A friend who likes to plan early asks: Can I homeschool for free?
Quick answer: Yes.
Since so many homeschooling resources are now available online, you could get away with little more than pen, paper, a computer, a printer, and an Internet connection. BUT, unless you’re thinking of becoming a 100% unschooler (I’ve met only one person like that in 15+ years), then you will have to spend some time figuring out your curriculum for the year, which materials you’ll be printing out, which digital resources you’ll be using online, and some sort of schedule or lesson plan. I’d also recommend that the discerning Catholic parent keep an eye out for anti-Catholic bias, so you can at least discuss these things with your child if necessary. I also am a book lover, so I’m not in favor at all of doing away completely with books in the home and/or doing all schoolwork on the computer. Find the balance that works for you and your family.
I’ve gathered some links to get you started. There are thousands more on the Internet, but some of these are my favorites, some come highly recommended by fellow Catholic homeschoolers.
The basics for Catholics:
The Holy Bible
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Printable Liturgical Calendar from Michele Quigley
Liturgical Year from Catholic Culture
Other good Catholic sources:
First Eucharist — really good resource, I have a hard copy of the book and we use it for Sacramental preparation
Waltzing Matilda’s Coloring Pages
Free Catholic Children’s Audio Books
Free Catholic Books
Our Catholic Homeschool
Catholic Handwriting Books
Free Vintage Catholic Textbooks and Readers
General Websites, secular, covering a wide range of subjects:
The American Library Association’s Great Websites for Kids
International Children’s Digital Library
The Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project
Children’s Books Online
Numeracy, from BBC
YouCubed, from Stanford University
Kids Math Games Online
Free Math Worksheet Printables from KidZone
Mathematics Enhancement Programme
e-Learning for Kids
Science Printables from Education.com
Printables from Scholastic.com
History and Geography
We like timelines for studying history, which you can do either on a wall, a lapbook, a notebook, or download Michele Quigley’s Book of Centuries.
We do history and geography here mostly through literature, so I recommend Alicia Van Hecke’s excellent list Reading Your Way Through History, which has been a go-to resource for us almost since we returned to homeschooling in 2001.
Mary at the 4Real Homeschooling forums put together this excellent Picture Book List for History that you’ll want to check out.
Eyewitness to History
History Learning Site
Look for time lapse maps on YouTube, like this one.
Classics for Kids
Harmony Fine Arts
Web Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art
Art Coloring Pages
Google Art Project
Worksheets from Education.com
Buying low-cost books
Other ways to get freebies or low-cost homeschooling materials are via book swaps or co-ops, so try to find a local homeschooling group; they’ll probably have other resources they can share with you.
Cathswap on YahooGroups remains the largest online Catholic swap group, at 7000+ members worldwide. In our early years of homeschooling I bought a lot of books through there. Do be careful if you’re buying internationally because besides the increased cost due to shipping, shipments are also harder to track and complaints/returns more difficult to manage. Facebook version here
Start collecting used books early. You can print out the following curricula and booklists or save them on your phone, for when you’re shopping used bookstores and book sales.
St. Thomas School from Jean and Maria Rioux
Catholic Heritage Curricula
Ambleside Online (secular, but has lots of Catholic- /Christian-friendly options)
Mater Amabilis – the Catholic version of Ambleside Online
Kolbe Academy – click on each grade for booklists
Free Resources from Our Catholic Homeschool
The 4Real Learning Booklist from Elizabeth Foss
Catholic Mosaic Booklist — this is the booklist for Cay Gibson’s excellent book Catholic Mosaic
Free Resources, Middle School to College:
Other Resources, Secular:
Homeschool Freebie of the Day
Free Unit Studies
Free Lapbooks at HomeschoolShare
Homeschool for Free and Frugal
Free Homeschool Deals
Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool
If you need help with purchasing books, you might want to check out:
Lastly, check out my Homeschooling Pinterest Board for other ideas and freebies.
Click on Page 2 for places to buy used books in the Philippines.
If you’ve got other favorites, please tell me about them in the comments!!