Resources to Start Homeschooling for Free

Starting homeschooling can be really intimidating. Especially with all the options for curriculum out there! It’s enough to make your head spin. And the cost alone can be discouraging. But there are tons of free resources on the web, even complete curricula. Always check out what the laws are for your state before you start homeschooling as some states have stricter requirements than others. You can find out what the laws for your state are by googling them or checking out the Home School Defense League’s website. Make sure your curriculum jives with your state laws. Some states might require you to purchase a curriculum. On to my recommendations!

Homeschool for Free! | Retro Modern Melissa

Starting free you have two options: Find a free complete one, or check out several sights and piece together your own curriculum. 

Free Curriculum

Here’s a list of complete, free curriculums that I’ve checked out (they were free at the time of this writing):

  • Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool– This is a Christian curriculum. You might have to purchase some books, but you should be able to find free digital copies of them. Everything you might need is included on the sight. Here’s their About page. This curriculum was designed to be comprehensive, while also keeping the school day short.
  • Ambleside Online– This is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. The site is being re-done at the moment of this writing, but you can still access the content. Make sure you read the Introduction and FAQ pages.
  • An Old-Fashioned Education– This site has not been updated in a long time, but it contains some good information, such as a list of where you can get public domain books and other things.
  • Mater Amabilis– A Charlotte Mason approach for Catholics. The materials on the sight are free for use (check out the License).

I have not used any of these (though maybe I should have, lol), so I cannot comment on ease of use or how easy it is to find the resources and materials required, though I am looking into possibly using Easy Peasy or Ambleside, since they are close to the way I teach and use some of the same books we are currently using.

Free Resources

To piece together your own subjects, Google and Pinterest can be your best friends. Be discerning though. There are some great free resources out there, but there are also some low quality ones.

Free Homeschool Deals is one site that I follow. It’s worth it to subscribe to their email list. Be warned: It’s easy to go overboard with all the great freebies. Sometimes you can only get the freebies by subscribing to more sites. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it. I have found some pretty nice sites through Free Homeschool Deals.

Seriously, just search “free homeschool deals” on Pinterest. You will find tons of cool stuff. I just found this Living Learning printable from Ed Snap Shots, which is a great reminder that kids are always learning. Tip: If you see something interesting but aren’t ready to pin it and don’t have time to check it out, like it. You’ll be able to find it later. lol I couldn’t find that printable I just mentioned, and I had not pinned or liked it, so I had to open the tab again to pin it. I could not find it in the search pins!

Google is the same. The internet is an awesome resource. Utilize it. There are many free educational websites out there as well. Here’s a list of 14 free educational websites that I found on Pinterest.

One more resource: My Free Homeschool Resources Pinterest board. I am currently working on populating that bad boy with more great resources.

Have you come across some free homeschool sites or resources I should include here?

A Christian Curriculum for Kindergarten to Eighth Grade for Under $200

A Christian curriculum for kindergarten to eighth grade for under $200?! I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m crazy or unrealistic. I assure you, I am not unrealistic. Sorry, I can’t reassure that I’m not crazy. πŸ™‚ The pricing is from Rainbow Resource Center, where I buy pretty much all of our books. They usually have the best prices.

I know, a lot of curriculums out there cost $200 or more for just one year for one kid. But you don’t need a fancy curriculum to teach your child. You really don’t even have to purchase these books, you can get digital editions of most of them for free, but I personally like having actual books rather than e-books or printed out e-books. 

A Christian Curriculum for Kindergarten to Eighth Grade for Under $220 | Retro Modern Melissa

These books are non-consumable, so you’ll be able to use them with more than one child, and re-sell them or save them for your grandchildren. They are literally old school, though I have found that they are good, solid books. These are the books that we are using. I can’t neatly categorize our educational philosophy besides it being solidly Christian. Honestly, I just do what works for us. I think these books can be adapted to any kind of educational philosophy. Ruth Beechick wrote the parent-teacher guides for both of these series. She uses a very common sense approach. Here’s the list:

  • McGuffey’s– There are two editions of McGuffey’s Eclectic Primers: The brown covers are reprints of the original books from 1836, while the ones with blue covers are revised editions copyrighted 1879. I use the 1836 reprints, because they still have the biblical content/worldview. The revised editions were secularized. The parent-teacher guide was written by Ruth Beechick and offers lesson plans, tips and ideas, and goes all the way to high school. The Progressive Speller can also be used all the way through high school, serving as an all-in-one spelling curriculum. The eight volume set has all the 1836 books along with the Speller and guide. It sellls for $85.95 at Rainbow Resource Center.
  • Ray’s New Arithmetics– This series goes up to eighth grade. The eight volume set includes the books, answer keys, and parent-teacher guide. It sells for $81.95.
  • Handbook of Nature Study– Use this as a gentle introduction to the wonders of the world. I found an awesome site that is all about using this book. She does offer memberships for some of the resources on her site, but you don’t have to have one. I highly recommend checking out the Getting Started page for the Outdoor Hour Challenge. I’m reading through it myself right now. Handbook of Nature Study costs $18.95.
  • Biblical Home Education– I’ll confess, I really admire Ruth Beechick’s books about homeschooling. She gives a very down to earth, common sense approach. I’m finding it extremely valuable in planning our lessons and deciding where I’m going with our homeschool. She covers pretty much all the subjects in this book. I honestly recommend all of the books of hers that I’ve read so far. It’s available for $9.95.

I’m assuming that you already have a Bible, so I’m not including one in the cost. Any Bible will work for teaching your child.

So there you have it. A solid Christian education for under $200.

How do you save money when homeschooling?

Shaving Cream Letters

Dollar Store Preschool Shaving Cream Letters | Retro Modern Melissa

This is the first post of Dollar Store Preschool. I’m sharing ways to do preschool homeschool at home using things I purchased at The Dollar Store (and some recycled things).

If you’re looking for a fun way for your little one to start practicing their letters, look no further than your bathroom. Grab a can of shaving cream, squirt it on a surface and let your munchkin scribble away! We use a round pizza pan (makes for easier clean up, and we use it for other things too), but you could use a tabletop if you want. Bonus: it’ll clean the surface! Do test a small inconspicuous area first. Warning: It does get messy and your child might get a little carried away. I recommend keeping a damp towel on hand for quick clean up. And you don’t need a lot. Um, yeah, I used too much. πŸ˜€

Shaving Cream Letters- Fun and Messy! | Retro Modern Melissa

Our Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum

We’ve been at this homeschool thing since right after spring break earlier this year. I just could not face the thought of dragging Big Brother out of bed and making him get ready and then having to spend 10-30 minutes of my day waiting for him to come home. And lots of other things. Have I regretted my decision? Um, honestly, sometimes, yes. Mostly when we’re in the middle of a tantrum and blah blah. When we’re out of it, I’m so thankful that we homeschool now. Now I can adapt his lessons to his strengths and work with him at his pace. 

Our Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum | Retro Modern Melissa

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Okay, not really. πŸ˜€

I chose My Father’s World for our core again. We’re doing Adventures in US History. It is a great program and I love that it lays everything out for you, yet allows you lots of flexibility. Bible study, history, music, science, art, and read alouds are all included. What I’m doing is letting Big Brother pick which week he wants to do, instead of going in order. I figure this is a way to keep him interested and give him a say in his education. We only just started doing this, so far it’s working, but I don’t know about long term! This week that I’m writing this, we’re studying Benjamin Franklin and the earth. I found a unit study on Benjamin Franklin and a few videos on NetFlix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime. I started a Pinterest board with what I’ve found on him (isn’t Pinterest awesome?!). I’m planning on doing this with more subjects as we come to them. I did buy the deluxe package from My Father’s World so I wouldn’t have to worry about missing anything. It’s worth it. You get some great books and extras.

Math

For math, we’re doing MathUSee.  It took me a long while to figure out which program to use because math is not my strong point! So far, I’m actually really liking this program. It’s a very interactive program. Not much book work is needed. I love the video that comes with it. It really helps me to see how to teach a concept, as well as reading in the teacher’s manual. Big Brother likes playing with the manipulatives. We are working in the Alpha level. This program focuses on mastery of concepts and progresses at the student’s pace, which I like. There’s a placement test on their website to help you figure out which level to place your child in. Big Brother isn’t too keen on math, but he seems to rather like this program.

Spelling

For spelling, we’re using All About Spelling. It’s a pretty great program. Very easy to teach and Big Brother has fun with it. I think it’s really awesome. I think that we’re going to be getting through Level 1 early, so we’ll probably end up doing two levels this year.

Reading

Explode the Code Online is what we’re using for reading. Honestly, I’m not that impressed with it. There’s a user’s manual you’ll need to read to understand how the online program works. Then I ended up buying the teacher’s manual for the books, because I thought it might help a little figuring out what Big Brother is supposed to be learning. Honestly, I think the online version is better for review. Big Brother does enjoy it, but that’s mostly because it is online. I’m thinking about talking to Hubby about adding or switching to All About Reading. Yes, I am that impressed with All About Spelling. I really want to do All About Reading with Sister.

Spanish 

We decided to go ahead and start teaching Big Brother Spanish this year. It’s sad that none of the kids speak Spanish even though Hubby’s from Mexico. We went ahead and got all five levels of Spanish for Rosetta Stone since I’m going to be using it as well. We haven’t used it that much so I can’t say anything about how well it works yet.

Yep, our homeschool day is full. Sister is just a little too young for schooling, but she wants to participate so I went ahead and got Explode the Code’s pre-reading program, Get Ready for the Code. It’s inexpensive. Mostly we just pick out a letter and she finds it on a page and name pictures. She enjoys it. I also got 1plus1plus1equals1’s Raising Rockstars Preschool program for her, but I haven’t been able to do anything with it yet. I’ve had my hands full just teaching Big Brother and trying to keep the house clean! Do we get all of Big Brother’s lessons done each and every day? Heck no! But we’re working on it. He is learning. I’m debating using a packaged curriculum again next year. I haven’t decided yet. But I have almost a year to decide!

Do you homeschool? What programs do you use?

Thinking about Homeschooling?

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks if you use my link to purchase!

Thinking about homeschooling? | Retro Modern Melissa

We’re going into our first whole year of homeschooling this month. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m hoping my boy is too. lol He’s more excited about  it some days than others. Since I’m over the “I want to homeschool, what do I need to know?” phase, and into the “Crap, what have I gotten myself into?!” phase, I wanted to share the resources that have been invaluable to me along our journey. I’m sharing them here with the hopes that they’ll help you as well, whether you decide to homeschool or just help your child along with public/private/whatever school.

Google

Honestly, I think Google is the bee’s knees when it comes to researching things. Admittedly, it can be kind of a pain when you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for. Google is how I started our homeschooling journey, simply by looking up what homeschooling is all about.

Blogs

There are a couple of blogs that I subscribe to by email (I prefer getting everything in my inbox instead of hopping around to different readers or sites) that are about homeschooling. They’ve been so helpful with inspiration and information. There are quite a few more homeschooling blogs, these are just a few of my favorite.

Simple Homeschool– This is one of my favorites. I read pretty much every single email. It’s very inspirational.

1+1+1=1– Another favorite. I’m using their Raising Rockstars Preschool curriculum for Sister. Well, at least that’s the plan. I don’t think she’s quite ready yet.

Free Homeschool Deals– The name is pretty self explanatory.

Stores

Educents– They have lots of deals for a variety of things. These are daily deals, so check back often!

CurrClick– There is so much material on here. Lapbooks, mini unit studies, printables, notebooking pages, you name it, you’ll find it here. They also have free clubs, such as a Lego Club and Magic Treehouse Club. CurrClick also offers classes.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op– This is a co-op for educational resources. There’s a huge variety.

Rainbow Resource Center– They have TONS of products, ranging from full curriculums to games, school supplies, whatever you need to homeschool successfully. I’ll warn you, I ordered a copy of their catalog, and it is HUGE. Like over a thousand pages. They don’t have everything, but they have a great variety.

Books

There are lots of books about homeschooling out there. There is one in particular that I would recommend to anyone who was thinking about homeschooling and that is Cathy Duffy’s 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It is chock full of good information about homeschooling in general and her top curriculum picks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many resources out there that it’s enough to make your head spin. These are just the resources I used/am using that have been the most helpful.

Is there a resource I didn’t mention that you found helpful getting started homeschooling or supplementing your child’s education?