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What to prioritize when needing to keep costs down?

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    What to prioritize when needing to keep costs down?

    We’ve been working through and loving the first and second grade cores. Things are super shaky at my husband’s job right now (they just outsourced an entire department with zero notice) so we’re really trying to pinch pennies and beef up our savings. What would you order for third grade if you weren’t using an entire core? My kids love Latin so I’m going to get the simple package of Latina Christina. Obviously, I’ll get the next level of math for each. I’m thinking of just getting the teacher’s guide for spelling and having them work in cheap notebooks. I was considering the same for the literature guides. I honestly don’t know if we’re going to be ready for composition next year and was already considering skipping that. One of my big priorities is reading good books (both the kids on their own and me aloud to them) so I don’t want to skimp much on the actual books. I already own all of the third grade literature books but not many of the supplemental ones. Do I need American cursive II or could we just practice with cursive copy work? I’m also potentially going to have a newborn (unexpectedly pregnant at 39 after years of miscarriages and still waiting to see if baby will keep growing) so I may need to keep things simple next year anyway.

    What would you buy/do? Any great tips for keeping costs down while still proving a great education that’s easy for me to implement?
    DS1 (8) - MP3
    DD (7) - MP2
    DS2 (4) - SCB
    +6 little souls in Heaven+


    I wouldn't skip D'Aulaires' Greek Myths! It is influential all the way through a classical education. You could just get the teacher manual for Christian Studies I and do that course orally with discussion. It does begin our walk through the entire Bible over the course of grammar school.



      You can definitely use the Copybook for your cursive practice especially since at this level all other writing should be in cursive. Just keep that expectation high of lovely, legible cursive when writing and it should be fine.

      For all the levels you can save by making the flashcards yourself.


        Am in/have been in a similar boat! For lot I have never bought or felt I needed the teachers manuals for the younger grades. I like the convenience of handing them the student book and having them work straight from it even if I have them write it on another piece of paper. For spelling, if they’re working on the same level I would get one teacher book and one student book and have them write the answers in a notebook. I feel like you will lose a lot of the great phonics activities in there if you’re dictating out of a book with the answers. You need them to be able to see the questions. You could probably almost get away without the TM but I do have to pull it out regularly for colorful letters! If working on different levels I still feel like the student book would be more helpful than the teachers manual. Greek myths is wonderful, I worked through it with my oldest without any sort of guide and while that was fine I do think the guide is fabulous for slowing down, savoring and really learning it. Just the teachers manual would be fine here. Same thing for Christian Studies. If you were to decide to do some comp, I really like the intro to composition book. It’s not in the current package but you can still buy it on the website. It’s very simple and uses the third grade lit books and would be very easy to just do the work in a notebook (no TM needed here!). States and capitals are great to learn but you definitely don’t need a book.
        Obviously no need to do every subject either. Just looking at my third graders basket of books and throwing out my thoughts on what you need and don’t need if you’re looking at the complete core and needing to save!
        K lite
        ​With a 2 year old and baby tag along


          Congratulations on the pregnancy! As I write this, the baby is dumping the marker bucket. 🤪 I can definitely feel your pain on the added joy and craziness of a new baby.

          For me, math, Latin and literature are the non-negotiables. I would add in EGR as a nice complement to Latin and literature. I would also purchase the curriculum manual because I think it is helpful to keep me on track. For composition, you could use the enrichment portion of the literature guides to work on writing well thought out paragraphs. We use Christian Studies as an oral study so you can save there. Greek Myths,Mammals and States and Capitals could also be done orally and/or making notes in a notebook. The World of Mammals and Don’t Know Much about 50 States books would be necessary. The kids could make notes on the key facts for each state or mammal group. Like you mentioned, you could use copybook for cursive practice. While I would skip most of the flash cards, it would be valuable to have and/or make the Latin flash cards for review. The American history read alouds and the standard read alouds are wonderful but not necessary. You could use a combination of what your library has, what you might own and/or what is used books you are able to find. You could substitute the 4th grade novels if you couldn’t access the 3rd grade ones. The read alouds can be read in any order. We often don’t get to most of the American History books until the summer. You should feel free to flex them in a way that fits your family best.

          For 2022-23
          dd- 7th
          ds- 4th
          dd- 2nd
          ds- adding smiles and distractions


            I think in your situation, I would get the teacher and student book for spelling (it's not really just a copy the words type thing, but skip the supplemental copy the words book). For literature, Christian Studies and Greek Myths just get the teacher's guide. If you are doing Latin, you'll need the EGR book, but again, you could get "away" with just the teachers book and write the examples on the board. The child can do the "copy part" in a notebook. For Literature, have your student write out a few of the answers, but again a notebook will do. I agree your child can just practice writing cursive without the actual NAC book.

            DD1 8/23/09 -Mix of MP 6/7
            DS2 9/1/11 - Mix of SC 7/8 and SC 9/10 (R&S 5, FFL)
            DD3 2/9/13 -SC 5/6

            Previous Years
            DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, Mix of MP3/4, Mix MP5/6
            DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, AAR/Storytime Treasures), CLE Math, Mix of MP3/4, MP5 (literature mix of SC 7/8/MP5)
            DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1, MP2


              I agree D'Aulaires Greek Myths has been fantastic here. We keep referring to it constantly, even years later. If money is tight there, you can just use the teacher's guide with it, or even just the book itself if you take the time to discuss it. I highly recommend making some flash cards for it if you are not buying them. You really want to get then main gods, their symbols and relationships down.


                Slightly off topic, but remember that some things can make great Christmas or Birthday gifts--things like the Greek Myths text, or some of the read alouds. As long as the book makes it into your house, it doesn't really matter how it gets there. Once in, it can be used for school.
                Festina lentē,
                Jessica P

                '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                DS Hillsdale College freshman
                DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                DD 8th • HLN & Home
                DS 5th • HLN & Home
                Me • Just finished MA Fourth Form for Adults! Moving on to a Latin readings class. (Pray for me)

                Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016
                "Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in one year and underestimate what they can accomplish in five." -Mrs. Cheryl Lowe


                  Another way to shave a bit off your total bill is to purchase the actual novels used. Around here, I like to have my own copy of a novel we're studying, so I can mark it up by highlighting vocab, comprehension questions, etc. You could easily pick up The Golden's Children's Bible, Greek Myths, etc from Thriftbooks. Just check the ISBN.

                  You having the teacher's guide and the children writing in notebooks is a way to cut costs, if you think that would work for your children. Mine have some learning issues, so all the copying would NOT work for us. The MP flash cards are nice, but you can easily make your own of those.
                  2022-23: Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                  DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                  DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, Dual Credit - equestrian &theatre
                  DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis/aviation -dyslexia &dysgraphia
                  DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis/aviation -auditory processing disorder
                  DD5 - 10- Mash up of SC levels and standard MP, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian &tumbling
                  DS6 - 8 - MP 1/SC -- 2E cutie with dyslexia, dysgraphia &ADHD


                    I get it, but I remember trying to do similarly in the beginning, and it was so much extra work to either write the questions on the board or cover the answers so my child didn't see the answers in the teacher guide. With a budding pregnancy (and anything that can go awry during one), I would opt for simplicity over cost. One of my friends is teaching me that my time is worth money, too, and having to be present for every discussion because my child doesn't have a guide of her own would be a potential drain. Is there a good resale market in your area? Could you have your student work out of a student book for lit, GM and CSI, but copy answers into a cheap spiral and then resell it?

                    US S&C does not need a TM. I wouldn't need a TM for EGR, either, but English is my happy place. Definitely make your own flashcards.

                    I will be praying for the little life inside you, your husband's job situation, and your family, that the Lord would protect you, guide you and grant you favor during this uncertain time.
                    Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                    SY 22/23
                    6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim w/ Elementary Greek Year One

                    Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                    SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math)


                      I have been thinking this over for awhile now. I agree with enbateau that there is a trade off between time and cost when it comes to most things including homeschooling. I would choose simplicity as well, but sometimes if you don’t have the money (or worry you won’t) then choosing simplicity just isn’t an option. Here is what I am currently thinking…
                      Curriculum manual for 3A - I thought you could skip manual, but decided against it. There is so much you get with the curriculum manual…math tests, spelling sheets for copying words, review box cars, etc. I picked 3A because it gives you the plans for two years worth of Latin, grammar, Greek myths, Christian studies, Next year you can just buy math lesson plans. 3M doesn’t really change the recommendations.
                      Latina Christiana set - skip the DVDs as they aren’t really necessary. I do all the work from the student book on a personal dry erase board as the book has so little room to write
                      Math - buy the textbooks for R&S3 - I think the math practice book isn’t necessary - there are plenty of free ways to practice facts
                      Grammar- buy the student book, skip teacher book. I’m an engineer, English isn’t my happy place, and I don’t need a key for EGR1. You could also skip it and remind them of basic capitalization rules and parts of speech as you go through literature and copybook.
                      Literature- Get the teacher manual and write one of the questions in a notebook that you want them to answer in a complete sentence, work on the sentence together, and then have them copy it into the notebook
                      Writing/cursive/copybook -I would skip the dedicated books for these. If your child likes to draw, consider a composition or sketchbook or just a notebook would work. Much of the copybook is Bible verses and there are plenty of quotes from the literature guides or names of states/Greek gods to use as copywork. You could let your child to pick out something to copy everyday. One year I bought a hardcover blank book on Amazon and had my student write and illustrate Bible verses for a gift for grandma.
                      Spelling - the words are in the curriculum manual. I don’t really like spelling workout so I am biased. I think traditional spelling 3 is coming out next year so you might want to wait on spelling if you have been using that. Generally I use a non consumable spelling program.
                      Greek Myths/Christian Studies- buy the books (used is an option) and the teachers manual. We do them orally and use the drill questions in the back of the teacher guide instead of flashcards
                      Science-3M uses mammals, 3A has Astronomy - if you get astronomy you need the student book because that is where the info is as there is no textbook. I have never used mammals as that is new since I started with MP
                      States and Capitals - there are so many library resources for learning the states and capitals, plus puzzles, games, etc. The one year plans have them learn 2 states per week. State name, capital, and postal abbreviation.

                      Remember that the cores have expended greatly since I started with MP over a decade ago. Some was really needed in the phonics area (finishing up FSR) but have been requests for things people would like added to make life easier. You 100% don’t need to do it all. With younger kids I focus on Math and Latin and Literature/Writing…the rest is gravy.

                      Plans for 2022-2023
                      16th year homeschooling, 13th year with Memoria Press
                      DD College Sophomore
                      DS 11th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata, MPOA Divine Comedy
                      DS 9th grade - Vita Beata Literature/Classical Studies
                      DS 4th grade - 4A with Right Start F, Second Form Latin, AAS 5


                        I can’t thank you all enough for all the great suggestions! It gives me a lot of ideas to work with. I always struggle when so many things seem up in the air, so it’s good to have a solid plan for something I actually have some control over We should find out if this pregnancy is viable the day before thanksgiving; if you can spare a prayer, please pray for my peace in the waiting and in whatever the outcome may be.
                        DS1 (8) - MP3
                        DD (7) - MP2
                        DS2 (4) - SCB
                        +6 little souls in Heaven+


                          PM'ed you. Praying for sure.
                          Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                          SY 22/23
                          6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim w/ Elementary Greek Year One

                          Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                          SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math)


                            I hear you. We're all paying more for everything these days, so it's good to think about. I feel like the student guides for certain subjects, particularly literature, is a luxury. If you needed to, you could have the teacher guide and have your children use notebooks. I also buy books off thriftbooks. Once I found an MP geography book, lol. The shipping is cheap or free after just $10. Another thing I probably won't do is buy DVDs. I'll have to decide if buying simple packages outside of cores is cost-effective, though---haven't crossed that bridge---but I do not need DVD lessons right now. So I think that is a good idea you have there. I also don't think kids need multiple cursive and copybooks. I did that this year, and we're now just using lessons here and there. I am wishing you all the best with your husband's job and pregnancy.