North Star Geography homeschool curriculum

How Much Does it Cost to Homeschool?

Cost to Homeschool

I firmly believe there are four things that affect the cost to homeschool.

  1. The grade of the child.
  2. The time a mother has to prepare and plan.
  3. Buying new vs. used.
  4. Obviously the number of children impacts the total cost.

Following sites like Free Homeschool Deals or Homeschool Giveaways can supply you with mega ideas and items. You might actually find it difficult in selecting which free item to use.

Spending time researching, planning and printing can keep the cost to homeschool down to time spent and printer ink.

Even a well organized school budget runs into problems. I have blown the homeschool budget three months into the school year and was faced with buying a very expensive math program or hiring a tutor. In the long run, the $300 was worth it but at the time I thought I had lost my sanity.

In the early years I did a lot of planning and workbooks from Goodwill. Then factor in multiple learning styles, part-time work and high school credits and I found I needed a more structured curriculum. [Read more...]

Illuminations, Combining Two Weeks

Illuminations Series

I could joke and say if you have homeschooled for at least a day then you understand the need for rescheduling school work. Kids get sick, mom gets sick and family emergencies happen. Then the tension can rise when the colorful printed schedule grids have not been completed by the end of the week. Take a deep breath…slowly exhale.

Since the schedule software does not allow you to bump information to the next week how do you handle rescheduling?

Illuminations Schedule Combining

Suggestions for Combining Weeks in Illuminations:

[Read more...]

Schedule Tweaks with Illuminations

Illuminations Series

We are still talking about (affiliate link) Illuminations. I hope these posts are helping you to understand how the program works.

If you watched the first video on “How to create a schedule with Illuminations” then you are ready to look at some other tweaks of the software.

I have to admit I needed a little extra help on creating this post and video. I emailed my co-worker who works 5 days a week on the redesign of Illuminations. These are the points he felt every user would benefit from knowing. I even had to do conference call to fully understand all the details. [Read more...]

Creating a Schedule with Illuminations

Illuminations Series

The new software included in (affiliate link) Illuminations gives me the freedom to create custom schedules in under 10 minutes each week.

At the beginning of the school year a small amount time is needed to select and create the schedule. Once saved the schedule can be labeled by the child’s name and an icon remains on my desktop. Each week I click the icon, click the week we are on, make a few changes and print.

My kids love knowing at a glance what they will be learning for the week. They are also accountable to complete the work in the grids. My kids use it as a check list and will mark off the completed assignments. It becomes very visual on how much is completed and still needs to be done by Friday. [Read more...]

Illuminations and Study Guides

Illuminations Series

What is the difference between an FSG and a RAG? What things are included in the study guides? Where can I find the guides in the program? Are there answer keys?

Illuminations Study Guides:

  • There are 3 types of study guides
  • Read-Alone Guide (RAG)
  • Family Study Guide (FSG)
  • High School Study Guide (HSSG)
  • All the guides include Answer keys

[Read more...]

Why I Love Illuminations

Illuminations Series

I love the freedom of choices with homeschooling curriculum. With access to the web and a good printer, homeschooling can be very inexpensive. The only draw back, time in putting it all together.

Since I work part time, homeschool and blog…every waking moment counts.

Why (affiliate link) I love Illuminations!

  1. The time it saves me on planning school.
  2. I love the literature books. I have observed the hours Maggie Hogan spends on selecting books for the literature selections. I totally trust her choices, especially since I am not a book lover.
  3. I can create a weekly schedule for my kids in about 10 minutes on a Sunday night.
  4. It covers every subject but math. Since each of my kids uses a different math program, it is the one custom subject I add to the program.
  5. The DVD and audio schedule for adding movies to our history topics.
  6. My kids having a weekly schedule to keep them accountable to what needs to be completed. In my home, failure to complete assignment by Friday at 5:00 results in cancelled weekend plans.
  7. All my kids are on the same time period of history. The longer I homeschool the more I need to stream line the teaching in my home.

[Read more...]

The Mystery of History E-book Form

MOH ebook

I know I have been quiet the past few weeks but I have an amazing July planned. I have a 5 Day Series on Illuminations planned for next week. It includes Youtube videos on creating schedules. Plus I have a give-away…$50 gift certificate to spend in the Bright Ideas Press Store. My way of saying “Thank you” for stopping by.

But I could not keep this news to myself and had to share.

Did you hear? You can now buy The Mystery of History in e-book form on Amazon!

Yes each quarter is sold separately and the first quarter is only $3.99

(Amazon affiliate links)

Quarters 2,3 and 4 retail for $9.99 each. [Read more...]

7 Parenting Ideas to Save Your Sanity

Parenting Ideas

Parenting ideas to save your sanity from a mom who may already have lost her mind.

My friends often chuckle at my parenting ideas. There are many days I think I am going to go crazy parenting my kids. Over the weekend I posted a photo of my newest idea to get my son to purge his desk without whining and scoring dinner in the process.

Then I thought I would share with my blog readers “My Top Parenting Ideas” that have kept me sane over the years. Yes, they might be good for a laugh too. This past year after my son was away for his first semester of college he lovingly shared, “Gee Mom, I didn’t know how weird you were until I moved out.” [Read more...]

Kids Explore Physics

Kids Explore Physics

Christian Kids Explore Physics, the one book I have not taught in the series. Honestly the subject matter scares me. I did not take a physics class in high school so I doubted my ability to teach it effectively.

I chuckled when on the opening page the authors has bolded bullet points, “Don’t be Afraid, Don’t be Intimidated…Physics can be fun and exciting.”

Since I have not taught science for the last 6 months, I have all intentions of spending our summer focused on exploring physics.

A few weeks ago I cracked open the book Christian Kids Explore Physics to begin planning our lessons. About 20 minutes into a huge planning moment I realized I was over planning and close to killing the fun factor. I can create amazing detailed, check the box lesson plans. But I wanted to create time for them to follow their interests. [Read more...]

Literature Study Guide Turns Book Club

Literature Study Guide

We begin each new school year pouring over the multitude of literature study guide selections. Once the list has been chosen we spend the school year completing one literature study guide after the other.

Then something happens in the spring, we get restless, we are ready for some changes.

My friend, Kristen, who leads our literature co-op, decided to end the year by having the girls do their last literature selection in a book club format.

How to turn the literature study guide “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” into a book club.

  • Decorations and costumes based on the time period of the early 1900′s.
  • Games or crafts based on the book.
  • Writing their own discussion questions about the book.
  • Deciding who is going to be responsible for each task.
  • Developing a budget for food and needed supplies.

It was decide that the mothers, grandmothers, and aunts would be invited to the book club evening. Everyone was to read the book and come in costume for the time period. The girls would handle all other details of the evening.


[Read more...]