How I Choose

I have tweaked the curriculum suggestions from Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home a good bit with the following things in mind:

1.) Although the author seems to have a Christian worldview, she believes the choice to take a religious slant with a child's education to be the choice of each parent. Therefore, her suggestions tend to be on the secular side. I have supplemented my children's education with materials portraying a Christian worldview. So the choices you will find here on Classical Curriculum will reflect that.

2.) I have four children, so my curriculum choices will reflect this- selections I make will tend to have little teacher preparation time. Selections will prefer student independence, instead of hand-in-hand instruction in the older grades. There will be a few DVDs! We have to do what we have to do to keep the toddler busy and the preschooler happy and the younger ones intrigued and the older ones learning!

3.) Although I dearly love WTM and am grateful for the time and effort put into its creation, I know a lot of us can become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work involved. I want to have children who love learning. I want to avoid burnout- no, I want to enjoy homeschooling. Pick and choose the best parts of WTM for your family. No guilt. Do the best you can!

4.) My husband has a full time job, and I stay home to educate the kids... so we are a one-income family. We will not be purchasing extravagant science kits. That being said, I think quality materials are important. I don't know about your family, but my kids, minivan, and I can really work over the cover of a book! I will always be on the prowl for a used book, a sale, or free shipping. We make one purchase in the spring with $300 of our tax refund. My parents generously give the kids a $300 "scholarship" each year for school materials. And we scrape together $300 a year (sometimes I do childcare for a week for a friend, or sell something on E-bay) for another $300 order each year.

It has been about $1000 a year for us so far. If you think about it, some people spend $500 a month on private school (for one child). Some people spend over $100 a month on designer clothes, shoes, accessories and accoutrements to fund the public school lifestyle. I think that less than $100 a month to educate four kids is pretty good. I confess that I like to own books and not check them out of the library. You may prefer to hunt them down at the library after finding a title here on Classical Curriculum. I just don't want to do that every other year though.

A few things to keep in mind when you analyze the cost of homeschooling:

- how many children will use these materials?
- do you plan on reselling them when your family is through with them?
- will your children take care of them (to be able to resell them)?
- is this book consumable or re-usable?
- are grandparents willing to give scholarships of any amount?
- what do your public schooled parents spend each month?
- what does private school cost in your area?

I'm so pleased you are utilizing Classical Curriculum!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear