Homeschool for FREE

FREE Homeschool DEALS Your Wallet Will LOVE

Homeschool can get expensive but the great news is it can also cost close to nothing! When we began homeschooling five years ago, we utilized free resources to make our journey affordable. Some of those free resources are listed here.

Five years—and too much money spent on fancy curricula—later, we’re back to the basics. This year, I’ve researched more resources to add to our arsenal of homeschool freebies. These resources span across grade levels and subjects, so this post has something for everyone.

Why opt for freebies?

Taking advantage of free resources is a cost-effective way to test what types of subjects, lesson plans, and teaching styles help your child thrive best. It’s also a great way to save money for what really matters—lots of field-trips, adventures, and social opportunities!

Listed below are FREE resources to help you save some coins this upcoming school year. Of course, most of these resources require you to at least have access to a computer, printer, and some ink. Other than that, all you really need are basic school supplies—which you can snag for free at your local back-to-school teacher supply drive. However, please only participate in these drives if you’re truly in need.

*Note: This is an updated version of 30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

So, without further ado:

FREE Homeschool DEALS Your Wallet Will LOVE

 

1. Free Homeschool Deals

Free Homeschool Deals offers free unit studies, supplement materials, and much more. Free resources are available for most subjects and grade levels.

2. Easy Peasy Homeschool

Easy Peasy offers free curricula in all core subjects for levels pre-k through high school.  This is also a great site for elective courses like physical education, foreign language, and more. The reviews are mixed on this curriculum, but people like it for the most part. The common complaint is that it’s not challenging enough for advanced students.

3. How to Homeschool for Free

This site offers free unit studies, electives, and other resources for homeschool families. You can find materials in all core subjects for all grade levels.

4. K12 Education

K12 is an online public school, not a homeschool. Therefore, you will be subject to public school laws. However, this program is great for families on the go. Some people love it, others hate it. The common complaint is the program includes too much busywork and not enough flexibility. A great benefit, though, is that you’ll receive free school supplies, books, and other materials needed for your child’s courses.

5. Homeschool Math.net

Homeschool Math.net is a great lesson-plan resource for mathematics. The site only serves students up to the seventh grade so you won’t find much for high school students, here. The great thing about these lesson plans is they come with video instructions and lectures as well as follow-up worksheets. You can find any math subject from simple addition to pre-algebra.

6.  Homeschool Buyers Co-op

This site offers a wonderful database full of free homeschool curricula and resources. You can even find promos, coupons, and great homeschool deals on just about anything you need to plan your curriculum.

7.  The Pioneer Woman

The Pioneer Woman offers another great database for free homeschool resources, awesome tidbits on motherhood, and more!

8.  Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free virtual academy for pre-k through high school students. You may select a course in any core area of your choice, or create a course of your own. What’s unique about this academy is you’ll find free courses in engineering, computing, economics, and finance, among others. They even have SAT prep and other standardized test prep courses to prepare your high schooler for college.

9.  Teachers pay Teachers

Not only can you find MY free resources here, but a plethora of other free resources and curricula for grades pre-k through high school.  What’s great about TpT is all materials are made for teachers by teachers. Check out my growing shop to find some free goodies!

10.  Weather Unit Freebie

Encouraging Moms at Home shares an awesome weather unit freebie for preschoolers. Take advantage! You can also find other great deals and homeschool tips on this site.

11.  United States Unit Study

Midwest Modern Momma shares a free United States unit study that can be adjusted for any age. The study comes with a load of free printables. Check it out!

12. The Magic School Bus

If you’re looking for a free science curriculum for pre-k through second grade, look no further. Cornerstone Confessions shares a Magic School Bus science unit for the entire school year! This unit is full of awesome experiments and activities. If you already have a Netflix subscription (or other subscription that offers The Magic School Bus series) this course is completely free.

13. Ambleside Online

If you’re a fan of the Charlotte Mason method, you’ll love this free resource. Ambleside Online offers free courses from pre-k- through high school in all core subjects. This site also offers free Bible courses for those looking for a religious curriculum.

14.  Budget Homeschool

Budget Homeschool offers free study guides, lesson plans, books, and more!

15.  An Old Fashioned Education

Are you old school? Well, An Old Fashioned Education is the site for you! It’s important to note that this site is Christian inspired. The site offers core subjects as well as elective subjects like etiquette, speaking, and art appreciation, among many others.

16.  Classroom Freebies, Too

This site is a great resource for all things “freebies!”

17. NASA Image and Video Library

NASA launched a new resource that offers free searchable audio, video, and imagery library for the public. Popular images include that of the Earth, unique observations of the Milky Way, and vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Check it out!

18.  Free Kids Books

This site has a book for every age from 0-100. And, yes, the books are free to download! Or, you can simply read them online. What I really like about this site is most of the books have ratings. The site also offers a user-friendly category search so you can search for anything from coloring books to early reader books in a jiffy.

19.  Lesson Pathways

Lesson Pathways is a curriculum-building site that offers free resources for curriculum customization.  The resources offered covers grades K-5. Registration is free and gives you access to some awesome goodies.

20.  Guest Hollow

Guest Hollow offers a free science of the seasons curriculum, geography curriculum, and many others.  There are some great resources for all ages, including high school students. Go take a look!

21. Scholastic

Scholastic has a teacher’s corner that serves teachers of all grade levels. This site is full of lesson plans, unit plans, teacher guides, activities, and more. Not to mention, they offer recommendations on awesome books to accompany your lessons!

22. Crayola

Believe it or not, Crayola offers free lesson plans for language arts, math, STEM, social studies, and, of course—art!

23. School Zone

School Zone has a program called Anywhere Teacher. If you sign up for a free subscription, you have access to 28 educational activities that rotate monthly. The program connects children ages 2-8 to online learning and resources.

24. Hoffman Academy

It doesn’t get any better than free online piano lessons at Hoffman Academy. We’ve personally taken advantage of this resource, so I can truly say that my kids enjoy these fun, quirky lessons. The lessons are step by step and offer units for beginner and intermediate levels.

25. STEMfinity

STEMfinity offers a database for all things STEM. Check out their resources for activities and lesson plans for science, technology, engineering, and math.

26. Code.org

Code.org offers free videos, games, and lesson plans for all things coding. This site serves parents and teachers of grades pre-k through high school. It’s also user-friendly for independent learners. My fourth-grader utilizes this site frequently to improve his coding skills.

27. Scratch

Scratch allows students to program their own stories, games, and animations. The site also includes guides and tutorials for parents and teachers. This is another site my kids frequent. It’s very kid-user friendly. My boys coded several games and animations using this resource and have been doing so since their kindergarten days.

28. Kidzone

Looking for worksheets for your children? Kidzone has got you covered. All worksheets are printable for grades pre-K—5. You can find worksheets on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. The site also offers worksheets for phonics, math, science, and geography. Lesson plans and thematic units are also available. This was my go-to source for kindergarten worksheets our first homeschool year.

29. Education.com

Education.com offers worksheets, lesson plans, games, and more for grades pre-k through high school. They offer resources for math, reading, writing, science, social studies, foreign language, and more. Be sure to check out their Teaching Tools section because you can read the ratings and comments on the lesson plans they offer.

30. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a great virtual dictionary for fun facts about animals, geography, the solar system, and more. The site also offers educational games, quizzes, and videos for kids of all ages. We loved it as a supplement to our curriculum on life science and habitats. We also used this resource to supplement our geography curriculum.

31. Nike Anderson’s Classroom

Of course, I’m including my growing online shop, Nike Anderson’s Classroom. I offer free resources for pre-k through second grade. Check out my free geography resources, reading comprehension worksheets, memory verse activities, handwriting practice printables, and more! Be sure to follow me on TpT to be the first to know when I upload a new free resource.

32. National Treasures Workbooks

National Treasures Workbooks is a McGraw Hill company. Right now, NTW is offering free workbooks for reading, spelling, and grammar practice for grades K-6. All you need is software that supports PDF files and a printer, of course.

33. California Science Workbooks

California Science is another McGraw Hill company that’s offering free downloads for their science workbooks. These workbooks are offered for grades 1-6. Among the free downloads are interactive textbooks, reading and writing in science workbooks, and activity lap books. 

34. The Math Learning Center

The Math Learning Center is offering free downloads for its Bridges in Mathematics practice workbooks. Downloads are currently available for grades K-5 and provide practice in key skill areas. They even offer the workbooks in Spanish!

35. Duolingo

Duolingo offers free foreign language courses for any age. The site offers a variety of languages from Spanish and French to Chinese and Hebrew—and more! If you’re a parent or teacher, you can sign up and customize lessons for your students to keep track of their progress.

36. EWorksheet.Org

E-worksheet offers educational resources for all grade levels. Subjects included are English, math, and science for grades 1-8, and economics, political science, and civics for high school levels. There are also other electives available so go and check them out for yourself!

37. Math Drills

Math Drills includes over 50, 000 free math worksheets. The worksheets cover a wide range of topics, including—but not limited to—geometry, pre-algebra, money concepts, and more. The site also offers holiday-themed and interactive math worksheets.

38. Lynda.com

Get a free one month trial with Lynda online courses. Try a course on business, web design, photography, and more for up to one month free of charge. Not only is this a great way to try a course for free, but also to decipher if the program is worth the investment. While these courses are geared toward higher education, children as young as 9-years-old can participate. My fourth-grader enjoyed some of their coding courses.

39. XtraMath

XtraMath is a free web program that offers supplemental math activities. The site also offers a service to parents and teachers that allows them to sign up for a free account and track students’ progress. This program covers the basics; addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It’s aimed at helping children develop the fluency they need to prepare them for advanced math.

40. Typing.com

Typing.com has a comprehensive typing curriculum for all skill levels and it’s FREE! Students, parents, and teachers can create custom lessons and monitor progress with timed tests. The lessons are also available in Spanish.

41. Vocabulary.com

You can create classes, assign lessons, and track your students’ progress with Vocabulary.com. This site offers featured vocabulary lists on topics like test prep, literature, speeches, and more. You can also customize your own list. This summer, my kids learned Minecraft terms.

42. Kiddle

Kiddle is a safe visual search engine just for kids. Your child can research and receive results on safe sites and pages written specifically for children. However, as with most filter systems, it’s not entireley foolproof.

43. Starfall

Starfall is a great resource for early elementary students that offers free reading resources. This site provides tips on teaching beginning and emerging readers, as well as free downloadable practice worksheets.

44. Fun Brain

Fun Brain offers hundreds of games, books, and videos for grades K-8. Subjects covered are math, literacy, reading, and problem-solving.

45. Storyline Online

Storyline Online is an award-winning website that “streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations.” You can find popular titles like The Rainbow Fish, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and more.

46. ABCya

ABCya offers over 400 educational games for grades K-6. You can find games that offer fluency practice on a variety of skillsets from reading to math. There are even fun holdiay-themed games for extra practice during holiday breaks that won’t feel like learning at all!

47. Math Game Time

Math Game Time is a great resource for games, worksheets, and instructional videos for grades pre-K through 7. This resource covers basic math concepts like problem-solving, probability, physics, fractions, percentages, and decimals, among others.

48. Sheppard Software 

Sheppard Software is an educational website that offers hundreds of free online learning games. Kids can enjoy fun games on geography, chemistry, health, nutrition, and history, just to name a few. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this website, as Sheppard Software also offers educational games for high schoolers, college students, and even adults.

49. Into the Book

Into the Book offers interactive reading comprehension activities for students, teacher tools for educators, and resources for professional development. Strategies students will learn are visualizing, summarizing, inferring, making connections, synthesizing, prior knowledge, evaluating, and questioning.

50. Cool Math 4 Kids

Enjoy games and lessons in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions. Cool Math 4 Kids also offers virtual manipulatives that allow students to work with ten frames, base ten blocks, number lines, and pattern blocks. Students may take a quiz and earn a certificate for a job well done. Games are designed for children under the age of twelve.

51. Dance Mat Typing

Dance Mat Typing is an interactive system that helps students learn to type with ease. There are four levels and three stages for each level. The site includes typing games, tests, and keyboard tricks.

52. Sum Dog

Sum Dog is an online learning service that helps students excel in math, English, and spelling using game-based learning. The service helps parents and teachers keep track of their student’s progress, allowing them to identify and recify potential learning gaps.

53. Scholastic StudyJams!

StudyJams is a Scholastic resource for teachers and parents that offers interactive math and science activities. The resource introduces and reinforces more than 200 important topics ranging from volcanoes to photosynthesis. Key vocabulary terms and quizzes are also available.

54. Math Blaster

Math Blaster is a virtual hub for outer space-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming.

55. Fun 4 the Brain

Fun 4 the Brain offers games for math, science, English, and more.

56. A Plus Math

A Plus Math is a resource offered by Varsity Tutors to help improve math fluency in basic math concepts. The site offers worksheets, flashcards, games, and homework helper services. Subjects covered are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and geometry. 

57.  Science Kids

Science Kids is a resource for all things science and technology for kids. The free site offers experiment ideas, games, facts, quizzes, projects, lesson plans, videos, and more. Lesson plans include subjects like earth, animals, chemistry, space, biology, and technology, among others. Images are also available to aid instruction.

58. PBS Kids

PBS Kids offers educational videos and games for preschool and early elementary students.

59. Arcademics 

Arcademics combines the excitement of arcade games and education. Teachers and parents can enroll students, assign games, and track scores. Subjects covered include—but is not limited to—spelling, geography, typing, language arts, integers, money, time and more. You can find games for grades 1-6.

60. Turtle Diary

Turtle Diary offers games, videos, quizzes, worksheets, lessons, contests, assessments, and apps for students, teachers, and parents. The site serves grades K4 through 5. There is also a teaching tools service that allows you to generate your own worksheets, create assignments, and more.

61. Cool Math

Cool Math is an educational game site that serves users ages 13 and up. The site covers topics like geometry, algebra, trigonometry and more. Some interesting features are their math dictionary, math survival guide, and geometry and trig reference.

62. The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum 

The Good and the Beautiful offers free downloads for their level 1-5 language arts curriculum. This curriculum encompasses geography, art, reading, spelling, phonics, and grammar. There are lots of gorgeous illustrations, so I highly recommend using a color inkjet printer. The company also currently offers a free download on their Marine Biology Science unit.

63. Epic! Books for Kids

Epic Books for Kids is the leading digital library for children ages 12 and under. The site features award-winning books on fiction, non-fiction, STEM, biographies, and more. There’s a low-cost monthly subscription but you can sign up and receive a FREE one month trial. The site will track your child’s reading progress and log the amount of time they’ve spent reading.

64. Physics Crash Course

There are a ton of awesome educational YouTube channels out there, I list some, here. However, this Physics Crash Course channel deserves the spotlight on this post. This channel features over 40 videos on topics ranging from Newton’s laws, kinetic theory, and Maxwell’s equations, to name a few.


That concludes my list. I do hope at least one of these free resources is new to you.

Your Turn!

If you have other resources you’d like to mention, let us know down below! Sharing is caring!!!!

How to Homeschool

10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool

Thinking about homeschooling your children, or know someone who is? As a newbie homeschooler, I would have been lost if it weren’t for the homeschool veterans that helped me put everything into perspective. So, here I am paying it forward. Not that I consider myself a veteran, but I’ve learned a thing or two. Here are my top ten things every prospective homeschooler should know and/or consider before their first year of homeschool. And if you’re already in the homeschooling game, perhaps you may still find some of these tips useful.   


10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool


1. The Law

In the United States, you have the right to provide your child with a home-based education. Homeschool is a legal practice in all fifty U.S. states and has been since 1993. However, there are legal requirements you should know regarding homeschool. Requirements differ depending on where you live, so it’s best to research the requirements for your state. I can offer you a summary here, but be sure to do the research for yourself for up-to-date legal requirements.

Homeschool Law Breakdown

There are four types of states regarding homeschool laws: The first type is a No Regulation State. A no regulation state has no requirements for homeschool parents. The second type is a Low Regulation State. A low regulation state only requires parents to send notification of their intent to homeschool. The third type is a Moderate Regulation State. A moderate regulation state requires parents to send notification of their intent to homeschool, as well as test scores and/ or professional evaluation of student progress. Finally, the fourth type is a High Regulation State. A high regulation state may require notification, test scores, curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials, among other things. Click here to get a snapshot of the category your residing state falls into.

I can’t stress enough to do your own research. Laws change all the time and there are always details to consider. To help structure your research, seek to answer the following questions:

  • Is there a compulsory attendance?
  • Are there required subjects?
  • Is there a deadline?
  • Do you have to keep records?
  • Can you teach other kids?
  • Can you hire a tutor?
  • Do you need a college degree?
  • Are there required standardized tests?
  • What are your other rights?
  • Did any laws change?

I know. It all seems so scary. If you need any legal help, the Homeschool Defense Legal Association will point you in the right direction.

2. Your Vision

So, what’s a vision, anyway?

I like the way leadership expert, Jessie Lyn Stoner, defines vision: “Vision is knowing who you are, where you’re going, and what will guide your journey.” It is made up of your purpose, picture of the future, and your values. Now let’s apply that to your homeschool. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your purpose for homeschooling and what value will it provide to your family?
  • What will your picture look like at the end of your homeschool journey when your purpose of fulfilled?
  • What are your core values and how will they support your purpose?

Make sure you write your vision down! Here’s an example from my vision and mission statement for the upcoming school year.

Nike Anderson's Homeschool Vision Statement

3. The Benefits

Understanding the benefits of your decision to homeschool will keep you going when things get tough. Be sure to do thorough research on all of the benefits you’ll be providing for your children (and yourself!) during your homeschool experience. Write them down or print them out. Here are a few statistics from the National Home Education Research Institute:

  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
  • The home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
  • Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges
  • The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.

It’s important to understand that some statistics in favor of homeschool, and those against homeschool, can be biased. Instead, make it a habit to write down your personal list of benefits that you’ve experienced as a result of homeschool. Here’s mine. Perhaps I’ll explain these in depth in another blog post.

  • Improved Focus. We’re able to modify our learning environment to ensure the best possible focus.
  • Close-knit Family. We have the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with one another.
  • Tailored Education. We can choose a curriculum that best suits our family and make necessary modifications if needed.
  • Tailored Pace. We can speed up or slow down our lessons depending on the level of mastery. 
  • Lifestyle Learning. There’s very little separation between real-life and “school.” Everything’s a lesson!
  • Lifestyle Freedom. Our schedule is super flexible. We can vacation off-season and visit attractions during low-traffic hours.

4. Discounts & Free Resources

Homeschool has the potential to get costly, especially for beginners who are tempted to purchase everything that veterans recommend. Research free resources in your area. You might be amazed by all your community has to offer for little to no cost. The local library is a great place to start, as they are typically connected to many resources that offer free admission to the museum, zoo, aquarium, and much more. You can even find free or low-cost classes at your local museum, zoo, aquarium, capital building, and education center.

Of course, there are many free resources on the Web. Youtube has great educational channels for all ages, and there are websites galore that are full of access to free educational resources. Websites I’ve used frequently for free printables and curricula are:

  • Education.comFree printables for core and elective subjects for grades pre-k thru high school. Also provides games, activities, lesson plans, and more.
  • KidzoneFree worksheets for pre-k thru grade 5.
  • Teachers pay TeachersFree lesson plans, worksheets, games, and resources from experienced educators around the world.
  • AllinOneHomeschoolA free online curriculum for core and elective subjects for grades pre-k thru high school.
  • Khan AcademyFree online courses, classes, and practice.
  • ScholasticFree resources and tools, printables, and more.
  • Hoffman AcademyFree music lessons.
  • Nike Anderson’s Classroom(Shameless plug, hehe!) Free printable worksheets for pre-k thru grade 2 designed for kinesthetic learners.

This list doesn’t even make a dent so please do your own research. New resources I haven’t tried but am just learning about are:

  • CrayolaFree lesson plans and resources for language arts, math, STEM, social studies, art, and more.
  • Homeschool Buyers CoopFree virtual field trip lesson plans, resources, tips, and more.

Read FREE Homeschool DEALS Your Wallet Will LOVE for more resources.

*******You May Also Qualify for Teacher Discounts******

Don’t forget you are a teacher, too! I mean, I know this should be a given, but it took me a while to accept that title. So make sure you attend teacher drives in your area and take advantage of the free school supplies they give out at the start of the school year.

Even more? You can receive a teacher’s discount at participating supercenters, bookstores, and office supply stores. I’ve personally received discounts at my local bookstore, but am now learning there are so many stores that may offer homeschoolers a teacher’s discount. Keep in mind that you may have to show your declaration of intent, homeschool membership card, or HSLDA membership card. Here are some stores you might want to try according to the HSLDA.

·         Adobe.com

·         A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts

·         Ann Taylor Loft

·         Apple Store

·         Barnes & Noble

·         Big Lots

·         The Book Barn

·         Books-a-Million

·         Colonial Williamsburg

·         The Container Store

·         Creation Museum

·         Dell

·         Generation Joshua

·         Goodwill

·         Half Price Books

·         HSLDA Online Academy

·         J. Crew

·         Joann Fabrics

·         Legoland

·         Michaels

·         Mount Vernon

·         New York and Co.

·         Office Depot

·         Office Max

·         Patrick Henry College

·         Ripley’s Attractions, Gatlinburg, TN

5. The Types of Homeschool Groups

Basically, there are different types of homeschool groups that cater to the needs of different families. The best way I found out about the homeschool groups in my area was through a Facebook search. I simply searched “homeschool groups near me” and requested to join the groups I was interested in. Please note that there is an additional process to be an official member of the homeschool group of your choice. Joining a Facebook group may give you access to information about that group, but many groups require an application, a membership fee, references, a background check, mandatory volunteering, and more. Be sure to seek out the group administrator for additional requirements. Here are some examples of homeschool groups to consider:

  • Christian Homeschool Groups—A group that provides homeschool families with information, fellowship, and learning opportunities centered around Christian beliefs.
  • Secular Homeschool Groups—A homeschool group that provides non-religious families with information, fellowship, and learning opportunities.
  • African American/ Ethnic Homeschool Groups—A homeschool group that connects African Americans and/or various ethnic groups with one another.
  • STEAM Homeschool Groups—A homeschool group that helps families provide their children with an education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
  • Homeschool Playgroups—A laid back homeschool group focused on providing children with fellowship opportunities in the form of open-ended play.
  • Classical Education Homeschool Groups—Connects homeschool families who follow the classical education method. This group usually offers classes by parents who specialize in teaching classical education.
  • Tutorial Co-op—A co-op for children of any age in need of specialized tutoring in a particular subject. Usually, taught by qualified parents and/or teachers.
  • Parent-support Co-op—A co-op for homeschool parents to gather, fellowship, and minister to one another.
  • Traditional Homeschool Co-op—A co-op that’s usually parent-led designed to provide homeschool children with elective classes, field-trips, socialization, and more.

6. How Your Children Learn.

If you plan to use a curriculum, make sure it suits the way your child learns best. There are different types of learning styles. Here’s a list of six different ways your child may prefer to learn.

  • Visual, or learning using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural, or learning using sound and music.
  • Verbal, or learning using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical, or learning using your body, hands, and sense of touch.
  • Logical, or learning using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  • Social, or learning in groups.
  • Solitary, or preferring to work alone and use self-study.

Scholastic offers a simple “Learning Style Quiz” you can do with your child to point you in the right direction. When I sought out a curriculum for my children, who are visual and physical learners, I made sure to implement a curriculum that involves games, physical movement, and stimulating visual prompts and videos. But even in doing so, we’re not limited to the curriculum. I’ve created many resources, learning games, and projects along the way to enhance classroom learning. You can, too! Pinterest is your best friend. So is your imagination!

7.  You Don’t Need an Extensive Curriculum

Well, maybe you do if you live in a high regulation state that must approve your curriculum choice. However, for the rest of us, an extensive curriculum with all the bells and whistles isn’t necessary. Trust me when I say, “What will always matter most is how much you put into a curriculum. Not what you get out of it.” When a parent places a great deal of effort into their child’s education they will never come up short—regardless of the curriculum choice. I am living proof. Due to financial hardship in the past, I’ve had to get super creative. I relied heavily on free curricula, library resources, and my creative juices. If you’ve been following me since Day One, you know this. These days, I am blessed to purchase curricula that suit my family, but I still take advantage of free resources.

Please know there are parents who’ve spent a fortune, yet get frustrated by a curriculum because the child is disinterested and/or not thriving. Usually, this is because the curriculum doesn’t fit the child’s preferred learning style. Read the forums! You’ll read all sorts of horror stories regarding the most recommended of curricula. And while these particular materials may work for some children, they do not work for all.

I don’t care who wrote the curriculum, what the author’s credentials are, and how many awards they’ve earned, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all curriculum. And just because it costs a fortune doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your family. I personally know parents who are using free online homeschool curricula and their children are thriving because the parents are involved, innovative, and dedicated. I say this not to steer you away from a boxed curriculum, but to inspire those who cannot afford it. You can do it!

8. Different Types of Homeschoolers

There are all kinds of homeschool families. Some of which are underrepresented on the Web. You don’t have to homeschool the way you see other families on social media do it. Take a look at these alternative methods to homeschool.

  • Eclectic homeschool, or homeschooling that mixes several different learning styles.
  • Classical education, or teaching according to the phases of a child’s cognitive development.
  • Charlotte Mason, or a method that uses real-life experiences to teach a child.
  • Unit studies, or a specific interest that is studied from different angles.
  • Unschooled, or child-led learning that is void of curricula and lesson plans.

I know there’s a stigma against implementing traditional schooling into your homeschool classroom, but hear me out: If this method works for your family, use it! You don’t have to forgo the traditional method just because you’re a homeschool family. In fact, if you have children who are being pulled out of public or private school, they may be most receptive to traditional learning because it’s what they know. That’s okay.

9. You Have Support

Say farewell to the stigma that was once associated with homeschool. Welcome, the days where homeschool has increasingly gained both popularity and respect. The U.S. homeschool population continues to grow each year at a rate anywhere between 2-8 percent. As the population grows, so do social support groups, legal support groups, and resources. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is probably amongst the most popular support groups. They provide homeschool families with pertinent information regarding homeschool laws, legal services, and may offer peace of mind.

Many public libraries also support homeschoolers. Check out your local library to see what they have to offer. Our local library offers STEM classes, STEM kits, free admissions passes to parks and museums, and much more. Local businesses may also offer “homeschool days” where admission is free or discounted. Our local Skyzone, skating, and bowling center offer homeschool days for a discounted admission. Our state capital building also offers a homeschool day where they give a free tour and low-cost legal classes. Taking advantage of these opportunities is a great way to meet and connect with other homeschool families in your area. So get plugged in!

10. Inevitable Bad Days

If you have a Mary Poppins expectation of what your homeschool days will look like, allow me to bring in a bit of reality—some days will not go so well.  Just as with traditional school, where you’d expect days when your child hates it, expect the same for homeschool. Prepare in advance for how you’d like to handle your uncooperative child (or your uncooperative self!). Here’s what worked for us:

  • Everyone take ten deep breaths—Deep breathing reduces muscle tension, improves mental concentration, and increases the sense of well-being.
  • Let the child talk about it—Sometimes they need to let it all out. Give them a window of opportunity to let their voice be heard.
  • Take a break—Whether it’s just for ten minutes or for the rest of the day. Sometimes we forget that our children need breaks from the monotony of homeschool.
  • Push through—Helping your child to push through something challenging, even when they want to give up, will teach them the value of perseverance.

So, there you have it! Keep in mind that there’s so much pertinent information out there. These are just some of the tips that I’ve found quite useful as a newbie homeschooler, along with other tips I’ve learned along the way. It goes without saying that every homeschool journey is different. So when seeking advice, always consider that you know what works best for your family better than anyone else.

Your Turn!

Let us know in the comments where you are in your homeschool journey and what you’ve learned so far. 

Frugal Resources for Homeschool

12 Frugal Supplements I Used For Preschool & Kindergarten

During my homeschool research, I came across several blog posts recommending high-priced curricula and supplement materials. But for homeschool parents on a budget, like us, you don’t have to fork over your entire homeschool savings on curricula alone. Take the frugal road and save most of that money for enriching activities and experiences outside the classroom.

Most of you know that I created my own curriculum this year. Partly because I was on a budget and partly because I didn’t want to spend top dollar on something that may not work for us. I needed to spend time with my children to assess their learning style and abilities so that I could determine which curriculum fit best for our household. I’m glad I did this. Not only did I save money, but I’m now able to help other homeschool parents who are looking to save money, too.

Most of the worksheets and activities my boys did this year were created by me. However, there were some resources that helped me fill in those gaps. Not all of these resources were free, but they fit into my budget nicely. Here they are!


12 Great Resources That Helped Me Supplement My Homeschool Curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten. 

1Scholastic Early Learners workbook..    Scholastic Early Learners workbook.

This workbook was used more so toward the beginning of the year, although we still like to use it for handwriting practice. Among other things, this workbook covers practice in the alphabet and phonics, counting, shapes and 3-D shapes, sequencing, telling time, and standard kindergarten vocabulary practice.

Trend Enterprises Ready to Read workbook

2.    Trend Enterprises Ready to Read workbook.

This workbook covers beginning reading skills, upper and lowercase letters, letter and word puzzles, basic reading vocabulary, and reading and following directions. This is a wipe – off book used primarily by my 3-year-old, even though it’s designed for kindergarten. However, my kindergartner has gotten some great use out of it, too.

School Zone Big Workbook3.    School Zone Big Workbook.

I purchased this workbook at the First Grade level to challenge my kindergartner. We used this book very often, as it allowed for practice in many areas. The book covers critical thinking, phonics and spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, basic math, and math word problems, among other things. We were able to cover a lot of ground with this workbook, so we found it super helpful.

4.    Learning Resources flashcards.

We used the United States flashcards as a part of our geography lesson. These flash cards also came with fun facts. My preschooler used the Alphabet and Numbers flash cards to practice phonics and fluency in counting up to 30. We also purchased “thumbs up” stickers from the Dollar Tree and placed a sticker on each flash card they mastered. This allowed us to practice more on the facts they hadn’t mastered yet. I know flash cards are frowned upon in the homeschool community, but my kids love flash cards!

5.    Trend Enterprises Sight Word flashcards.

Playing fun games with these flash cards really helped my kindergartner to master his sight words. These flashcards have all sorts of levels for sight word practice. Once again, we used the
sticker method to keep track of the words he needed more practice with. By the end of the year, my kindergartner’s fluency at recalling sight words greatly increased.

Teachers pay Teachers.

6.    Teachers pay Teachers.

This is where I downloaded and printed many of my worksheets. This resource carries everything from science activities to reading comprehension practice, and so much more! Some of the resources are free, others are fairly priced. The great thing about this resource was that I can print out exactly what I need, rather than flipping through a published workbook filled with fluff. I have a store listed on Teachers Pay Teachers where I offer free printables. Find it, here.

National Geographic Kids7.    National Geographic Kids.

National Geographic Kids is a fun resource for learning about plants, animals, and habitats all around the world. They also have a fun “How Things Are Made” series, where kids can learn how their favorite things are made from pizza to crayons, and even LEGOs! The National Geographic Kids website includes a wealth of resources from videos to books, and fun learning games and quizzes. Also, check out the Dollar Tree for National Geographic books to add to your science curriculum.

1464117973397-18.    YouTube.

There are so many YouTube learning channels for Kids. Videos are great for reinforcing facts, ideas, and concepts. National Geographic Kids has a great YouTube Channel. Other favorites are Animal Atlas and The Kids Picture Show, which covers advanced shapes, colors, and the solar system, among other things. I love these channels for those hectic mornings where I need my boys to stay in one place while I make breakfast or put in a load of laundry. These channels are also great compliments to curriculum lessons. My kids can learn all about the solar system and then watch a fun video about it.

61j76ft19zl-_sx258_bo1204203200_9.    The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book.

This book covers the human body, physics, biology, chemistry, and nature. We liked this book because most of the experiments called for everyday items you’d use in your home. We got more into science experiments towards the end of the year, and this book had tons of fun ones to do that were pre-k and kindergarten friendly. The book also provides key terms as well as gives explanations of what’s happening during the experiment, which is great for lesson planning.

146411915598611.    I Can Read books.

These books include a ton of series from Amelia Bedelia to Frog and Toad, which are my childhood favorites. The great thing about “I Can Read” books is that they have different levels from emerging readers to advanced readers. We started off at Level 1, but there’s a level before that called “Shared Reading.” Shared reading is great because it divides the books with sentences for parents to read and sentences for emerging readers. I don’t think kids should be pushed to read early, but my kindergartner showed all the signs of reading readiness. His favorite “I Can Read” series are from Charlie the Ranch Dog.

12.    The library.nola_brantley_memorial_library

I know I mention this resource all the time, but the library is certainly underrated. Not only do they hold classes and activities for homeschoolers, they also have a ton of resources, discount codes for education materials, and so much more. We checked out a ton of books every week for the entire school year. Books on astronomy, geography, the human body, and, of course, books to read just for fun. The library also has STEM activities for budding engineers and a great selection of audiobooks for kids. Be careful to look at the copyright date on the books to ensure the resource isn’t outdated.

the_macon_museum_of_arts__sciences_172177613.    The Museum.

Our local museum is completely free. Other museums like the Children’s or Science museums usually have free admission days. Take advantage of your local museum! They typically hold great classes for homeschool families. Our local museum holds regular STEM Classes. If you’re unfamiliar with STEM, it’s an acronym for all things Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—sometimes Art (STEAM). Museums are great for a learning day outside the home. Pack a lunch and have a fun picnic in the designated picnic areas!


I’m sure I forgot some amazing resources we used. If I did, you’ll surely hear about it in the future. These resources, however, are ones that we used often and made excellent supplements to my curriculum lesson plans. If you are on a tight budget this year, I urge you to try out some of these resources. For a list of free curricula, click here.

Lastly, I just want to say, don’t be afraid of not using the same pricey curriculum as everyone else. It’s not what you have, but how you use what you have. There are kids using those materials who are struggling, read the forums! And I want to note that even though we didn’t use a top-notch curriculum, my kindergartner still tested above grade-level for both reading and math. It’s not necessary to keep score in homeschool, but I needed to test him to prepare for next year’s curriculum.

Will you be creating your own curriculum next school year? Let us know down below!