to. Get lots of books out of the library - read them to her and have her help out with words here and there if she can, or have her give you the sound for beginning letters for maybe the first and last word on each page. I heard that there's a good site online ( I think that helps with beginning reading.

Also, when Back to School shopping begins, if you have a Target nearby, check out their Dollar Section. They usually have a ton of fun workbooks, fun school tools, flashcards, etc.

by on May. 22, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Thanks Ladies! 

by on May. 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

 hi melinda!

when i first started hsing there wasnt a lot of curr out there, just abeka and bju and those are expensive still!hahah so i made up (what they call unit studies now days)little booklets about things they were interested in, i would gather books from book sales, yard sales, etc (there was no internet then) library, and so i built a huge library of my own so i could make any kind of unit study i wanted.  as time went by hsing became more popular and they would have curriculum sales and i started buying used books to help me make the unit studies that way also.  some of my favorite books are the abeka history and science, anything from christian liberty press, bju 3rd grade language arts, rod and staff english, saxon math, rod and staff preschool stuff, rod and staff 1-2nd gr math booklets, some of the alpha omega lifepacs, apologia astronomy book, zoology books, etc. to many to type

the ones i didnt like i would sale or trade for something i liked. thats how i built my curr. up! its all mix and match stuff, a little of this and that.

you've gotta use something in order to know if you will like it or not, give it a good 4 month trial! if you dont just sell it or trade it!

also if you see something you like see if they have it at the library, ask a friend to borrow it, or buy it used. then you can see if you really like it

heres a website that can give you an idea of what some curr. are about

melinda if you think your daughter is ready to move on do it! dont be afraid cuz of her age, since shes willing to want more!! just do what your doing, add some hands on stuff(math, art, science) simple things, science could be going outside and finding bugs, growing veg. or flowers, and that can be used as math also. be sure to always be reading to her all the time. if you thinks shes ready to learn to read heres a good booklet to help 'the threes Rs by ruth beechick, doenst cost much and well worth reading, it helps you teach phonics and math to the kids! how to do it, etc.

i hope this helped with some of your questions!


by on May. 23, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I really like Explode The Code for a language arts curriculum.

by on May. 23, 2011 at 4:38 PM

IF she's ready, then by all means let her do more. THe great thing abotu homeschool is you dont' have to worry about 'grade level' your child doesn't have to be held back to wait on the other 20+  kids to catch up to her!

There are tons of free resources! And you can find some used curriculum really cheap if you just keep your eyes open.

I haev tons of links for FREE resources here

And the list on the right side of this page has links to many places to get used curriculum at great prices!

Just follow her lead and get the resources you can that she is intersted in. You'll be just fine mama, and so will she!

Hope that helps!



Sonita -Mom to Ephram (7) & Malachi (4)

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