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Free and Frugal Homeschooling

Free and frugal homeschooling

When I started homeschooling in the early 1990’s there weren’t many homeschool curriculum choices. I didn’t have access to stacks of catalogs or online resources. There was The Big Book of Home Learning by Mary Pride, my library, a drawer full of art supplies, and that was about it! In those early years I made a lot of my own “curriculum,” if you could call it that. It’s kind of funny because that’s what I resorted to in my later homeschooling years, as well, albeit with much more experience under my belt.

Homeschooling for free is something I’m well acquainted with. In the beginning it was something I needed to do because there wasn’t much out there to purchase. In later years it was something I did because of budget constraints, out of the necessity to custom-tailor things for my kids, and just because there are a lot of homeschool resources out there that are FREE and just as good as things you could pay hundreds of dollars for!

In this post I’m going to share tons of resources and ideas to get you started down the path of homeschooling for FREE or at least on the cheap. These resources can help preserve some of your homeschool budget for that expensive math curriculum you have your eye on, or it can help those of you who are struggling to make ends meet and just don’t know how you will be able to give your children a quality education without breaking the bank.

Before proceeding with any of the following, please make sure you check with your local authorities about the homeschool requirements in your state and that you research college admissions requirements. The following resources are things I’ve come across over the years, and they may or may not be a fit for your particular situation! It’s your responsibility to make sure you are in compliance with your local laws, etc. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump into the FREEBIES! I’ve included some of my own personal thoughts/opinions about some of them. Feel free to ignore if they don’t match your own preferences! 

I will add to this post when I come across new resources! If you have one to suggest, please leave a comment!

Wait, hold on….You are a homeschool company selling things and you are sharing free homeschool curriculum and items?

Yes! We really love our customers and know that many of you have to make your dollar stretch as far as possible. We want to help make your homeschooling easier, any way we can! That’s one of the reasons why we do a lot of research to find free or low cost sources for books for many of our curriculums and share that with you. It’s also why we share some curricula, books, and printables for no cost.

Of course we think our way of homeschooling is the BEST 😉, but we don’t offer every subject, yet, and we realize that one of the offerings below may be just what you need to make things work!

This post is another way for us to share the knowledge we’ve gleaned over the years and to show you why we are NOT just another “homeschool company.” We are passionate about homeschooling and we are always trying to help your homeschool be the easiest and best it can be! ❤️️

Free Homeschool Curriculum and Materials

ABC Jesus Loves Me Grades: Preschool from ages 1-5

If you are looking for a free preschool curriculum that is Christian, this site has free lesson plans for ages 1 through 5. The 5th year can also be used as Kindergarten.

AmbelsideOnline  Grades: K-12        

“AmblesideOnline is a free Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum with high literary standards. The curriculum is free and uses as many free online books as possible. Most of the other recommended books can be borrowed from a local library. I like the inclusion of art, music, poetry, nature study, and the academic rigor.

“The Charlotte Mason method uses living books with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity, narration instead of comprehension exercises or composition, copywork for handwriting, spelling and grammar modeling, nature observation as the primary means of early science, and literature, poetry, art and music to give children’s minds beautiful ideas to feed on.”

I love Charlotte Mason curricula and used some of Ambelside’s recommendations in my own homeschool.

CK-12 Grades: K-adult

CK-12 offers a boat-load of free lessons and even full textbooks, along with interactive activities and videos. There is math for grades 1 through high school, science for all grades, and other topics like writing, spelling, engineering, technology, history, and more. Choose the teacher view if you want to see the textbooks that are available. Textbooks are editable, so Christian parents can edit out evolution in science books or you can add in materials and videos as desired. Textbooks can be viewed online (where they are interactive), or you can download them in a variety of formats for offline use.

The Classical Curriculum Grades: K-12

“The following is a high-brow, high-IQ classical curriculum, which has been adopted by homeschoolers and classical schools. The creators of this free online curriculum have sought to address the lack of any sound online classical curriculum. Based upon the 19th-century German-Latin method and following the great-books model, this curriculum often attempts to be highbrow, emphasizing the best of occidental traditions while avoiding the anti-Western political correctness one finds in public schools.”

This is an old resource, but it has some useful ideas. Each grade has a book and materials list to work from. Many of the books can be obtained for free or from your local library. Other subjects that cost (math, etc.) can be replaced with freebies. There is an emphasis on learning Latin, German, and reading many classics like Livy’s Rome and Plato (which I find dreadfully boring). I like some of the earlier grade’s book recommendations. If I were looking for a free curriculum, I wouldn’t love this one, but it’s nice to have options and you can see what an entire study looks like for each grade!

Core Knowledge  Grades: K-12

Core Knowledge has free downloads for language arts, history & geography, and science. The downloads come with teacher guides, student books, and other resources depending on the course, like timeline cards, etc. These are quality materials that are highly illustrated and professional looking.

Discovery K12 Grades: K-12

We offer a Non-Common Core, traditional, secular curriculum using today’s cutting-edge technologies from pre-k through 12th grade.

There are over 16,000 lessons that include reading, literature, language arts, math, history & social studies, science, visual and performing arts, P.E., Spanish, HTML coding, healthy living, and personal finance with a library of over 100 classic e-books like Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island. A student account is free. A parent account is currently $50 at the time of this writing and gives you access to detailed reports including attendance tracking, transcript creation, diplomas, and more. This curriculum is ONLINE, so you will need access to a computer and the internet.

This is NOT my favorite type of curriculum. I don’t like most computer-based curricula at all (with a few exceptions). However, some of you may be looking for something that’s more self-contained and hands-off parent-wise. Discovery K12 might fit the bill.

Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool Grades: K-12

Easy Peasy is one of the few free curricula in which every single subject is totally free, other than a few art and activity supplies. There are even complete PDF packets to download for math and language arts. All of the literature is free and everything is linked to. Easy Peasy may be a good choice for those of you on a very strict budget. Every day is laid out and easy to follow. The curriculum is also designed for a child to work through independently.

“We exist to help families homeschool. We enable families to homeschool who thought they couldn’t because of a lack of finances, a lack of time, or a lack of know-how. Others join EP just because it’s easy and fun and they’re confident of the quality of education. EP seeks to free families from the burden of pursuing the “perfect” and encourages them to let it be “enough.” Each family and each child is different and we seek to provide the resources to enable your family to be who you were meant to be.”

edX – Grades: High school – adult

Anyone can take FREE courses from edX via teachers from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and other universities. You can also take some of the same courses, pay for a certificate, and earn college credits. Check out the free, self-paced math courses. There are tons of other courses for science, design, computer science, foreign languages, writing & grammar, literature, and more. These classes are the real deal. There are even online master’s degrees available (but those are definitely NOT free). A motivated high schooler could really benefit from these courses!

The Gentle + Classical Press Grades: Preschool – 6

If you are looking for a gentle curriculum that uses living books, activities, handicrafts, and more… this is a lovely option. You can download the teacher’s guides for free.

Georgia Virtual Learning Grades: 6-12

Courses are free and online via videos and modules. They offer language arts, math, science, social studies, electives, fine arts, and world languages. I don’t love most online learning platforms (with perhaps Khan Academy being an exception), but this could be used as a good supplement or can do in a pinch when you need something quick, self-contained, and perhaps for on-the-go.

The Good and the Beautiful Grades: K-8

This company is well-known for their free curriculum. There are language arts, science, and math workbooks that are beautifully formatted and illustrated. There are other subjects like handwriting available for purchase.

Guest Hollow homeschool curriculum

Guest Hollow

Yeah, I’m going to toot my own horn. We have lots of homeschool freebies such as:

Check out our free homeschool items page as we’ll continue to add freebies over time!

Higher Up and Further In Curriculum Grades: Preschool – 6

Here’s another Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum. Some of the books scheduled in are free classics. You will need to purchase others.

Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping  Grades: Varies

Receive curricula for the price of shipping, or donate things you’re no longer using to help other homeschoolers in need!

“Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping (est. July 1st, 2014), a pay-it-forward homeschool community, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists as a means of providing brand new and used curriculum for only the cost of shipping or even completely free to homeschool families in need.  Recipients are encouraged to “pay-it-forward” after using the donations.  The organization and Facebook group work together as a community with a twofold purpose.  First, to serve as a resource for donors who are seeking to donate curriculum.  Second, to support and encourage ALL homeschooling families, especially those who homeschool with financial constraints.”

Homeschool Work Plans Grades: K-6

This site shares plans to use MEP math and Core Knowledge materials to cover math, language arts, social studies, and science. There are helpful videos as well as schedules you can download.

Khan Academy Grades: Pre-K through college level

I used Khan Academy for some high school math in our homeschool, as well as other subjects like computer science. You can learn just about anything at Khan Academy and there are resources for almost every age. A learner gets a dashboard and has the opportunity to earn badges. There are not only instructional videos, but some subjects have interactive exercises. This is a MUST-SEE website, especially if you have older students. Even younger students can progress at their own pace with a solid (in my opinion) math progression.

This is one of those few online resources I like and often recommend.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

Letter of the Week Grades: Preschool

I miss the preschool days!

Mater Amabilis Grades: K-8 (with suggestions for high school)

Mater Amabilis is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for Catholics. Some of the books needed for this curriculum must be purchased or borrowed from the library. Other resources and books are available for free online. 36 week lesson plan charts are provided. Non-Catholics can still use this curriculum by leaving out the Catholic related studies.

MEP Math 

MEP is a treasure trove for those of you looking for a totally free math program for Kindergarten (Year 1) through high school. I used some of their resources over the years. You can download complete practice books (workbooks), teacher’s manuals, review material, and more.

MEP- Free homeschool math curriculum

Old-Fashioned Education Grades: K-12
This is the ORIGINAL Old-Fashioned Education site. The site below uses some suggestions from this original site.

Old Fashioned Education Grades: K-12

This is the new version of the Old-Fashioned Education, which is run by a completely different person and adds some different resources and schedules. The original curriculum is also available on this site. This site’s description of the materials: This is a free Charlotte Mason inspired family together curriculum ordered around 2 cycles of history with the Bible as the foundation.

PASS workbooks Grades: High School

PASS is no longer available on the original website, but you can access their materials thanks to the Internet Archive. PASS offers a variety of free workbooks for high school language arts, math, science, social studies, Spanish, and more. The workbooks are self-teaching, so a student can work through them on his own for the most part. Note that not ALL of the linked PDF’s are available via the Internet Archive, but many of them are. Try a different capture date via the top bar if one of the PDF’s you need is missing. Here’s another way to access the PASS workbooks and teacher’s guides: Click here.

Plain and Not So Plain Grades: 1-9

You aren’t going to find fancy or pretty graphics here, but there are some free downloads for a variety of subjects and grades to cover the year.

Want to browse through lots of other freebies?

Check out Freedom Homeschooling! They list a ton of other resources in a variety of categories.

Other Terrific Resources

In this section I’m sharing resources that are free, but not complete curriculums! These are the resources you want to check out for specific subjects or ideas on how to cut down your homeschooling costs.

The library and other sources for books

We have a great blog post about saving money on books. Click here to read it.

First and foremost, use your local library!! I can’t emphasize this enough. If your student can read, s/he can learn just about anything just by reading books. You should visit the library on a frequent basis. Reading should be something that is fun and stress-free. You can also find just about any subject your student needs to study at the library whether it’s history, grammar, math, science, or even a foreign language. I even checked out math textbooks. If your library doesn’t have a book, request it a year in advance of when you’ll need it. Get multiple cards (one for each member of the family) if your library has a book loan limit.

OpenLibrary. org 

If you don’t have access to a library, or you’d like easy, instant FREE access to millions of books, check out OpenLibrary. You can check out books in e-book, PDF, or online formats. I’ve found complete textbooks and workbooks, along with many of my children’s favorite titles.

Open Library - Free books online

If a book isn’t available, you can get on the waitlist and check it out when it’s “returned” by the current patron. You can also make and share lists. Check out my lists: https://openlibrary.org/people/guesthollow/lists where you can find educational books, lots of terrific picture books, and children’s literature. If you live in another country and need books in English, this is the perfect resource for you!

Big Bad Beautiful Booklist -History Edition

We’ve linked to hundreds of free books via the Open Library (and other similar resources) in our Big Bad Beautiful Booklist.

A membership to the BBBB is just a dollar a month (or 50 cents a month for those who’ve purchased a history curriculum from us) and you have the potential to save hundreds of dollars via links to free books, including out-of-print and hard to find titles!

Guest Hollow’s Big Bad Beautiful Booklist – History Edition is a timeline based, visual book and movie list. It’s a must-have for any homeschooler or book lover!

With this timeline, you can look up a period or date in history and see great books, movies, and documentaries listed according to when they happened. 

We’ve linked to hundreds of FREE books you can check out online and view on a computer, device, or cast to a TV. Many of these books also come with free audio (via a built-in screen reader). We look for a free (and legal) version of a book every time we list one. You have the potential to save hundreds of dollars, but that’s not all…

We’ve scoured OpenLibrary.org and other resources for out-of-print and hard to find books that are FREE to read (and/or listen to), making a multitude of these difficult to track down books instantly available. Old and wholesome favorites like the Landmark Book series are just a click away.

Public Domain Books for Homeschooling Group

Free books? YESSSSSSSS! If you are on Facebook, you’ll want to join this group for links to some terrific books.

“This is a non-discussion group. It is a repository for links to public domain books that will prove useful to homeschoolers. Links to books or series of books are listed as comments in posts listing specific subjects.”

LibriVox

Check out LibriVox for FREE audiobooks. You can listen to them with your computer or on a variety of devices. You can even burn them onto a CD. Browse the catalog, click on genre/subject, and then take a look at the children’s books.

Local Homeschool Co-ops and Support Groups

Many homeschool groups have co-ops and support groups. If you are in a pinch financially, your local fellow homeschoolers may be willing to loan you curricula or materials from their own homeschool libraries. I shared a ton of books and materials over the years with other homeschoolers. Most of us are a frugal and helpful bunch.

Google Is Your Friend

You would be surprised by what all is out there in internet-land. I’ve stumbled across all sorts of treasures, including free printable workbooks, posters, high-quality printables, free science kits via mail complete with supplies, detailed lists of freebies that cover every subject under the sun, and more. Here are a few things I’ve found over the years just to give a sampling of what’s out there if you have the time to search.

Just do a search on Google Books and look for the public domain books!

Don’t buy new – buy USED!

This is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many forget this simple suggestion. You can save tons of money buying used books and supplies. Some suggestions:

Over the years I’ve earned free Amazon gift certificates and such to spend on books and school supplies. You can do so from some of the following sites:

Earn a few dollars to buy books:

Swagbucks: You can earn points doing surveys, using the Swagbucks search bar (instead of Google), playing games, shopping, watching videos, etc. I spent my Swagbuck earnings on Amazon gift cards.

Use Bing as your search engine to earn points you can spend for Amazon gift cards and other similar goodies. I’ve earned quite a few $10 Amazon gift cards this way just for doing what I’d do anyway! 😉

I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available to help you homeschool for free (or to cut your homeschool expenses). If you have a tight budget and wonder if that’s compatible with homeschooling, be assured -it CAN be done. Homeschooling for free does take a bit of extra work and planning, but there are a LOT of free resources out there!

Happy homeschooling!

5 thoughts on “Free and Frugal Homeschooling

  1. I love this THANK YOU so much for the info

  2. Really great share for my considering homeschooling! Thank you tremendously for compiling your recommendations!

  3. Thank you! Very informative, and appreciated!

  4. Such a great list you’ve compiled! We began our homeschool years in 1994 and are finishing strong with our youngest, now a high school freshman, this year. I get tired of doing the same curriculum 8 times over, but your site has helped keep subjects fresh for me, and I’ve also been able to tailor lessons for each of my children’s interests and abilities. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! <3 They are such an encouragement!

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