Can I Really Homeschool For Free?...And a Free Curriculum Planner

There are websites devoted to it. Blog posts are written about it. Whole blogs serve as resources for it. But is it true that you can homeschool for free? I have a friend my age who was homeschooled during many of her school years. Back then- thirty years or so ago- there were no curriculum companies for homeschoolers. Most curriculum companies wouldn’t even sell to homeschoolers. If they were lucky, a Christian school or private school might give them some old, used curriculum materials. But for them, a trip to the library was often the extent of gathering resources for their homeschool.

Now we have a host of curricula choices targeted specifically to homeschoolers- classical homeschoolers, Christian homeschoolers, secular homeschoolers, Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. There are choices for every subject area and any extras or electives you can imagine.

Homeschool for free

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With all of the choices we have to choose from, it’s easy to spend a small fortune on homeschooling materials. So the thought of homeschooling for free is an appealing one. And if you google “homeschool for free” you’ll find the promise of many free resources. I have a page here on the blog devoted to free homeschool resources, and I add to it all the time.
But can you- or should you- truly homeschool for free? Here’s a short look at the ins and outs of free homeschool resources. (Just a note: I’m not an unschooler, although I’ve often wished I could let go of structure enough to be one. I’m guessing that an unschooler could homeschool for free or inexpensively fairly easily perhaps. But I’m coming from the perspective of someone who wants at least a little “school like” structure to homeschooling.)

Why should you look for free homeschool resources?

Many homeschool families live on one income. Even when moms can work part time or work from home, the family needs to live frugally, to save money whenever possible. If you can save money by homeschooling for free, it can really help your family financially.

What are some drawbacks to using only free resources to homeschool?

Building a complete curriculum with free materials can be time consuming. To gather your materials and make sure that you have enough to cover every subject for the entire year can take planning and lots of searching.
If you find materials that are free but must be printed off, you must consider the cost of ink and paper. I’ve found that sometimes it’s less expensive to buy a workbook than to print off a workbook due to the cost of ink and paper.
If you have to meet certain state standards or take testing to legally homeschool in your state, you may have trouble finding material that will be complete enough. Although there are some really good free resources out there, there are also some that are just so so. You’ll have to look carefully to make sure that the resources you find are good ones.

What do I need to do to effectively homeschool for free?

Set up a planning sheet to make sure you cover every subject. You can get a copy of a simple one I’ve used here. This one is set up for you to list out resources you find for each subject for an entire school year based on quarters. If you set up your school year by months or semesters, you can make a copy of this form and edit to fit your school year. You can also duplicate the sheets to keep a record for each individual child in the family. If you record resources here as you find them, you can make sure you’ll have a balance of subjects.

Free curriculum planner

Make time for lesson planning each quarter or weekly so that you have materials set up for each day. It will not be a very effective teaching strategy to simply pull up your free resource websites each day and print off some worksheets. If you are truly going to use free homeschool resources effectively, you need to plan ahead. You can purchase a paper planner from most homeschool resource sites. You can also find some free options for paper or digital planning online. If you’d like a detailed- very detailed description of some of many homeschool planners I’ve tried, you can check out this post.

Are there any sites that offer a full curriculum free?

Most of the free homeschool sites you’ll find are a collection of resources- worksheets here, free ebooks there. There aren’t many full curriculum sites that are totally free. There are a few. I have not used any of these as complete curricula, although I have used some resources to complement my regular curricula. I have heard good recommendations for each of these, however.
  • Easy Peasy All In Homeschool Curricula– offers complete, Bible based homeschool for K-12th grade
  • Ambleside Online– offers a full Charlotte Mason style curriculum based on living books. It’s divided by school year and has book lists and daily plans for every subject. Many of the books have a link to a site where you can read or get the book free, but there may be some books you have to purchase. Math isn’t included, but there are some suggestions for it.
  • An Old Fashioned Education- I list this one as “full” although there are still some things you’ll probably have to purchase. Basically the author has hunted for living books for each subject K-12 and combined those books into 40 week school schedules for each grade. Many of the books can be read for free or checked out of the library, and even the math has links to a free program. But there are a few books that are recommended that will have to be purchased.
  • Lesson Pathways– is a full curriculum for grades K-5. It is done totally online with each lesson comprised of links to videos, printable worksheets, and academic games.
So, the answer to the question is- yes- you can homeschool for free…BUT it will take some planning, some organization, and access to a good computer and printer. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can save quite a bit of money by using free homeschool resources.

Homeschool for free

One more resource I’ll mention…

It isn’t free, but it’s a really great price for complete, organized resources for the whole family. Schoolhouse Teachers has an incredible number of classes for all grade levels. With membership is a free printable Schoolhouse planner. There are checklists to make sure you’re covering every subject as needed. Because you’re paying one price for access to all classes for the whole family, it’s the next best thing to free. You can learn more about it by clicking the banner below. It’s an affiliate link, but I gush about it because I use it and love it. I’ve reviewed it here, so you can read more details and get an idea of whether or not it will work for you.
Do you have any special sites for finding free- or very inexpensive- homeschool curricula? Share in the comments.

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