Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WFMW Preschool Homeschooling on the cheap (and a giveaway!)

If you've been following along, you know that we only formally started homeschooling L this past week. We've been informally doing so pretty much since he was born. I don't propose to have much (any?) wisdom to share about homeschooling, however if you want to know about finding things cheap, I'm your woman..
Now it goes without saying that you could theoretically teach a young child everything they needed to know with little more than a library card, a back yard, and some crayons. We are not taking such a minimalist route. I wanted to provide as many stimulating things for L as I could, without having to pay much for them.
So, for this WFMW post, I thought I'd share some of my cheap sources of educational stuff.

For Free:

First there's the library. Inter library loan is awesome, and you can get just about anything. This is great when your kid is suddenly into bugs or trains. You can request a boatload of movies and books, and go pick them up in a couple of days.

Next is freecycle. People are always giving away books and craft supplies. You can also put out requests for specific things every so often. A wile back, when my son was really into Magic School Bus movies, I asked for some on freecycle, and got some.

The internet is also a huge source of free lesson plans, craft ideas, etc, especially for the prek/k aged child.

For Cheap:

Garage sales. Children's books usually run between a dime and a dollar. You can also find lego's, k'nex, lincoln logs, and other open ended toys for just a few bucks. I once found a whole trash bag of lincoln logs at a garage sale, and paid a dollar for them. :)

Dollar Tree. If you need popsicle sticks, googly eyes, foam sheets, or basic workbooks, dollar tree is a great source. I've also made several small felt boards by gluing a piece of felt on a cork board from Dollar tree. There's lots of "raw material" there.

Goodwill and other thrift stores. I frequent Goodwill, because it's right down the street. I drop in about once a week, and find books (children's books, new never used workbooks, and teaching resource books) for under a buck, games and puzzles (some of them have never been opened) for a dollar or two, and the occasional set of bristle blocks or legos. I also find Leap Pad cartridges for about three dollars pretty often.

If I need to buy a pricey crafting item, I wait until I have a coupon for Hobby Lobby or Michael's and get it for 40% off.

I buy books every so often from http://www.bookcloseouts.com/, and the clearance section at http://www.christianbooks.com/. The selection is pretty random, but but the prices are great.

If I'm looking for a specific book title, I usually buy it from half.com or amazon.com. It pays to check both places, though, because sometimes the prices are significantly different.

There's another way to get cool educational stuff for free, and that's to win it. I've been lucky enough to win several blog giveaways lately, including a fun game, several books, and a Spanish DVD/CD set.

I've got a giveaway today, and it includes the following new items:

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26 Interactive Alphabet Mini-books (pre k -1)
Primary Portfolios (k-4)

A package of Foam Letter Stickers

A set of letters and numbers, for your felt board. I printed them on my computer, and I'll let you cut them apart, since they'll ship easier as one sheet.

A set of Alphabet Soup plastic letters ( These are a scrapbooking item. We've used them to make an eye spy bottle, and also for L to spell with. They're small however, so please excercise caution with kids that still mouth stuff.)

We have our own set of these items, and I thought you might like to win a set for your kiddos too!

To enter, you must become a follower, and leave a comment saying you are. If you're already a follower, just leave me a comment, letting me know you want to be entered. You can also get an extra entry for blogging about the giveaway, and leaving a link to your post.

This contest will end at midnight central time on June second, which I'm arbitrarily choosing because it's my ninth wedding anniversary. :)

if you want to read more WFMW posts, go check out We Are That Family.

(Please encuse the wierd spacing. Blogger is giving me fits today.)


  1. "Library, back yard & some crayons" perfect!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog & helping to make my SITS day special!

  2. Hi. I was just surfing around some blogs, and I came across yours. It’s pretty nifty and I’m really enjoying my stay here. I’ve bookmarked your site for daily visits, and I hope you’ll visit me. I’d love to have you. :) Have a great day and I’ll see you around the blogosphere. :)

  3. Great resources! Thanks for stopping by my place.

  4. Dropping by from SITS! This is a great article, thanks for all of the tips. I think we forget these resources sometimes, and head right to the full-priced book store.

  5. Great giveaway! Count me in!

    we love our library too. :)

  6. I'm following! I don't know why I wasn't before..... Who knows sometimes our brains go dead.

  7. Great giveaway! I'd love to win! And I'm your newest follower!