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Note: Happy Memorial Day! While I hope you and yours are celebrating the hard-fought freedom we enjoy as US citizens, I thought I’d take the opportunity to republish this post I wrote awhile back with some of my thoughts on free homeschooling – and share a timely opportunity for homeschool moms. Have a terrific weekend…
Many homeschooling families operate on a single income*, and for that reason, a question I often get is “Is it possible to homeschool for free?” There IS an answer to that question, but before I tell you, let me give you a little background…
When I first began homeschooling, one of my first questions was “So where do I get my school books?” When I realized that we were, in fact, responsible for same, I then asked, “OK, so who’s gonna pay for the books?” After I got the answer to that one I stopped asking questions – I feared the “3 strikes” rule might apply…
So I started becoming a catalog junkie and was alternately depressed and in shock over the price of curriculum packages and “learning in a can.” We began to think: “there’s gotta be a better way…”
Google the term “free homeschooling” and you’ll get a plethora of sites! While at times it may be necessary to go that route, keep in mind that the saying “you get what you pay for” may apply here as well.
You homeschool for many reasons, but no matter what they are, it’s not to short-change your children for life!
Exploring the “free homeschooling” concept
In this excellent article from NextGen Homeschooling, Rosanna explains the difference between frugal and cheap. Keep in mind it’s from the perspective of a small business owner, but then again, many homeschoolers themselves are small business owners and may appreciate that perspective.
I understand that it’s so easy to cross the line into “being cheap.” And I totally understand why: homeschoolers are frequently (often?)(always?) single-income households and we need to be good stewards of the limited income we have. But Barb Shelton (whose high-school resource Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La is my constant companion when our kids go through high school) really delves into the difference in her book, and offers some valuable insight ~ it’s a definite “must read” if you’re looking at homeschooling through high school ;-)!
Ann Zeiss of A to Z Home’s Cool also offers this excellent article on “Truly Free Homeschooling” where she discusses some serious considerations regarding “free” homeschooling (for example, a certain degree of privacy loss when using the internet…), and also offers some valuable resources to cut costs.You homeschool for many reasons...but NOT to short-change your children for life! Click To Tweet
Ideas for Free Homeschooling
So yes, it is possible to be frugal with your homeschooling. I know some moms who have taught whole families (and graduated ’em!) on library books only! But in my mind, it all boils down to (borrowing the words of Marilyn Howshall), adopting a lifestyle of learning. For example, my husband has many friends he’s met through his membership in a low-cost car racing forum. From them, we found a neat online tool to use with physics studies, learned of geocaching (which is a super, family-friendly little educational activity), and got some valuable website-building information. We’ve made educational opportunities out of:
- volunteer opportunities,
- crafts projects,
- friends’ businesses,
- building and repair projects around the home,
- studies spawned from field trips or books read,
- family history and genealogy studies,
- co-op classes and unit study groups.
On this site and many others, you may find little advertisements for “free” homeschooling curricula, programs, ideas, books or what-have-you.
Some of those resources may actually cost some money, but many of them will only cost you a certain amount of creativity. I find it to be somewhat of a trade-off in the long-run: what do I have more of right now – money or time? And even if it’s time, sometimes due to lack of ideas, or burnout, or just too many irons in the fire, I may need to purchase something to “get us going” again.
My suggestion? Check out everything as carefully as you can before-hand!
I mean, what good is a free class when you can’t get support with a problem? Or a free accredited curriculum that doesn’t give you access to transcripts when you need them? Or a free program that closes its doors mid-year (probably because they were giving a little too much away!)?
Don’t be wasteful with your budget, but do spend it wisely, and develop some creativity as well. Your kids are watching you 24/7 ~ and learning much more than the 3R’s.
An affordable answer to “What do I have to do to homeschool my child?”
Oftentimes the solution to frugal or free homeschooling is to develop some killer homeschooling skills of your own. That, and learning how to discern quality resources and tools.
For one week only, let me encourage you to take advantage of the 2018 Homeschool Moms Conference to help you do both!
The BEST thing you can do for your homeschool is to attend a homeschool conference – the encouragement, practical help, and advice you receive are instrumental to your success. And the 2018 Homeschool Moms Conference brings the homeschool conference to YOU! Your enrollment gives you lifetime access to over 100 workshops from 60 dynamic speakers and veteran homeschoolers from the comfort of your home.
And the BEST thing about this conference is it’s as close to free as you can get, momma! 😉
With more than 50 speakers and over 100 sessions, there’s a plethora of training here for homeschool moms – all for less than the price of dinner for two! There are two tracks included: one covers homeschooling topics (with over 10 sessions on homeschooling high school) and one covers work-at-home topics (for those of us who could use a “side gig” to pay some bills or cover a fun family field trip this summer). Get the skinny on the whole shebang here. And if you register soon, you can grab their early bird discount!