Do You Know These 5 Important Ways to Save Money While Homeschooling?

Do You Know These 5 Important Ways to Save Money While Homeschooling?

Money Saving Tips for At-Home Schooling


“I wanted to homeschool but when I looked into homeschool programs I felt like they were all too expensive.” A girlfriend shared this with me at the park as we discussed our kids education together. Parents with children in school spend anywhere between $200-$1500+ per student, per year on public school fees & supplies. At home school expenses can seem intimidating when a parent is looking to first start at home schooling.


Something that is important to remember when considering the financial implications, is you’ll be saving a ton of money on expenses you would be spending throughout the year. Commute expenses including wear and tear on your vehicle and gas costs driving to/from school (plus the added benefit of not spending an hour a day in the carpool line!), school lunches, extra fees for classroom parties, teacher gifts, school fundraisers, donation requests, etc. Homeschool programs can sometimes be as expensive as a school field trip, or with the right amount of looking free programs can be found. Most parents are pleasantly surprised to find they spend less in a school year than they did in a public schooling year.

ShillerLearning’s Top Five Money Saving Tips for Homeschoolers


  • Re-sell


This will mean something different to each family. Some families want a shiny new curriculum that they can resell it when their children are done. Other families purchase second hand curriculum or get hand-me-down curriculum from co-op friends. Check your local used bookstore and children’s consignment stores, they often have second-hand homeschool curriculum, sometimes in like new condition.   We occasionally have second hand curriculum offered on our website or join our Facebook community where people sell their Montessori inspired ShillerLearning materials when they’re completed with them.


  • Coupon!!


Don’t be scared, I’m not suggesting you go extreme couponing but keep your eyes peeled on coupons for craft stores. Those 40% and 50% off coupons can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars through your schooling time. The craft stores often have basic school supplies, organizing supplies, and great shelving for your Montessori materials. Check with the terms on your coupon, sometimes you can print multiples and go on different trips throughout the week or have each kid make a separate purchase. Also, check out mail in rebates, both through the store and directly through the manufacturer. Last year, I was able to get two reams of paper for 1 cent each and three packs of Sharpies for $1 each with rebates!


Bonus tip- Don’t forget to sign up for store loyalty programs. AND, often stores that offer an educator/teacher discount will extend this discount to at home schoolers. This is something they’re especially willing to do if you’re enrolled in an Umbrella school and can get a letter on school letterhead stating you’re a teacher for the school.


  • Think green & save green


Buy books second hand, find free eReader books through Project Gutenberg, host a book swap or visit the local library to keep your library fresh without spending too much money. Join a co-op and swap around Montessori shelf materials. Homeschool curriculum can be reused through multiple children in the same family, or resold. Curriculum in like new condition sells at a higher rate. Plus, it helps protect the environment. Consider using a job ticket holder and dry erase markers instead of writing directly in workbooks.


  • Shop Around and Ask for Price Matches


It pays to shop around. If you’ve got your eye on a homeschool curriculum, or a homeschool program you’d really like to attend, do your research. If you find the same curriculum, or a similar program, for less expensive, consider asking for a price-match. Local businesses are typically more than willing to do this as it helps them keep their business local. Online vendors can have prices vary up to 10% from one another. It pays to substitute a bit of your social media time to comparing prices and trying to get the best deal.


Bonus Tip- Don’t forget about web apps such as Ebates, Swagbucks, and Honey to get cashback or coupons on your purchases.

Do Your Shopping After School Has Already Started in Your Area & In the Spring


When I started homeschooling last year, we were also in the middle of a big transition in our living situation and had to replace virtually all our belongings. I went to the store the weekend after Labor Day to get supplies for the school year. There wasn’t a lot left, but enough of the basics remained. Best of all, they were 75%-90% off! The employee I spoke with at the store said they start marking supplies down the week after school starts and usually keep things available on clearance until they start setting up for Halloween. We were able to purchase everything we needed for our school supplies for under $25. Late winter/ early Spring is also a valuable time of year to start getting materials for next school year. This is the time of year many companies are attending conventions, and they often offer discounts to order curriculum during this time as well.


Want more money saving tips for materials? Check out these FREE Montessori Activities and Resources!

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Colorado. She loves Colorado’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


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Multisensory Shopping Easy

Multisensory Shopping Made Easy- Introducing ShillerLearning’s Partner Products

All The Best Multisensory Play and Learning In One Place


One of the great things about the Internet is the ability to find anything. Literally, anything you want in the world can be found with a few clicks. Anything you’d like to own can show up on your doorstep in a few days. Never before has the world been so accessible to us. The downside of this is that we have more information than ever to wade through.  


Want to learn a new skill? Easily done. But first, you have to sort through thousands, or millions, of results. Have a kid who wants to research electricity? Something is out there! There may hours worth of digging through info to find what they love. Looking for engaging, tested, hands-on, multisensory resources? You can easily get trapped spending hours browsing. We’ve all come to develop a love/hate relationship with this. The world is extremely accessible but it comes with a price. The value of our time and energy becomes compromised with so much available.

Multisensory Shopping Made Fast & Easy


As homeschool parents, our time is valuable. We don’t have hours to spend sifting through websites. Our children need us available. Our home tasks await. Plus, our own personal study and self-care demand our time. Spending hours on end trying to find that Ocarina for our children isn’t going to be an option. Sometimes we just give up trying to find the science kit because there are too many options out there!


The Montessori community is a beautiful one. You’ll find Montessori homeschoolers throughout the world. People creating hands-on learning for their children. This community is also a highly creative community. It’s easy to get sucked down the product rabbit hole. We all love the classic wooden toys, kinesthetic materials, and instruments.


Introducing ShillerLearning’s Partner Products


ShillerLearning is proud to announce our new partner products! While traveling the country over the years exhibiting at homeschool and other educator conventions, we have come across some amazing resources; we’ve been scouring the Internet for you. All to bring you an easy one-stop space to find what you need for your children!


Here’s what you’ll find and love:


  • High-quality wooden toys


  • Beautiful musical instruments


  • Hands-on play and learning materials in a wide range of subjects


  • Homeschool curriculum enhancements


  • Math and language arts materials for ages beyond what ShillerLearning’s curriculum covers


  • Science kits


  • Great gift ideas for all ages- even adults!


  • An easy to navigate shop



  • Building blocks and kits



  • Low prices


  • Kapla blocks and instructions


  • Educational games for the whole family


  • Multisensory materials for all ages


  • Personalized learning tools


  • The best quality products we could find


  • More coming on a regular basis!

See something missing you think we should add? Let us know! Have a favorite multisensory product or education brand you’re surprised isn't included? Shoot us a message or give us a call!


Check out this amazing new resource. We’ve put it together with care and love. You’ll save time, money, and stress. We hope it helps make your home education richer (and easier!)

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Homeschool Black Friday Deals

The Best Homeschool Black Friday Deals!

Black Friday shopping is upon us. This can be a fantastic time to save big money on homeschool curriculum and materials. We’ve rounded up a few deals for you.  

Black Friday Shopping tips:


Shopping smart and making a plan can save you even more on Black Friday! Here are a few tips:



  • Set a budget and a wish list. My Mama always says “just because it’s on sale, does not mean you NEED it.” If you have been scoping something out all year waiting for it to go on sale, grab it. If it’s something you just saw for the first time and you’ve already blown all your Black Friday spending money, wait until next year to decide if you want it then.


  • Use your resources wisely. Check out sites like Ibotta, Ebates, Honey, and Swagbucks to get more bang for your buck with shopping.



  • Find out about return policies. Sometimes companies alter their return policy on Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Deals for Montessori Homeschoolers


Make sure to check out ShillerLearning Black Friday sales:


Shop at to save 20% on ShillerLearning kits, books, and audio cd’s and receive FREE shipping with promo code CYBER18 on orders over $60, plus receive a rebate of up to $50 on your kit purchase ($20 of any 2 kits, $30 off of 3, $40 of 4, or $50 off of all 5 ShillerLearning kits). Offer valid 11/22/18 to 11/28/18.



  • Little Passports- $10 off a Monthly Subscription, $20 off a 6 Month Subscription, $40 off a 12 Month SubscriptionUse code: BESTDEAL at checkout


  • Color Thru History- “Through Black Friday, you can lock in the special price of just $11/month for the life of your subscription!”



  • Softstar Shoes- At the time of this blog publication, they had not yet released their deal but they usually have a large sale. Softstar shoes are popular shoes among the Montessori community.


Need some great gifts? Check out our NEW Partner Products. Brand new this holiday shopping season.


  • Melissa and Doug toys are popular among Montessori families. They always have FANTASTIC Black Friday-Cyber Monday deals.



  • Kloo- 25% off their foreign language learning games. Sign up for the newsletter to get the coupon code and save on top of their already marked down prices!


  • Tegu Blocks are also popular among the Montessori world and usually have good sales over the holiday weekend.


  • Check out Educents for curriculum materials. Lots go on sale around Black Friday-Cyber Monday!


Don’t forget to check out the office supply & craft stores for deals on art, craft, and office supplies! You’d be surprised what gets marked down.


What Black Friday deals have you found? What tips do you have to save money on homeschool materials?  


Like this? Check out these tips for saving money on homeschooling:

Montessori Works Made From Craft Supplies

Free Montessori Activities and Printables

Do you know these 5 important ways to save money homeschooling?

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Phenology Wheel for Homeschool Nature Study

Phenology Wheel for Homeschool Nature Study

“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature… so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates.”


Maria Montessori

How to Start Using a Phenology Wheel, and Why You’d Want To!


A huge trend among homeschooling families is nature study. In an era where we are indoors more than ever before in human history, getting our kids (and ourselves) outside more often is a huge benefit. In addition to the popular nature journal, a Phenology wheel can be an excellent addition to nature study for homeschoolers, and parents alike.

Phenolo What?!?!


Phenology sounds like something you might see on a nameplate at a doctors office. In reality, Phenology is the study and observation of natural events and cycles. Typically, people are studying climate & seasonal changes. Phenology is a fantastic way to get more in touch with the tune of nature and observe the subtle changes the Earth gives us of where we’ve been, and what’s to come.


What is a Phenology Wheel?


A Phenology wheel is simply a way to document your observations in one spot. It allows you to make note of your observations and keep an easy-to-use record of what you’ve seen. Phenology wheels help us to stop and reflect on something we might not otherwise notice. When we work on phenology wheel, we notice the changes in plants, trees, wildlife, weather, and ourselves in a way we never have before. The wheel enables our children to notice small details and to grasp the calendar in a new way.

Generally, people draw their observations and use the wheel as a visual guide and enhancement to their nature journal. However, if you’re not artistic (or have a student who does not like to draw) the wheel can be written on instead. The wheel itself is simply a circle broken up into equal sections. Traditionally, the wheel is made to reflect one year, so it is broken up into twelve sections. We will use this model as our example.


How do I get started?


Making a Phenology Wheel is easy. It just requires a compass, protractor, pencil, ruler, and art supplies (alternatively, a large enough circular object to trace would work). You can make your own or use the template we’ve provided below get it here.  

  • Begin by making a large circle on the center of your paper
  • Next, make a small circle within in- about a ¼-½ inch smaller than your first circle
  • Next, make a small circle in the very middle of your larger circle- a couple inches across is good
  • Divide your two inner circles into even sections of 12 (this is a great math opportunity!)
  • Don’t divide up that outer ring you created
  • Time to label
  • Around the outside ring, label your seasons (people often color coordinate this as well)
  • The first “layer” gets the months of the year written at the top of each section
  • Leave the inner ring blank for now


How to use your Phenology Wheel?


Now that you have set up your wheel, how on Earth do you put it to work? To a certain extent, this is totally up to you. The natural world, your current Science study, and the interest of your homeschoolers can be your guide. Pick two different things to study throughout the year, we’ll give you some ideas below. Also, pick a day of the month to make your observations (it’s ok if you get off a day or two in either direction.)


You’ll head out on your designated day each month and make your notes and artwork to have a beautiful visual record at the end of the year. The outer wheel and inner wheel can be used to observe two different things, two different aspects of the same thing, or one for drawing and one for written notes. As the year progresses, you’ll begin observing more astutely and keenly what changes are happening right under your eyes that you might not have otherwise notices.


If desired, spend time studying what you’re observing from books and documentaries as well. Perhaps you could even visit with a local expert or arrange a class at a nature center. You can even adapt the science portion of your homeschool curriculum to include information on what you’re documenting.

Here are a few ideas for observation:


  • Use the outer circle to observe an animal, and the inner a place in your yard

  • Observe your household pet’s fur and habit changes throughout the year

  • Make note of the changes sees in a tree and an area with wildflowers

  • Go to the beach at the low time and make note of the animals seen on the outer circle, and tide times on the inner

  • Use the wheel to document the height/weight of your student(s), and something they learned, a first, or something they loved each month

  • Observe the sky and stars

  • Make note of the fur on your favorite zoo animal and any other changes taken in their living environment.


This method can also be used on a smaller scale. Perhaps set up a wheel for a month or two observation of the growth of your favorite garden vegetable! Or if you live somewhere with snow, observe the different types of snowflakes and the weather when they fall. This is also a popular way to observe the moon cycles each night over the course of a month.

As you can see, there are countless ways to incorporate this tool into your at homeschool curriculum. The entire family can observe the same thing, or everyone can choose to study something different. Depending on the approach you take, you could be including, art, science, research, reading, and math with this beautiful project.


Do you like This?

Check out more outdoor-inspired activities:



See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, an eight-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


What to Do When Your Child Freezes Up During a Homeschool Lesson

Why Kids Freeze Up During Homeschool Lesson

He was looking at me like a deer in the headlights. This child who was generally focused was completely frozen. I wasn’t sure what it was about our homeschool lesson that had him like this. Was he being stubborn? Did he not want to work at school anymore? Was he playing around? Why couldn’t I get him to do his work?

Have you ever had this experience? Where your child freezes up during school. Or that moment when they’re supposed to be completing a work they’ve done before. All of a sudden, they’re putzing around, playing, distracted, or staring with a total blank face.

Oftentimes when these moments occur, we get frustrated. I think our default is to assume the child is trying to get out of their work.
Sometimes we assume they would rather play than work. Or we believe they are ignoring our directions or being disrespectful.

Allow me to present a different option.

Why Kids Freeze Up During Lessons


Sometimes our children freeze up or act out while learning because they’re being stubborn. Yes, this is true. Yet, it’s often not that at all. In most cases a child is freezing up or acting out during school for a much different reason then parents understand. If your student is frustrated, acting up, or freezing- consider looking at it from a different point of view. I’ll share some common reasons learning doesn’t go as planned, then share some tips for what to do.


One of the most common reasons kids freeze up or don’t engage, is overwhelm. Even if it’s a lesson you’ve gone over before. It can happen if it’s a work your child has completed a task with success many times over. Sometimes our kids get overwhelmed and their brains can’t handle it. Children’s brains are growing fast. They are taking in countless tidbits of new information each day. Just as we sometimes have “mom brain” and forget things, our children forget things too. If you find your child sitting in front of a familiar task and acting like they’ve never seen it before, or acting out, they may feel overwhelmed.


This is also true for a brand new subject or work. The work may be age appropriate and the next most logical thing for them. Their brain might be too overloaded to handle something new. Children will often “be sick” or have to potty when they get overwhelmed as well.


They might also think the lesson is too hard. If a child views something they don’t think they’re capable of doing, all kinds of unusual behaviors can surface. Often a child who is not hyperactive will start being hyperactive. They may all of a sudden need to reorganize their entire area. They may break down and cry. Your child may not have the words to express that the task feels too big for them to handle.


Freezing up or acting out during school requiring writing is one of the most commonly cited. It can be challenging for a child’s brain to process thoughts, the proper way to hold a pencil, how to spell words, getting the words out on paper in the right order, etc. The writing process is complex and often too much for kids to handle. Some children may not be ready to do creative writing on their own until they are 9 or 10.


Children have a large need for movement. Especially for young children, not moving much can be a large barrier to learning. Another reason a child may shut down or seem to “act up” is because they need more movement. Children may get fidgety, start bouncing around, or having a hard time focusing when they need movement.


Subject length is something many families struggle to find a balance on. Some children can focus on a single subject for 30+ minutes, others may only be able to focus for five. If your child is losing interest, zoning out, or acting up- the length may be too long for them to understand. This goes hand in hand with overwhelm. Long lessons can be hard for children to follow and stay engaged with.


One reason many families cite for homeschooling is more time together. Especially in larger families, children may display unusual behaviors when they’re needing attention.   What is viewed as disrespectful behavior might be their way of saying “notice me.” Many children have learned that they can act up or freeze during school to get extra attention from Mom.


Other possible options for struggles during a homeschool lesson vary based on age, health, and unique needs of the child. If they are dehydrated, hungry, overstimulated, need a sunshine or fresh air boost, have low blood sugar, or need to stretch- your session may suffer. Any of these can create problems for adults and children alike.

What to Do When A Child Struggles During Their Lesson


Our children are still learning to identify feelings and use their voices. While they may not exactly know what’s causing them to freeze up or act in an unusual manner, adults can help. Offering alternatives and solutions during periods of struggle may turn your school day from one of tears to one of fun.


Try a brain break- snuggle up for a read aloud, let the child crawl under the table for some alone space for a while, do some yoga, or give a massage.


Stop the task and come back to it later- one of the joys of homeschooling is we can try again another time. Stopping an activity to come back to later during the day, week, month, or year is okay. Try some of these other tips and come back to it.


Go to something that’s an easy victory- then try the other lesson. This is huge for a lot of kids. Some parents even set up their day to have an easy victory before a challenging task. Perhaps you allow them to work on a task they have completed many times. You may also decide to pull out an easier work from months gone by that you know they can master. The little confidence boost of completing a task quick and easy provides a good boost of endorphins for something harder.


Try large motor movements- don’t underestimate the power of movement. For some children flipping cartwheels or doing push ups suffices. Other children actually enjoy some hard, physical movement. Try pushing a chair across the kitchen, assembling a folding table, or similar task. This can be helpful for children with sensory processing difficulties.


Cross the midline- this helps connect the right and left sides of the brain. It can be quite remarkable to see what happens to a child who is frozen over a task. Have your child touch their opposite hand to foot, elbow to knee, rub the opposite ear with their hand, cross arms and rub shoulders, etc.


Do something creative- especially before Math and Language Arts. Parents often report their children work more willingly, and with more success, when they’re creative. Allowing a child to do some art or build with Legos before a task requiring a lot of focus and concentration may help prevent them from freezing up.


Take a play break- sometimes a kid needs to play!


Figure out a way to spend 1:1 time with each child, even if it’s only 10 minutes. I know it seems impossible sometimes. This can be helpful though. Getting a bit of 1:1 time helps the child to feel connected and heard.


Get some sunshine, have a snack, breathe in the fresh air and grab a drink. Sometimes it’s the most basic of things that our children (and us!) need to move forward.


I hope this has been helpful for you. It can be incredibly frustrating when our homeschool lesson isn’t going as planned. Making sure our children have options and alternatives is important. Often we default into consequences assuming it’s defiant behavior. These simple tips can change everything.


Want more inspiration and tips for smoother homeschool days?

Check out these posts:

Grace and Courtesy FREE Activity Pack

Parenting Styles That Use Positive Discipline Aren’t New- Montessori Has Taught This for 110+ Years

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Colorado. She loves Colorado’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


Do You Know These Celebrities Who Got Their Start with Montessori?

Do You Know These Celebrities Who Got Their Start with Montessori?

The Montessori Method has been growing in popularity in the U.S. during the last several decades. This beautiful and unique approach to education inspires a love of learning in children. This method also fosters independence, creative thinking, character development, and self-esteem. These schools can now be found almost worldwide, and have produced some famous individuals as a result of this unique form of education.

Famous Montessori Educated Students

“The Google Guys” & Other Tech Giants.


Larry Page and Sergy Brin the founders of Google are two of the most often mentioned alumni. They have honored their education on the Google homepage and have accredited their education as a key component to their success. Take a blast from the past and watch this ABC interview where the “Google Guys” talk about their preschool education.

Will Wright, who created the video game “The Sims,” was educated with this method. Now millions of people worldwide play his iconic game, and it was one of the first widespread computer video games.

Jeff Bezos, who recently became the wealthiest man in modern history history, better known as the founder of Amazon proudly discusses his educational roots whenever asked. A Bloomberg article states

“As a preschooler, Jeffrey P. Bezos displayed an unmatched single-mindedness. By his mother's account, the young Bezos got so engrossed in the details of activities at his Montessori school that teachers had to pick him up in his chair to move him to new tasks.”

(Read more at Jeff Bezos: The Wizard Of Web Retailing)

Musicians, Cooks & Actors

Dakota Fanning, got an early start in her school. She has stated she began reading at age 2 and attended a Montessori preschool prior to getting her start as an acclaimed actress. She got an early start and would later become the youngest-ever Screen Actors Award nominee and history’s youngest Academy member.

Sean Combs (better known as P. Diddy or Diddy), was educated in a Montessori school in New York. He is now a Grammy-award winning musician and recording artist.

Joshua Bell, is a world renowned Grammy-award winning violinist. His cultural experiment was recently the feature of a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post story in which Bell, who regularly sells out some of the largest venues in the world, went incognito at a Metro Station. The story is absolutely fascinating and the results were remarkable, make sure to check out the piece for yourself in Pearls Before Breakfast.

Julia Child, a celebrity chef, and author credits her education as a key component tho her development of dexterity and love of working with her hands. Her education began at age 4 and she grew up to become a household name.

Royalty & Historical Figures.

Princes William and Harry were both students of this remarkable learning method. Photos documenting the boys as they each headed off to their first day of school grazed magazine and newspapers. Now, Prince George is following in their footsteps and is also attending a Montessori preschool.

Anne Frank, got her start at three-years-old in a Montessori preschool. Her diary is now translated into over 60 languages and has become one of the best known books of all time. She was a pupil of this form of education from ages three-eleven, she then completed one year at a Montessori high school until the German occupation forbid her from attending school.

Amazing Outcomes!

While we can’t guarantee your student will grow up to become a household name, this education has great benefits for a student, and parent alike. We will take another look at additional individuals who were educated with this approach in a future post. For now, we hope that this article will inspire and encourage you, and your student, to pursue their education and reach their dreams. The sky truly is the limit and there’s always something new to discover and enjoy!


Want to help your child get started with this educational approach? Check out these posts we think you’ll love:

Visit our YouTube channel for lots of great How-To videos

Teaching Kids to Read With the Montessori Method

Free Activities and Printables

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Colorado. She loves Colorado’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >


7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum

Choosing homeschool curriculum can feel like a daunting task.  

Math is a subject many homeschooling parents state they feel inadequate to teach. Throw in concerns about common core and state regulations, and choosing a math curriculum becomes even more difficult. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture, break it down into more manageable pieces, and think through choosing a curriculum together.


1. What is your educational approach and goals?

One of the most important things for a homeschooling family to decide is what your overall philosophy and goals for education are. Do you want school to be student-led or teacher-directed? Are you following a certain teaching approach such as Montessori, Waldorf, or Charlotte Mason? Are there state standards you need to follow? What are some of your goals for the school year? Thinking about all of these questions before researching curriculum can be helpful.


2. How much is your budget?

Cost can be a prohibitive factor for many families. Can you find the desired program used or get a coupon code from a blogger? How much is included in the cost of the curriculum? Will you need to purchase any other add-ons or manipulatives? Is the curriculum able to be used for many different ages or is it only for one year? Is the curriculum reusable for more than one child? How much support from the company comes along with the curriculum? The curriculum cost itself is just one factor.


3. How many children are you teaching?

Do you desire a curriculum that is grade-specific for each child or a curriculum that encompasses multiple ages and can be shared? Do you need to purchase new workbooks for additional children or can you make, or download, additional copies?  


4. How much time for teacher prep-work do you have?

Homeschooling families are busy! How much time do you have for prep before the lesson is given? Will an “open and go” math curriculum without teacher preparation help you free up time for other tasks?


5. How long would you like each lesson to be?

Math is an essential subject that takes time, consistency and practice to learn. Considering the length of lesson suggestions of each curriculum and your educational approach will help you narrow down your curriculum. If a curriculum is a good deal but takes too much of your time, you’re never going to use it. Your time and money are valuable.


6. What is your teaching style?

Are you a hands-on teacher or do you like to let your children tinker and find answers on their own? Do you prefer something concrete or do you prefer starting with abstract? Do you need the curriculum to provide lessons that incorporate review or do you like to review on your own?  


7. Do you desire a mastery-based or spiral-based approach?

Mastery-based curriculum requires the child to master a concept before moving on to something else. Spiral-based curriculum introduces a variety of “bite-size” concepts with increasing difficulty. With spiral-based math curriculum you will revisit topics regularly to build mastery.


8. Do you want a primarily visual program or one that addresses all the senses?

Most curricula are visual. Some include songs. Others include manipulatives that children play with. Others still include activities that use the major muscle groups (thighs, abs, and shoulders). Do you want a traditional, primarily visual curriculum where you make up the lessons for the other learning styles, or do you prefer a curriculum where those lessons already exist?

Hopefully, this helps you to feel more confident and empowered to choose a math curriculum. Here’s to a stress-free curriculum selection - and education!

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn - and enjoy - math.Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).