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This is a Very Popular Google Search

Every day many people log on to the internet and scour the search engines, looking for free homeschool programs on line, free curriculum, free resources, you name it – as long as it’s free.   A lot of people are homeschooling on a very tight budget.  You don’t need to waste time or money on poor quality programs or those which aren’t really free, so I am only listing the high-quality programs produced by honest people.  I know you’re not made of money.  Neither am I.

Good news!  There ARE free homeschool Programs online, and lots of free or very inexpensive materials.   Even better, it turns out that the amount of money spent has a negligible influence on student success.  Spending more money DOES NOT equate to better results.

Great Options Starting With Preschool!

ABC Jesus Loves Me is an excellent, complete preschool program.  You will have to buy some materials, but it is still remarkably inexpensive.  This curriculum is designed to support all kinds of educational settings.  ABC Jesus Loves Me

All Grade Levels (K-12)

Don’t let the name of the first free curriculum fool you.  It comes highly recommended.  Many support forums exist for its users.  It truly will get you through from start to finish, and you will pay for very, very little along the way.  Ambleside Online, An Old Fashioned Education, Charlotte Mason Help and Mater Amabalis are all Charlotte Mason themed curricula.  They tend to have gaps in mathematics and science.  The Puritans’ Homeschool is a no-frills reputable option with a time-tested approach that has worked for many families.  I suggest that any gaps in these curricula can be met by the curriculum supplements I’ve listed as “resources” in the next section.

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.  

Ambleside Online

An Old Fashioned Education

Charlotte Mason Help No Math or Science

Mater Amabalis (K-8)  With Help and Advice for High School

The Puritans’ Homeschool  (Mostly Free)

Resources

I recommend that those families who select homeschool curricula from the previous list that are lacking in mathematics go to Khan Academy for help with math.  They have excellent Math, Science and Social Studies courses there.  The other resources are mostly for grade school and middle school, though not entirely.  They can add some excitement to some of the very bare-bones or traditional curricula.  They can also fill in gaps.

Khan Academy Great for Math and Science, Some Social Studies

SAS Curriculum Pathways  Secular

CK-12 Foundation Secular

Core Knowledge  PreK through 6th grade

Judging Suitability

You’re the judge.  How do you choose?  I can only share with you what I do.  I choose relatively conventional curricula, at least in terms of which skills are taught.  I use The Core Knowledge Sequence. (Attribution:This work is based on an original work of the Core Knowledge© Foundation made available through licensing under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This does not in any way imply that the Core Knowledge Foundation endorses the work.)  This is a conventional, modern list of the topics covered and skills mastered in grades k-8.  I may choose unconventional methods or veer off the reading list to find literature the student really loves, but I remain faithful to the lists of skills a student must acquire in each school year.  This is a well-researched, developmentally appropriate guideline – and it’s free!  I strongly suggest you keep it in mind when judging your curriculum and supplementing it to fill in gaps.

High School is different.  There are different types of diplomas that are suitable for different students.  I think you would be well-advised to spend a mere three dollars to download this PDF, Develop a High School Plan.  Armed with the information in this book, you should be able to judge your free online program’s suitability and supplement it as needed.

Fear Not!  You are on the Right Path.

Rest assured that spending more money will not make your homeschool more successful!  Statistics gathered to study the question of which factors affect homeschool outcomes reveal that the amount of money spent is one of the least important factors.  You can homeschool on a shoestring budget and do a remarkably good job.  What your student most needs is your time and energy.  Dedicate yourself to this all-important work and you will succeed.

Best of luck in your endeavors.  Please leave a remark in the comment section.  Let me know what your needs are and share your feelings and ideas.  Just as important, if you have a great resource to add to the list, please let me know about it in the comments.

All the Best,

Elizabeth

 

 

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Comments

Patrick

Thank you for your thoughtful post regarding home school curriculum ideas for parents. I am a 22 year public school teacher, and of those, the past seven have been at a charter school with many home school parents. I am often asked about ideas and/or curriculum. I will be glad to share this post with them. Do you recommend any specific middle school math curriculum? Thanks!

Mar 23.2017 | 06:05 am

    Elizabeth

    Patrick, I consider middle school to be the Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Geometry years. While parents who cannot afford curriculum may choose Khan Academy, If a family can afford a modest investment I always recommend Math-U-See. http://store.mathusee.com/catalog/math-u-see/ My children used Math-U-See. They are both engineering students in college who are exceptionally comfortable with mathematics. They pick up money on the side tutoring. Math-U-See costs between 115 and 175 dollars per year if you buy the curriculum new from the publisher. You can buy it (or resell it) for about half price at Home School Classifieds, http://homeschoolclassifieds.com/show_sale_range.asp?st=M&enNom=Md&en=Me . Math-U-See tends to work for students who have learning difficulties as well as students who are gifted. It is very easy to teach from. It is designed to teach the parent how to teach the material, and that is one of the reasons why it works so well.

    Mar 23.2017 | 02:33 pm

M.Ramlee

Hi there, thanks for a great article. I am open to the idea of having my kids to home school. But my concern is mainly about the course. Could you explain more about the costing? Thanks

Mar 23.2017 | 09:27 am

    Elizabeth

    This post was aimed at parents looking for free or nearly free curriculum. If you followed one of these curricula with your children, your investment would be minimal. Most of the books are available for free on the internet. The others could almost certainly be borrowed from the library, particularly if you planned ahead and used inter-library loans. The main cost of homeschooling is the hidden cost of having a parent function as a full-time teacher who is out of the workforce for the duration of the children’s education. Basic school materials are very inexpensive, and even families that buy fairly expensive curricula rarely spend more than 1,200.00 dollars per year. 750.00 dollars per year is more typical. It is important to note that now that homeschooling is no longer a new practice, we have a lot of information about the practices that lead to homeschooling success. Spending money on curricula – amazingly enough – does not make a significant difference. Even more amazing, it turns out that parental education doesn’t make all that much of a difference either. I hope this answers your question. I encourage you to ask follow-on questions as well.

    Mar 23.2017 | 02:42 pm

Kurtis Quick

Elizabeth,

My biggest question about homeschooling is the social aspect. I have always lived by the code of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Networking and meeting people is what has made me successful today. I was never a great student but from the public schools I went to, I learned how to be personable, engaging, and friendly with all types of people.

How would you teach your child those skills from homeschooling? To me, that seems like it is something you have to be thrown out into the world and learn on your own.

You grow as a person when you leave your comfort zone and that is a type of self-learning you get when you enter public schools.

Mar 23.2017 | 03:15 pm

    Elizabeth

    So Glad You Asked

    There are homeschooling families that don’t socialize much. They are the exceptions to the rule that get all the bad press and public attention. Most homeschooling families socialize a great deal. Most homeschooled kids are enrolled in sports, clubs, cooperatives and church ministries. Many of them do amateur theater, historical reenactment, musical performances and volunteer work for political parties, libraries and museums. A significant percentage of homeschoolers live oversees. Many travel and engage in mission trips.

    “Unsocialized homeschooler” is kind of a joke within the homeschooled community, because most of us are a bit too socially engaged!

    I worried about socialization and a lot of other things when I first started homeschooling. I didn’t want to do it. Awful public schools forced my hand. After that first year of hand-wringing, I realized socialization was the least of my troubles. The kids were more engaged in the community than ever before. We traveled more than every before. Because we homeschooled the kids had relationships with more people who were younger or older than they were, spoke different languages, came from different communities or had significant handicaps. They spent more time helping others, learning one-on-one from adult professionals and engaging in hands on activities with their peers.

    Homeschooling sets families free to be themselves. This can be a disaster for severely dysfunctional people, but most homeschool families thrive. That’s why the movement is growing so fast. I have misgivings about this growth too.

    The financial sacrifices of homeschooling parents are enormous. The average parent-teacher loses twenty years in the workforce. That’s a huge professional and financial loss.

    I suggest that anyone seriously considering homeschooling contemplate all the ramifications of their choice. In much of the modern world families gain financial security through two breadwinners. Most homeschool families get by with one.

    Mar 23.2017 | 04:38 pm

Vince

Thanks for the info home school programs Elizabeth.
My wife’s a school teacher and this topic has come up so many times. I just think convention curriculum (especially for more senior students) is limited and misses out on so many important life lesson.
Or the schools that offer a diverse rich curriculum are definitely heavy on the school fees.

Mar 23.2017 | 06:49 pm

    Elizabeth

    Sadly, I think that while everyone recognizes primary and secondary education in the U.S. is in trouble, too much focus has been placed on fixing the blame, rather than fixing the problem. In my position, I try very hard to simply offer solutions to individual parents, staying as far away from controversy as possible.

    Institutional teachers are in an increasingly untenable situation, particularly in urban public schools. They deserve nothing but support and respect, because they are front-line warriors in a culture war that most of them never intended to participate in.

    It’s supremely unfair, and I don’t pretend to know how to end the war within American public education and coax the warring factions into focusing on providing the best education to each child.

    Mar 24.2017 | 01:33 am

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