Are you a Christian parent already homeschooling or thinking about starting it? Are you concerned about purchasing your child’s school materials out-of-pocket or looking for inexpensive or free ideas that are Christian-based?
You can certainly create your Christian homeschool curriculum for free, or nearly free, with planning and organization. There is no reason to buy expensive books, materials, memberships, or furniture. Your child will learn as much or more with Christian curriculum you carefully design on a budget!
We’ve homeschooled four children, two of whom are now adults (one is a senior in college and the other is an airman in the US Air Force). We currently have two high schoolers, one with special needs, that we homeschool. There were times we bought materials, but we quickly learned that for most of the time, that wasn’t necessary.
You can get all you need with a library card, internet access, and your Christian parenting brain! Read on to find out more!
Table of Contents
Why Homeschool For Christians
Before moving forward, we must address the big question of why homeschool in the first place. After all homeschooling is at your own expense, time, and effort. We wouldn’t trade it for anything, but you should know it isn’t completely stress-free.
To be quite clear, there are many reasons parents start homeschooling, almost too many to count. A few of the main reasons most often quoted for homeschooling are curriculum choice, safety, and the ability to personalize their child’s education.
However, for Christians, homeschooling is truly centered around your religious inclusion and being able to keep your children free from liberal, un-Christlike influence.
Many also appreciate that you can accelerate your child’s learning with the possibility for early graduation. For others, they can slow it down at their child’s pace whenever necessary, without repercussions of their child being labeled ‘slow’ or being retained/held back/failed a grade level.
With homeschooling, it is much easier to make up time and put your child back on ‘track’ with his or her peers once academically and/or socially ready.
For our family, we started homeschooling because our oldest child exhibited symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity and we didn’t want that label attached to him so early, as common for children like him in the public schools.
With my background as a teacher, I was able to recognize the telltale signs and characteristics in my child. In a traditional public school, he’d be a shoe in to be referred for a special education study with the recommendation of medication to control his hyper behavior and lack of focus (textbook reasons to push medication, typical in public school settings).
As all of our children grew, we considered several schooling options for each of them and tried out a few different settings in California and Virginia, in search for what was right for each one.
There is nothing wrong with looking at the options available for your family. However, we always found ourselves coming back to homeschooling. It was (and is) the best decision for our family, especially since we are able to provide a Catholic-based education.
Because homeschooling enables you to tailor your education focus for your family, it is the ultimate in freedom. You just can’t replicate this freedom with any other school option! Nothing comes remotely close!
- Freedom for schedules, both daily and long term like when to take holidays (Did you know you don’t need a schedule that looks like public schools? And you don’t have to homeschool 5 days a week!)
- Freedom to select what to study (Your child can take double math in one semester without approval from the guidance counselor!)
- Freedom to include extracurricular courses tailored to your child’s interests (Violin or choir? German or Spanish? Art classes at the Smithsonian or Take Karate Class online?)
- Freedom to go year round or skip schooling in winter; move up a grade or repeat a grade without stigma.
- The options are boundless and we just couldn’t find that anywhere else.
As all homeschooling parents know, you will be required to submit some sort of curriculum list. As well, if you intend to homeschool high schoolers (or already are homeschooling), you’ll need to be aware of expectations.
For example, you’ll need to be aware of how many credits per year your child will need on his or her transcript. As well, you will need to know how many English courses or types of math and science, and so on.
If you want your high schooler to have options for higher education, you should read this article too. Consideration of higher education will likely inform your high school homeschooling curriculum.
Thus, you will need to be aware of requirements for what to cover AND then also want to personalize this for your child (that’s the beauty of homeschooling, right?!).
All homeschool families must register to homeschool their child. Each state has a certain procedure to follow but ultimately, it’s ‘paperwork’… a form to complete.
By law, states aren’t ‘approving’ your home school; the law already allows you to homeschool. States just simply recognize that you have submitted the proper paper work to do so, and that your child is not truant.
However, it is your responsibility to know your state’s requirements. An easy Google search will help you find out what you need to know (read my other article here for more details); or you could actually contact your local school district for information.
Even as homeschoolers, you still have access to a free and public education, and thus educational resources that your tax dollars support. Feel free to contact them if you prefer. They really are there to help you, too.
Once you know your state’s requirements (dates for filing, for example), you now are expected to follow them. If you choose to homeschool, make sure you do what you need to regarding state requirements. They’re not difficult, so no excuses! Plus you don’t want to risk problems and have your homeschool in jeopardy.
What you really Need as Homeschoolers
To homeschool, Christian or not, you need materials, but probably not as many as you’d think. Depending on your child’s grade level and curriculum interests, you’ll need specific information and guidance to direct your child’s studies.
You need time. You need time for your child to do ‘home school.’ Keep in mind this doesn’t mean you need your homeschool to mimic traditional school or their calendar.
You can set the time (schedule) for what is optimal for your family. And you have the luxury to change it as your family needs change. In the beginning, it might be easier for your homeschool schedule to look like that of your neighborhood school. These schedules are usually available online, too.
As you move along in your homeschool process, feel free to make adjustments. We have generally homeschooled throughout the summer but have taken longer breaks at Christmas time. Also, we typically take Fridays off. Do what works for you!
You need space. Your child needs a consistent space for homeschool work. This doesn’t mean you need to purchase expensive tables, desks, and bookcases. However, it’s important that your child has an area to work, that is for at least some of the time, under your supervision.
You can split the space up so that there’s an area for you to provide homeschool instruction and then a space for your child to work independently, and I urge you to keep this routine going no matter your child’s age.
For example, you could provide instruction (homeschool input) at the kitchen table with your child, while your child works on their own (homeschool output) later in the living room (with the TV/devices off) or on their bedroom floor.
Some years we used backpacks and actually homeschooled on the go a good portion of the time. We’d bring the backpacks to our karate dojo, so that in between classes, one of us would provide some instruction and our kiddos would complete independent work throughout the day.
I also think the car is one of the best places to homeschool on the go! While driving, you can talk about history, current events, why the sky is blue…providing that homeschool input/instruction for your child. Your child can practice spelling, reading (road signs), and multiplication facts while riding in the backseat while under your ‘car supervision.’
There’s a lot of homeschooling you can do while driving to and fro, instead of singing along to the radio!
Available Christian Homeschool Resources
Truly there have always been a plethora of free, accessible material for your homeschool curriculum, some that is Christian-based and others, religious-friendly. But that being said, with the introduction of modern technology, homeschooling material is available more than ever! With creativity and planning, you will find that you have so much more than you will ever need.
Probably the most relied-upon resource for homeschoolers (Christian and non) is the internet. There is such a wealth of material-for free-from the internet that there should never be an issue of expense for homeschooling.
First, I’d start with your state department of education, online. There you will find standards that must be covered in public schools, divided by grade level and subject. This is an excellent way to start-in order to know what are expectations for your child (theoretically, since you will be able to be more flexible in the alignment of what’s taught as a homeschool). Then, you can add your Christ-centered additions like Bible and Theology.
Starting online at the Department of Ed will also provide you with links for free online practice and test prep.
There is subject-based material in the form of free worksheets, categorized by grade and skill, also available online with an easy Google search. There are also some very cool, useful, interactive websites for students for math and reading practice. Some of my favorites are K12reader.com, IXL.com, Education.com, and KhanAcademy.org.
In addition, there are free Christian-based online resources for your homeschooling family. All-in-One Homeschooling is a popular one. You will find free subject/grade-aligned material, readily available to download, from this internet site.
Homeschool.com offers advice, suggestions, links to free material, and so on…lots of great stuff to sift through (plenty to keep you busy!). Also, you’ll probably enjoy networking with other homeschoolers online to share ideas and materials. I often find, even as a teacher, that my best resource for ideas is other homeschool families or public school teachers who have posted information online, for free!
Another excellent addition you’ll find from the internet is the availability of the classics, again for free. Most all reputable and well-regarded classical literature can be found online for free. Project Gutenberg is a collection of over 60,000 books online at no charge. FreeClassicBooks.com is another site for free accessible literature to download or read online.
Last, one of my favorite resources as a public school teacher, and certainly my children’s favorite, is Youtube. Yes, there’s a lot of ridiculous nonsense on Youtube, BUT with proper key term searches, you will find a smorgasbord of useful, relevant, engaging material. Plus, you can use Youtube to share your own homeschooling experience (a family activity), and/or as options for hosting your children’s project-based assessments.
Some of our favorite uses for material from Youtube are for math explanations, read alouds (great for younger students), science videos, how-to informational videos, cooking, language learning, and more!
For the Christian homeschool, you can find live and pre-recorded Masses, prayers, theological videos, Biblical studies, and so on. Honestly, you can just about get ALL of your material from Youtube!
Here’s an example of a fun math video I used with my elementary-aged students, both as a homeschooling parent and public school teacher.
The public library is certainly an excellent, free, resource for your Christian homeschool. Take your child to your local public library and sign them up for a membership card of their own. Then, of course, sign yourself up too, so that you can maximize your materials.
The public library offers test prep books, literature, videos/dvds for languages and film options, and free classes too. Libraries also have age-appropriate read aloud times, if you would like your children to participate in something like that.
Sometimes just the act of going somewhere puts a fun spin on learning!
Right At Home (You)
Clearly the best FREE resource for the Christian homeschool curriculum is you! As the parent, there is no one better qualified to guide and instruct your child’s education, and select your child’s homeschool curriculum.
You know your child’s background more than anyone else. You know if your child needs remediation in math or reading, or is ready to jump ahead. And all teachers will tell you that this background knowledge is critical when developing your child’s curriculum.
Public school teachers are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to this because 1) they don’t have access to your child as completely as you do (and shouldn’t!) and 2) they don’t have time to create a totally personalized program like you do for your child.
No one cares about your child as much as you do (not even grandparents!). No one is as invested in your child’s development as you are. Therefore, you are the perfect person to teach your child and put together the curriculum to use!
You have 24 hr/7 days a week access to your child, so you can ‘teach’ all day long, whenever the teachable moments arise, as well. Remember, homeschooling doesn’t have to be rigid! Use those small moments as they present themselves.
Nonetheless, you also have the ability and access to create the structure necessary for your child. We dedicated Friday evenings for our children to ‘show off’ and share their best/most favorite/interesting learning to the family, presentation-style. Including this routine in our child’s homeschool curriculum was truly beneficial for their learning.
From the youngest to the oldest, the children would tell us about their learning. This permitted us to observe our child’s understanding and application of the curriculum, and we were able to let it inform their instruction moving forward.
Here’s a short clip of our oldest explaining his vocabulary practice.
When to Buy Material
There is so much opportunity for FREE material that Christian homeschool families really don’t need to buy hardly anything…hardly, that is! There are a few times when purchasing materials is either necessary or just the better choice, though. One is when starting your homeschool and the other is when it makes economical sense for ease and professional look.
To Get Started
More than likely, you will want to purchase some things to help you in the beginning, to get started with your homeschool. Keeping this in mind, you don’t want to throw your hard-earned money away at things not necessary. So here are my recommendations based on my family AND public school teacher experience!
Folders– You will need some folders. This is just simply to help your child (and you) stay organized. Folders are helpful for organizing subject material, for holding independent work samples, and so on. The good thing about folders: they are quite inexpensive. For the benefit they provide, folders are good bargain. Click here for my folder preference on Amazon.
Binders– You will need a couple binders. Binders are great for more long term records such as homeschool attendance, transcripts, copies of your intent to homeschool forms, ‘teacher’ communication, test scores and so on. You may also find binders more useful for certain coursework like art projects and such.
And again, like folders, binders are inexpensive and worth the few dollars they’ll cost you! Click here to go to Amazon for my binder preference.
Writing materials– Your child will need writing utensils such as pencils, highlighters, pens, markers, and so on. Depending on their age, you might also need crayons and colored pencils. These are things you’ll probably have around the house, at least some anyway.
But for the limited cost, it’s worth the excitement and enthusiasm your child will display when getting their own writing supplies for ‘school.’ Here are my recommendations on Amazon: Pencils, Pens, Highlighters, Wide Markers, Thin Markers, and Crayons
Things Easier to Buy than Replicate
There are also some items that just make sense to buy rather than spend the time and effort doing yourself. You CAN do them, but for the cost, you’ll probably find it much more ‘worth it’ to purchase than not.
Test Prep Material If you have middle or high school students, you should probably just purchase test prep material for standardized testing situations. There are some test prep practices for free online but you will use those pretty quickly. In this case, it just makes sense to buy more practice material. Click here to head to Amazon for my preference for test prep.
Transcript Services Transcript services can really benefit your homeschool family. Transcripts are super important for your homeschooler’s graduation and for higher education. Read my article here for more information on graduation and higher education consideration.
Sure you can create and update your own transcript Excel spreadsheet or Word document. If you are somewhat computer literate, this won’t be too difficult. However, even with my education/high school teacher training, I chose to use an online provider for our two adult children’s transcripts. It made financial sense!
The transcript was easy to order, keep updated, and use for college admission applications. With the ease and professional look, it was well worth the price! Click here to use the same transcript service provider that I did with my two high school homeschool graduates (who both earned University scholarships by the way!).
Christian Homeschool Curriculum Wrap Up
After reading this article, I hope that you can see how simple (with planning, creativity, and organization) it is to homeschool your child with free, Christian-based curriculum. Let’s look back,
- There are many valid reasons to homeschool, but freedom to design an educational experience for your child is a big draw. And for the Christian family, that freedom is extra special for putting together your child’s homeschool curriculum.
- It is critical when beginning your Christian homeschool and gathering material for homeschool curriculum, that you are cognizant of your state’s requirements. Ignorance will jeopardize your child’s homeschool, and that’s not an option!
- Numerous free resources are available to the homeschool family; online material, the public library and yourself as the homeschooling parent/leader are easy resources for creating the very best Christian homeschool curriculum.
- Sometimes it makes sense to buy a few things, however. Things like folders, binders, and writing material are cost-effective items that will make starting your Christian-focused homeschool. Also, we found using an online provider for our graduates’ transcripts worth the fee-and when you factor in our children’s University scholarships, you’ll get your money back!
Enjoy your Christian-focused homeschool with curriculum that won’t break your family’s bank!