Homeschooling on a budget: Minimum Input, Maximum Benefit

So I am about five months into homeschooling my two little girls: P, now 5.5 and C nearly 3.5. It’s actually been much less since I embrace the international school holidays, of which there are many. In addition, I had a rather stressed and horrid start for a number of reasons I won’t go into now.

Most of the time, I feel I haven’t really started yet. Especially when I am trying to finalise my ‘goals’ for each girl -and here’s a chance to give a shout-out to a most impressive Mama and homeschooler Jody from Mud Hut Mama for providing so much help.

Friends will say I am being too hard on myself. I am sure they are right to an extent. And then maybe not. There are not many days I’ve actually planned stuff ahead. It seems that whenever I do, we go off track. Overall, I’ve just been enjoying time with the girls and often letting them play. But every so often, a little gem presents itself to me. I got lucky today.

If you walk into any toy store or mega market, you will find a number of shape sorting toys. You can opt for cheap and cheerful plastic ones or the posher, tree hugging (that’s usually me) wooden versions. In the end, I’ve noticed it’s almost always the parents guiding the kids. And if feels like a rather futile exercise.

So today, once again I am focusing on life skills (aka fobbing off my homeschooling duties) and by that I mean: help me put away the dishes, brush your hair, your teeth get dressed by yourself, etc., in the hopes we would make it out the door in time for this amazing Friday art class a fellow homeschooler organised at Attic Studios.  Unfortunately the Bangkok protests made it impossible for us to get to the class leaving me with nothing planned as usual.

As I walked back in the house, closing the door covered in Halloween stickers and dropped my bag by the fully decorated Christmas tree, I looked upon the red Chinese Lantern waiting to be hung and realised I could no longer postpone taking down end of 2013 holiday decorations any longer.

While the kids sorted the decorations, It dawned on me that I had a sorting/classification activity before my eyes. There were several groups: salt-dough decorations –from a burst of Pinterest parenting from Christmas 2012, which looked more like the ‘I nailed it’ meme than actual decorations– fragile Mexican figurines, wooden decorations and then the subdividing of my favorites: the traditional swedish straw decorations.

I felt rather chuffed about this and, as I went to take a picture for this post, I noticed that the girls’ morning chore of putting away their clean dishes and my cutlery could also qualify. 

So here you go: a cheap and, in my opinion more important, useful way to teach your kids classifications. Because really, I always try to stick the pentagon in the hexagon slot so why would I expect my 3 year old to get it right.



p.s. Notice how I lump shape sorting/grouping/classification all into one group. I figure they are close cousins and must be developing similar cognitive skills, whatever those may be. #whinging it.

p.p.s. I can’t believe I just hash-tagged within a post. It’s official, I have no shame. 

2 thoughts on “Homeschooling on a budget: Minimum Input, Maximum Benefit

  1. I haven’t read you for a while, and I am glad to discover your are now homeschooling.
    There are so many easy and fun way to learn. My daughter learn how to follow instruction and how to handle thing properly by cooking cookies or bread. She loves it.
    The hardest part for us is the foreign languages.
    Have fun !

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