Enrolling in a free online homeschool programs provides students with a flexible curriculum, additional homeschooling resources, and valuable time for other activities and family life. With multiple options available, parents and students can find the best program to suit their family. Free online homeschool resources and curriculum are available for grades Pre-K through 12.
Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool
If public school options are not your thing, the Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool site offers a structured, Christian program which can be tailored to meet your needs. This is not an online school, but it is basically a curriculum provider with special events like writing contests and an interactive community.
Easy Peasy History and Basics
Created by Lee Giles, Easy Peasy, or EP, is a totally free, highly comprehensive, and easy-to-follow program that offers 180 days of lessons. EP features daily lesson plans for preschool through eighth grade on their website. You can use their tools to choose a pre-made curriculum. It is also possible to pick individual subjects to enhance another curriculum you may be using. No registration is necessary.
If you want to start with one or two classes, you can choose just the course you want to take. All you have to do is go to the "Courses" section and select a class to get started. Each course includes a description, materials list, and a list of weekly or daily assignments and activities. Available courses for elementary and middle grades include:
- Language Arts
- Critical Thinking
My EP Assignments
The newer MY EP Assignments option allows you to pay an optional small donation of up to $15 for a service where you can organize your whole family's lessons in one place. If you don't want to pay anything, click "cancel" at the donation spot and you should still be able to make an account. Once you have an account created for your family, you can choose curriculum based on grade levels or 4-year rotational themes. You can follow the curriculum as is or reorder it to suit your needs. Once you have it all set up, kids can click on their section and see the lessons for the day.
Easy Peasy Reviews
Cathy Duffy reviews provides a very detailed review of the Easy Peasy All in One Online Homeschool, summing up the program as an "eclectic mix of traditional and Charlotte Mason methods with lapbooking and online resources." Cathy Duffy praises the easy to follow structure and also likes the fact that all the resources needed are provided online. Other pros include:
- Worksheets are marked with an "*" and available to print for free.
- Lessons use a combination of videos, worksheets, games, and lapbook activities to create a dynamic course.
- Everything is explained before any materials or lessons are presented.
- High schoolers can use the Easy Peasy All-In-One High School site.
Ambleside Online Curriculum
Ambleside Online offers a comprehensive, free curriculum that follows the methods developed by Charlotte Mason in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Ambleside Online Basics
Parents receive access to the curriculum guides, book lists, and online books for their student's grade level, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, as well as a weekly schedule following a thirty-six week school year. The website provides substantial guidance in how to implement Charlotte Mason's methods at home.
- Adherence to the schedule is optional as it is intended to be a guide.
- Parents do not need to register to use this curriculum, and Ambleside does not provide teachers - the parent teaches the content.
- Ambleside Online does not include math or a foreign language, so these will need to be sourced separately.
How Ambleside Online Works
To start, go to the "By Years" tab and click on your child's grade level. There you'll see a table that shows an overview of the courses covered for that school year. You'll also see a book list for the year.
- Gather the materials from the book list.
- Decide on your own schedule for the length of lessons and days of the week.
- Lessons involve the child reading from one of the books, telling you what they read, then doing work related to that text.
Ambleside Online Reviews
Home educator Ellen from The Curriculum Choice loves Ambleside online because it is "flexible, challenging, and thorough." She also loves the high quality literature choices. Other pros include:
- The website is intentionally no-frills so anyone can use it, even ESL parents and students.
- The majority of the recommended resources are available for free online.
- The active forum on the site is full of parents willing to offer free advice and guidance.
Mater Amabilis bills itself as "structured education for Catholics." It is a curriculum resource program for grades Pre-K through 12.
Mater Amabilis History and Basics
Created by Dr. Kathryn Faulkner, a British mother of three and Michele Quigley, an American mother of ten, Mater Amabilis is based on Charlotte Mason's methods. No registration is required and parents can modify any of the ideas and texts to suit their needs. The subjects offered are extensive and include religious education, literature, history, geography, science, Spanish, French and music appreciation. The curriculum does not provide math. This, again, would need to be bought or sourced from one of the options below.
How Mater Amabilis Works
Mater Amabilis offers a thirty-six weeks of lesson plans which is designed to fit within the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar. However, you may work at your pace and therefore structure the curriculum accordingly. The curriculum is divided into levels that loosely translate to traditional grade levels. The site explains how the levels correspond to both the American and the British school systems. Once you click on the tab for your child's level you will find:
- A detailed syllabus for the entire year with book suggestions for each subject or course.
- A printable sample weekly schedule.
- Recommendations for lesson times for the age group.
Blogger Melissa Wiley explains that Mater Amabilis is great because it offers "thorough and detailed schedules." Other pros of this curriculum are:
- No-frills website that clearly spells out how to use the curriculum.
- Extensive book and resource lists with optional materials listed.
- Even though they don't provide a math curriculum, they suggest math activities.
An Old Fashioned Education
If you're looking for a 40-week curriculum option, An Old Fashioned Education is a good free option. This is a free homeschool curriculum program for grades K-12.
Basics and History
Created by a homeschooling mother of three boys, An Old Fashioned Education was designed to incorporate Christian values into an educational schedule which is broken down into grade levels. Almost all the resources are free and include public domain literature. No registration is required to follow this curriculum. Maggie, the author of the site, recommends that parents buy math and science texts or curricula so that their child or children can benefit from the most up-to-date information.
How the Curriculum Works
For a comprehensive look at the Old Fashioned Education curriculum, read Maggie's guide. She details how to get started and how to plan your year. You can also look at the printable curriculum chart to see what's covered at each grade level. Simply select the year of your choice, read or print out the forty week schedule, and follow the links to the information. You are free to follow Maggie's ideas and texts or to interchange with your own as you see fit.
Successful-homeschooling.com provides a number of reviews for An Old Fashioned Education. Most homeschool reviewers seem to like the fact that there are so many free literature choices, and some are especially taken with the selection of older, or classic, literary texts. Some reviewers point out that the literature needs to be read online or printed, which often means a great number of pages. One of the best assets of this curriculum are the incredibly detailed weekly schedules.
Under the Home
Under the Home (UTH) is a free K-4 homeschool curriculum that is inspired by the methods of Charlotte Mason.
Basics of UTH
UTH was created by mother and scientist Sonja Glumich as a way to make homeschooling easy for any parent. The UTH curriculum follows a 36-week school schedule. It covers listening comprehension, reading, writing, art, music, and mathematical thinking. You can check out the curriculum guide to see more details about what's covered each year.
How to Use UTH
Start by clicking on your child's grade level from the drop-down menu. You'll then see a series of thumbnail images with all the subjects covered in that grade level. When you click on a subject, you'll see specific lesson plans or resources you can use online or print. Individual lesson provide basic information and give assignments that are typically completed in any notebook you have on hand.
Reviewer Cathy Duffy shares that UTH is "a surprisingly sophisticated, free, and easy-to-use option for homeschooling." She adds that the creator does a great job of pairing older, public domain texts with fun activities and lessons kids will have no problem relating to. While the site doesn't lay out a school schedule for you, it offers simple lessons any parent can pull of using any schedule they choose.
With the mission to "Provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere," Khan Academy calls itself a "personalized learning resource." If you're going with a student-led learning approach, kids can use this website for self-paced instruction.
Khan Academy History and Basics
Founded in 2005 by Salman Khan, Khan academy is a free learning resource which teaches by using practice exercises and instructional videos. Parents and students can both sign up, a very simple procedure, and study at their own pace. While Khan Academy is not an online school or a curriculum, it serves many of the same purposes as those resources. Khan Academy covers all grade levels from preschool through advanced high school subjects.
How to Use Khan Academy
Parents of younger children can create a parent account, then create a child account under that. Older students can create their own account. Once you have a personal account, progress is monitored on your dashboard. Subject areas covered by Khan include:
- Science & Engineering
- Arts & Humanities
- Economics & Finance
- Test Prep
- ELA/Reading (As of April 2020, this is in the beta testing phase.)
Khan Academy Reviews
Common Sense Media awards Khan Academy four out of five stars and suggests that it is a quality resource that is continually growing and improving. The site praises the "almost unlimited" math resources, but suggests the site is best used by older kids, particularly high school students.
The cK-12 online classes seek to make learning a personal journey for each child that focuses on their unique abilities and learning style. This program can be used as a supplemental resource for regular school classrooms or for individual students. It covers material for grades K-12.
How to Use cK-12
You don't have to sign up to start taking classes on cK-12. Simply click on the "Subjects" tab, choose a subject, then choose a lesson to begin. If you sign up for a free account, you can use the dashboard function to track your classes. Kids under 13 can't create their own account, so a parent would need to create one for them. The content includes reading materials, videos, practice questions, and often an interactive exercise. Subjects covered by cK-12 include:
- Social Studies
Reviews of cK-12
Common Sense Media awards Ck12.org four out of five stars and suggests that the resources are mainly geared towards kids older than ten, although there is information for younger children on the site. The main perks are the ability to learn at your own pace and learn about what interests you, multimedia presentations of information, and there are lessons being added all the time.
HippoCampus.org is a free academic website that provides resources for the middle school to college level. They compile several resources from different sites into one place; using websites such as NASA, Khan, STEMbite, Phoenix College, and Moments in American History, to provide the student with a comprehensive and unusual variety of educational information. You don't need to register to view the content and it can be used by kids on their own or as part of a planned lesson by a teacher.
How to Use HippoCampus
Hippocampus itself recommends use of the website for homeschoolers as a supplement to your curriculum. To get started, click on one of the subjects listed under Math, Natural Science, Social Science, or Humanities. From there you'll have the option to choose multimedia lessons in the form of presentations, worked examples, or simulations. You may also see recommended related links or activity suggestions.
Review of HippoCampus
Although Common Sense Media only awards Hippocampus.org three out of five stars, it gets an A+ because it provides "credible information on a wide range of topics." Ed Tech Review points out that the site is a highly comprehensive resource which pulls together many educational resources from the web into one core academic website. Furthermore, Ed Tech Review suggests the site is easy to navigate and a great homework, study, and exam resource.
Connections Academy offers a free public education for grades K - 12 in about 25 states. All tuition and materials are completely free. The school is fully accredited. (The accrediting agency varies based on state, but all programs are accredited.) The curriculum for each student enrolled covers core subjects as well as individual choices and electives. Do not be confused with Connections Academy's private online school offering, which is International Connections Academy.
Registration is required, and the registration process is detailed. In order to attend the online academy for free, you have to meet certain qualifications which do vary by state. However, after you complete the initial steps, a Connections Academy Counselor will guide you through the rest of the enrollment process. In many states, if there are places left, students can enroll after the beginning of the school year. Connections Academy is a public school and generally follows the calendar of traditional public schools in your area.
Blogger Alyssa shares her love of this school option saying "Because it's an online school, we can be flexible with our schedule." There are requirements for weekly learning time and state testing in some cases, but you don't have to adhere to a normal school schedule. The consensus is that Connections Academy is suitable for those who are seeking a public, online and secular experience. Some parents suggest that Connections Academy is a valuable resource for those looking for a high school level curriculum for their homeschool.
K12 provides online public schooling for many states. Use the school finder to see if this is an option where you live. K12's public schools are one hundred percent tuition free and are considered virtual schools.
K12 History and Basics
K12 set out, in 1999, to create a school model allowing students to work at their pace with individually tailored courses which still encompassed the core curriculum as defined by a particular state. K12 is accredited by AdvancedEd and provides state certified teachers. Parents act as Learning Coaches and are very involved with their child's education. K12 is a full-time school and the enrollment process is similar to the process found at any public school.
Although reviews about K12 are pretty mixed, parents on both sides point to the challenging workload as part of their comments. If you're prepared to help your child succeed and they're prepared to work hard, it seems K12 can be a great online school option.
Get Started With Online Schooling Today
The growth of the internet, as well as the increased desire of many families to homeschool their children, means that the need for free homeschooling resources has intensified. Most of the above programs are committed to continual improvement, so finding free, quality resources is becoming easier than ever. Whether you choose a structured public school program, a more flexible curriculum, or a mix and match mesh of several offerings, you should find that homeschooling is possible whatever your budget.