Homeschooling can be expensive–books, supplies, classes and tutors all cost money. But homeschooling on a budget is possible. In fact, you can homeschool without spending a dime!
Free Homeschool Curriculum
Yes, it’s true! You can find absolutely free homeschool curriculum online. A few taps of the keyboard and you can find the option that’s right for your family.
- Do you have little ones? Brightly Beaming Resources specializes in free curriculum from birth to Kindergarten, although the site has expanded to include activities for children up to age 11.
- Do you love the Charlotte Mason or Classical approach? Ambleside Online is a free curriculum plan for students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. It emphasizes classic and “living books,” many of which can be downloaded for free on a Kindle or other device. An Old-Fashioned Education is a classical education curriculum that also utilizes books that are free to download.
- Are unit studies your preference? Teach With Me has learning resources for preschool through elementary. And the Giant List of Free Unit Studies from Faith and Good Works has loads of unit studies suitable for PreK through high school.
- Do you need a simple and straightforward plan? Plain and Not So Plain has a no-frills, click-and-download curriculum that will streamline your child’s studies.
- Are you looking for an online option? With Easy Peasy, you set the courses and your child clicks the link to start. It’s that easy. Discovery K12 is also fully online. You can use them as your full, free homeschool curriculum or simply select the subjects you want.
- Do you have high schoolers? Easy Peasy has a site especially for them. Georgia Virtual Learning shares the content of 103 of their high school courses for free, even if you don’t live in the Peach State. And Homeschool College USA has courses that prepare your student for AP, CLEP, and DSST exams.
Money for Homeschooling
If you are digging into your own wallet to homeschool, you may want to know that you can receive money from the government for homeschooling.
This varies from state to state, so check with your county homeschooling office. To tap into public funds you will likely have to fill out a lot of paperwork and jump through some hoops, but if you qualify, this could bring some much-needed cash into your homeschool budget.
Consider also the charter-school option. Some states give hundreds–even thousands–of dollars to charter schools that act like umbrella schools for homeschoolers. Not all states have this, but if you are lucky enough to live in Alaska, California, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, or Washington, you should contact your state homeschooling association to find out more.
Some states (Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, and South Carolina) don’t offer funding for traditional homeschooling, but they will provide free virtual school or free or discounted dual-enrollment.
If you live in Illinois, you are eligible for tax credits if you homeschool. It’s not the same as money for homeschooling, but it’s close!
The Homeschooling Legal Defense Association has compassion grants for homeschoolers struggling financially or those that need disaster relief.
Best Affordable Homeschool Curriculum
If none of the free curriculum options are your cup of tea, consider a low-cost option.
- Online programs are often the best value because you don’t have to pay for printed materials: Power Homeschool, Time4Learning, and Schoolhouse Teachers are all popular options.
- Unit studies curriculum can also be cost-effective since all subjects are taught around one theme. Try Five in a Row. Or invest in a how-to book, Unit Studies Made Easy, which teaches you how to design your own unit studies that fit around your budget.
- A Gentle Feast is a Charlotte-Mason approach based around a four-year history cycle, and it aims to have all your children cover the same content (albeit at different levels). Fewer books equals less cash outlay.
Homeschooling on a budget
Homeschooling on a budget is possible, especially if you are willing to do some legwork to track down materials: Hunt for craft supplies at garage sales, stock up on used books at curriculum sales and used bookstores, take weekly trips to the library, and take advantage of digital library loans and free downloadable books and audiobooks.
Without breaking the bank, you can have a wonderfully rich homeschool. Rich in all the ways that matter.