Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

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05 April 2011

How I Save Money Teaching Letters

Since I'm pretty much useless to my family for the next 2-3 weeks (I can't lift anything over 10 lbs, and even sitting up makes me dizzy), I figured I would try to send some tips your way!

First, I've shared before how fun Confessions of a Homeschooler is, but I don't know if I've written specifically about her letter "curriculum." (We call them letter activities :-D). You can download each letter individually for FREE or you can buy them all at once via download for $10 or they'll send you a CD with everything for $16 (buying the files does come with some extras, but you aren't missing much). So, you start there, downloading the letters one way or another.

Then?? Well, my old Cannon Printer did about 1 letter per cartridge and it cost me about $52 to buy both a black and color cartridge. Yah, I ended up buying some on Amazon that saved me a little, but it was still A LOT of money for these things (and yet cheaper than having them printed in color at the local Staples..... the only place that we have available for printing in town). Thankfully that printer died (unfortunately as my husband was trying to print out a talk for church!), and we were in the market for a new one. Mr. Wonderful wanted us to get a laser printer since he too didn't care for the money we spent on cartridges, but after a week of researching EVERYTHING and finding mixed reviews on EVERYTHING, I was stuck. I finally made a leap and we bought an HP 8500 A Office Jet Pro. Staples even offers a discount if you bring them your old printer, working or not.
HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One Printer This puppy duplexes printing (there's one that even duplexes copies, but that wasn't worth the extra money for us especially since most of our printing comes straight from the computer), scans, faxes, is wireless, AND -THE CARTRIDGES ARE CHEAP AND PUT OUT AS MANY COPIES AS MOST LASER PRINTERS BUT WITH INKJET QUALITY. Simply put, it's amazing! The upfront cost is way cheaper than a laser printer and the upkeep is way cheaper for the same amount of work. I've done SEVERAL letter activities as well as printed out whole Discover the Scriptures curriculums, plus a ton of other things and I've only changed out the cartridges once, and they weren't even full to begin with. Don't waste money! This is the printer you want, promise!

Then, how to protect them? I picked up a Scotch Thermal Laminator at Walmart for around $25 a couple years ago and it's worked like a champ. The only trouble I ever had was buying the pouches for it, because at Walmart buying 50 will cost you about $13. Thankfully my fellow homeschooling buddy sent me a website where you can buy the pouches for a fraction of the price. My trip to laminator.com had me so excited. They have a buy 2 get one 1 free sale going on, and their boxes come with 100 pouches.... I bought 4 :-).

I guess the only other thing I can offer you is a time saver. Buy yourself a cheap straight-edge craft cutter from Walmart and you'll save yourself a lot of cutting. Works great even through the lamination.Craft Lite Cutter

Oh! My last tip is for storage. I use the cheap ziploc's (Great Value brand), and put different activity pieces in there. Then I put them in a nifty crate (they come in LOTS of colors!) with a hanging file folder for each letter and viola! Everything has a home and is easily accessed. The kiddies LOVE these activities. They're definitely worth having around whether you homeschool or are just looking for something fun to supplement with at home!1693 - File Crate


crazy4boys said...

Great ideas. I'll have to check out that printer when we need another one. It just kills me to pay such high prices for ink. I hope you feel better soon.

crazy4boys said...

Okay, I'm back. So how much of her stuff do you really use? I think it's all cute and fun and creative, but I'm trying to figure out my reality vs. my dreams. The 7-yr-old reads really well....he doesn't need it, but he might like it. The 4-yr-old knows all his letters and is starting to read simple words. This almost seems too easy. It would be fun, he'd enjoy it, but we'd be focusing just on letters, not reading.

What do you do with your "older" crew that are in a similar place? I almost wish I had tons of littles left so I could do more of these!

Cherie said...

You know, I think Zeke would really enjoy it, but it may be too much work for you. Even though my older children know their letters and read etc., they ask to pull out these activities because while they are focusing on letters there's other things like color matching, puzzles etc., that's fun and reinforces the information subconsciously. Might be really nice for him to be engaged with these activities while you're teaching the older boys though?

Under her printables section there's a k4 section and I think he'd enjoy those too.

You of course know the rest of the tricks from there: happy phonics, Now I'm Reading Books etc. Oh, and I've found that I really love the Frog and Toad books, my older children have taken to those. Sorry I don't have anything more for you! Does that help at all? Honestly, just like you've no doubt seen with your other boys, they learn a ton just by being read to and being around the others. I think that's why I like these letter activities, I really think they already know most of it (Asher knows most of this stuff and I haven't "taught" him anything), so this is just fun and reinforcing. Keeps people busy without being "busy work" too.

Cherie said...

Oh, and I don't print everything for every letter. I've found what activities we like (puzzle, color match, size sort, capital and lowercase letter sort, graphing... Noah loves these... and a coloring page and every once in awhile number stuff). And some stuff you only have to make once like the "bottlecaps." I laminated a set of letters, glued them to foam (from our activity box making extravaganza :-D) and cut them out.

I don't know about your little guy, but I know my kids have a hard time with certain letters knowing which way they go even though they know them. The ones they have trouble with are pretty typical of lefty's, so the reinforcement is great for them!

crazy4boys said...

Thanks for the ideas. I do think some of these would be great for "quiet time" activities, times when I need him to sit quietly while I read/work with the olders. I'll have to look through them and decide which to print and then add them to his hanging file folder basket (I LOVE that idea from you!).

It's so fun that all your kids are left-handed. My oldest and youngest are, sort of like a lefty sandwich of kids!

crazy4boys said...

Okay, I just printed off a ton of stuff. I only did a few of the "letter" activities and I'll see how he likes them before I go crazy. I did print A LOT of her preK activities though. Now I need to find some good movies to watch while I cut, glue and laminate!