January 14, 2017

Affordable Homeschooling

One thing homeschoolers love are FREE resources! Often, homeschoolers are one income families with very limited funds and the goal is to provide a good education, lots of resources, with very little out of pocket cost. Years ago, I would have given a list of many free resources. Resources that I know are often still shared among homeschool circles when someone asks for free/low-cost resources.

CCS (Common Core Standards) came onto the scene in 2009 and my idea of what was good changed. Sure, I still wanted free/low-cost items but quickly realized that free might not be the best thing.  A quick look at our what others wrote page and the group that Tina and I, with others, admin on Facebook and it's clear we are anti-CCS.

I know Tina will say ditto, when I say, "I believe CCS is meant to 'dumb down America'. I believe the public school system is broken and that no child should be in the system. I believe that homeschoolers should fight to keep homeschool curriculum CCS-FREE and do their best to use CCS-FREE resources."

Thankfully, with Tina's hard work, we have a resource like The Homeschool Resource Roadmap to help guide us and inform us of the CCS status of over 3,000 curriculum and resources options. I should disclose at this time that I have no financial gain from Homeschool Resource Roadmap, but that Tina, as the owner of Homeschool Resource Roadmap, does if someone chooses to sign up for the by subject area.

Back to those free resources; I see homeschoolers, in general, recommend things like Starfall, Khan, Spelling City, and others. These things are recommended because they are free, but they, in my opinion, are not the best options because of their CCS connections.

There are other resources that are CCS-FREE and good for the pocketbook too. It just requires maybe looking a little bit deeper on the net, being okay with not being an exact copy of the CCS connected resource and sometimes being a little bit more involved and a little bit more planning on your part.

What is CCS?
See Truth In American Education for more information.
Also this Youtube Video by NoTo CommonCore is helpful in answering the question: What is CCS? 
Is the Curriculum/Site/Resource I want connected to CCS?
As I mention above The Homeschool Resource Roadmap is a good resource to find out if the curriculum/resource you are looking at has CCS connections. It is a database that is being added to and updated regularly that list the CCS status of over 3,000 items.  Out of over the 3,000 items listed about 60% of it is CCS-FREE (known as Independent on the Roadmap).
 The Roadmap list things based on 4 categories
  • Independent
  • Correlated
  • Coincidentally Connected
  • Explicitly Aligned
Check out the roadmap. Nearly the whole site is free to access. The subject area where it takes the same info from the Common Core pages but list the resources based on subjects does require a ONE time fee.  Currently that fee is $4.99.  Tina is thinking of raising the subscription in the next few months, but if you buy now you don't have to worry about that. Your subscription is a one time fee so if you you buy now at the $4.99 price you don't have to worry about the price going up -- seeing you already have access.
Why have a subscription to the subject area if I can access the common core page for free?

Well, the simple answer is the common core page requires you to know the name of the product you are looking for.  With the subject area, you don't need to know the name of the product you just have to know the subject you want. If I'm looking for math options then I would look under the math section.

Okay so I have decided I want to keep my homeschool curriculum CCS-FREE now what? 
Now you use the Roadmap to find CCS-FREE materials, but I will give you some pointers to start with. 
Instead of Starfall maybe Mighty Book or Kiz Phonics or Sight and Sound Reading or Progressive Phonics. Instead of Spelling City/Vocab maybe Spelling Help Online or AAA Spell. Instead of Khan (math) maybe XtraMath or AAA Math or CIMT.

Disclosure: Tina (co-author of Ditto, She Wrote) owns The Homeschool Resource Roadmap.
Tina and I co-admin, with others, the Facebook group Christian Homeschool Oasis that was made in conjunction with the Roadmap site.

Lastly, when this post originally posted on my personal blog it included a link to a taped copy of my periscope that I did on this post. I am ending the post with this tape copy of periscope, mainly because it shows me using the Roadmap. If you are unfamiliar with Periscope: Periscope is a phone app that works with twitter that allows you to do live video feeds. It's similar to Facebook live. This was one of my periscopes and at that time saving them didn't allow for you to see the hearts and comments people were writing me. So it might seem a bit weird ---  Youtube: Affordable Homeschooling


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photo credit: 401(K) 2012

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