Free Homeschooling Resources

If you're anything like us, you're on a limited budget.  If we have trouble paying for our household bills, I feel like I can't justify buying a new homeschooling curriculum for hundreds of dollars.  Yes, a packaged curriculum is a worthwhile investment.  Yes, a packaged curriculum can save time.  However, I like the flexibility that the eclectic approach gives me - and of course, it's pretty close to free.

Some resources that I appreciate and recommend to you, in no particular order:

1. Your local public library.  For most people, there is simply no better, more complete free resource in town than one's own public library.  If you have the privilege of being able to frequent a good library, use it as often as possible.  The reference section, the computer games, the classes, the videos, and even the fiction books are invaluable resources.  You could feasibly educate all children (academically, anyway) with the library alone.

2. Your home.  Most household objects can be used to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic in some way.  For example, the bathtub and the pantry are two sources for learning the physical sciences.  The corner of your backyard can be used for the biological sciences.  Anything that can be quantified is a good source for math, from slices of pizza to a measuring tape.  Magnets, candles, batteries, detergent - instant science lesson!  Magazines, old family pictures, antiques, the obituaries - instant history lesson!  Get creative.

3. Your local community center or playground.  Network with other parents.  Take an affordable class sponsored by your city or town.  Find out when free community (cultural, historical) events are happening.  Don't forget about the museums!  If you have a nearby science museum, keep in mind that most science museums are members of a consortium, so a membership there could mean free admission to many other museums.  Do you live in a rural area?  Lucky you, because your children have their whole backyard from which to learn!

4. Your computer.  There are innumerable free educational sites available out there, and many of them are safe for children. Watch a documentary to learn more about history, geography, or the sciences.  Play a computer game that teaches about math or reading or almost any subject out there.  The Internet makes homeschooling very easy!

Free printables and tutorials:

Free educational game sites:
Our state has the Florida Virtual School, which is a highly acclaimed resource that is basically like going to a public school, but through the computer.  Unfortunately, my oldest is still too young to take advantage of this free program (and I prefer a looser structure), so instead, I've paid $20/month to participate in a great resource called Time4Learning. I plan to write a review on it sometime!

I almost forgot to mention the local dollar store, which is not free, of course, but still cheap.  For all of the junk that the dollar stores sell (sorry), there is a surprising number of good products that you can purchase to benefit your homeschool experience.  You can buy school supplies, art supplies, and even workbooks and manipulatives there. 

Any more to suggest?