Learning doesn't have to be expensive. Kids can learn from the simplest of items. Many elementary learning essentials can be found at the local dollar store. You'd be surprised what you can find for a dollar. Whenever we are running low on learning materials or need to add to our collection, we hit the dollar store first.
Basic elementary flash cards can often be found at the dollar store. True they aren't generally more than $5. But if you can get them for only a dollar, why spend more? Flash cards help kids remember things like shapes, colors, numbers, addition, sight words, and so much more. We often find brand name flash cards for multiple subjects and grade levels at our local dollar store.
Yes, you can still find elementary-aged books for a buck. Borrow the expensive books from the library. Then head to the dollar store for the bargain books. You never know what you might find. While you can't go expecting a specific book, it's very easy to find great deals on books for the kids at the dollar store. We've scored anything from easy readers, to science textbooks, popular fairy-tales, children's novels, and more.
Worksheets and Workbooks
I love that we can usually find worksheets and workbooks for elementary grade levels . We like to laminate our worksheets to use over and over. But workbooks and reproducible worksheets can often be expensive. That was a dilemma until we started finding them at the local dollar store. We're a family who likes to learn. So we can never have enough of these. The dollar store has lowered our spending on this significantly.
General School Supplies
Pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils and other basic school supplies can add up quickly. We're always able to find every supply we need for our elementary drawer at the local dollar store. We have a special learning area that we keep stocked with all the basic supplies. Elementary kids are often destructive with their supplies. They also use them up quickly, especially paper and writing/drawing mediums. But when we get them from the dollar store, it isn't taking as much of a chunk out of the budget.
There is much more that we often find at the local dollar store. It varies from week to week. But it's always a fun adventure to find out what they have next. What essential elementary learning supplies can you save on at your local dollar store?
LAST UPDATED 2/17/2022
Variety and a dash of fun can give kids a running start when it comes to learning. This is especially rue when learning math, as many kids aren't exactly enthused about it. Because I am a parent and a home school teacher, I often invent fun learning games for the kids. This free homeschool math game called Fast Cashier is easy to make on the spot with materials you already have. It can help with computation skills in multiplication, decimals, counting, addition, subtraction, and other math operations.
Find a small table, crate, or other object to place a play cash register on. If you don't have one, you can form a makeshift one with a shoebox or other container you may have handy. Arrange the play money in the cash register. Be sure to have bills and coins separated according to value just like a real cash register. Set up some items to 'purchase' in another area of the room. Label the toys and item with prices. Yard sale stickers work great for this, as does masking tape and a pen. Have one child (or adult) stand behind the cash register to man it. Everyone else gets a shopping bag to place the toys in, as well as some play money. Use dollars and coins.
Playing the Fast Cashier Homeschool Math Game
Once the kids are ready, shout or blow a whistle for them to start. The kids with the bags need to choose their items quickly and place them in their bags. Once they have what they want, they line up at the cash register. The cashier then has to ring them all up as quickly as possible. This requires getting the correct total for all of the items, as well as counting back the change correctly. Have the children trade duties back and forth so that each child gets a turn at being cashier.
What Can Kids Learn From Playing Fast Cashier?
This game will help children practice money-counting and decimal addition skills. Encourage multiplication skills when there is more than one item priced the same. Addition, subtraction, and decimals will naturally be used in adding prices and figuring change. In addition to math skills, Fast Cashier can help teach organization, teamwork, coordination, and more. All of these skills will be needed throughout school, as well as life in general.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network.
Homeschool Myth #4
One homeschool myth is the concept that families who choose to school at home are rich. Some people tend to think that families who run a home school are overcompensated financially. While some very well may be, not all homeschooling families would fall into this category, nor is it necessary in order for a homeschool to be successful.
While to some, it may seem that homeschooling is expensive, it doesn't always have to be that way. It is true that some materials and curriculum programs are on the high end of pricing, but not all of them are. There are many different methods and materials that can used in a home school. It is often a very versatile way to educate children.
The most cost-effective method of homeschooling, in my opinion, is through a virtual school that is part of the public education system. Many states offer these virtual or online schools for free in the public school district. Most of these include the materials and a student computer for each student to use for free as well. While this is not my preferred method of homeschooling, nor is it supported by the HSLDA, I have heard success stories with this type of program.
One affordable way to gather homeschool resources and materials is by using free research websites and free printable lessons and worksheets compiled online. There are a great number of websites that would fall into this category and there are many homeschoolers who successfully use this method of compiling all their materials. The information and resources are aplenty on the internet. All one has to do is run a simple internet search for the topic of interest.
In addition to the methods above, there are also ways to save money on textbooks and other materials. Wal-Mart has a back-to-school sale every year that has featured notebooks and folders for 10 cents each and crayons and glue for 20 cents, among other fantastic deals. Wal-Mart also sells many educational materials and textbooks. The textbooks can only be purchased online. However, workbooks, maps, manipulatives, and other resources can be purchased at many Wal-Mart locations for a fraction of the price some teacher stores will charge.
Another way to save money on home school supplies is by purchasing gently used curriculum and/or textbooks and teacher's guides and materials.Ebay, Amazon, as well as the HSLDA Curriculum Market are great resources for doing this, as are garage sales, book sales, and second-hand or thrift stores. Some cities even hold homeschool conventions for this purpose.
If buying materials on eBay, keep in mind that teacher editions are not allowed to be sold there, so don't purchase from a buyer offering those. However, at the HSLDA and other online homeschool trading/auction sites, teacher guides and editions are allowed.
Libraries often have many reading and research materials, as well as textbooks. If you don't have your own computer, the library computers can be used to look up and print research and worksheets. They can also be utilized for educational computer games. Libraries also offer many free educational and activity classes free of charge that would be a useful supplement to the homeschool curriculum plan.
As you can see from the above examples, money does not need to get in the way of a person's desire to homeschool, nor is a large amount of money necessary to provide a quality education. For anyone considering the option of homeschooling, I highly recommend starting at the HSLDA website for information, resources, and state laws. HSLDA is the Home School Legal Defense Association.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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