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Mega List of Free and Frugal Online Homeschooling Curricula

I have a friend who was homeschooled "back in the day." She remembers not even being allowed to play outside during the day time because the neighbors might report them for truancy. In those early days of the homeschooling movement, homeschool parents often even struggled to find curricula because little to no curricula companies were actually marketing to homeschoolers and most textbook companies would only sell to schools, not individuals.

Fast forward about thirty years, and now we as homeschoolers literally have the world at our fingertips with the internet. Besides the hundreds- maybe thousands- of publishers now marketing print materials to homeschoolers, we have access to an unimaginable number of digital and online resources. Anytime I'm looking for a resource to use with my kids, I can Google it, and usually I find a host of sites with resources that work. 

Don't want to physically do that complicated science experiment in the textbook? You can likely find a video of the exact experiment or something very similar. Want to show the kids examples of art from a particular artist? It's online. Want a new strategy for teaching multiplication? Find one online. Need a literature unit study? There are hundreds and hundreds out there- many free! (I have lots of free unit studies too!)

Free and Frugal Online Homeschool Curriculum

In this post I'm sharing a huge list of some of the online curriculum resources that are available to homeschoolers. Some of these are free and some are paid. I've tried to note besides each. I've divided the resources into subject when that's applicable. At the end, I've listed some of the many sites that offer great printables for homeschoolers. These are just the tip of the iceberg since many homeschool bloggers- like me!- offer printables now and then even if that isn't their main focus. I also included some sites that offer good educational practice but aren't full curricula.

I did not include actual online schools here. In many of these you enroll your child just like a school. In that case, you aren't really "homeschooling" in a legal sense. Although some of these are a great educational option, I didn't include them here.

*** Just a note: If you're reading this before January 31st 2018, you can get one of my favorite online resources at a significant discount. Schoolhouse Teachers.com that I've reviewed several times- most recently here- is on sale now. You can check it out here.***



Multiple Subjects


Schoolhouse Teachers.com - This is a site from The Old Schoolhouse. It has resources for every subject, including electives and covers grades PreK- 12. There are even resources for parents. You could truly use it for your entire homeschool curricula. We've loved the high school electives especially! ($)

Kahn Academy- Kahn offers a large variety of subjects for K-12th grade. They have math, computer and grammar for K-8th. And they offer math, science, art, history, and computer for the high school grades. Their courses are mostly video based. You could use Kahn as your primary curricula, but keep in mind there aren't really "grades" and some subjects don't have much printed work that you could keep in a portfolio. So I've used Kahn as a supplement. (Free)

Easy Peasy- Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool is a complete free curriculum for K-12th grade. Basically they've taken lots of great online resources and compiled them into a very user friendly set up that will take you through each year of schooling. I've not used it as complete curricula, but I have friends who have and have loved it. (Free)

Time4Learning- Time4Learning offers online curricula for K-12th grade. I haven't used all levels of the program, but I have done a demo of their elementary curriculum. Kids work online through the material. The program keeps us with grades and progress. ($)

Ambleside Online- Ambleside Online is a full Charlotte Mason curriculum based on living books for Grades K-12. They have booklists and lesson plans for each grade, and they even give you links to read many of the books free. (Free)

Hippo Campus- This site offers tons of free videos for math, history, science, and English for middle and high school. Like Kahn, you'd have to keep track of your own progress and grades. (Free)

Brain Pop- Brain Pop has lots of videos and interactive resources for K-elementary grades. They offer resources for a variety of subjects. Although you can get to some of these free, you need a paid account to access everything. ($)

IXL- IXL offers math, language arts, science, and social studies for K-8th grade and math and language arts for high school. You can pay by the how courses you want access to. ($)

Georgia Virtual Learning- This site has middle and high school courses for language arts, math, science, social studies, and fine arts. The content is interactive and self-paced. There is no grading system, so although it looks like you could use this as full curriculum, you'd need a way of assessing. (Free)

Language Arts


Homer- This is a learn-to-read program aimed at kids ages 2-8. ($)

Starfall-- Starfall has free resources and a paid membership. Kids can learn to read, beginning with the basics of letter recognition and continuing on through reading stories. There are a few math resources here as well, although most of the resources are reading focused. (Free/$)

Reading Eggs- This program offers resources on four levels for kids ages 2-13. Kids can go from letter recognition to reading for meaning. It's a paid program, and there is a free trial. ($)

Future School- Future School offers complete a complete curriculum for English or math for grades K-12. There is a special option for homeschoolers. ($)

Scott Foreman Grammar/Writing Books- At this site you can find online grammar and writing workbooks for grades 1- 6. Each section downloads as a PDF file that you can save or print. (Free)

Math


ALEKS- ALEKS is a complete online math program. It has instruction and assessments for grades 3-12. ($)

CTC- CTC offers a complete online math curriculum for grades K-12. Instruction is done through video and kids complete interactive lessons. The program gives grades and progress reports. I've reviewed CTC here. ($)

Future School- Future School offers complete a complete curriculum for English or math for grades K-12. There is a special option for homeschoolers. ($)

Alcumus- This is an online math curriculum focused on problem solving, particularly for gifted students. The curriculum is meant to be challenging. It's free, but you do have to set up an account. (Free)

Thinkwell- Thinkwell is an online math curriculum for homeschoolers that offers video instruction and grading. They have classes for middle school and high school math classes. ($)

Math Is Fun- This site offers math classes based on Common Core standards for PReK-12th grade. Math lessons are presented in an interactive textbook style, not through video. There is no grading system, but the classes are all free.(Free)

A+ Interactive Math- A+ offers full math curriculum for 1st grade- algebra. Students learn from interactive lessons. There is also automatic grading and record keeping. I reviewed A+ here. ($)

History/Science/Electives


Supercharged Science- This is a full curriculum for grades K-12th grade. Users pay a monthly membership for e-classes. The curriculum includes tests and quizzes as well as videos, science activities, and experiments. ($)

My Fun Science- My Fun Science offers science and math classes for middle and high school students. ($)

Science4Us- This program is a complete science curriculum for K-2nd grade. It's marketed to schools, but it's also a full science curriculum for homeschoolers. ($)

Uzinggo- Uzinggo is math and science for grades 5-12. It's a full curriculum that also offers assessments and a parent dashboard so that you can keep track of your child's progress. ($)

Science Shepherd- This creation-based science curriculum offers four courses- Biology, Life Science, Introductory Science, and Unearthing the Bible. The instruction is video based and there are labs in the biology curriculum. We've reviewed Introductory Science here. ($)

Lingo Bus- This program offers Chinese language instruction for ages 5-12. ($)

Middlebury- Middlebury Interactive Languages is a site that offers online language instruction for grades K-12. They have Spanish, French, Chinese, and German languages available. ($)

Free and Frugal Online Homeschool Curriculum


Sites With Printables


Super Teacher Worksheets- Yes, you can find lots of free printables online, but Super Teacher has collected printables for a variety of subjects for elementary grades. I am not sure you could make your complete curriculum from this, but it's an awesome supplement for a traditional homeschool curriculum or one of the online curricula listed here. You can read my Super Teacher review here. ($)

Dad's Worksheets- This site offers tons of free math worksheets for all ages and grade levels. They are organized by topic or grade. (Free)

Math Drills - You can find all kinds of worksheets for drilling math facts- addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We use these for speed drills (Free)

Education.com- You can find tons of worksheets here organized by grade or topic. There are resources for K-12th grade. (Free)

Fun Practice...Not Full Curricula


Grammaropolis- Teaches the parts of speech in songs- like the old time Schoolhouse Rock. There are quiz questions to check progress, but this isn't a full curriculum. It could be used with any age that needs to work on parts of speech. ($)

Academic Skill Builders- This site has a variety of academic online games for kids. It's free, and it appears that there is a paid version too. (Free)

Calculation Nation- Calculation Nation from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a free site with math games. You do have to create an account to login. (Free)

Sumdog- Sumdog's games allow kids K-5th grade to practice math skills. It adjusts to the child's ability level and rewards them for play. Most of the games are free to play, although there is a paid tier with more benefits. (Free)

Math Is Fun- The Math Is Fun site has lots of interactive games and math activities for a variety of ages and topics. (Free)

Star Toaster- Star Toaster has a unique online interactive book- Orphs of the Woodland. Kids read the story and learn and practice all kinds of academic skills along the way. They also earn coins to buy items and care for their own orphs. In addition to the computer version which is aimed at kids from 4th-7th grade, there is an app version that seems a little easier.  We reviewed Orphs of the Woodland here and later reviewed the app here. ($)


A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler: Expectation Vs. Reality

1/15/2018
I knew that I wanted to homeschool before I ever had children. It's a topic I had discussed with my husband even before we were married. When actual children came along, I had this perfect idea of what our homeschooling would look like. I had been a teacher before I had kids, so I knew that I could do this homeschooling thing.

And then I started homeschooling for real. I had real kids, and we were living and doing school in a real house where I also cooked meals, cleaned house, and took care of babies. I quickly realized that my expectations of what homeschooling would look like for us didn't exactly line up with what was actually happening. And I felt guilty. I felt frustrated. Honestly, I often felt like a failure. I was so sure that other homeschooling moms had this thing down. Other homeschool moms could balance teaching their kids with being mom, wife, cook, maid, nurse, taxi driver...But my reality wasn't what I had always imagined.

As I started to meet and hang out with other homeschool moms, however, I realized that almost all of them felt the same way! Very few of them felt secure and confident in their abilities. And many of them- just like me- were convinced that everybody else had it all together, and that they were just not good at this whole homeschooling thing. Many of them- just like me- had an expectation of what their homeschooling would like, and they had found- just like me- that reality didn't match up to their expectations.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

If you're a homeschool mom who feels as if you are the only one who can't make it work and you envision another homeschool mom from co-op having a prefect, stress-free homeschooling day while you sweat it out trying to keep kids alive and the house standing, not to mention actually teaching something...this post is for you.

 I'm going to give you a little glimpse of what I once thought my homeschooling should look like- my expectations. And then I'm going to tell you what our real life homeschooling days have looked like over the years. And if you need any more assurance that your homeschooling life is "normal" and not deficient, check out the other bloggers from the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair- listed below- and see what a day in their lives looks like.

The Expectation


Coming from a job as an elementary school teacher in a private Christian school, I had a pretty clear idea of what our homeschooling days should look like.

~ We'd get up at the same time every day- not very early because I'm not a morning person, but around 8am.

~ I would prepare a breakfast for the kids- more than just cereal and milk.

~ We would begin our school day by 9am,

~ Our day would start with doing the pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible. (I bought a little flag set for this purpose.)

~ I had desks for the kids and intended for them to keep their things organized and in their desks.

~ We would follow a regular daily schedule that included time for each subject, as well as built in time to go outside, time for lunch, and time for chores,

~ We would be finished with school work by the early afternoon, and after a rest, the kids could have a play time while I made supper.

~ I knew I didn't want the kids in pajamas for the school day because how you dress sometimes influences how you act. When you dress casually, you act casually.

~ I'm a structured person, and, while I loved the idea of the freedom and flexibility in homeschooling, I also expected to be able to have a fairly structured homeschool day.

A day in the life of a homeschool family


The Reality


The reality of our homeschooling has been quite different. I quickly gave up the attitude of "school at "home," dropping the pledges and the very structured curriculum I had started with. From having four children, ages six and under, I learned that our homeschooling needed to go with the flow. Sometimes we'd have to stop math because I needed to nurse a baby or change a diaper.

I learned that homeschooling meant that my children had the opportunity to learn in ways that fit them- even if that way wouldn't have been my first choice. This meant that often one or more kids were under the table playing with Legos while I read history aloud. It meant that some of my kids would sit and do some of their work independently without lots of noise and movement, but some of them were in constant motion and needed to take breaks to go jump on the trampoline or run a lap around the house.

Our realistic homeschooling days have included some of the following...

~ Hands-on projects like lapbooks that keep kids focused and interested.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ A child that went in and out of his room one day putting on dress up clothes and trying to distract sisters who were still doing schoolwork.

~ Heading outside to read aloud because it's a pretty day...but then heading back in when a child was stung by a bee.

~ Doing schoolwork with rabbit glasses on.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Doing fun science experiments that usually result in a messy kitchen.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Watching a science experiment on YouTube because I had forgotten to buy what we needed to complete it.

~ Doing schoolwork on your bed, wearing your favorite hat.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Reading aloud at lunchtime.

~ Taking breaks to play dress up with the dog.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Dropping everything to go get ice cream in the afternoon.

~ Finding fun, new art projects- like felting.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Field trips on days when everyone else is in school.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Having to stop schoolwork to deal with arguing siblings or other behavior problems.

~ Roasting marshmallows over a candle flame- in your pajamas- just because you can.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Helping your little sister solve a problems.

A day in the life of a homeschool family

~ Playing challenging thinking games- and hoping the dog doesn't interfere.

A day in the life of a homeschool family


So...our days haven't always lived up to my expected plans. In fact they've turned out to be very different. But that's totally okay. Because the most important things about our homeschooling days is the time we've had to spend together and the real life opportunities I've had to teach my kids. If you're stressed about your homeschooling days not fitting your reality, don't worry. You aren't alone. Accept - and enjoy- your real life homeschool days.


Don't forget to check out posts about a day in the life of a homeschooler from other bloggers taking part in the Virtual Homeschool Fair.

What do my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about their Homeschool Method? Go visit them to find out!

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 15th.
How Our Academic Co-op Completes Our Eclectic Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
A Method to Our Madness by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Finding Our Homeschool Method by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
How We Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Give Us.... by Annette @ A Net in Time
A day in our Home by Sarah@DeliveringGrace
Lit-Based Education: How We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Overhauling Our Homeschool - Adjusting our "How" to fit our "Why" by Sabrina Scheerer @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
How Charlotte Mason Transformed Our Homeschool by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Captain's Log, Supplemental - Our Homeschool Days by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we get it done. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How to Organize Daily Curriculum with the School Cart by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Learning For LIfe by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Eclectic Homeschooling: When It All Comes Together by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
A Typical Day? by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
This is the Way We Do Our School, So Early in the Morning by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
A Little of This and a Little of That: Eclectic Homeschooling by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Still Classically Educating After All These Years by True North Homeschool Academy
So what exactly is Life Led Homeschooling? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
The way we learn ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Our Homeschool Routine by Joelle @Homeschooling For His Glory
Homeschool Methods ñ 8 Tips for the Journey by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
























Want to Use Notebooking in Your Homeschool But Don't Know Where to Start?- A Review of Notebooking Success From The Notebooking Fairy

1/05/2018
I love using notebooking in our homeschool. When I made the switch from being a very structured school at home homeschool teacher to being a more loose and flexible, Charlotte Masonish homeschool teacher, I learned to use notebooking early on. And I have to admit that at first the whole prospect seemed a bit overwhelming.

When I started out, notebooking seemed to be this popular thing that many homeschoolers did, but nobody could really explain to me exactly how to do it. Now- many years after becoming a notebooking convert- I see the look of overwhelm in the eyes of some newer homeschooling mamas who are considering notebooking. So I was really glad to review Notebooking Success by Jimmie, The Notebooking Fairy. It's a great resource that I can now point moms to when they're first beginning to use notebooking.

Learn to use notebooking ebook
{I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was compensated for my review. All opinions are entirely my own.}

What is Notebooking Success?


Notebooking Success is an ebook written by Jimmie Quick who runs the site The Notebooking Fairy.  On the site she gives notebooking tips as well as occasional free notebooking pages. This ebook is designed to give homeschooling parents who are new to notebooking a guide to get them started. The book covers ...

~ Why notebooking is a great tool

~ How to get set up and started with notebooking

~ What notebooking will look like for different age groups- from 1st grade all the way to 12th grade

~ Some common pitfalls of notebooking 

~ How notebooking will fit in with different homeschooling styles and methods

The book is a great overview resource whether you're a new homeschooler that's looking at using notebooking in your homeschool or you're a veteran homeschooler looking to implement notebooking as a part of your homeschooling method.

Notebooking can be a great way for kids to record information they've learned. We studied the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and my girls recorded things were learning about her.

Learn to use notebooking ebook


What's included when you purchase?


When you purchase Notebooking Success you'll receive the ebook, but you'll also receive some other goodies as a part of your purchase.

Wondering what to put in your notebooks? There's a list of fifty things - besides lined notebooking pages- to include in your notebooks.

Want to get started notebooking right away? There are some printable bonus notebooking pages.

Are you looking for specific ideas or information about notebooking with different age groups? There are specific pages for 1st-3rd graders, 4th-6th graders, and 7th-12th graders to help you know what to expect and how to use notebooking with those age groups.

Why is Notebooking Success an awesome resource?


This book is a valuable resource for any homeschool parent who wants to use notebooking or already uses notebooking and wants to know more. Even though I've been using notebooking in our homeschool for some time, I found some new ideas that I want to try. I've been primarily using notebooking pages that I print out and have the kids complete. But Jimmie talks about letting kids create their own pages and gives the ideas of things to add to the notebooks- besides lined notebooking pages. I'm inspired with some ideas now!

I've always stuck with the traditional "notebooking pages," but now I'm inspired to branch out.

Learn to use notebooking ebook


If you're new to notebooking, you'll appreciate how easy Jimmie makes it. Her information is simple and easy to follow, and it's well-organized. So you'll be able to use this ebook as a guide to get started right away.

Are you teaching kids of multiple ages? You'll appreciate that there's information in the book for using notebooking with different age groups. You'll learn how to encourage kids in each level to set up their notebooks, as well as how to use them. One of the things about notebooking that I've loved is that I can use it with the whole family. All of the kids can use notebooks, and what they do with the notebooking can be adapted according to their age and ability.

Where can you get this ebook?


You can find Notebooking Success at The Notebooking Fairy site here. My readers can use the coupon code- aswewalkalongtheroad- to get $2.79 off, making Notebooking Success $5.00. (The code is good through June 2018.)

You'll see that this book will become a valuable resource as you learn more about notebookins and begin implementing it. Let me know when you purchase, and tell me how notebooking is going in your homeschool.

Learn to use notebooking ebook






Homeschooling Kids With Labels and Without

1/01/2018
Special needs homeschooling can be a hot topic. Discussions abound as to what kind of educational placement is appropriate for a child with special learning needs. I have one child with an official label and two others that probably would have been labeled had they been in a traditional school. I also majored in special education in college, and I had the opportunity to work in that field briefly. So I've had the opportunity to see how kids with labels fare in traditional school and as homeschoolers.

Homeschooling special needs children
{We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Occasionally posts contains other affiliate links as well.}


Should you homeschool your child who has special needs? Maybe. I know families who have worked hard to keep their kids with special needs at home and to provide what they need to learn and develop to their full potential. I know families who homeschool but who look to a traditional school to provide educational support in some area. And I know families who have their children in traditional schools and who work hard in conjunction with the school to provide an optimal education. If you're struggling with the decision of whether or not to homeschool your special needs child, here are a few things to consider.


Every kid has some "special need." 


Now, obviously I understand that some kids have many, many special needs- physically, emotionally, educationally. I know there are some kids with severe disabilities. I don't mean to belittle that in any way. But even "normal" kids often have needs and differences that disrupt their learning.

Some kids must move instead of sitting still. Some kids can't think when any noise is happening because it's too distracting. Some kids can't stay focused from one task to the next. Some kids read late. Some kids hate testing. Even when we don't label these kids, they work better when we adapt their environment and adapt their curriculum. Homeschooling is a wonderful place for that.

When I taught in public schools, once a child was labeled with a learning disorder, he was given an Individualized Education Plan- and IEP. This plan spelled out for his parents and teachers exactly what accommodations he needed. Maybe he needed his tests read aloud. Maybe he needed to be seated in a certain place in the classroom. Maybe he needed to present his work orally instead of writing it. All the teachers and principles and parents received copies of this IEP and then, it was assumed that it would be followed by all parties. But, sometimes a teacher couldn't do it. In a class of 20 students, it was hard to try to individualize for a few.

At home, I can specialize all the time. I have a kid who can't sit still. It's okay. He walks around all day. He used to crawl around up and down over furniture when he was younger. It was okay. He worked better that way. I have a kid who has trouble focusing. I can set her up so that she has fewer distractions and a better work environment. In homeschool, we individualize all the time.

No one knows your child better than you. 


The truth is that God gave this child to you. He didn't include a manual. But over time spent together- sleepless nights walking the floors, days of fighting toddler tantrums, times of holding and rocking and loving- you've developed a bond with this child that is different than any teacher will develop.

You can sense when your child has had enough. You can see when a tantrum is about to occur. You know when he's reached the limits of his frustration. You can tell when she just isn't getting what she's hearing. You are uniquely qualified to educate your child because you know him. And you love him more than anyone- except God- ever will. That means that you will go to bat for him again and again and again, trying new things and starting over and spending more time.

No matter how good a teacher is, she can't do all that. She has too many students. The students aren't with her all the time. And she doesn't have the same bond with them.

 There is help for you if you are homeschooling a child who has special needs. 


You don't have to go it alone. There are many families who are doing it. There are many organizations that can help you do it. There are people who can support and guide you along the way. I'm listing some resources below that can help you find information and some blogs of moms who are homeschooling special needs kids so that you can be encouraged.

[One word before my lists: I know there are some moms who are dealing with kids with very severe disabilities. Therapies and doctor visits and more therapies are your world. I haven't walked where you do. So I do not presume to advise you. You may find resources in some of the information I post below. I would love to pray for you and with you. If you want to leave a comment or contact me privately, I'd love to pray. Thank you.]

Homeschooling special needs children

Resource list:


Homeschooling a Struggling Learner: This page from HSLDA offers encouragement as well as links to a variety of resources for homeschooling kids with special needs.

Different Roads to Learning: This site is especially geared toward families with children with autism. It isn't specifically a homeschooling site, but they offer many great resources for autism.

Lemon Lime Adventures: This is a special needs blog filled with great information and day to day encouragement.

Special Needs Homeschooling: This blog also is filled with great resources and encouragement.

The Texas Homeschool Coalition Association has a whole page of resources for families who are homeschooling special needs kids. (It's not just for families who live in Texas.)


 
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