How to Homeschool Without Expensive Homeschool Curriculum
Even though there are many advantages to homeschooling over the traditional public school classroom setting, many parents decide not to homeschool due to the high cost of a homeschool curriculum. Children who are homeschooled are physically and mentally healthier (www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfo/mentalhealthandgrowingup/18bullyingandemotion.aspx, www.wpc2008.org/the-benefits-of-home-schooling), enjoy learning and look forward to learning, are exposed to more realistic social situations other than just school bullies, nerds, and cliques (www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp), have a flexible schedule that allows time for other interests and activities, and receive one on one instruction that follows their own individual pace of learning. However, to homeschool just one child can cost a family thousands of dollars annually for a complete packaged name brand homeschool curriculum. Fortunately, as a homeschool parent, you have the freedom and authority to research and learn how to tailor a curriculum to fit your child’s grade level and learning style, along with your family budget.
Make use of your local public library and free library card. Some public libraries have a certain section of the library reserved just for homeschool material. Participate in special programs they have to offer, such reading clubs, story time, or learning presentations. Check out reference books, magazines, and videos that pertain to your current homeschool topic of study, instead of purchasing expensive text books. Most public libraries also offer audio books or books with cassettes or compact discs.
Instruct your child using a skills check list designed specifically for your child’s age and current grade level. Present one skill at a time to your child. Study and practice that skill until your child has retained it before moving on to another skill. Gather or purchase teaching material for one skill or topic of study at time. For a typical course of study with curriculum requirements and standards by grade level, visit www.worldbook.com/wb/students?curriculum or www.freeworldu.org. Skills for Social Studies, Science, Math, Language Arts, and Health and Safety are listed for preschool age all the way up to grade twelve.
Purchase and use inexpensive paperback workbooks and print free online worksheets. Summer Bridge Activity workbooks can be purchased by grade level for ten to fifteen dollars each at a local bookstore and contain every skill your child will learn in that grade level to pass on to the next grade level, along with suggested reading lists and spelling word lists. Worksheets are perforated for easy tearing and answer keys are provided in the back of each workbook. The Summer Bridge Activity series goes up to the eighth grade level. Smaller workbooks can also be purchased containing only one skill at a time, such as multiplication or cursive handwriting. Plus, the internet is full of websites that offer free printable worksheets and flashcards that are perfect for practice work and memorization, such as www.superteacherworksheets.com, or www.theteacherscorner.net.
Let your child play free online interactive learning games and quizzes and view free online learning videos. Interactive educational flash games keep children engaged and interested in learning. Contrary to the old saying “You’re not learning if you’re having fun.”, children actually tend to learn best when they are having fun. So, visit www.funbrain.com, www.eduplace.com/kids/hme/k_5/quizzes, www.spellingcity.com, www.internet4classrooms.com, www.quiz-tree.com, www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing, and www.bbc.co.uk/schools/games, for interactive learning games and quizzes in Social Studies, Science, Math, Language Arts, and Keyboarding. Also, utilize www.videojug.com/tag/family-and-education, www.brainpop.com, www.schoolhouserock.tv, and www.iknowthat.com, for free educational video clips to go along with your child’s current topic of study. Through video, it is possible for children to visit places and explore things they otherwise would not be able to.
Schedule inexpensive educational field trips outside of the home. Take your homeschool student to a museum, the zoo, a local YMCA, or conservation parks and nature trails just to name a few. Get together with another homeschool family or locate a homeschool group in your area and take a trip together. This will allow your homeschool child a supervised, healthy social opportunity to make friends and interact with other children who are schooled at home. If the weather doesn’t allow for an outing, hop online and take a virtual field trip to outer space or another country.
Enroll your child in your state’s free online public school or pay a small membership fee for use of a completely online homeschool curriculum. About half of the fifty states offer free online public school and provide all supplies, textbooks, workbooks, and even a computer to enrolled children at no cost. By participating in your state’s charter school, your child has access to your state’s educational requirements and standards, but without all of the distractions that go along with a public school environment. The learning is very flexible. Your child can log on and work at a time that is convenient for them and your child will also receive a teacher for phone conferences and live online learning sessions. It is a graded and a pass or fail program offered through grade twelve. Students do receive a diploma after completing and passing grade level twelve. Call your state’s department of education for enrollment details or go to www.k12.com/enroll-or-buy/find-a-school-and-enroll/ and click on your state to find a school and enroll. However, if the public school curriculum is too fast paced for your child, another option is to pay a small monthly membership fee for an online homeschool curriculum, such as www.time4learning.com that can be completed at a pace comfortable for your child.
For homeschool highschool, study the skills in a GED manual and workbook. The General Educational Development test provides high school level skills and knowledge. Taking and passing the GED test is the equivalent of receiving a high school diploma. A GED study manual and workbook contain lessons of study in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science. There are also tips for taking the GED and full length practice tests. For paperless GED study, your child has the option of taking courses online to prepare for the GED. For free classes that are developed by teachers and instructors and practice tests, go to www.gedforfree.com. If your homeschool highschool student decides to take the GED and when your child is ready, simply visit www.acenet.edu/resources/GED/center_locator.cfm to locate a certified GED test center nearest your location. The test can be taken as often as needed until passed and provides the opportunity to apply for certain college scholarships that are only available to homeschool students who acquire their GED certificate.