Thursday, May 5, 2016

Homeschooling for Free

homeschool for free

As you can probably tell from this blog, I’m a bit of a homeschool curriculum “junkie.”  There are so many wonderful products available and I love to try out new things! To tell the truth, though, I think some of my favorite homeschooling years were ones when we spent very little money. There really are many resources for homeschooling that cost little or nothing.

There is a bit of a trade-off for free homeschool, though. Generally, you will spend more time putting together a curriculum, searching the library catalogs, and even teaching when you go the “free” route. You could end up with a program that perfectly meets your goals and is as rich as anything you could buy, or you could just end up with “cheap” and substandard. That is why it is important to carefully evaluate your goals and choose materials that will meet them.

Here are some possible resources:

1. The Library—my absolute favorite resource! Your children will have a much richer education if they read “real” books instead of textbooks. You can pick a subject to study, visit the library and come home with a stack of books to browse, read, and study—anything from insects to pyramids! For the early grades, I love the Five in a Row curriculum. Many of the required books and supplements are available at most libraries, so all you need is the manual and you are ready to go! You can even put together your own phonics/reading program. Libraries usually have sets of phonetic readers (like the Bob Books) that help you teach your child to decode words in a sequential manner, one phoneme at a time.

2. Notebooking is a great way to solidify learning and to keep records. Just have your children draw or write about the topics in those great books that they borrowed from the library (see above) and keep their pages in a binder. You don’t need all those workbooks—notebooking is a fine way to learn and to document your learning. If you need some inspiration, sites like notebookingpages.com offer a variety of free pages.

3. Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool has a program laid out for homeschooling preschool through high school, all using free internet resources. Course include “extras” like art, foreign language, and PE in addition to core classes. If you want something that’s “open and go” and fully planned, this might be perfect for you.

4. Kahn Academy has full math programs and many resources in other subjects as well. Content in non-math subjects is more geared for middle schoolers and up, but even your little ones could do math here. If you sign up for a teacher account, you can direct your child’s learning and monitor their progress.

5. I’ve found many free Spanish Resources:

  • Salsa is a series of Spanish videos for younger children featuring puppets.
  • Destinos is a video series and course for high school students and above. The videos are free online, as are computer-based practice activities. You can make this into a full 2-year course with the addition of the text and workbook, which I found on Amazon for about $3 each. (We’re using the cheaper first edition, which works just fine.)
  • Mi Vida Loca also has videos and teaching activities for Spanish. We haven’t tried this one yet, but it looks like a lot of fun!
  • StudySpanish.com is a great resource for learning basic concepts and grammar. Because it offers direct instruction and grammar charts, it’s also helpful as a resource for quickly looking something up, such as how to conjugate a verb in a particular tense.
  • Duolingo offers free instruction in many different languages. It’s also available as an app for mobile devices. I’ve used this and it’s fun!

6. Want to teach geography? These sites have free map games that will have you naming off countries in no time!

7. We’ve been watching CNN Student news each day and have found this 10 minute show a great way to help teens learn about current events. Since I’m not a regular news watcher myself, it helps me keep abreast of what’s happening in the world as well.

This list is really just the tip of the iceberg of free resources, but I hope that you can find some useful resources here and get inspired to search for more!

Favorite  FREE / Cheap Homeschool Resources

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