This careful planning and budgeting carried over into our homeschooling. While others had budgets of $1000 or more per year, I managed for years to homeschool all four of our children on $500 or less annually. Each year I would make one big purchase curriculum-wise for our oldest to use. As time went on, that number dropped as I re-used curriculum. Now I spend very little on our homeschooling, purchasing mainly consumables. And since I only have one left at home with me, we now have a little left over for fun extras, which is nice. But even when we didn’t, we still enjoyed a rich homeschooling experience. How? By taking advantage of every freebie I could get my hands on!
Nowadays there are SO MANY free resources for homeschoolers (or for parents who want to augment their child’s schooling) thanks to the internet. Here I’ve compiled a list of some of the best FREE resources out there for educational learning and fun. Most I’ve used personally, though there are a few which were recommended by friends and some which came on the scene after my own kids had phased out of that age bracket. So, without further ado, here’s the list:
FactHound.com—this one is a great starting place! Plug in any book’s ISBN and Fact Hound will filter through the options on the Internet and find you kid-safe sites on that topic.
KahnAcademy.com—this is one of the most comprehensive learning sites out there, covering PreK-college level classes in math, science, language arts, history & civics, economics, computer programming, college test prep, and such life skills as personal finance and career exploration. Most classes include videos and interactive quizzes. Younger levels also have practice games.
AllinOneHomeschool.com—also known as Easy Peasy, this site is an online, Christian-based, comprehensive (all major school subjects, including art, music, PE, logic, and Spanish) homeschooling curriculum for PreK-HS. And, yep, it’s all free! Choose a theme for the year, and all your kids will study the same topics, making discussion and collaboration possible.
Starfall.com—PreK-3, this site is full of learning games and activities in math, language arts, music, and seasonal themes.
Splashlearn.com—math games for K-5.
CoolMath4Kids.com—elementary math lessons, quizzes, and games (The downside to this one is the lessons are solely in written form (no animation or sound).
CoolMath.com—same company as above, but this site is for middle and high school math. (No games, but they do link you to higher level games at CoolMathGames.com).
MakeMeGenius.com—this site is science focused with tons of videos on every science topic imaginable for grades 1-7.
BBC.co.uk/history/forkids—BBC History for Kids. This site is now archived, so the content is static, but it is still a great resource for Ancient history, British history, the World Wars, and famous historical individuals.
Mission-US.org—interactive missions (around an hour long) that delve into some of the more difficult topics of US history (slavery, immigration, Japanese internment camps, etc.). Designed for middle schoolers (though high schoolers will probably enjoy them as well), students interact with a cast of characters to understand the various perspectives existing at the time.
Kids.NationalGeographic.com—games and videos on all kinds of topics from science to history to culture (as we would expect from National Geographic). A great resource for fun investigation.
TheHappyScientist.com—the website’s design isn’t as graphically pleasing, but this site has curated a ton of science videos and experiments for at home learning.
NASA.gov/kidsclub/index.html—all things NASA for kids, how cool! Videos, games, downloads, photos and mission reports, plus STEM activities to do at home.
Almanac.com/kids—Old Farmer’s Almanac meets the 21st century! This is such a cool site for fun “extra” learning. Stories and activities on all sorts of random topics. Plus all the usual daily facts one would find in the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
LearningLab.si.edu—the Smithsonian’s learning website. You could get lost in the virtual leaning lab! Search millions of images, audio recordings, videos, and texts collected across the various Smithsonian museums. History, art, science, culture—it’s all here! Designed for educators, the content is a little more accessible for older students, but it’s an amazing resource for the homeschooling parent. You can even create your own “collections” on any topic you can imagine!
Additional free resources I’ve used over the years have included:
Public library—collections, classes, and presentations (usually always free).
Parks & Rec department—our Parks department offers classes, guided hikes, and star-gazing events throughout the area’s natural areas (some are free, some have a nominal fee).
Art galleries—cultivate art appreciation by making these a regular destination.
Local symphony and theater groups—many of these organizations have an educational program for students. Often this entails viewing a dress rehearsal for free, sometimes with a talk with the conductor/director afterwards.
YouTube—Hands down my favorite learning resource!! With a quick search, you can find a video on literally ANYTHING. Documentaries, animations, music videos…the world is at your fingertips!
Creating a rich learning experience for your children doesn’t have to break the bank. All it takes is a little imagination and some online or in-the-community sleuthing!
Photo courtesy of Thomas Park on Unsplash.
Aimee Fuhrman is a full-time homeschooling mother of four (some of whom are now grown) who moonlights as an author. She loves Jesus, encouraging others, books, knitting, and coming up with delicious allergy-friendly recipes. She lives at the foothills of the Colorado Rockies with her husband of 25 years and their brood.