Most families that choose to keep one parent home to homeschool feel the squeeze financially.
As costs spiral, it pays to remind yourself of the educational resources available free to homeschoolers. Let me show you my favorite ways and ideas to homeschool for free!
Homeschooling for free is often just a case of using a lot of perseverance and imagination! There are a lot of opportunities to do things for free - you just need to know where to look.
Free Homeschool Curriculums
One of the most expensive parts of homeschooling is buying the curriculum. But I really advise you to not go out and buy one until you have tried out some free curriculums.
This will give you a good feel for what you like and don't like in using a curriculum - and you may even decide you don't want to use one at all! There are plenty of other ways to homeschool without one.
Free Books and Magazines
Books have always been a mainstay of our homeschool! We all love to read and get so much information and knowledge from them - even from fiction!
There are several places you can look for free books for homeschooling.
Gutenberg is a huge repository of public domain books and there are some wonderful titles available. Download to your PC or load onto your kindle or tablet.
Free Kindle Books. Every day on Amazon there are a selection of free kindle books available. Plus a whole load of classic books too. You don't need a kindle to read kindle books - just download an app to your pc or tablet. My favorite way to see what is available is the daily email from DailyFreeBooks. You can set up your preferences so they only send you details of titles you may be interested in.
Don't forget about free audiobooks as well as books. There are several sites you can download them from, including BooksShouldBeFree and Librivox.
Free magazines. You can often get several months worth of free magazines when you start a subscription. But you can also pick up copies for free. This site lists free magazine deals which would be worth keeping an eye on. There are also lots of digital magazines available for free on iTunes.
And don't forget your library too!
Make use of the Internet
The internet is an absolute goldmine for the homeschooler looking for completely free homeschooling. There are so many resources available!
Many educational programs appear on TV - both for children and adults. The key to taking advantage of this is to plan ahead. Check your TV and Radio Guides for educational programs you think your children may enjoy - and record them in advance. Look out especially for school broadcasts. They might have just the resource you were looking for!
Libraries, Museums and Art Galleries are probably the first community resource you think of. But also check your local newspaper or library bulletin board for free lectures and talks in your area. Many cities and towns provide walk-in exhibitions and recitals.
Your community holds a wealth of knowledge and most people are keen to pass on their skills. Ask around if you are looking for something (or someone) in particular!
When my children were particularly interested in insects we met an entomologist who got great pleasure from encouraging them - and bringing them unusual caterpillars and bugs to look at. Our local kayaking group holds a free family taster session every summer. The local observatory have kindly said we can take our children to a 'members only' evening to look through telescopes and chat to members about what they are seeing. Social groups and guilds (such as knitting or quilting groups) are usually very friendly and welcoming to someone looking to try their craft.
Volunteering is also a great way to get involved in your community and get to know people - as well as being a a great way to get some free homeschooling!
Free Resources and Materials
Travel Agents are a homeschoolers friend! Travel brochures are great for geography based projects like this one. Pick up paint chip cards and wallpaper samples from DIY stores for craft activities. And sign up for free magazines or newsletters when you see them offered - it may spark something with the children - and at the very least is good for paper mache!
Keep your eyes open for things other people discard. Shops often discard boxes or wooden pallets they no longer require. Offices discard paper when they change their letterheads. Upholsterers may have old fabric sample books. By asking around you will be able to unearth all sorts of treasures.
Another great resource for getting things other people don't want anymore is Freecycle. Some schemes even let you ask for things you require - and failing that you could try advertising in your local paper. A friend of mine got an old fishtank this way. It leaked, so wasn't suitable for fish - but made a great bug house!!
More ideas for free resources :
Free computers. There is a wonderful list of places that make old computers available for re-use on OpenCollectors.com and another list here.
I hope you find these ideas for free homeschooling helpful - and you can see that it is possible to homeschool your child for free. Be imaginative - and you will find help and resources right where you need them.
Oh my goodness! I am a home schooling mum of 4 and I have NEVER found a better site! Thank you so much.
Blessings, Jenny (New Zealand)
I wanted to say THANK YOU for your fabulous website. I found your website, and finally I have the confidence to take the plunge and take my daughter out of school and educate her at home, thank you, thank you. Marina (UK)
I cannot get over how much great information and super ideas you have here. Fantastic! Ruralmama (USA)
This is simply fabulous!! I just now found this site and I'm so excited!! The opportunities and suggestions as well as the need to inspire are exactly what I have been searching to fulfill!! I'm so thrilled to get started and even more excited to continue to explore all of the fabulous suggestions and creative ideas you have offered here!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Jennifer (USA)