What are some free alternatives to public school online programs? Here are options other than K12, Connections Academy, or others, where YOU are in control.
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Free Alternatives to Public School Online (Other than K12 and Connections Academy)
In our state, K12 and Connections Academy are two options for school at home, and they are free (they’re not free in some states). There’s really nothing wrong with K12, Connections Academy, or other public school online programs in which your child can learn in the comfort of home or on the go. They are often free or very affordable and include everything your child needs to learn at home.
The Big “But”
However, they are not technically “homeschool” programs, in that the curriculum provided is government-dictated and does NOT allow flexibility in scheduling or parent-led teaching, which many homeschooling families wish to avoid.
Here are some alternatives to the online public school programs that are also free (or in some of the cases below, at least affordable). Posts on The Frugal Homeschooling Mom usually contain affiliate links, ads, and sponsored content, including this post. Here’s my full disclosure statement.
Top *FREE* Alternatives to Public School Online
Free homeschool curriculum is great – but in my experience, it usually requires supplementation. As a previous public school teacher, I see holes in a lot of these, and can’t say that any one of them is completely perfect. You may need to step in and guide your child’s learning (without much guidance, how-to, or support), pick and choose options that fit your family, and fill in any holes with supplemental materials. But these “full curriculum” options are all free and give you a wonderful place to start. Many families DO use these as a complete curriculum for their children and have no complaints.
- Ambleside Online- Based on Charlotte Mason’s principals of education, this is a free homeschool curriculum. It is comprehensive and offers links to lots of free resources.
- CK-12 Online– This technology-based curriculum is flexible and designed to meet the individual needs of students. And it’s free!
- Discovery K12- This online curriculum covers 7 subjects: Language Arts, Reading/Literature, Math, Science, History/Social Studies, Visual/Performing Arts, and Physical Education. It contains everything you need to homeschool.
- Easy Peasy All-in-One- This is a Christian complete homeschool curriculum. It only uses free resources found online.
- Mater Amabilis- Written specifically for Catholics, this is a Charlotte Mason based curriculum. It is geared for Pre-K- 8.
- Old Fashioned Education- A free curriculum that uses older books for instruction. Check out her comprehensive lists of books to teach each subject.
AFFORDABLE (but not Free) Approaches to Homeschool Curriculum
All the good stuff without the loss of parental choice. These curriculum options aren’t free, but the good thing about them is that there is more flexibility in which pieces or parts you might want to use, and you are granted the opportunity to direct the path of learning for your child. And, they’re somewhat more complete and dependable, some have good support for parents. They are also much more affordable than the options listed at the bottom of this list (which is what I like about them of course!).
A few of these are complete, but many of them have holes or are subject-specific.
- Wordly Wise- A popular homeschool vocabulary curriculum.
- Easy Grammar– A grammar curriculum that promotes mastery. It is written for grades 1-12.
- Homeschool Complete- A complete curriculum that contains detailed lesson plans that are created around thematic units.
- Robinson Curriculum- This is an online program that’s printable. It claims to have a straight forward layout and costs $195.
- Time 4 Learning.com– A web-based curriculum, student’s lessons are automatically graded, their progress kept up with, and reports generated.
- Christian Liberty Press- Curriculum covering a range of subjects, with reasonably priced workbooks.
- Outschool- This site offers a range of live online classes, starting at $10 a class.
- Saxon Math– One of the most popular math curriculums of homeschoolers, this program uses an incremental approach. It also incorporates review in each lesson.
- Handwriting without Tears- This curriculum helps students master the skill of fluent handwriting. It starts with multi-sensory instruction for beginning writers and moves all the way up to cursive.
- Apologia- This science curriculum is Christian based and contains elementary through high school courses. The curriculum contains household labs for students to complete.
- Math-U-See- This is a skill-based, multi-sensory math curriculum that is designed to teach topics in a logical sequence. Have your student take the placement test to see which level to start.
- Classical Conversations- Small local groups meet together to learn in the classical style of education. Find the resources you need for the classes here.
- Singapore- This approach to education uses concrete and pictorial approaches before progressing to more abstract thought.
- Memoria Press- This curriculum that uses the classical approach to education, covers Latin, Logic, History, French, and Literature.
- Story of the World- This is an integrated look at the history of the world. Exploring history chronologically, the curriculum covers The Ancient Times, The Middle Ages, Early Modern Times and The Modern Age.
- Pearson– A publisher with lots of textbooks to choose from.
- Well-Trained Mind- They provide lots of resources for providing your students with a classical education.
- Master Books- This curriculum encompasses a large array of different series that teach the different subjects. Check out their many resources.
- Mystery of History- This curriculum uses the Gospel of Jesus as the backdrop for teaching history. It contains 4 volumes.
- Explode the Code- This is researched-based, multisensory, Orton-Gillingham based program for early learners. It uses direct phonics instruction.
- ACSI/Purposeful Design- These colorful textbooks are written from a Christian perspective.
- Institute for Excellence in Writing- Offering material for grades K-12, this curriculum helps parents teach writing and other language arts skills.
- Some local homeschool co-ops are free or affordable – research what’s available in your local area.
High-Quality, FULL Homeschool Curriculum Alternatives
This being a “frugal” homeschooling blog, these options may not be a match for many of my readers. However, if you can afford them, then these are the way to go, and so I list them here for your information. The benefit of each of these programs is that they are sometimes accredited (meaning they are complete and there is accountability and professional oversight provided with them which you can *generally* trust, and they may be a better fit for some state homeschool requirements). They are usually comprehensive and include everything your child needs for that particular program or grade level of study.
- Alpha Omega- This popular homeschool program offers many options, including computer-based learning, workbooks or unit studies.
- BJU Press- A comprehensive homeschool program that offers a distance learning format.
- Liberty Online- This accredited program offers the quality of a private school education in the convenience of your home.
- A Beka Academy- This company offers complete grade kits for your homeschool needs. The academy uses prerecorded videos and offers a free report card, transcripts and diplomas.
- ACE PACEs- These workbooks integrate biblical principles, wisdom and character-building concepts into their subject content.
- Some local co-ops are very expensive but can offer all that you need – check out what’s available in your local area.
These alternative approaches to teaching homeschool other than a public school at home option (like K12 or Connections Academy) are listed here for your convenience and to guide you as you make your decision as a homeschool mom. I hope they have helped you in your search!
Let me know if I’ve forgotten any by leaving a comment below. Also, feel free to leave a comment telling my readers which of these programs you have used and loved!