Saturday, July 23, 2011

Changes for Me

I am a faithful customer and subscriber for  If you aren't familiar with Currclick it is an awesome website that sells homeschool books, curriculum and other great homeschooling material in ebook form.  Anyway, upon reading one of their weekly newsletters I noticed in the side column that they were looking for two people to take the position of Product Review Staff Member.  I nearly leaped out of my chair.  Of course I'm going to apply!  After tossing emails back and forth and giving two trial product reviews, I heard back from them with the news that I got the position!!  I couldn't believe it!  You have to know that this is a curriculum junkie's dream come true.  Not only do I get paid in free curriculum but I get to help out the homeschool community by giving them my honest opinion on certain products.  My time and money are valuable so I don't buy ANYTHING (homeschool wise) without reading several reviews from other knowledgeable homeschool mamas.  
So occasionally you may see a post from a product from Currclick that I find particularly impressive.  I will not burden you with all of them since I am required to write 3-5 every month but a 5 star product deserves it's time in the spotlight.   I hope you find them helpful and possibly inspirational.  That's all for this week.  In my next post, I will introduce you to my kiddos and tell you about what we're going to be using for this coming school year.  We are so excited to be starting soon and digging into our new curriculum.  Don't forget to check out 
They have sales all the time and have a FREE curriculum section.  And who doesn't love free?  See you next time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is the Curriculum-in-a-box a bargain?

"Curriculum-in-a-box" or CIAB by my own definition its "a curriculum on the market that supposedly supplies ALL your homeschool needs.  Language Arts, Math, History and Geography and Science; they have it.  Including the videos, visual aids and other things that you just HAVE TO HAVE.   Some even offer electives such as foreign languages, health, etc. "  There are tons of CIABs out there:  A Beka, Alpha Omega, BJU, Sonlight.  The list goes on and on. 
Believe me homeschool moms all have their own opinions about CIABs.  They either love them or hate them.  I personally was an unlucky pupil of a CIAB.  I say unlucky because it just didn't fit within my learning style.  But in my mother's defense, there wasn't alot on the market when I was a homeschool student and you just used what you thought would be best.  Fast forward 15 years and I still don't prefer a CIAB.  It's not my teaching style.  All-in-all, it just doesn't fit me at all.  One brand will have an excellent history and geography curriculum, another is strong in science and yet another meets your child's needs in math (can you sense that I'm eclectic?).   My point is, if it doesn't suit your child's needs or learning style then it's not worth it. 

Now let's get down to the money issue of CIABs. These "academic wonders" truly provide everything you need for the entire school year.  All you have to do is shell out the big money.  Thats right, its not cheap, but is it worth its money?  I am familiar with A Beka so I'll use this particular curriculum as an example.   A Beka offers different packages for your convenience.  A Teacher's package that offers all the teacher's manuals for that specific grade.  Keep in mind its for the three R's (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic).  Science and History and Geography can be purchased separately.  Then there is the student's package (again only the three R's) with all the workbooks and readers that you need for the year.  THEN..... You have to buy everything else outside of the three R's PLUS the visual ads that they "highly recommend".  This can truly be an expensive venture.  And for a book lover like me, I buy more school books throughout the year so I'm not really finished for the year.  It's true, you can reuse the visual aids and the teacher's manuals for one child to another but the workbooks alone can range up to $150.00 every year, per child. Let's not forget that even then you're not done for the year.  There are co-op fees, field trips, library fines, museum memberships and other neat homeschool expenses for the year.

Before you invest in a CIAB figure out whether it fits in with your needs and budget.  If it takes more time to prepare than you can afford then it's only going to cause frustration and lead to burnout.  If it doesn't fit within your school budget then you'll have to cut other fun stuff out.  Believe me when school money gets cut to the bare bones, it can be a negative experience for all. Yes, CIABs can be expensive but there are cost cutting ways to make it work.  You can buy the visual aids and teacher's manuals used either at used curriculum sales or online.  My favorite place to go is for used curriculum.  Sometimes you can find what you need up to 50% off what it would cost new. 

I can't really answer whether this is a bargain or not.  It all depends on your family's needs and budget.  Research and pray about it.  The Lord will guide you with your homeschool decisions.  He formed your children while they were still in your womb, so you can trust Him.  He knows best.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheap Homeschooling ebooks

Every once in a while I come across a homeschool mom who writes very helpful articles about homeschooling.  I have my favorites and will soon do a post on my favorite homeschool blogs but that's not what today's post is about.  One of my favorite homeschool bloggers, Tamara L.Chilver, who authors "Teaching with TLC" has a collection of homeschooling and after-school ebooks for sale on for $1 (on most titles).  She is a former public school teacher turned homeschool mom who writes to help other moms who take their children's education into their own hands.  Her books are informative and helpful to anyone looking to try a new approach to homeschooling. 

In her ebook,  Cut your Homeschool Day in Half, Tamara points out 25 things that we unintentionally do to eat up time in our typical homeschool day.  Her suggestions are very insightful and give you that "why didn't I think of that" moment.  Best of all it's only $1.  Follow this link to check it out.

Free ebook.  You heard me right; free ebook.  Her ebook, Tricks of the Trade:  10 Teaching Tips Every Parent Should Know she discusses ways to make learning more enjoyable to both student and teacher.  And who doesn't want that?  And did I mention that it's FREE?!  Click Here.

She has several other titles that are only $1. You can check them out at and see for yourself.  Just look under "Publishers" and Click on "Teaching with TLC" or Click Here and it will take you to her page.  Don't forget to check out her blog, Teaching With TLC

No, I was not prompted or paid for this post.  I'm just a fan.  :)