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*UPDATED: I have come across a couple more resources and have added them below.*
We have been homeschooling for 10 years now. It’s pretty amazing when I think about it. That’s a long time! But then I realize I have 14 more years to go before my youngest is done and I start to get a little overwhelmed. The time will go by fast though! Ten years has already flown by.
With more and more families choosing homeschool over public school (for obvious reasons which I won’t get into here), the number of curriculum options has increased as well, and some of them are even free! It really is possible to provide an excellent education for your children with limited financial resources.
Over these past 10 years, our financial situation has fluctuated quite a bit. Some years we have had more money to spend on curriculum than others so it made things a bit easier come August. Other years though, money has been T-I-G-H-T! And we all know that’s kind of stressful, especially when you think about the education of your children. This is yet another reason why adulting is hard! 🙂
Throughout our homeschooling journey, I have discovered some tips and tricks that have helped me save a ton of money on curriculum so that, when funds are low, I can still feel good about the kind of education our children are getting. Here they are:
1. Buy used!
Many homeschool curricula are pretty pricey or at least they can be if you have more than one kid. That’s why the Internet can be an amazing and wonderful place, especially when you’re trying to save money. I have used several sites over the years where I have purchased used curricula. They include eBay, half.com, Amazon, and Homeschool Classifieds. There are also times in which I have just done a Google search for a particular curriculum and have come across forums where people are selling exactly what I want. When my older two were in 5th grade, I was able to buy the curriculum set I was looking for, which ended up being $200 less than brand new! #winning
2. Borrow from a friend.
I am fortunate enough to have a few friends nearby who also homeschool their children. This has been great because we have swapped books/curricula/resources over the years. But if you are the only one of your friends crazy enough to homeschool, then it might be a good idea to check into your local homeschool co-op and see if you can do a curriculum swap that way.
3. Use an online curriculum.
We make use of this option more than the others as the kids have gotten older. There are several online websites you can use that offer a complete curriculum for your children, from pre-K through high school. The best part? They are either FREE or very inexpensive. The ones we have used or have looked into over the years are:
Letter of the Week — This is for preschool and kindergarten. I used it with my older two and they have fond memories of the different activities we did. Each week has a different letter of the alphabet, a color, a shape, a poem, and sometimes a song that you focus on. You print them out and put them on your Learning Poster. She also has some reading suggestions that go along with your theme for that week. It was lots of fun.
All-in-One Homeschool — This goes from pre-K through 8th grade. I love this curriculum! Lee Giles, the creator of this website (and the one below), always wants this to be a free resource. There is a donation button where you can help support her efforts.
All-in-One High school — This is the sister site to All-in-One Homeschool. The kids especially love the Spanish courses on there. This year we have been going through World History as well, and it is an excellent course!
Ambleside Online — I have not tried this yet but plan on making use of some of the ideas on here for next year. They have put together lists of recommended books for each grade level and also various schedules you can follow. Although they have links to many books that your child can read for free online, there might be some books you will have to purchase or check out at your local library.
Khan Academy This one is pretty popular. They offer several courses on here, and we have found some of the math videos to be especially helpful when the kids are stumped on a particular concept. Also my daughter is going through their Health and Medicine course, which has a TON of information. She has really enjoyed it.
Ck-12 — I just discovered this site the other day and it offers courses in the STEM categories: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I haven’t used this yet but am definitely interested. I think more emphasis should be placed on these subjects, especially in the 21st century.
Schoolhouse Teachers — (affiliate link) I really should do an entire post on this because it’s definitely one of my favorites. You pay only $5 for your first month, and if you don’t like it, it’s easy to cancel. If you decide you want to continue, it’s $14.95 for K-8 families. If any of your students are in high school the rate for your family is $19.95 per month! They also have various sales throughout the year where, for instance, you can get two years for the price of one. There are over 300 courses you can choose from ranging from pre-K all the way through high school and even some helps for parents. The kids have really enjoyed the Writing and Classics-Based Writing courses along with several others. I love this site!
Free Reading Program — I just stumbled on this the other day. It is a completely free reading, grammar, and language arts site for kindergarten through 6th grade. I have not used it yet but it looks like it would be fun for the kids with interactive games and things like that.
Mathematics Enhancement Programme — This is a free site to use for math exclusively for kindergarten through 9th grade. It includes lessons, worksheets, lesson plans, and solutions to the exercises and covers a full year of math. Many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers recommend this!
If you have been sitting on the fence about homeschooling and finances were the only thing holding you back, I hope you can see now that it is possible to homeschool your children and to do it well, even on a very tight budget!
What other free or nearly free resources have you used? It would be great to make this list longer! 🙂