Free homeschool material is often a necessity for families with many children. Homeschooling is expensive, and purchasing planners, worksheets, textbooks, software, games, videos, and other homeschool material may be too costly for some families. Fortunately, it is not necessary to pay for homeschool material.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Free Homeschool Material
In addition to the obvious financial benefits, using free materials while homeschooling enables you to customize your lessons plans to best suit the needs and learning styles of your children. It also saves time; most homeschool materials are available in printable or downloadable formats online. This means no need to travel to multiple stores or wait in long lines to purchase textbooks, planners, and workbooks.
However, if you base your entire curriculum on free materials, it may take a while to locate and compile all the resources you need. This may delay learning or disrupt your lesson plans. Printing large quantities of worksheets and activity pages also uses a lot of printer ink, which is stressful on your wallet and potentially damaging to the environment.
Plan Ahead to Save Time
To minimize disruption and ensure continuous access to material, you may want to create a list of all materials you expect to need during the school year. Attempt to find everything at once, and print or download the materials for later use. This can save you time later. For each subject and child, make a list of needed materials. Resources and material available for free typically includes:
- Printable worksheets
- Printable games, such as word searches and crossword puzzles
- Lesson plans and report cards
- Summaries of textbook units, which may include pages for questions and answers
- Downloadable software
- Curriculum idea pages
- Teacher planning materials and answer keys
- Craft worksheets and project instructions
- Printable manipulatives, such as rulers, flash cards, and base 10 blocks
- Articles or news stories relevant to your child's subjects
Where to Find Free Books, Lessons, and Other Materials
Free homeschool material is widely available and easy to locate both online and in your local community.
Online Resources for Free Material
You can likely find most materials needed during homeschooling by visiting websites dedicated to education or homeschooling families.
- Internet4Classrooms provides homeschooling families an extensive resource library based on grade, subject, or skill level. Assessment assistance, online practice modules, and resources for exceptional children are also available.
- DonnaYoung.org offers homeschool resources and printables, including calendars, planners, and subject by subject resources and lesson plans.
- National Geographic Society provides a plethora of information on history, science, environmental topics, world events, and geography. Videos, news features, articles, and maps are all available for use by site visitors. There is a special section dedicated to children with educational games and activities.
- Starfall Education focuses on language development and provides homeschoolers with interactive online lessons in reading and the alphabet.
- MSNucleus.org offers a free K-12 science curriculum, providing access to elementary and secondary curriculum on a variety of topics. The site offers more than 6,000 pages of material based on extensive research with children and downloadable learning kits for each grade level.
- Discovery Channel is an excellent resource for science, history, technology, and health studies. The site's articles, television programs, and movies are excellent as stand-alone lessons or as supplements to textbook work.
- HippoCampus offers multimedia instruction, including video, and topics from leading textbooks. The site is most beneficial for high school students and advanced middle school students.
- Academic Earth offers free academic multimedia courses from leading universities. The website is similar to HippoCampus, but the courses provide more detailed instruction and are geared toward advanced students.
- Teachers.net features more than 4000 classroom ideas and lesson plans across all subjects for homeschoolers. Plans are sortable by grade level, category, or keyword.
Community Resources for Free Material
Your local community is a rich source of educational material.
- Join a community homeschool group or support network. You can likely locate used homeschool material, including textbooks, free by checking with other homeschooling families in your area.
- Call your local public schools and ask about out-of-date textbooks or other materials. Contact teachers directly, as many discard lesson plans, posters, maps, and other learning materials at the end of each school year.
- Use your local library. There is no better source of free homeschool material available. Get a library card for every member of your family, and schedule trips to check out books and movies at least once each week. Most libraries also offer programs for children of all ages in reading and writing.
Know Where to Look
Finding free homeschool material is simple when you know where to look. You can find free resources, interactive tutorials, and printables online, and material is also available in your local community. Of course, you are not limited to worksheets and videos; potential learning opportunities are everywhere. Visit the free day at your local zoo or museum, take the family to a nature reserve for a hands-on lesson, or join a reading or writing group at your local library. You can also join survey and research panels for homeschooling families to test materials, books, and software at no cost.