If you’re aspiring toward a simple homeschool lifestyle for your family, there are plenty of great ways to go about it. Homeschooling often ends up being expensive for many families at first. Homeschool resources do not have to cost a ton of money to be effective! To follow are some easy ideas to incorporate for a simple homeschool year.
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Free Online Resources for Homeschoolers
March 2020 saw a wave of resources being made available for families who found themselves having to school at home. I wrote an article on My Cup Runs Over chronicling the many free educational websites available to both traditional homeschoolers and those who found themselves suddenly homeschooling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are countless free programs for homeschooled kids available and taking advantage of them is a great idea if you’re struggling in your homeschool. While on lockdown families realized that homeschooling looks a lot different than what they expected. There are resources available to help you make the most of your time at home with your kids.
Explore Your Community
Nearly every US city can provide a wealth of historical information that you can use as a free simple homeschool curriculum. One great place to start is the National Register of Historic Places from the National Park Service.
Getting outside to get some fresh air and exercise, visit local museums, libraries and hidden gems in your community are ideal, inexpensive ways to incorporate learning into your homeschool. The added bonus is that you can take a day and do something fun in the community and still count the field trip as a day of homeschooling!
Use Simple Household Items in Your Homeschool
One of our favorite ways to create a simple homeschool environment is by using things around the house to facilitate learning. 52 Random Weekend Projects for Budding Inventors and Backyard Builders by Grant Thompson, The King of Random is a great resource for DIY ideas for families.
Another great book is Junk Drawer Algebra:50 Awesome Activities That Don’t Cost a Thing by Bobby Mercer. Between the two books, you’ll have more than enough activities to incorporate into your hands-on homeschool.
Look No Further Than Your Home Bookshelf
If you take a look at your home library, chances are you have enough books to homeschool for the entire year. You’d likely only need to supplement some language arts or reading and mathematics, but I would imagine you already have most everything you need to create your own unit studies.
Another way to use what you have is to take a look at your local newspaper for current events. You can also add in some resources for current events for kids with publications and websites like Time for Kids or CNN 10 on Youtube. These sites are designed with younger viewers in mind and often relay current events in an age-appropriate manner.
Your homeschool is individual to your family so it’s important to not just take my word for it. It’s a good idea to screen current events content to make sure it’s appropriate for your own child’s maturity level.
Teach Through Cooking and Grocery Shopping
So much learning happens at the grocery store! Have your child help you plan the weekly menu and do some shopping alongside you. They can compare prices, estimate your total grocery bill, learn to stay within budget, and get experience using coupons or looking for discounts. You can also teach through cooking for a homeschool activity that benefits the whole family.
Simple Homeschool Nature Walks and Backyard Fun
There are many ways you can homeschool for free out in your backyard. From bird watching to rock collecting and growing vegetables, your backyard and nature trails provide a wealth of experiences to incorporate into your simple homeschool lifestyle.
Celebrating Waldorf festivals is one way we incorporate memorable traditions each year. On Martinmas we make paper lanterns, let the glue dry outdoors, and use them on our lantern walk (with a battery-powered tealight candle of course).
This year we are working to create a wildlife habitat in our backyard. By following the National Wildlife Federation guidelines, we are incorporating elements needed for a successful habitat. This is something we can do at home for free that not only works as a homeschool activity but also doubles to help the environment.
Be Willing to Adapt as You Go
Homeschooling really doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. A simple homeschool lifestyle can be yours if you take a step back, breathe, and look around your home. You likely already have exactly what you need to be successful.
Changing your mindset around what homeschooling is, what it looks like, and how to follow through takes time. You’ll likely commit to a methodology or homeschooling style and then change your mind countless times. The good news is that every day is a chance to begin again if something isn’t working for your family.
When first starting out, try to commit to a simple homeschool lifestyle. As you get to know your child’s individual learning style, you can adjust and make modifications as necessary. The key thing to remember is that you can start homeschooling for free, right now, with what you have. It really is just that simple.