This post is from a sweet reader, Kelly, who was inspired to share with you all her story about how she homeschooled for free! It is a perfect followup to our last post on frugal homeschooling. Thank you, Kelly, for your tips and encouragement!
Beginning of October 2015 I knew that a major change was in order. My children had previously attended an online public school, but this school year had brought with it many changes – including 7 hour school days, with no time for daily bible lessons – which I was NOT ok with.
I knew that my heart’s desire was to continue to school my children at home, and to provide quality lessons for them. However, after researching many wonderful Christian curriculum choices, I knew that there was simply no way that we could afford it for 2 children (and eventually 3). I felt stuck.
It was at this point that I turned whole-heartedly to my Lord in prayer. I began to ask the Lord to make a way for our family. I asked Him to show me HIS plan. He gave me the answer of schooling my children traditionally at home, using free curriculum.
In those beginning days I felt so overwhelmed. I felt so inept to teach my 6th grader Math. I questioned my abilities again and again.
- How would I find what I needed to teach my children without spending money?
- Would I be able to teach them what they needed to know without a set curriculum?
With assurance from the Lord, and after some family discussions, the decision to make the switch was made. With the Lord guiding me, we found a perfect for us free Math program, and we began to find our way.
After only a short time of gathering free resources for teaching my children, I began to see just how much free information is truly available to those who need it. There are so many generous bloggers and others who are willing to share of their resources and time. With this in mind, I will outline what works the best (for me) for keeping all of these free resources neatly organized, and explaining where I obtain them all from.
Paying With Time Instead of Money
I think it also bears mentioning that when you school using free resources, the trade off is with your time. Your lessons aren’t planned out for you like a purchased curriculum set is, so you “pay” instead in your time:
1. To sort through and find the lessons that you’re looking for
2. To organize all the information that you both download and Pin on Pinterest
3. Taking the time to make out your daily lesson plans
4. To print out all daily worksheets.
Keeping the Freebies Organized
Organization is imperative when schooling this way. The sheer amount of resources that you will eventually accumulate all need to be stored somewhere. I learned quickly that I needed to figure out some sort of system for keeping things neatly organized, so that I’d be able to go back and easily find what I was looking for when I needed it.
Pinterest: Hence – my decision to create numerous Pinterest boards named by subject. All of my school related boards start with Homeschool and end in subject name. Here is the link to my personal Pinterest page, so that you can see how I’ve organized everything by subject.
Digital Downloads: You will also need a way to keep all of your downloads organized and easily accessible. To keep it all straight I decided to create folders on my hard drive. I began with a simple folder called “HSing” and then within that created individual folders labeled by subject. It makes finding what I need so much faster, and has saved me so much time.
Daily Schedule: I also strongly recommend using a daily schedule, especially if you teach more than 1 child. (Many homeschooling blogs offer their subscribers free daily/yearly planners, or you can do a search to find one.) This is to:
- Keep a record of everything that you’ve done with your children over the school year (All states have different reporting laws, so having some proof of schooling is a wise decision – even if your state is currently non-reporting.)
- Helps keep daily lessons sorted by subject and student
- Ensures that a variety of subjects are being taught each day to help prevent boredom
- Ensures that I know which subjects I’ve taught and when
Covering All the Bases
Because I teach using free curriculum, I wanted to be sure that I was teaching my children grade appropriate things. I feel fortunate that I was able to find a few lists that detail what children should be learning at each grade level. I make a list of the things that I still need to teach based on the information on these web sites, and check them off as the school year progresses. Here are the links to those web sites for you:
Where to Find Curriculum to Homeschool for Free
Blogs and Newsletters: I find that I can obtain free resources from limitless places. I am subscribed to many newsletters, which come directly to my email, and then I sort through them. I Pin what I don’t want to download immediately, and download things that I know we’ll use soon, or items that have a time limit on obtaining them for free. I would like to mention the importance of double checking on time limitations for free items. I’ve gone back a few times to obtain an item I had Pinned, only to find that it now cost money to obtain.
Online Curriculum Providers & Freebie Sites: I have also had great success using curriculum web sites like Currclick , Educents , Teachers Pay Teachers, Scholastic , Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies , Education.com and others. (I’ve linked each of these web sites to their free areas for you.)
I would also like to point out that Educents does a lot of contests and gives away a LOT of really fantastic freebies and freebie bundles right before the new school year starts. It was through their giveaways that I was able to obtain a completely free 12 month Math curriculum for my 6th grader, as well as a huge bundle of unit studies from The Old Schoolhouse. I won a free 12 month Math curriculum for my soon to be 4th grader from Educents, so it really can pay off to invest a small amount of time in perusing their web site from time to time.
Facebook Groups: There are also groups on Facebook that share links to freebies each day, and I’ve been able to obtain countless lessons this way. Two such groups that I’ve personally utilized are Homeschool for Free and Homeschool Freebies Galore. (Tauna is a co-admin for another group called Your Best Deals for Homeschooling and Family Life.) Note: Do be sure that you aren’t violating copyright by downloading files directly from the group that should be linked to the original blogger/site instead!
Pinterest: You can also simply go onto Pinterest and type in the word “homeschool”, “homeschooling”, or even subject specific words, and you’ll soon be flooded with a plethora of options.
And lastly, our family enjoys using notebooking pages in our school. You can find countless notebooking pages for free online (you can do a simple search using the words “notebooking pages” or find them on Pinterest.
You can invest in a lifetime membership at NotebookingPages.com that you pay once for (you can also download MANY pages of freebies to get started). This is truly the 1 and only thing I’ve spent money on for our school, with the exception of printer paper, ink cartridges, and regular school supplies like lined paper, pencils, crayons, etc.
I waited to purchase my lifetime membership to NotebookingPages.com when there was a deeply discounted offer going on. My kids like to have lessons that are both interactive and interesting, and notebooking combines both of these things for us.
Whether or not you choose to homeschool using all or mostly free resources, I wish each of you all of my best on your homeschooling journey! God bless!
I’m Kelly, child of the One True King, wife to Don for nearly 20 years, and mom to 3 wonderful living children, as well as 8 beautiful children in heaven. I am also blessed to call myself “mom” to 1 goldfish, 1 cat, and 2 dogs. It’s a crazy wonderful life in the Lord!