Homeschooling CAN be expensive — it doesn’t have to be. For example, you’ll find assorted cost-saving suggestions on our Cost page. Isn’t it great to know that we don’t have to sacrifice quality for price? Still, searching for that homeschool freebie can be a tough job.
Here are a few thoughts on finding the gems.
Not all freebies are equal.
It is truly amazing some of the wonderful units, lapbook helps, and notebooking resources that ambitious and energetic homeschool moms have put together! There really are excellent quality materials out there.
On the other hand, some freebies are, frankly, less useful. Ask yourself a few filtering questions such as:
- Does this fit my current need?
- Does it fit the child who will be using it?
- Is it too much “busy” work?
- Is it at the right skill level?
- Will the content be consistent with our homeschool goals, or will it undermine them?
Free, but at what cost?
First, a story. Before we ever started homeschooling, our oldest had learned to read. But when school age hit, and we decided to homeschool FOR REAL, I opted for beautiful worksheets, colorful worktexts, and intriguing textbooks written directly to my child — intriguing for about five minutes!
This bright, happy child who had been such an eager learner was completely turned off by this change of pace. She spent an incredible amount of time sitting at a table writing, at a very young age. On one occasion in particular around Thanksgiving, I remember thinking as I was watching her face, “She is not enjoying all of those neat Thanksgiving worksheets I found for her.” And in general, learning became a bore. (I wish I could tell you I quickly learned my lesson — but alas, it took a few years!)
Yes, those colorful worksheets are beautiful. But does your very young child really need them? Please, give him, you, and your family a big gift. Avoid them!
- Read aloud a lot!
- Let him read to you.
- Talk to him constantly about what you are doing, what you see as you drive, etc., just as you would an adult.
- Listen to him. Let him tell you what he sees, or hears, or feels, or likes VERY much at the moment.
- Feed his current interests.
- Enjoy nature.
- Let him run and play and explore.
Free and in the public domain.
So much of the quality literature that finds its way onto homeschool lists is already in the public domain. That is an incredible gift for a homeschool mom searching for that freebie!
There are several good places besides the obvious to start a quality literature freebie search:
- 7 Places to Find Children’s Books in the Public Domain
From our DIYHomeschooler site.
- Ambleside Online
They have chosen some of the best literature out there — most of it free!
- Free eBooks
You may also find some other treasures at our DIYHomeschooler site.
Free but unnecessary.
There are times when we do find a really great printable, that we probably don’t need. No matter; perhaps it serves as a change of pace, or interest, or provides joy in some way. And it hopefully goes without saying, when it comes to any aspect of homeschooling each family needs to do what fits THEIR family.
Just keep in mind that sometimes the best “free” printable is a blank sheet of paper.
A growing collection of free materials at our DIYHomeschooler site — and a good indication that when it comes to that homeschool freebie, value is in the eye of the beholder!