Cost

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ttdodge
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Cost

Postby ttdodge » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:00 pm

I have been homeschooling my 1st grader and preschooler for seven months now. There seems to be a general consensus that using free printables/worksheets from the internet are one of the cheapest ways to go. In the beginning this was the route I used. I tracked the cost of ink and paper alone for one month and found that I spent $80 between the two. For the full year that would cost me $360 per child. I felt it was ridiculous to spend this amount every month since I was trying to use a lower cost route. Instead, I decided to use workbooks since my daughter had already attended kindergarten and liked using them. Between her and my son I have only spent $120 on workbooks (6 workbooks DD, 3 workbooks DS) and two books for science and social studies for the whole year. I still do unit studies for science but I have spent far less than what I would have using free printables from the internet. It seems that a lot of people have the wrong idea about using free printables as a low cost way of homeschooling. Of course it boils down to what works best for the family and children individually, but I wouldn't want anyone to make that choice based off cost alone. Any thoughts on this?

kgianforti
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Postby kgianforti » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:57 pm

Actually, I think you proved a very valid point. Nothing is FREE!! Plus you are paying for the internet and the electric to use the internet on top of the costs you tracked.

But the bottom line is...what works best for a family. I agree there too.

Mkat
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Postby Mkat » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:02 pm

I was just wondering about this! I kept thinking, wow, that seems like a lot of ink and paper...

Thank you for sharing this. It came right when I was investigating everything :)

Ophelia
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Postby Ophelia » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:36 pm

I do a lot of printing, either from free sites or things I have created myself, I'm currently teaching two kids and my ink and paper cost is not $80 a month. I really print A LOT of stuff.

With our old printer I was spending approximately $30 every 3-4 months on ink (black and color set). The paper cost was so minimal I can't even give you a number.

We've since gotten a new printer. My husband calls it the ultimate homeschool printer. It's a color laser printer. The printer is meant for small office workgroups. The ink cartridges for this printer are much more expensive than the ones for the old printer, however, you get many many more copies per cartridge. The full set of cartridges is about $120 (ish) and he said we will only need to replace it once a year.

I don't buy the best printer paper there is since much of our work will go into the garbage. I paid about $8.50 in March for two packs of paper that I'm about halfway through.
Dawn

Mother of Fionn (5-7-01), Bailey (9-12-02) and Owen (8-7-07)

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Lorelei Sieja
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Unit Studies

Postby Lorelei Sieja » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:48 pm

If you're really wanting a low-cost program for homeschooling, it's better to not use paper at all. Don't download off the internet and don't do a LOT of workbooks, worksheets, etc.

Unit studies tend to be cheaper, especially when homeschooling more than one. All children cover the same topic, or unit, and separate assignments are created for them at their level.

I did KONOS unit studies for several years, I loved it. Then I also found a unit study program that was based on classical children's books. For instance, when we covered the book "Johnny Tremain" we studied the Revolutionary war. We made wax candles, and polished silver, and I can't remember all the neat stuff we did. But unit studies tend to use Library books, and a minimum of pencil & paper activities. Personally, I've always felt that workbooks didn't really "teach" anything. They are busy work. The child has to already know and understand the concept in order to do the worksheet. So the worksheet is only review. Not always a good investment of resources, although a certain amount of review is necessary.

I'm not saying "don't do workbooks". I did workbooks one year, too. My youngest two did a workbook curriculum, don't remember the name, but all their subjects came in little paper workbooks. I think it was from Rod and Staff. We were moving that year, and I had a high-risk pregnancy that didn't end well. There are definitely times when workbooks are the perfect solution to your situation. But cost-wise alone, you can't beat unity studies.
Lorelei Sieja
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ttdodge
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Postby ttdodge » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:06 pm

Ophelia- I bought the cheapest paper I could from Walmart and only went through two packs a month. I printed everything in black although I could have done color as well. Maybe that attributed to the cost. I also wonder if it's because I've been using an all-in-one printer. I personally enjoyed doing unit studies for everything back then and felt much more accomplished. Maybe I should give it another try and with my regular printer.

Lorelei Sieja- Although I use workbooks they're only for review and they also give me ideas of what to teach the kids, especially with regards to the language arts. They also show me what my kids are struggling and excelling in . I do miss doing unit studies though and I think I might go back to that again.

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Postby Elei » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:21 am

For printing we always use recycled paper: the other side of junk mail and all kinds of letters, we have some friends saving paper for us, we even use old work of the kids if we still can use the other side, no paper goes out of our house with not being used on both sides.

I always print in the "low quality" mode and that also saves a lot of ink, no colour if it is not necessary......
This also saves a lot.

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Postby Jazzy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:40 am

That's a good point! I usually go ahead and buy our workbooks, but we're watching our budget and I need to pay attention to how much we spend on other things. My husband keeps telling me to use black and white mode when I print so things won't come out in color. Using the backs of old sheets of paper is also a good idea.

We bought a high quality laser printer last year, and we have really saved money on toner. We are just now having to replace the toner. With our old ink jet printer we had to replace it every couple of months.

Carletta

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Postby Ophelia » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:52 pm

Are you actually going through 1,000 sheets of paper a month? How many kids are you homeschooling?

I used to use recycled paper (my mom brought paper home from work, cover sheets from people's print jobs) but the new laser printer doesn't like it, so now I buy paper.

Most printers will having a setting where you can adjust the ink intensity or print in a lower print quality, this will save on some ink.

Prior to getting our new printer we were buying recycled ink cartridges (they work just fine) during sales. We got our ink cartridges from InkSmile which was much cheaper than purchasing ink at the store. They usually have a 15% off sale each month.

I hope some of this is useful to you.
Dawn



Mother of Fionn (5-7-01), Bailey (9-12-02) and Owen (8-7-07)

ttdodge
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Postby ttdodge » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:37 pm

Ophelia- I homeschool two kids. It wasn't the cost of paper since that was only $6 a month. It was the ink. I only discovered the quick print option a couple of months ago so I do use it now to save on ink. I like the idea of using recycled ink. I'm going to check into that. Thanks for the idea.

ncmom
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Postby ncmom » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:00 pm

I really think that using the internet as your source for all your curriculum depends on each persons individual situation and the kind of printer they use. If I had a child that age it would be a pretty cheap option.

Last year I copied ALL of my daughters workbook pages and ALL of both of my kids tests and quizzes along with any other worksheets that they need to do. My husband and I print the things that we want too and I haven't purchased ink in almost 3 years. I think it depends on the printer you have too. Mine doesn't use a lot of ink. Last time I bought ink I did buy quite a bit but even then I only spent around $50.00 so that averages out to around $15.00 a year (or less since I still have plenty left).

I buy my ink online and each cartridge only cost between 2.50 and 4.00 depending on which place is running a sale and what kind of sale they are running that month. My ink is cheaper than most though.

I do agree that using the backs of things you don't need is a good idea and we try to do that when possible, but when that doesn't work I just get the cheapest paper possible. I "recycle" mine since I use wood as heat we used the old papers that we didn't need anymore to start the fire.

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Postby Lily » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:07 am

I think using the internet for free ideas is the way to go.

We don't use much paper here. I think I went through 1 package over the year because printables are okay, but hands on works better for us. There are some really, really great resources out there to teach all sorts of things, and it can be next to free to homeschool.

Using a lot of printables, though, would drive my ink and paper costs up to roughly $10 or more per book. EEK! No thanks! I'd rather just purchase a low-cost consumable book than deal with printing out every day. We're looking at finally replacing our 8 year old printer, but until that happens, well, it's cheaper for us to just buy it pre-printed.
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Postby MelissaM » Mon May 18, 2009 5:16 am

Definitely it pays to use the low-grade print option - it saves a bundle! I find that printers are getting cheaper and cheaper and ink cartridges are getting more expensive... and, while you can refill cartridges, you can only do it effectively for a certain amount of time.
That being said, I'm a big printer because I hate reading a lot of stuff off a computer screen.
I agree totally that the library is a really good source for keeping the cost of homeschooling down, particularly in younger kids when you can completely work your own curriculum.
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