Many people interested in homeschooling are naturally concerned about how much it will cost. That’s a hard question to answer because the answer depends on so many variables. If you’re homeschooling for safety reasons and are perfectly satisfied with the education your child is receiving from your local school, you may wish to enroll in an online public school. Your homeschool bill will probably be quite low. If you’re homeschooling for religious reasons or because you don’t like the curriculum offered at your local public school, that won’t be an option for you. How much you spend will depend on how much effort you want to put into your homeschooling. You can choose many options on a spectrum from pricey virtual academies that offer complete courseware with teacher support to designing your own courses using free resources from your library and the Internet. Most homeschoolers fall in between those two extremes. No matter how much you have to spend, you can homeschool effectively.
K12 offers a combination of services including enrollment in virtual public schools using their curriculum, a virtual international academy, and independent study courses. Costs vary from free (with some fees possible), if you are able to enroll in a virtual public school in your state, to as much as $6995.00 a year for full one-year high school enrollment in their virtual international academy.
OnlineHome-School.net offers listings of virtual academies public and private as well as a search tool focused on online homeschooling.
It’s possible to find many resources at your public library. In addition to the obvious books available, you’ll find videos, audio CDs, and in some locations homeschool clubs or classes meeting at the library. My own public library has a selection of the Teaching Company videos, which are perfect for advanced high school students. The library is not just for the younger grades.
In the Eclectic Homeschool Online Unit Study Department , you’ll find a listing of unit studies on a variety of social studies, science, literature, and math topics that help you find resources for creating your own units. In addition, there are articles offering assistance in how to go about creating your own units and forms for doing so.
You’ll find many freely available resources on the Internet. One example is Ambleside Online, which offers a free homeschool curriculum based on Charlotte Mason’s ideas. All the labs for the high school biology course I’m currently doing with my daughter and one of her friends were find online using Google. Math worksheets, science experiments, history games, are all available free online. Again, the unit study resources articles in our Unit Study Department have listings of online resources. You’ll also find many free resources in our various academic departments.
There are many, many places to go to buy curriculum. Just Google “homeschool curriculum” or “used homeschool curriculum” to find places to shop for resources. The key to cost control is figuring out what you want before you pay for something you end up not using. Actually getting your hands on a resource before you decide to buy it is best. That’s where friends or your homeschool support group can be helpful.
Attending the local curriculum fair or state homeschool convention is also another way to get a hands-on look at possible curriculum purchases. If the thought of all that curriculum is overwhelming to you, go with a plan. Have a list of possibilities gleaned from Internet research. Be sure to have notes about what you’re looking for and why. New resources can grab your attention and pull you away from your plan. That can be a good thing, but if you decide to buy something you’ve just seen for the first time, you want it to be based upon logical reasons not an “oh that’s so cool” reaction.
The following articles offer assistance in selecting curriculum. You’ll also want to visit our Curriculum Helps Department for more information and helps for selecting curriculum and our Reviews section to see what our reviewers have to say about a particular product. You can print out a printer friendly version of a review and take it with you.
Exhibit Hall Survival Skills
Exhibit hall…book fair…vendor room… Whatever you call it, it's the place to be when you're ready to do your homeschool shopping. The exhibit hall can be the most exciting of places. It can also be the most intimidating and financially dangerous, especially for the new homeschooler. The quality of your exhibit hall experience will be determined in large part by how well you prepare for it, so I've compiled the following list of suggestions in hopes of strengthening your exhibit hall survival skills.
First Steps to Planning Your Curriculum
What is the key to choosing the right curriculum for your home and your child? Are there things you can do that will put you on the right track?
It’s decision time for many homeschool families. The curriculum fair has come and gone. Homeschool catalogs have been pored over. Product reviews have been read. Now it’s decision time. Which math program am I going to purchase for my reluctant daughter? Is there anything that will motivate my teenage son to do more than sleep, eat, and play video games?