Can you really homeschool for free? This seems to be a question that's receiving a lot of attention lately. My sister and I discussed this topic last week and she asked me to write about it for others, so here you go Haleigh. :)
Times are hard for many families. Budgets are so tight that there may not be anything left over for purchasing curriculum. Many homeschool moms (and parents considering homeschooling) are having second thoughts due to finances. The approaching back-to-school sales are another reminder to homeschool moms that they can't follow their original plan of education for their children. The overwhelming feeling of guilt begins to take its toll.
So what if you can't afford to spend money on curriculum this school year? First, take a deep breath and know it will be okay. Remember God is the ultimate provider, and He will provide all you need to fulfill His calling.
I had mentioned to my sister that I have realized after 21 years of teaching (and a master's in elementary curriculum) all you really need for a quality education is a library card, a Bible, and a great math curriculum. That's really it!
A Library Card
We sometimes complicate teaching but let's remember that many of the greatest people in history learned exactly this way. They read A LOT. They learned history through reading. They learned science through reading. They learned about literature through reading. They learned how to write when summarizing what they read about. They learned spelling and grammar rules through reading. See the pattern?
Homeschooling expert Ruth Beechick explained the only reason we have broken up teaching into different subject areas is because publishing companies figured out they could make more money by selling each subject separately per grade level. Read more HERE.
Now I realize this may not work in your area if you do not have a great library system. The library by my home is incredible. Besides the vast choices of books available, there are so many educational DVDS. I could teach science, history, and geography for years using just the videos, which totally capture my children's attention.
Choose a Bible passage (or verse) daily to discuss. Talk about the background and meaning of that passage. (comprehension and history) Discuss any new words. (vocabulary) Discuss the parts of speech in the passage. (grammar) Read the passage aloud and have your child write the passage. (dictation, handwriting, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling) Have your child extend upon that passage, such as: write how you can apply that passage in your life or why that passage is important. (writing) Isn't it incredible that you can cover almost every subject area only using the Bible? What could be better than using God's word to teach our children?
This is the only core subject area that you will need to purchase. You can do a swap with a friend or shop for used homeschool curriculum on-line to help save money. In addition, there are several sites on-line that offer free worksheets, as well as free videos. Just make sure it is a high quality math program and suits your child's learning style.
So can you homeschool for free? Almost. You would still need a Bible and Internet access if you are using free on-line math material, in addition to gas in your car to drive to the library. However, you can homeschool on a shoestring budget. You do not really need the popular programs. Just grab your library card, Bible, and a solid math program and remember for every dollar you invest in your child's education, it will be totally worth it.
Enjoy the journey,