It’s that time of year again.It’s the end of the school year, you have filled out paperwork for next years homeschooling approval and made your portfolios. It is time now to choose your curriculum for next year.
My thought used to be the same as yours, “How can I possibly think of new curriculum when I am still working to finish this year still?”
The possibilities are almost endless, and it becomes tireless hours searching online. How can you possibly decide on one? To say it is overwhelming is an understatement. I have been there too!
So lets break this down into a few manageable steps and get you on the right track to choosing the best curriculum for your homeschool students.
Figure out what your goal is
– Do you want a faith based curriculum? -How much time you want to spend homeschooling? -do you want to free up some time during a homeschool day and do some online classes? DVD curriculum?
There have been times that I have switched curriculum in the middle of the school year because it just wasnt working for us. Be mindful and think about the curriculum that has worked and what hasn’t. A lot of times some curriculums follow the same pattern.
What Worked and What Didn’t
– Decide what curriculums you liked and disliked and think about why so you can avoid that when choosing the next curriculum. – Things that you couldn’t find time for? – This year my son was becoming more independent, it made me wish I had considered a DVD curriculum so that he could work and learn on his own for a few subjects, freeing up my time during the day for other things. This may be something that could be helpful to you, especially if you homeschool multiple children.
The next step is determining how much you are able to spend on curriculum and how much time you have to look for free curriculum. For some people the cost doesn’t matter. For others they like to be very frugal with their purchase saving where they can, finding free items, and utilizing online and local resources. If you are like me, I like to save money when I can so making a plan and finding free or low cost resources is a priority for me all year long.
Usually I make a preliminary plan for the year writing down all of the resources and books I plan to use. This helps to see where we will be throughout the year. I map out on my calendar about how long it should take and make a “routine” not a schedule– to keep us on task.
I also get a planner for the new year and mark down all of the vacation days, doctors appointments and any other trips I may have planned so that I can plan our school year around those days without falling behind.
Tips for families just starting to homeschool
It can seem like an overwhelming process finding curriculum when you are just starting. Take a deep breath… and Keep in mind that your child is young. Learning from the environment around them will teach them more than sitting at a table and counting stars ever will. You can teach your child their letters, sounds and numbers as well as simple addition before they are of school age without purchasing an expensive curriculum. Talking to them about animals your see and telling them facts about them, looking through a telescope, learning about bugs and fish… all of these things can be done without a book. If your child does well with sitting and wants to learn along with siblings, simple dollar store workbooks teach just about everything that a big curriculum will.
Hopefully these few small tips will help as you choose your next curriculum this coming school year. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite homeschool curriculum choices are!
Need I say more? That picture alone has me contemplating making more… yes, that’s right these cookies have long since been devoured. I won’t pain you with a long blog post when I know you just want a recipe. I hate running into long blog posts that I have to scroll , and scroll through just to get to a recipe, so I will save you the trouble and only tell you this…
I had a craving for something chocolatey and marshmallowy… (is that a word?) With a hint of peanut. It led me to a recipe that I love, It just so happened that I had every ingredient.
This recipe is bound to be a crowd pleaser, and quite possibly will land every man, woman, child, chicken and cow in the community at your door step begging for your recipe.
Serving: 15-24 (I make big cookies so I made 15 but normal size would yield roughly 24)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Bake Time: 20 Minutes
2 Large Eggs 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract 1/4 tsp. Almond extract 1/2 Cup Unsweetened cocoa Powder 1 tsp. Baking Soda 1/4 tsp. Salt 2 Cups All Purpose Flour 1 Cups milk choc. Chips / peanut butter chips mix 2 Cups Marshmallows (I like the large ones divided) pre frozen works best.
Preheat oven to 325, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or oil lightly.
Cream the sugar and brown sugar together using your favorite mixing tool in the kitchen.
Next, add in your eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract mixing until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together your cocoa powder, baking powder and flour.
Slowly combine your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients.
Using a spatula, stir in your chocolate, peanut butter chips and marshmallows.
In about 2 TBS. Increments spoon out your batter onto your prepared pans and pop them into your freezer to set for roughly 20 minutes for best results. (If you want cookies NOW like I did, cook em’ up… they are still amazing!
Transfer to your oven for about 12 minutes taking mind to check on them. Let them cool for about 5 minutes on a cooling rack.
Just a few after thoughts about some of the ingredients. If you have an allergy or personal preference you can skip the peanut butter chips and add in all chocolate. The Almond Extract can be substituted with extra vanilla, or another flavoring of your choice.
That is the beauty about recipes. You can play with them anyway you like…
Are you tired of throwing all of your money into your homestead? It just never seems to even out at the end of the month. You get up early to work the homestead, possibly work outside of the home…come home to work outside again.
The bills keep stacking up, and you start to wonder if it is really doable to make money on your homestead… or at the least break even.
Rest assured there are many things you can do to save money on your homesteading adventure… and YES, even make money.
1.Sell Seedlings: When you start your seedlings, just add a few more. Selling good quality seedlings can draw in a decent amount of cash, sometimes bringing in $6 for med. sized seedlings. These can include fruits, veggies and herbs.
2.Save and Sell Poo: What is the largest accumulation on your farm? I know on mine it is all of the poop that is scooped out of barns. Oddly enough people will pay you money for poop! I know… crazy right!
My rabbit cages are raised, the poop falls right through the cage and onto the ground. I just scoop it, bag it and sell it. I am planning on figuring out how to just have the poop go right into a container instead of the barn floor.
3. Selling animal product: Something I am sure you have thought of already. But, what can you sell? A few ideas; eggs, milk, meat, cheese, wool and other furs, baby animals of sorts. ( Please check with local laws on selling these types of items it will vary state to state).
4. Breeding animals: As mentioned above this deserves one of its own because this can draw in a lot of revenue. Out of all of my 8 does, just about every one kidded twins which means more money. Regardless of twins even a singleton is more money in your pocket than none. This out of everything I have done on my farm has brought in the most money.
5. Studding out your animal: To go along with Breeding and selling offspring, studding out a Registered Buck or other animal can bring in a lot of extra cash as well. I would stud out my buck for one week and charge a very fine fee. They end up with pure bred animals and you have extra cash. All the while they pay for my animals food during that time as well, which is less food coming out of our supply.
6. Field Rotation: Having your animals start out in one field while the grass grows nice and tall in the other is a great way to save money. Nature will provide their food. After they eat the grass in one, switch to the other.
I have even let my goats free range on my property and into the woods, they stay close to me and they have free food everywhere, and as an added benefit they clear more land for me to utilize.
8. Weed out the males: Having male animals around the farm are only good for a few things… breeding, and meat. I do not keep pets on my homestead because it just isn’t useful to me. (Not including my cats.)
The way that I see it… if an animal doesn’t serve a purpose on my farm it goes to the table or I sell it.
I have a male buck that is Registered through the ADGA. He serves a purpose, and that is to breed with the girls or be studded out. I have no other attachment to him. He is well taken care of but lets face it… he is not a very nice buck.
Roosters are great for meat, or they can be used to fertilize eggs and sell. I have found that it really doesn’t cost much more to have a few extra chickens, especially if they free range. If you are not using them for fertilizing then this is one way to save money and have a full belly.
9. Rent Plots Of Land: I used to live in an area where my property was the third largest in town, It adjoined apartments connected through a patch of my woods. I thought that it would be a fantastic idea to rent out plots of my land to the apartment renters who wanted a small garden but didn’t have the land. They would pay me, and take care of their plot, I would till and manure their plot. This would be a great way to draw in more money and the client base would increase due to word of mouth in the complex. You could also place ads for plot rentals for the season.
10. Switch to solar: Though a small investment to start the pay off can add up to quite a bit per year. Since The Green Mountain Family all moved into this house we decided to put our animal housing on solar. This is a new thing for us but have had great results so far.
11. Sell Seeds: All of the seedlings that you transplanted have grown and matured into beautiful plants and are producing an abundance of nutritious goods for your family… why not take the extra few minutes to save and dry seeds. Not only will they provide for you next year, but you can also sell them!
12. Use What Nature Gave you: This can go such a long way. Nature provides us with so much it is incredible and yet often looked over. Using thick branches for posts, utilizing your own saw mill, logging your own fire wood, medicinal teas, tinctures, syrups ect., selling wild flowers and so much more.
13. Farmers Markets and Farm Stands: This can be such a great way to make money, and meet people in the area. You can sell quite a number of goods through your local market such as Baked Goods, Honey, Essential Oils, Herbs, Veggies, Fruit, Jams, Jellies, and Preserves, Homemade items. This can also open up doors for you with other local farmers that may be able to barter with you for product! I have exchanged homemade Goats Milk Soap for essential oils to add to my soaps, sold animals, and made friends along the way.
14. Local Businesses: I used to sell not only my eggs and Goats Milk to a local business, but they also would buy my Goats Milk Soap to sell in their Antique Store in town. It was a great way to not only earn some extra cash, but to also increase my client base when they saw where it came from, they inturn come directly to me for their next batch… they notice that I also sell eggs and milk for craft purposes and they buy.
15. Homemade Product and other skills: I feel that this needs to be separate from farmers market selling, because this can cover so many different things. Again look into Local and State Law regarding what you are able to sell and how much. I crochet in my down time and sell what I make. This can be done at the Farmers Market or to local businesses. Woodworking, forged items, metal working, soaps, lotions, balms, scrubs, clothing, furs, wool made items… this list could go on as well. Hobbies are done for fun, what we produce from that can be sold.
Sometimes a hobby is very difficult to make money from. When you figure in your time, and the supplies needed it seems like you have to charge a hefty price. Keep in mind that a lot of people are willing to pay top dollar for that homemade baby blanket… it wasnt made by a machine in a factory across seas, it was made in town, it has a story behind it, love went into making the item. That alone makes hold more of a dollar value than one bought at your big chain store.
16. Selling Fire wood or helping someone log: If you have a decent size property having it logged can draw in a good chunk of change, especially if you want more cleared land. Selective cutting for your own benefit and to heat during the winter is also a great option… but, if you are not experienced finding other local people that need help collecting their firewood for the upcoming cold months is a great alternative. you help them cut, chop and stack theirs, and in turn barter for a few cords of wood for yourself. I have done this on a few occasions for friends.
“Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper.”
– Haya Proverb
17. Pick-Your-Own: Selling what you produce, and taking some of the work out of it! What better way to make money. you can sell strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and pumpkins… you can have a little stand where people can also buy local cider and other baked goods brought in from other areas.. this is another great way to earn extra cash and enjoy watching families having fun together.
18. Farm Fish: Do you have your own pond? Why not add to it and your income by farming fish. We have a pond out back that I have been wondering about…. should I clean it up and turn it into a swimming pond… leave it as is, farm fish, or stock it just for my own fun and freezer?
I am sure there are benefits and draw backs to doing this. Our pond is fed from mountain water running through a few other local ponds running down a stream down the road side with over flow going out the other side of our pond and down the stream, so my situation may require a lot more research into where my water is coming from and what it is being used for before it comes to my pond.
19. Freezing, Canning and Preserving: All of the goodness that has been growing in your garden is now in abundance… What will you do with all of it? One way to save you a lot of money, is not going to the grocery store. Winter squash is one of my favorite things to grow because they last for months in a cold cellar, or basement. more favorites are green beans and peas which grow in abundance and can be blanched for freezing. Canning just about everything you could think of, preserving fruits, jellies and jams.
20. Boarding Animals and Farm Sitting: If you have extra space, consider boarding animals… it may be for a long period of time, or when people go on vacation, but, this can bring in a large chunk of change. Farm sitting when people go on vacation could also bring in a decent amount of money. As you know, once you become a homesteader with animals you have to take care of them in the morning and at night. Vacations are a thing of the past unless you have someone to help you out. If I didn’t have family close by I would have definitely considered hiring someone to farm sit for me.