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What tools did everyone use to start?

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 11:59 PM
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I am looking to begin some homeschooling with my three ( if I can balance that and the home)  What tools are people using?  What is a lapbook and other lingo?  I can't spend much money so it mostly needs to be free from the computer...

Any help is appreciated!


by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 11:59 PM
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by Helping Hands on Jun. 14, 2010 at 1:01 PM

At 3 years old I wouldn't worry too much about using tools. Puzzles, blocks, and art supplies are things that I would keep on hand. Sorting, counting, colors, shapes, numbers and letters can all be learned thru everyday play activities.

You could also use as a good way of working on letters and letter sounds. Also my kids really loved Leapfrog's Letter Factory and Word Factory DVDs. 

Lapbooks are just a way of organizing information. You basically take a blank file folder, and as you and your child complete worksheets and such you slide them into the folder. If you google lapbooks, there are all kinds of sites that offer help and templates in creating your own lapbooks. (Just for example if you wanted to create a Letter A lapbook, you could color, trace or draw the letter A, discuss words or animals that start with the letter A. Include a nursery rhyme or poem about Apples. Afterwards your daughter will have her own little book all about the Letter A she could look thru whenever she wanted.) 

by Guidance on Jun. 14, 2010 at 2:05 PM

We used as a supplement.  It's free and I highly recommend it.  I also spent many hours googling for free printable worksheets and I ended up with a lot!  You can also find workbooks at really good prices.  Even our local Parent-Teacher Store has about 20 different $2.99 preschool workbooks.  Also, check ebay and around cafemom for others selling used curriculum.  Best wishes!

by on Jun. 15, 2010 at 9:48 PM

McGuffey Eclectic Readers (Primer-5th) and Speller free e-books at

MEP (maths enhancement programme) free downloadable K-6th at CIMT

Free classic literature and history e-texts some downloadable, some online only

Plus your handy dandy library card and you've got the basics covered.

by Testing the waters on Jun. 16, 2010 at 12:03 AM

Thanks everyone....I'm so excited to get started!

by Welcome Squad on Jun. 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Quick you have a 3 year old or 3 children that you will be home schooling? 

Either way, one great site that I look at with my lapbooks is  It has a wealth of ideas and templates on it's site.  The site is free and it covers various ages levels in learning.  You can pick up many of the books that go along with the lessons at a local library or you can just use the ideas and develop a lesson fox example using their templates on your topic and another book that you have found.  We do a lapbook sporatically when we are needing a change of pace in our learning. 

Another great source (if you are wanting a workbook style)  for the younger students especially are the grade level workbooks at Sam's Club, Walmart, etc.  These are good to use in the younger ages because they are comprehensive, colorful and inexpensive. 

Here are a few sites:

I have several other sites that I really like.  If you are interested, let me know


by Testing the waters on Jun. 21, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Thank you everyone for all the awesome info.  I too am new to homeschooling this year and I feel a little over my head. I will be homeschooling 3 of my 6 kids (that leaves my two foster kids the oldest still going to public school and the youngest still at home and my baby.) My home schoolers  will be in kindergarten, 3rd grade and 6th grade so I am a little over whelmed.  I think some of these site will be wonderful!!!  Along with that I am gonna be looking for a CHEAP curriculum so any idea's would be wonderful!  Thanks!!!

by Helping Hands on Jun. 21, 2010 at 12:02 PM

 3 yr old or 3 kids if 3 kids how old?

I got books from the lib about homeschooling I looked at the to find the laws for my state with homeschooling.

I have some cd roms for my kinder/preschooler that were $10 each reader rabbit and jumpstart. here are other sites I use all are free one is $20 or so to join for a year really worth it. - this is an 8 week computer class for kids I am using for a 7 9 and 14 yr saving the info for my 5 yr old to use later--free -- I get the kids there spelling lists here then put the words here for spelling practice for phonics 5 yr old uses and my 3 yr old neice -- this one is $20 a year to use -seasonal books for my 5 7 and 9 yr old to make love there theme units for field trips ect tons and tons

what my 7 yr old is using for typing this year (older kids already type saving the site though for my 5 yr old to use when ready)

I find books I like for each subject for the older kids then look on e-bay for them and other used book sites (lost my list when computer crashed)


by on Jul. 3, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Don't worry, you can still find all kinds of awesome curriculum materials that are not tied to the computer. 

I have actually found that I have more time to maintain the house now that I am homeschooling.  The time I spent driving to and from school, volunteering, attending teacher, parent and board meetings, and managing the absolutely excessive amounts of homework they give to kids was more time than I spend planning and managing homeschooling. 

I still have to drive them to all their other activities, so I guess you never get away from that.

Here's a link to an article on some resources you can consult to get started.

by G.O. Shannon on Jul. 4, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Ok I'm totally frugal. I beg borrow (but don't steal) for school supplies. For a 3 y/o you don't need a lot, and there is a lot of free stuff available online. Have you tried Letter of the Week? Using their free curriculum and a local library and a little creativity you'll have all you'll need!

You can also check out some of the articles I've written for more indepth things I've used and suggest for stocking a school room (like for the holidays to ask from family) like:
Home Educators Top 10 Checklist
Home Educating Your Young Child

Let me know if I can help more!


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