This page is a work in progress because as we use new materials I will be adding them to my list in the our plan section. This page is meant to show resources for getting materials for free or cheap. And, this page is to give you an idea of what we do. Of course we do not do everything every day or every week. We have plenty of variety and we go in depth on topics that of DS-8’s interest. In addition, some things listed are things we’ve already completed. It is amazing how fast our son goes through things. We let him pick the pace and he pulls us along for the ride!
How To Homeschool for Free (or low cost)
Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity blog has a pretty extensive list of free home school websites/materials. http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com/free-homeschool-list/
The I Am Homeschooling blog provides links to about 20 organizations that will send you free cuririculums, DVDs, or other resources. http://www.iamhomeschooling.com/free-materials
Lisa Den provides an even longer list of free websites for use by parents or teachers. http://www.parents.com/blogs/homeschool-den/2013/06/10/must-read/free-teaching-resources/
Homeschool For Free on Pintrest has pins to over 100 free places. http://www.pinterest.com/JustJamerrill/homeschool-for-free/
There are also Facebook groups and pages that’s sole goal is to share freebies and help families homeschool for free or extremely low cost. Here are just a few:
- F.R.E.S.H. (Free Resources & Ebooks for Secular Homeschoolers)
Lastly, use your public library! We love our public library. We can put up to 10 items on hold from online library and we get an email when they arrive. There are 7 libraries in our county and they do an inter-library loan with each other and with Houston’s libraries. Last year alone we went through over 300 books. We also went through a lot of videos too. They have access to the complete Schlessinger Media series (well over 100) and Bill Nye series (his abut 4 different series for about 80 different videos). They also have other great educational videos and movies based on books which we watch after reading the book. They carry all the books for the Caldecott & Newberry Awards which is are both great reading lists. Most public libraries have grade level suggested reading lists and carry the books. We have also had good luck finding older books too. Way cheaper to borrow than to buy.
I will not be listing links in this section but rather just listing what programs we have used and what we are doing by subject area to give people an idea. There are lots of ways to homeschool. There are lots of terms within the homeschool community such as: unschooling, radical unschooling, radical acceleration, roadschooling, classical, classical conversation, university style, coops, etc. I like to describe our method as eclectic homeschooling and road schooling with radical acceleration. DS-8 is given lots of choices and many times the unit topic is based on his interest or related to his interest. And he sets the pace, which is why I used the term radical acceleration. So, here is our plan by subject (and I’m sure I’m missing/leaving something out):
Reading: Words And Their Stories, Mobymax, 100’s of books, Mr. Nussbaum, Scootpad, Wordly Wise, and several different reading comprehension work books.
ELA (English Language Arts): Mobymax, EPGY LAW, 100’s of books, daily writing journal, Scootpad, Michael Clay Thompson, old TX textbooks, several different writing guides, movies based on books, Schlessinger Media videos, and plays.
Math: Mobymax, Moebuis Noodles Math, EPGY Math, EPGY Algebra, Art of Problem Solving, ALCUMUS, jumpstart math, Scootpad, TI calculator textbook (old but cool), 4th & 6th grade Envision textbooks, 7th-8th saxon textbook, math for electricity (a favorite of his), Algebra textbook, zometool, Singapore math, math videos by nova or PBS, logic and puzzle books.
Science: At least 50 different kind of science kits, 100’s of books, Lego’s (robotics & simple machines & various curriculum on science topics are online), snap circuits, little bits, circuit scribe, Bill Nye Videos, Cosmos, How it’s Made, Making Stuff, Planet Earth, Nova videos, Schlessinger Media science videos, Super Charged Science (have the 7 DVD curriculum package), HHMI videos, Science Flix, World Book, old TX textbooks, Storm Science, Signapore Science, museum field trips, special museum classes, special community events, Techno Chaos, Magic School Bus, Studies Weekly Science, Brain Pop, A&M Physics Festival and A&M Chemistry Festival.
Social Studies: Living reenactments (lots of plantations & ranches in the area do them), 100’s of books, old TX textbooks, Freedom Flix, World Book, Maps Graphs Charts series, Liberty Kids, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, Schlessinger Media videos, PBS videos, Color the World Geography, Complete Book of Geography, Studies Weekly Global Studies, Studies Weekly Heritage Studies, Studies Weekly USA Studies, Brain Pop, geocaching, museum field trips, special museum classes, and special community events.
PE/Health: Old teacher guidebooks (MIL is a former PE teacher), Human Body Detectives, Studies Weekly Health, Studies Weekly Character Education, some books, Schlessinger Media videos, Bill Nye videos, Magic School Bus videos, Brain Pop, swim lessons, on wait list for golf lesson, swimming, walking, biking, playing at park, and nature therapy time.
Music: Piano lessons, Fort Bend Boys Choir (did it for a year), church children’s choir, piano practice, piano theory, some books, recorder, Houston Symphony, and attending musicals.
Art: Had some art workbooks (weren’t liked), sketching/doodling, crafts, special art projects, art museums, special art museum classes, tie dying, Make projects, Art Car Parade, and coloring.
Technology: Techno Chaos, dance mat typing, Scratch, Processing, Java, Minecraft, Learn to Mod, online scratch courses, online robotics classes, sumobot competitions, Make projects, Maker Faire, attending special technology or tech industry events, webinars, gmail, apps on devices, and various google document programs.
Foreign Language: Hooked on Spanish (completed it), Spanishtown, and several learning Spanish videos for kids.
We live in the Houston area and are blessed with 100’s of community resources thanks to the museums, historical ranches or plantations, universities, and state parks within driving distance. I am sharing some links to the lists of places in our area. I’ve used these lists to make sure we get to a neat place!
Houston Museum District is huge and “Houston Loves Its Museums” is an amazing list. http://houstonmuseumdistrict.org/houston-loves-museums/ We’ve not been to all but definitely to lots of them!
Wikipedia has an even longer list because it extends their list to the gulf coast region. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_the_Texas_Gulf_Coast We have used this list to plan day trips to communities not too far away (within 2 hours).
Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department has a clickable map for finding parks. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/ We use the map to find a state park to stop at when taking road trips to other cities or for day trips. And there are many parks really close to Houston. In addition several of the parks have a junior ranger program that is free to do and they have geocaching within the park.
Factory Tours is a unique resource. http://www.factorytoursusa.com/ They list companies in the US that give tours by state. We’ve used this locally and for when we go on vacation to visit friends and family in other states. And, most of the tours have been free.
To make car rides more entertaining we have used Roadside America’s list. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/ They have lists of America’s roadside attractions by state. I check the list to see if there is anything interesting to watch for while on long drives (it takes hours to drive anywhere in TX). We don’t always stop, but we do look!