What You Need To Know About Free Homeschooling Options!
The brief information on this page should be reviewed before choosing any advertised free homeschool options.
Is your time worth anything? Most free homeschooling options require an enormous amount of time finding and researching courses to make sure they will work. Some courses or classes do not follow national standards, so course objectives may not correspond to the previous grade level or the next year’s course in that subject. Both situations can create problems. Curriculum should be used that reviews the previous year, plus lays a foundation for the next year. Most achievement tests follow national standards, so the curriculum needs to follow national standards for the student to score better. This takes time to check and is easy to miss important issues. This labor intensive research will likely become necessary every school year. Read more about using the same program each year.
Free in most situations has a catch! There are exceptions, but many things advertised as “free” have an ulterior purpose. “Free” can be used as a “hook” to get a customer involved to a point that barriers are reduced to paying for necessary hidden options. Some courses may be called “free”, but other needed courses may have a cost. Some “free” homeschool options may be ad driven. It can be difficult to evaluate the type of rotating advertising that your child will see everyday. Anything that is free normally has poor or no support. Many parents need more support than curriculum alone to help with student motivation. This kind of support is not going to be found with free or low cost options. The low support exception with a free program is an online charter school or virtual school approved by your state. However, most will have many of the same requirements and structure of a public school including common core assessment tests and more intensive parent paperwork. More importantly, they are impacted by the issues in the next paragraph.
Spiritual and moral sacrifices.
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Since a majority of homeschoolers do so because of values, it does not make sense to use courses that do not support those values. The free sources that are most likely to spiral concepts properly and prevent learning gaps are the most likely to have secular content. Corporate, public education, charter education and other free sources will normally go with secular content to reach a larger market, or are required to have secular content. Some parents may feel the right world view is only important for lower grade levels, so secular options can be used for upper grade level students. However, secular and “politically-correct” content in high school will undermine earlier training. Some may feel secular options can be countered by including a separate Bible course. However, politically-correct propaganda, the lack of God’s influence in science courses, and over-fairness for other religions often undermine a single Bible course. Read more about Christian options.
Do you want to skip accreditation? An accreditation’s greatest benefit is it means the program has been thoroughly evaluated by an outside unbiased set of eyes. Even awards and other laurels do not go to the depth an accreditation does. Accrediting agencies look at scope and sequence and grade level academic standards to make sure there are no gaps or other weaknesses. Accreditation can catch “teach the test” philosophies that include advanced concepts at the cost of mastery. Many accreditations take into account achievement test results rather than theory. Most choices that are “free” are unlikely to be accredited homeschool options. Free homeschooling or low cost options are not going to have accreditation that could be a benefit to your student. In the past, there were not many accredited options for homeschoolers that were recognized by the right people. Parents and students would sacrifice the benefits of accreditation to reach higher priorities. Today, there are options. Most homeschool programs that are regionally accredited are given more respect by school districts and states than other options. This makes life much easier. Some states officially recognize accrediting agencies other than regional accreditation. A portion of the homeschool program or online school’s cost goes to cover the costs of very beneficial accreditation development and maintenance, thus cannot be free to exist. Read more about choosing a program.
An experienced homeschool program may be a better value. Many quality homeschool programs, especially online Christian schools, are not in existence to make money. When you consider many accredited homeschool programs include curriculum, accreditation benefits, record keeping, course counseling, teacher or tutoring options, access to achievement testing, academic diagnostic tools, ensuring national academic standards are included in curriculum, umbrella strength, and other benefits, their monthly cost is one of the best values you can find.
Free homeschooling may show you have wrong priorities! Sacrificing quality to save money should never happen with your child! Cost should be much lower on the list when choosing structure for training your child. Financial stewardship should always be considered, but as a secondary issue. A high quality homeschool program with accreditation, diagnostic testing, achievement testing, records management, teacher support, and more does not cost much more than the gas to drive your child to and from a public school.