Finding Cheap or Free Homeschool Curriculum

Homeschooling for Free and Frugal

 10 Days of Homeschooling for Free & Frugal

Day One: How Our Family Began to Freely Educate  {Freely Educate & Intro}

Day Two: Four Frugal Ways to Teach Preschool {Under the Golden Apple tree}

Day Three: Our $50 Homeschool Year-Part One {Holy Spirit-led Homeschooling}

Day Four: Finding Cheap or Free Homeschool Curriculum

Jen G from Gricefully Homeschooling

When I first started home schooling, or even when I started thinking about home schooling, I was under the assumption that I would have to buy a homeschooling kit from homeschool curriculum sellers; you know what I’m talking about right? Those $1K kits that come with all that you need to teach your child one year of school. Not that there is anything wrong with these kits. I know families that successfully use them. It’s just that I have observed a lot of people who believe you cannot home school your child without a box kit. My neighbors and some family still believe this. The school that I pulled my children out of asked me, “What manufacturer I was getting my curriculum from?” I laughed to myself when I made a list of all the books and curriculum we were using, and tried to read it to the administrator over the phone {side note: I didn’t have to do this in my state, but I just wanted to inform her that I didn’t have to do it the way that she thought that I should}.

Our curriculum choices were just that, our choice.

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One of the first things that I did was to search the web for printable sheets that I could use to keep a list of subjects that I needed to teach. And I wanted to write down all the great choices, that I was reading about {bloggers share a lot of great information… but if you’re reading this I’m sure you already know}. Then, I started searching what other homeschoolers were using in their home school. Most bloggers keep a list somewhere on their blog of the curriculum that they chose. I nosed through a lot of blogs… especially those bloggers that had kids the same ages or in the grades as mine. After taking notes, researching on sites like Cathy Duffy ReviewsHSAdvisor, and HomeSchool Reviews, I started purchasing curriculum that I wanted to try, in the cheapest way possible. Homeschooling on a budget… it can be done!

Two things I learned really quickly once I began to homeschool:

1.) I didn’t need to buy any curriculum at all to successfully home school my children

and

2.) what works for one family may not work for another.

I think number 2 is probably obvious, as all families and children are different. Just like parenting, home education is a figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of thing. But if number 1 is a shocker… let me explain. Thanks to the Internet, you can find a lot of what you need online, with just a little time spent searching.

You can make your own math program… probably all the way up to high school. There are a lot of free websites that allow you to make your own math worksheets and there are sites that offer ready-made ones, as well. Have your children help you cook or bake in the kitchen, divide the recipes in half and you have a lesson on fractions and conversions. When teaching children about stewardship, especially with their own money… have them tithe 10% or figure out sales tax and you have their lesson on percentages. I believe every day math is the most important lessons.

For Science and History, you can do unit studies and/or read living books.  History and Science comes alive with hands-on experiments and living books, field trips to museums, zoos, and any places with real history help to teach kids without textbooks or a set curriculum.

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Study and learn the Bible, together. All you have to do is read it and discuss it. Then memorize it together. This helps when trouble arises; they have the verses on their hearts. Couldn’t get any simpler or cheaper than that. The Bible has history also. After the Pentateuch {the first 5 books of the Bible} is the “History books.” We are working through those now in our home school. What a wealth of information there.

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Finally, you have Language Arts. This is the easiest and the cheapest of all the subjects. Just talk to your children. Yep, that’s it. Kids hear what you’re saying to them… and in front of them… and they are learning proper language etiquette.  If you talk to them in big words they will learn to talk in big words and in turn one day learn to write just as eloquently. When I say a new word to my children they always ask, “What does that mean?” So, then of course I share with them the meaning. Then, I use the word again, and again until I hear them using the word. You could make a game if this, if you’d like, with a dictionary. Use an online dictionary, if you don’t own one. Lucky for us, my oldest daughter was in the county spelling bee several years in a row. Since she spelled a word correctly, she received a very nice hard cover dictionary {actually a couple of them}. It gets a lot of use in our house. Learn new words… more than 5 letters… what fun!

Then get your kids outdoors because the world can be your classroom. Let them keep journals; nature journals and writing journals. This is a great way for them to remember all that they’ve been seeing and learning… especially in nature. Find a bug and research what it is online. Explore the woods and climb trees, or even dissect a worm from your garden. Take your kids fishing. Or just watch some eagles online {we have watched this same nest online for the last year. We watched babies grow last spring and now there are new eggs.}

 

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Lastly, every Friday, I (along with another blogger) post “Homeschool FreeBEEs” on our blogs. Also, we have a Homeschool FreeBEE Co-Op on Pinterest. What a great place to find pretty much anything you need to fill your home with “curriculum” without spending a single cent. Are you on Pinterest, yet? If not, you should be… lots of great homeschool ideas and fun on Pinterest.

I think the most important thing to remember is that you have to find the best mix of curriculum and use of the world that works best for you and your kids… and for your budget. There is no set formula for success and no amount of money can insure the best education for your child. Just teach your children the joy of learning. Make it fun!

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The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.

You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!

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Comments

comments

Comments

  1. says

    These are all wonderful ideas. One regret I have had in my years of home schooling has been the times (numerous) that I have caved to the curriculum safety net only to find that it became a snare for another year!

    Jamerrill, I was wondering if the e-mail address link in your contact tab was correct. Since I don’t yet have Facebook, I has sent an e-mail to you a few days ago for your free Homeschool encouragement book.

    I certainly understand if you are swamped, and I am fine to wait as long as I need to, but I just wanted to make sure that was the correct link since I hadn’t received an e-mail back yet.

    Thank you, Jamerrill!

  2. Atara says

    I sure needed to hear this! I am very frustrated today. So many things I want to buy for HS. And also – kids don’t need an ipad to learn anything!

  3. G.E. Hoostal says

    Thanks! I have some more suggestions for free stuff. My favorites are Google Books & Internet Archive. There are countless, thousands really, of free e-textbooks to download there. Just search for any subject (also pick “Public Domain Only” on the left on GB). Recommended especially: McGuffey & Sanders Readers (N.B. their levels don’t match grades—fifth is high-school to grad-school level on Lexile), Ray’s Arithmetic, Nutting’s Latin Primer, Orbis Pictus, True’s Elements of Logic, Reed & Kellogg’s lower & higher grammars, Blue-Backed Speller, Oliver Optic’s Speller, Ball’s Elementary Algebra, Hall & Stevens’s Euclid, Breasted’s Survey of the Ancient World, & Steele’s Brief History of Ancient, Medieval, & Modern Peoples. These are all classics. Another couple of good sites are An Old-Fashioned Education & Don Potter’s site. For literature, you can use John Senior’s list of Good Books, then a list of the Great Books—Great Books & Classics is the most comprehensive—to know what other books to search for. Just about all the worthwhile ones are out of copyright; the Little House & Narnia series are the only ones I can think of that aren’t. (N.B. Translations matter. I find new ones flippant & junky. Sometimes an old one isn’t very good. The only one I can recommend so far is Pope’s Iliad.) Study of recent history is necessary so I’ll probably supplement the old history books with the ones in the Puritans’ Homeschool Curriculum, that’s the only decent one I know of for that. Besides the observation & the Q & A that are natural, science isn’t necessary until 8th grade (really, everything we had up until high school in science could be crammed into one year), but I don’t have anything for you that is up-to-date, free, & suitable for Christians, except certain parts of the Khan Academy site (some other parts are not). Sorry. However, KA is wonderful for math practice.

  4. G.E. Hoostal says

    I just thought of something else, foreign languages. There are also countless free programs for them all over the internet. Just search for free lessons & there’s bound to be something. The only one I have tried is Live Mocha, but I’m not using it now since there’s currently no Latin & that’s what I’m working on. Still, it has most popular languages. It’s free, & pretty good. For flash cards, I use Anki Droid on the Kindle Fire & Byki on the computer. Those are free also. Anki Droid has the excellent features of letting you mark a card as hard, easy, etc. which causes it to bring the card back sooner or later, & of letting you suspend a card if you don’t want to learn it yet or if you have already finished learning it.

  5. Kelley says

    Could you tell me more about how you do Bible with your kids? I’ve never done it except for devotions as I have never known how I should do it. I would love your imput.

    Thanks!

  6. says

    Don’t forget the arts! My nephews are rough-and-tumble little boys, but they love to sit down and draw or paint when their mom calls for “Art Time” each day. She just uses plain paper and inexpensive supplies from walmart, but instead of using coloring as a babysitter so she can do other things, she sits down with them and stays involved and explores their creativity with them. Also, for music, one great resource is FreePianoLessons4Kids.com – my nieces & nephews started on that program and love it!

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