Best Free Home Schools
Homeschooling is all about personal choice. In selecting a home school curriculum or creating your own, one must first determine why one is home schooling. Consider carefully why your family has chosen to home school. There are many reasons, including personal freedom, the ability to travel, issues with public school policy, and issues with public school curriculum. Homeschooling is traditionally described as taking responsibility for your child’s education out of government hands, and placing it on the parent. Part of that responsibility is actively choosing or designing a curriculum.
Options in Home Schooling
There are many options today, including online supervision of the process, grading services, and online teachers. These are not necessary, however, and there are options that allow parents more input. Other options involve ordering textbooks and curriculum guides for each course from either the same company or different companies. Parents are then responsible for scheduling class time, instructing students, and grading assignments. Other options include creating materials, buying inexpensive used materials and utilizing web resources.
Traditional Home Schooling is Very Low Cost
The old-fashioned way of home schooling, included piecing together a curriculum from found items and materials. A used textbook from a yard sale, or a set of maps as a gift from a map company are great free home school finds. Home school parents form networks to share ideas, homeschool advice, and free home school tools. Homeschooling was a full time job that required a great deal of thrift, because home school families were usually traditional one-income families. There was no way for mom to work and home school. Compensating for low income became part of the home school motif. The Internet has made homeschooling much easier, and cut costs dramatically, there are many free online homeschooling resources available. It is still a lot of work, but with online resources, homeschooling in this manner can be virtually free.
Free Online Public School Style Education
There are websites online that offer a free “public school style” education with online teacher supervision, grading, and all the other benefits of online supervised learning. These are perfect for parents who do not have an idealistic problem with the public school curriculum, and who do not have time to supervise home school themselves for whatever reason. If parents have issues with public school curriculum, and public school agenda, this program may not be suitable. For busy parents, this option does not require extensive parent involvement and places most of the responsibility for curriculum, instruction and assignments on the online faculty.
Private School at Home
When speaking of quality home school, one name stands out above the rest. Calvert provides a traditional education of the highest quality. Calvert only goes through grade 8, but 8th grade students of Calvert may be well prepared to pass a college entrance exam. They are one of the first to offer distance learning for grade school children. It has been a top choice for American and British parents raising children outside English speaking countries. Calvert can be expensive, depending on the package you choose, however most families could afford at least the non-advisory option. It is a good investment in a superior education, without shopping for each subject individually.
Cost is Not Related to Quality in Home Schooling
Provided one is willing to put in the work, there is no sacrifice in quality involved in putting together a curriculum of free and inexpensive resources and administering them. While there are many moderately priced and expensive homeschooling options available, one can find excellent free online homeschooling resources, and textbooks free or cheap with a little effort. First, find out what the course requirements are for your state. These are simple guidelines, but it pays to examine them, and make sure you are meeting the subject matter requirements. Then assemble materials and resources that match these requirements. Add any desired extra subjects, and assemble the materials for those. By using free home school resources without signing up for online teachers, one can change the curriculum as needed and make substitutions to tailor curriculum to the student.
Why are Free Programs offered?
The short answer is because the public school system is failing economically, academically and even in keeping discipline. The current economic climate has cut funding for public schools. Public school has always had limitations, and those are being exacerbated by the current cultural and economic climate. The demand for home school has escalated significantly to include many parents who simply want a safe and academically satisfactory education for their children.
Free online homeschooling resources are out there to help students who participate in a home school program. Many free educational programs, curriculum, and resources are offered by federal, state and private institutions, including religious groups, and home school organizations. The purpose is to ease the burden of home school parents, as well as provide additional information to all students.
Becoming a child’s only teacher is a great responsibility and some parents may choose to share that responsibility with a trained online teacher. There is nothing wrong with this and in many cases, it is satisfactory for parents who do not have issue with the public school’s curriculum, or who are willing to pay for a private on line instructor. The benefits include, not passing along parental academic weaknesses. Most people have subjects they do not like or do poorly in, and it is hard for them to teach those adequately. Hiring a teacher for one subject is tricky, but it can be done, either through an online tutoring program or through private tutors.
Using Free Home School Programs
Complete state sponsored programs may resemble public school curriculum in most ways. Parents can research what is available, but if their thinking is divergent from the public school program, then one can still use the many other free educational materials offered online without making a commitment to use any service.
The beauty of home school is that one does not have to rely on any single curriculum provider; parents may create their own curriculum, mix curriculums, or simply use the Internet as a perpetual reference that costs nothing. There is a lot of free home school information on the web, and there are always inexpensive textbooks available at swap meets, library sales or flea markets and on Amazon. Homeschooling is solely the responsibility of parent and student, and young people can search for their own resources as well.
No matter what curriculum is used, teaching children at home is a lifestyle choice that requires a deep conviction and commitment. That commitment does pay off if parents and students are vigilant. Be sure to research homeschooling, and meet with other home school parents before making the commitment. It is not always easy but it is extremely rewarding.
Here are some resources for parents. These are just examples, and there is a lot more to be found. Be sure to shop around extensively for materials and if not satisfied, after a few months start supplementing and replacing what is not working. All home school curriculums need a tweaking so keep adding as needed.
- American Home School Association: An organization for homeschoolers. Be sure to join local groups as well.
- Home School Legal Defense Association: This group protects the rights of homeschoolers, and has served a vital role in combating persecution of early homeschoolers. They offer a wealth of information on their site, including links to local home school groups.
- An article about the history of homeschooling: Learn about the great tradition of home school. Home Educators Association of Virginia offers this tribute to the brave beginnings of home school, and outlines the persecutions endured to secure the right to home school. We’ve come a long way, but it hasn’t been easy.
- Best Homeschooling: Advice from seasoned homeschoolers and professional educators. Read articles and get tips on all aspects of home schooling.
- Calvert: Calvert offers a classical education to students. They offer support options. One can simply order the curriculum and use it without any other input, or agree to their assistance, grading and monitoring.
- A Beka Book: These folks are great with early education and phonics. They offer text books through grade 12. Highly Christ centered lessons prepare children for a lifetime of strong literacy and study skills.
- Rod and Staff Books: While the owners of Rod and Staff are Mennonite and cannot use the web, Milestone Ministries, an independent book seller offers all their publications on line. This sweet Christ centered curriculum is excellent for developing language arts such as reading, spelling and English grammar. Rod and Staff books are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.
- Connections Academy: Connections Academy is a state sponsored organization which offers free online public school with locations in some states, and blanket coverage for the rest of the USA. This program would work for all who find public school curriculum acceptable, and do not prefer a hands on implementation of a curriculum of their choice.
- Insight Schools: Insight Schools is a government funded free high school program on line.
- FREE: Free stands for Federal Resources for Educational excellence. They offer online information and resources. There is a wealth of information on all imaginable subjects, which can be used to assemble a strong curriculum.
- Smithsonian Institution National Science Resources Center: Offers free science information and resources
- Hoagies Gifted: Online high school courses for gifted students. All subjects represented.
- National Repository of Online Courses: An offering of complete high school, advanced placement, and college courses. This is a great resource.
- Google Scholar: Google has a search engine which only pulls from scholarly sources. This search only gives access to full books on line, and scholarly articles. It cuts out the riffraff and gives reliable information on any topic.
- Textbooks.com: Search for the best prices on textbooks.
- Free textbooks on line: Here is a huge listing of textbooks. Textbooks on line can be very helpful logistically because parents and students can study with the same book at the same time.
- Free Online Science and Math Textbooks: Many of these are college level, but for advanced high school and even middle school students this can be an excellent option.
- Free libraries on line: EduChoices offers a list of 25 libraries which offer free online books.
- Questia Public domain books: Over 5000 free books to read online. There are many textbooks as well as an exhaustive supply of reading materials.
- Free Online Yale Courses: Many world class colleges offer free online course materials, reading materials and lectures. Make sure the course is complete, and take advantage of the best of college without the tuition.
- 200 Free Online Courses: A list of free adult level courses which could be adapted to middle school or high school.
- Free Phonics Worksheets: Links to free Phonics worksheets and Math worksheets as well
- Phonics Help Free from Ed Helper: Great phonics resource for teaching kids to read. Systematic resource for worksheets, provide a complete phonics program on line. See ed Helper’s home page for an exhaustive list of education resources.
- Learn to Read Free: 55 free reading lessons from Montessori
- Starfall Reading Program: Great kindergarten resources including online games and a store for kindergarten curriculum and materials.
- Book Adventure: Free reading motivation program for children in grades K-8
- Free Speed Reading Course: This course offers to improve reading speed and comprehension. Both kids and parents will benefit from this course.
- Fun School: Offers free learning games for elementary aged kids
- Study Spanish: This is a free online introduction to Spanish.
- Learn a little Sanskrit: Just an example of the wide variety of learning opportunities on the web. This is a great little course for student confidence building. How many kids know Sanskrit? Sanskrit is a beautiful ancient language, which students will enjoy learning.