I think a trap that many homeschool moms get into is believing that in order to be a REAL homeschool mom, they have to do it all themselves. This isn’t true–it’s a lie–and it causes well-meaning moms to burn out. As a homeschool mom, you’re in charge of your child’s education, but this does not mean that you have to teach every single subject.

What is your passion? We all have our favorite subjects. For me, it’s history. All of my kids love history because I love history. We have spent hours on the couch reading about history and looking at maps. I confess that in the early years, I loved teaching history SO much that I did not spend as much time on the subjects I didn’t love: Math, Science, and teaching phonics to my son when it felt impossible to teach him to read. I did spend time on these subjects, but I did not give them as much attention as they deserved. I don’t recommend this–and at the same time, I don’t judge myself for this (or you, if you’re doing the same thing). My son got exactly what he needed and learned how to read exactly when he needed to. Maybe he needed extra time to learn without the pressure of trying to understand the words on the page himself.

My kids have all tended to be one year behind in math–is that my fault? Probably. Are they going to be ok? Probably. At some point, though, I realized that my dislike for teaching math was a disservice to my kids. All of my boys, at some point or another, have shown interest in careers that would require a lot of science or math: electrical engineering, aviation and zoology. I wanted for them to have the same passion for math and science as they have for history, and I knew that I wasn’t providing that.

So let’s go back to the question: what is your passion? What subjects do you love to teach? It might not be history. You might enjoy math, or grammar, or science. Choose your favorite subjects and instill that passion of yours into your children. You will bless them by doing so.

What subjects do you really, really, really dislike teaching? What are the subjects you do last, or maybe don’t get through at all? What are you struggling with? Is it time, maybe, to seek other resources or people to cover this subject for you? Pray about what would be best for your children and for your family as a whole. If “outsourcing” a subject or two is going to bring more peace to your home, please think about it.

When I first considered the idea of “outsourcing” some of my kids’ education, my biggest concern was “How much will that cost?” You might be asking the same thing, as it’s a perfectly reasonable question! I’ll share various methods of “outsourcing” below, with their costs, so that you can make the wisest decision for your family.

If the cost of “outsourcing” is holding you back, I suggest working with some friends who have different strengths and weaknesses. Meet together once or twice per week and teach the subjects you each love. If you are sharing skills equally, this shouldn’t cost you anything extra.

If you are interested in finding local classes or online programs to “outsource” your child’s education, here are some suggestions:

Basic Skills

Basic Skills is in Oregon City and offers full day classes 2 days per week for grades 3-4 or 5-6, called their “Supplemental Homeschool Program.” We had kids in this program over the last 2 years and really enjoyed it. In this program, our kids learned math, writing, spelling, reading, history, geography, science, art and drama. The subjects may vary by year or term. The teachers are Jesus-loving and encouraging to kids. It was a blessing for me when one of my kids was so difficult to educate at home because of moodiness. That child had love and encouragement poured into their life at Basic Skills. If you want to homeschool completely, this is not the program for you–your child would be in a traditional classroom with other students 2 days per week, and you would not be choosing the curriculum. You may supplement at home 3 days per week, or simply help your child with the homework from Basic Skills. The cost for this program is $225 per month plus application and materials fees.

Basic Skills also offers high school classes. Current course offerings are in Algebra, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Literature, Old Testament, Writing, Interpersonal Communication, World History and Art. The cost for these classes is around $400 to $500 plus materials fees.

In the summer, Basic Skills offers the SEE program through the month of July, working on basic language arts and math skills. The cost is $135 plus an application fee for classes 3 days per week for 1 month.

There is also the option of tutoring at Basic Skills. Group tutoring is $18 per hour and individual tutoring ranges from $36 to $45 per hour.

First Class Clackamas Teens

FCCT is located in Damascus and offers courses for students ages 12-18 on Mondays. There are two “Core” subject periods in the morning and two “Elective” subject periods in the afternoon. Core classes are offered in science, math, writing, government, history and literature. Elective classes are offered (for Fall 2017) in PE, home economics, photography, choir, CAD, etc. Classes are between $100 and $120 per term. Students may take one class or 4 but are encouraged to stay for lunch and worship.

Village Home

I took one class at Village Home several years ago (a Freelance Writing class for moms), but other than that I do not have experience with their programs and cannot offer a review. Note that Village Home does not appear to be a Christian program.

Village Home is in Beaverton, but also has class locations in Portland and Salem. The appear to have a one or two day school program like Basic Skills, for ages 6-13. The one day program costs $1,600 per year and the two day program is $3,200 per year.

Village Home appears to offer many courses for various grade levels, from ages 5 through 18, in core subjects like math and science as well as several electives courses, for $108 per course.

Tutoring at Village Home costs $35 for a 50 minute session.

Living Waters Spanish

Foreign languages are a perfect subject to “outsource,” unless you happen to speak multiple languages fluently. 🙂 Living Waters Spanish offers Spanish classes for various levels of learners in Beaverton, Canby, Salem, Vancouver and Online. The courses cost $57 per month, and students learn Spanish while also studying the Bible. At the end of the year, there is usually an optional Mexico missions trip. My family has not taken these Spanish courses, but we know the Reiggs, and Brad Reigg teaches these courses. Because we know them and several of our friends have enjoyed these classes, we can highly recommend Living Waters Spanish! 🙂

Veritas Press Self-Paced History

One of my good friends used this program for a few years and her kids enjoyed it. History was not her favorite subject, and this program through Veritas Press is entertaining and educational. You’ll need stable internet access to use it as it is a streaming program. The cost is $199 per student.

Homeschool Science Classes at OMSI

We participated in these homeschool classes at OMSI for a couple of years and enjoyed them. Note that these are not Christian courses and the theory of Evolution and “billions of years ago” will likely be introduced, depending on the subject of the class. Courses are offered on Tuesday mornings and/or afternoons. Tuition is $100 to $300 for 12 weeks, depending on the grade level. An OMSI membership is also required, which is $80 per family.

Abeka Academy

Some of our friends have used Abeka Academy while the mom had to work but still wanted the benefits of homeschooling. The program covers preschool through high school. There are teachers on the screen teaching and directing every course subject. It is a streaming program and requires a consistent internet connection. The cost of this program is between $300 (pre-K) and $1,000 (high school) for online access plus books.

Teaching Textbooks

Teaching Textbooks is probably the most cost-effective method of “outsourcing” math. It requires a computer and can be done in your home. It starts at grade 3, which is really probably grade 2, because Teaching Textbooks seems to be about a year behind other curriculum. The software plus a textbook costs around $120 at the time of this writing. That’s comparable to or cheaper than other math curriculum.

Masters School of Art

If you want your child to study painting, drawing, cartooning, etc., but you don’t desire to teach these things, MSOA might be a good option for your student. Masters School of Art classes are offered in Clackamas and in West Portland. Students can enroll for a whole school day or for 1 or 2 classes on either Thursdays or Fridays. Tuition is $150 per month for a full-time student (3-5 classes), $50 per month for 1 class or $100 per month for 2 classes, plus supply and registration fees. Sibling discounts are available.

Alliance Charter Academy

I hesitate to post ACA here because technically, it is not homeschooling. If you want to have the freedom to homeschool your child completely, I do not recommend enrolling your child full time at ACA. It is a public charter school and because of that, they must adhere to state guidelines. Two of our kids attended ACA part time last year, and while we enjoyed many aspects of the program and liked the people we worked with, we did not go back this year because we wanted the freedoms that come with homeschooling.

Note that it is possible to attend a class here and there as “Community Education” without actually enrolling in the school. I think this is a good option, especially for moms who intend to hang out in the classroom and observe what their child is learning. The current offerings for Community Education classes appear to be mostly electives: music, PE, and art, with a couple of core subjects for younger kids (math, science). Community Education classes cost around $100 to $250, depending on the class.

I will post more about our experience with ACA soon, and why I don’t recommend enrolling your child full time.

 

I hope this is helpful! I know there are probably many resources I have missed. What ways do you “outsource” your child’s education? Share below!

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*Note, I will link to my reviews as I post them with a note, “click on link to see my review.” Until a review is written, all links will be to either the product on Amazon or on the manufacturer’s website.

My oldest is almost 16, and I have been homeschooling him officially since he was TWO! That’s 14 years of homeschooling. I suffer from a condition I call “Curriculum ADD.” 😉 In other words, I have always been in search for the *very best* curriculum for my kids. In my defense, I also have kiddos with learning disabilities, so there really was good reason to switch between some of the curricula–they just weren’t working. I also really like books. A lot….and there are so many good books out there!

On a positive note, trying out so many curricula puts me in a great position to write reviews of several different programs! I want to share what we have used over time, and I will link to my in-depth reviews of some of the curriculum as well.

I hope this post is helpful to those of you who don’t even know where to start when it comes to picking homeschool curriculum. There is A LOT out there, and it is so hard to decide! Read my reviews, as well as others online. I like reading Cathy Duffy’s reviews, you might also.

I mentioned that I homeschooled our oldest when he was two. That’s because my friend let me borrow the curriculum Hands on HomeschoolingI’ve linked to my review here, so that you can read more about it.

We also used Letter of the Week, which is fun, easy and free! Once I had letter pictures taped up on the wall of a hospital room, because our oldest was admitted again, and by golly, this mama was still going to get some school done and not have him watch cartoons all day. 😉

I used Bob Jones’ University Press Pathways to Preschool, which was fun, but it was really made for a bigger preschool class. By this time we had 3 preschool age boys, and we enjoyed using it. It required some expensive items (like a “Visual Pack”), which I didn’t realized when I first bought it. This is why I say it’s really made for a bigger class.

I guess the first official big homeschool curriculum I bought was Tapestry of GraceI saw it at the Oregon Christian Homeschool Conference (put on by OCEAN Network) and liked the concept of going through history chronologically, and teaching all of my kids the same history and science subjects. We’ve used 2 different Tapestry of Grace levels. My kiddos have fond memories of our year (or two I think?! They were young, and we had a brand new baby–we went slow!) we spent on Year 1 of Tapestry of Grace and the projects we made.

After Tapestry of Grace, I put together my own curriculum a few times. This works ok if you’re really organized, but it doesn’t work well if you second-guess yourself on the hard days or when your child complains about what you designed. If you are not a seasoned homeschooler and you need to gain some confidence in your ability to homeschool, I suggest going with a well-established company with a tried-and-true curriculum (If you can afford it…that is the big ideal stopper, because curriculum packages are not cheap).

I looked at Sonlight several times and considered it, but at first I thought it was too expensive, and I was not sure it would work with multiple kids of different ages/grade levels. Instead, I went with Heart of Dakota. We’ve used 3 different levels of Heart of Dakota since then.

Eventually, I was able to buy Sonlight. I liked Sonlight, and have considered it again other years. This year I almost considered using Sonlight 100 with my boys and D/E with my girls (US History), before we decided to enroll in Classical Conversations.

I used Ambleside Online one year and have referred to their book list several times throughout the years.

Every year I go back to Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise’s The Well Trained Mind and re-read their suggestions for every grade and subject that applies to that year. This is a staple book for every homeschooler who believes in educating classically. (If you don’t know what that means, read the book to learn more).

I used Beautiful Feet Books last year to supplement some other materials (and classes my kids were taking outside of the home). Last year, two of my boys used the Medieval History Through Literature pack for 8th and 9th grade history/literature. I read the books from the Teaching Character Primary Resource Pack to my girls during grades 4 and 1. I enjoyed these guides, but I did not feel like the learning was as complete or well-rounded as with a curriculum like Sonlight. I wished, for high school literature/history, that more writing was assigned.

Out of all of the above, Sonlight is my favorite all-in-one curriculum. The books assigned are fun and I felt like the curriculum was easy to follow.

I enjoyed Tapestry of Grace the first year(s) that I used it (I think 2006-2008), but I struggled with the curriculum I purchased 2 years ago (2015) and didn’t end up using it because so many of the books were out of print or cost-prohibitive (new and used on Amazon at expensive rates). I was super bummed, because Tapestry of Grace is a fabulous curriculum, and would continue to be my very favorite if it were kept updated.

We’ve used some different math curricula! We ended up switching around between the different math curriculum because we have different styles of learners, I was given some curriculum to try, and also because the curriculum we were using assigned a certain math curriculum (Example: Heart of Dakota schedules Singapore Math). Here’s what we’ve used:

  • Math U See This is a great curriculum, the closest to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling (a gentle, hands on approach) of any math curricula I have seen).
  • Saxon Math While Saxon is a staple for many homeschoolers, it is not a good fit if you have a child who needs to do a lot of erasing (as the paper is thin) and also has angry outbursts when the paper is ripped because of too much erasing. Ask me how I know! 😉
  • Teaching Textbooks This is good for online math learning, independent of mom. WOOT! It’s what we used before my husband took over math. Note that it is about 1 grade level behind other programs.
  • Singapore Math I find Singapore to be pretty confusing and won’t be using it again. I know that many homeschoolers like it…I don’t…
  • Horizons Math I personally like Horizons. I think it’s comparable to Saxon, but with thicker paper and color pages and Bible references.
  • Rod & Staff Mathematics for Christian Living This required too much handwriting for one of my kids. Every problem has to be copied onto paper, there is no workbook.

My husband is our kids’ math teacher these days, and his official favorite curriculum is Math U See.

For phonics/teaching my kids to read, I have also used several resources! We have 2 Dyslexic kiddos who have needed a lot of help and teaching. Finding the *right* curriculum for them has been a challenge.

  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons This worked for 2 of my kids who did not have learning disabilities. One picked up reading by maybe lesson 20! The other picked it up just by listening to his brother learn to read!! 🙂
  • The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading I like most books by Jessie Wise and I really respect her–but of the two books, I prefer Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons over The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Scaredy Cat Phonics
  • Letter Factory Videos
  • Spell to Write and Read I know many people have had success with this program. I tried it when my boys were young and one was really struggling to read. This system was pretty complicated for me to follow, and I did not end up sticking with it.
  • All About Spelling This is my very favorite program for teaching phonograms and basic spelling/reading. A tutor we saw recommended the Barton program, but it is pretty expensive and requires training to use it. All About Spelling was in my price range and it’s helped my kids tremendously.
  • Starfall.com
  • Explode the Code These are great busy books for kids who are learning phonics, to reinforce the skills learned in All About Spelling or another program.
  • Bob Books
  • The Reading Lesson

For Grammar, we have used:

  • First Language Lessons Which I love. I think I could teach English Grammar every single day using this curriculum, just give me a class of kids at this level. It is fun! Note: I like Grades 1 & 2 in this curriculum. The older grades get into diagramming sentences and move rather quickly. My kids were not ready for it at the time that we tried this–or at the pace that the book was going.
  • Rod and Staff Building Christian English This was OK but the amount of exercises per day is intense! I would assign my kids every-other problem or less. There is no workbook, everything is copied from the book onto a piece of paper or into a composition book. This amount of writing was too much for one of my kiddos and made grammar impossible for him. I found First Language Lessons to be a much gentler approach to grammar.
  • Our Mother Tongue We are new to this, it is a part of my daughter’s Classical Conversations Essentials curriculum. I will post more after we have more experience with it.

For Handwriting, we have used:

  • A Reason for Handwriting  These are good books, however, the writing pages are long for little kids who may get overwhelmed. For some kids, I would only assign 1/2 a page per day. At the back of the book there are several blank lined pages for writing, and we have never used these…So that feels like a bit of a waste of money.
  • Handwriting without Tears  I think these books are probably my favorite, most straight-forward handwriting books.
  • Draw Write Now

For Spelling, we have used:

For Writing, we have used:

  • Writing with Ease This is a fun book, if you read the chapter books that go along with each week’s lesson. You could come up with these kinds of exercises on your own (nicely write out a sentence from a book you’ve just read aloud and have your child copy it), without buying a book. With multiple kids, I thought it was especially easy to purchase the PDF of this book and print copies of the writing worksheet for each kid.
  • Daily 6 Trait Writing These are good for independent work, and they teach basic writing skills, but I don’t think that they will produce *excellent* writers.
  • Write with the Best
  • Institute for Excellence in Writing This is a very good program. Possibly the best writing program I have come across.
  • Lost Tools of Writing New to us this year with Classical Conversations Challenge A and I. I will post more when I’ve seen my boys’ essays and the process they go through in this book to create them!.

For Science, we have used:

For Bible, we have used:

For Character, we have used:

If I think of more curriculum, I will add it here! I hope this is helpful to those of  you who don’t know what to choose! God bless you as you make curriculum decisions for your family!

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links. If you click on the links and make a purchase, the writer of this website will earn a small percentage from your purchase, at no extra expense to you. 

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Hands on Homeschooling: A Review

September 22, 2017

It’s been about 14 years since I used Hands on Homeschooling with my then-two year old, and both of us really enjoyed it. Back then, I was a new mama of two little boys (13 months apart), and besides the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, feeding, laundry, bathing, etc. (which can sometimes take all day!), I […]

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Coloring Pages

September 30, 2014

There are tons of free coloring pages online! All About Coloring Free coloring pages of several themes, including Bible, Animals, and more. Bible Coloring Pages This site has some nice Bible coloring pages. Beware though, they bombard you with banners and pop-up ads. Christian (Bible) Coloring Pages More Bible coloring pages.  There are ads on […]

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A Homeschool Plan (Curriculum Choices)

September 30, 2014

I wrote this in 2007! That was so long ago! My boys were 6, 5 and 4 and my daughter was just 5 months old. I wanted to share with you what I picked out for the year. As I look back on this post, I realize that I did not use everything I had […]

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Homeschooling with a Toddler

September 30, 2014

I wrote this post a few years back….Ruby is 7 now. 🙂 I don’t want to give you the impression that our homeschool days are all wonderful and perfect, but here’s a glimpse of one of the days that was working for us! Many people wonder what to do with a little one while you […]

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Tutoring Services

August 6, 2014

Homeschooling and Tutoring Services!! Hi, my name is Erin Khooda. My passion is teaching. I love figuring out the way a student learns and teaching them accordingly. My goal is to give my students a comfortable environment so that they are best able to think and learn. It is great to see the “light” go […]

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Exodus Books Curriculum Sale

July 9, 2014

Exouds Books is having a sale on new curriculum, 12% off, through July 31, 2014. Check out their website or visit their store for more details!

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HOOPS Homeschool Basketball 2014 Season

October 10, 2013

The 2014 HOOPS basketball season is fast approaching! Registrations are due by November 15th and costs remain the same as last year at $45 per child.  Get your registrations in early!  Participation is limited to available space on teams and teams will generally be filled in the order registrations are received. The tentative schedule is: […]

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Homeschool Moms Support Group

September 17, 2013

This Thursday, 9-19-2013, is our Moms Homeschool Support Group. Come as you are and enjoy other moms who are walking this same journey of homeschooling. We meet at 321 Chinook St Molalla, OR 97038 7pm-? RSVP if possible to: 503-829-8734 (come anyway even if you don’t RSVP. We’ll have room! :O) Feel free to bring […]

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