Apr 28, 2013

Where There is a Will There is a Way - Home Education is NOT Just for the Rich!

One of the most common questions that I get about home education - second only to the "S" question - is "How can you afford to home educate?" Of course people don't usually come out with it that clearly, they generally start out by asking what CJ does for a living, what kinds of curriculum we use, if I work and then finally their inquisition becomes clear. This misconception that families with minimal incomes can't home educate couldn't be farther from the truth. In this day and age with a world of knowledge LITERALLY at your fingertips, there is very little reason to think that any family on nearly any income would be unable to home educated their children.

It may take a bit of creativity, some leg work and ingenuity, but it can be done! You might have to cut some corners, make some sacrifices and really figure out what is important to your family. Connect with other home educators in your area, work together, make a community that can help each other make the most of the resources in your area. Many museums have free days throughout the year and give group discounts - sometimes for as small as groups of 10! Community centers and libraries offer free and low cost classes, lectures, reading groups, chess clubs and so much more. If you can't find something that you think your kids would like build it and they will come! You have to be willing to put yourself out there and connect! 

I have yet to google a topic with the word FREE and been let down by the number of results that appear - in fact I am often overwhelmed with the number of choices! I have compiled an incredible list of completely free resources on nearly every topic you can think of - HERE - but to get you started here are my TOP go to sites for 100% FREE resources! 

  • YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!!! NEVER EVER BUY CURRICULUM without having checked to see if you can get it through your library - or interlibrary loan or national library network first! Even if you can't find it in the system's database ask your librarian to try to track it down. I have not been able to stump mine yet! 
  • Khan Academy - This ever growing collection of tutorials and lectures is at the top of our list for almost all educational categories. They cover everything from computer science to math to finance and capital markets to art history and loads of things in between! 
  • YouTube - here you have to be a bit careful, but with some good digging you can find out how to do just about anything and there are plenty of people who are willing to show you just how to do it! Within YouTube there are also a lot of education specific areas like - 
    • Crash Course - Six awesome courses in one awesome channel: John Green teaches you US History and Hank Green teaches you Chemistry. Check out the playlists for past courses in World History, Biology, Literature, and Ecology.
    • YouTube EDUYouTube EDU brings learners and educators together in a global video classroom. On YouTube EDU, you have access to a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches and everything in between.
    • MinutePhysicsSimply put: cool physics and other sweet science. "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."~Rutherford via Einstein? (wikiquote) Created by Henry Reich 
  • WatchKnowLearnThe Vision behind WatchKnowLearn is simple: To provide a world-class, online domain on which educators can store, categorize, and rate the best, K – 12 educational videos on the Internet today. And to make this service FREE so teachers, parents and students everywhere may have access to those videos.  ~~~ We love this site because you can filter for content & age groups to get the most appropriate videos!
  • TED Talks - Ideas worth spreading - if you haven't heard of this one it should be your first stop
  • Freely Educate - At FreelyEducate.com the blogger focuses on 100% free educational finds. She specifically focuses on removing the financial obstacle for those who think they they can't afford a good education for their families.
  • ClickschoolingGet 1 FREE, Web-Based Curriculum Idea Every Day — Monday Through Saturday! ClickSchooling brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn. 
  • National Gallery of Art - Borrow free-loan teaching packets and DVDs or access online lessons, activities, and interactives to bring art to your classroom, home, or other learning setting. All materials are free.
  • OpenCourseWare ConsortiumThe OpenCourseWare Consortium is a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing OpenCourseWare and its impact on global education.  Learn more here. 
  • Currclick - Although this site is not 100% free, I am adding it because they offer a lot of freebies, including weekly freebies, trial classes and a number of free online clubs. It is also the best collection of affordable curricula and classes on the web!
With these resources and the many more you can find within them, any family can get a superior education for little to NO cost! If in your heart you know that home education is the right choose for your family, there is a way! You may have to think really far outside of the box, you may have to reach out to find a community of people who are willing to help, you may have to cut back on extras, but where there is a will, there is ALWAYS a way!

Additionally I wanted to mention two sites that have a lot of FREE information and links to help you understand the legalities of home educating in your own state. 
  • HomeschoolingLegal.com Links to Homeschooling Legal Informational Sites for United States and Canada
  • Homeschooling is Legal - The purpose of this website is to inform and educate homeschoolers about their legal rights and risks.
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