What You Need To Know About Free Homeschooling Options!
You should review the brief information on this page before choosing anything that advertises free homeschooling 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. 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 review the previous year’s concepts. It should also lay 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 about Practical Homeschooling.
Free in most situations has a catch!
There are exceptions, but many things advertised as “free” have an ulterior purpose. “Free” is often a “hook”. A hook involves customers to a point to reduce barriers to pay for hidden options. Some courses may say they are “free”, but other courses may have a cost. Some “free” homeschool options may have ads. 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. You will usually not find this kind of support 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, those will have many of the same requirements of a public school including more intensive parent paperwork. They may also use common core curriculum. More importantly, these secular options impact the issues in the next paragraph.
Spiritual and moral sacrifices.
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. They may have a requirement 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 can undermine earlier training.
Some may feel they can counter secular options by including a separate Bible course. However, politically-correct propaganda, the lack of God’s influence in science courses, and over-balanced 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 true accredited homeschool options. Free homeschooling or low cost options are not going to have as thorough of outside review 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!
At first glance, the statement above might seem offensive. Actually it is just a reminder to double check your priorities. You want to make sure you do not sacrifice quality just to save money with your child’s education! Cost should be a secondary factor when choosing a structure for training your child. You should always consider financial stewardship, but as a secondary issue with your child’s education. There are some super parents that probably can homeschool at no cost, but they are a very small minority. A high quality homeschool program with accreditation, diagnostic testing, achievement testing, records management, teacher support, private school diploma, and more does not cost much more than the gas to drive your child to and from a public school.
Make sure to read why you might be able to afford the cost of a good homeschool program! Also read this article to see why a homeschool program might already be in your budget! The right kind of homeschool program can improve the odds for success.