As America's schools continue to fail to educate our children, more and more families consider homeschooling. The economic atmosphere, however, keeps many of them from doing so because they are under the misconception that homeschooling is expensive. Curriculum catalogs and websites do not help to dispel that notification, either.
What many do not realize is that homeschooling need not be a costly undertaking. In fact, you can almost homeschool for free with an Internet connection, a printer, a good public library and a little ingenuity, Those and a few "school" supplies that you've probably got to purchase regardless, and you're all set to begin your homeschooling journey.
The Internet abounds with free educational resources. Everything from worksheets to maps to videos, sheet music to classic art, and lesson plans to full curriculum (yes, that's right, FULL curriculum) are available for free. Some may have the added cost of paper and ink involved in printing out the page (s), but compare that to curricular prices and you'll be pleasantly surprised. For example, Saxon Math's grade 3 Home Study Kit will typically cost between $ 60 and $ 70. In that, you'll receive a teacher's guide, two student textbooks and a "meeting book" that is mostly a calendar for tracking student process through 140 lessons. For the cost of paper and ink, and possibly binding if you choose, you can download and print 180 lessons of third grade math lessons, plus the accompanying teacher guide from the University of Plymouth in the UK. (And you can do the same for every grade from K – 12.) Talk about cheap homeschooling – which would you prefer?
A good (or at least cooperative) public library is a huge cost-saver to the cheap homeschooler, too. Many library collections contain textbooks, for both teacher and student, as well as a wealth of both fiction and non-fiction books that can be used to creatively approach almost any subject or topic you could want or need to teach. A "sparse" library with a cooperative and workable inter-library loan program can sometimes be even better than a large library with a poor ILL system, as your choices can be much leader and richer. Do not limit yourself to the children's section, either. The "grow-up" side of the card catalog can often be of great service, especially if the teacher needs to learn before she can teach.
Combine a good library with the Internet's abundance of free resources and your possibilities for cheap homeschooling opportunities expand astronomically. There are sites that outline complete K – 12 literature based programs. There are sites that list hundreds of literature-based unit studies for various grade levels. Use those free lesson plans with literature from the library to create an entire year of learning. Some sites even provide free printables to accompany their lesson plans, to provide even more materials for you and your children.
Homeschooling can be done cheaply and effectively. It takes a little time and effort, a little creativity and courage, but if cost concerns are holding you back, they need not do so any longer. Homeschooling does not have to be a scary, expensive undertaking. You can build your children's education without breaking the bank.