As a homeschooling family, we spend a decent chunk of change on curriculum every year. Every year as I pay for a couple big boxes of books, I dream a little of becoming the idyllic unschooling family with just nature and a library card. While that works well for some families, it is not the model that works best for us. So, ten years in, I’m still buying a lot.
However, I have found some ways to cut costs. These are a few of my favorite homeschooling resources for which I do not have to pay a thing:
This is a great site for preschoolers and early readers. I put my preschooler on it to entertain him while I was “doing school” with his older sister, and he was reading basic words when we started kindergarten. The little ones think they are playing games, but they are actually getting early lessons in reading and other subjects.
Classics for Kids
This one is special to me because I was a piano teacher before I was a homeschooling mom. I used this with my kids for music awareness before they began piano lessons. I’ve also used it with classes in our homeschool co-op. They have audios and complete lesson plans to study the various composers.
To be honest, I love this site more than my kids do. This year we are doing spelling the old school, on paper way. However, this worked well for us for awhile and may again one day. Once my kids were able to type, I let them type their spelling words in and create a list. Then, they can play games to practice them, practice them and even take their test right on the computer. It prints it out and grades it, making spelling virtually hands-free for Mom.
While I haven’t used this for curriculum, this is a great way to learn and practice a new language. When I was trying to learn French, I put it on my phone and practiced for 5-10 minutes at a time. My daughter used it to learn some Spanish before her co-op Spanish class opened up.
The appeal of Minecraft is beyond me. If we are going back to pixelated games, give me Bricks and Oregon Trail again. (Ah! those early ’90’s technologies!) However, my kids all love Minecraft. We used the Skrafty server for some science classes last year and kept the server. It is carefully moderated, and my kids can make friends with other homeschooling students who love Minecraft.
Not every kid loves chess, but it is a great strategy game and worth teaching to your child. With this site, you don’t have to do the teaching. Danny and Mike do a great job of explaining moves and strategies to kids. Kids can also play with others that you approve. In our house, that means I don’t always have to be the one to sit across the chess board with them. They always beat me anyway!
Yes, I know. That was six, not five. But Six Favorite Fridays just doesn’t sounds as good as Five Favorite Fridays. I also couldn’t decide which one to leave out. So, let’s keep counting…..what are your favorite free homeschool resources? Please share with us in the comments below!