Free homeschooling curriculum is available, and homeschooling can be free. Well, virtually free anyway. If you have a computer with internet access, a printer, and a library card, you can find curriculum or learning resources for any subject you want to teach.
You may wonder if the resources you find on the internet or at the library will compare to purchased curriculum. The answer depends on what you find, your children’s learning styles, and whether the learning website you choose is a quality one.
There is a difference between learning games and curriculum. Learning games may support or enhance whatever curriculum (course of study) you choose. However, they may or may not teach your child the skills needed to get the correct answer to the math, language arts, or geography question on the games. If you solely use learning games and your child plays them often enough, he may be able to choose the correct answer from memory, but his foundation and background information will be lacking.
There are always questions when homeschoolers choose to go the free curriculum rout:
- Will the free curriculum be comprehensive enough to teach all the skills needed to thoroughly learn the subject? (You first must decide what your child needs to learn, then find the curriculum that will support that–not vice versa.)
- How does a homeschooling parent know whether an internet source is a reputable one? (This is not always easy, because you may find poor curriculum on educational sites and excellent curriculum on a homeschooling mom’s blog, which the mom herself wrote. You be the judge based on whether your children are motivated, enthused learners who retain essential information.)
- How much printing out of books, worksheets, quizzes, and tests is involved? (It depends on the curriculum. There is a free curriculum, “Old Fashioned Education,” that requires printing of almost everything–including entire books; the other option is reading the book off the screen. However, printed books usually work best–and they’re easier on the eyes.)
- Is the labor involved worth it, or is it better to buy curriculum? (Only you can answer this question based on your time, money, and other available resources.)
If you do choose a free internet curriculum that requires a lot of printing, investing in a laser printer is well worth it. You have to lay out the cash in the beginning, but your investment will pay for itself. Another source of free homeschooling curriculum is discarded books from public schools and private schools. The drawback is the books may be older, and the teacher’s manuals are not available. However, if you are teaching younger children, at the lower grade levels, you may not need them.
Your local library is an excellent source for free curriculum; you must return the books, but you can re-check them out if no one has requested them. Living books which are usually written by one person who has a passion for a subject in a narrative style are great sources of information and can be used in lieu of textbooks. You will have to write the lesson plans, quizzes, reviews, and tests, because they won’t be included as they would be with a textbook.
Yes, free homeschooling curriculum, web and book-based is available, and if you do not have a computer with internet access or a printer, most libraries have computers for patron use. You might want to schedule computer time the day before, so you can have a one or two hour time slot. You will also be surrounded by all the books you need. For those who rely on library computers, most libraries charge a fee per page for printing.