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Homeschooling While Traveling: My Ultimate Homeschooling Guide

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Thinking of traveling the world and wondering how to educate your kids at the same time?  I’ve got your homeschooling how-to.

Staying home from travel but sick of the rigid structure of traditional school?  Let me introduce you to a homeschooling option.

Forced home from traditional school by COVID and wondering what your homeschooling options are?  I’ve got you covered! 

I’ve been homeschooling my kids for the last two years as we traveled the world as a family of seven.  

Table of Contents

I Can Help You With Homeschooling Decisions

I’ve talked to dozens of homeschoolers, unschoolers, worldschoolers, and more all over the world. I’ve scoured homeschooling Facebook Groups and forums.

As a homeschooling mom, I’ve tweaked, added, and subtracted to our at-home education many times.  You can read what I started with in my worldschooling journey and how I changed things up after a few more months.

Mistakes come with the process of homeschooling and teaching children. As long as you are willing to recognize them and adjust, you’ll be great. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along my journey, but I’m always trying to improve.

I’ve also done homeschooling while working. Check out how we afford to full-time travel. My husband and I both work in our various business ventures. I can relate to all you working parents trying on the new hat of “teacher” at the same time.

I’ll present you with many homeschooling options in an effort to help you find your best homeschooling programs. Ultimately, choosing to homeschool your children is intensely personal and needs to be built to suit your family.

Why Should You Homeschool?

Would I argue that everyone should homeschool their child? Nope. However, I’d argue that most parents can homeschool and for most kids, this will be a better experience than public school.

The homeschooling vs public school debate will live on forever. Just as parenting is unique and individual, your child’s education is as well.

How Does Homeschooling Differ From Public School?

Besides the obvious answer of location (duh!) in the public schooling vs homeschooling differences, these types of education differ on much deeper levels.

Public schooling metrics are dictated by government agencies and upheld by them as well. They attempt to create a “blanket statement” of goals that every child should and must learn to qualify both the student and teacher as successful.

Public school also does it’s best to create a style of learning that works for all students, knowing at the same time all children learn in their own, unique way.

Do you see the same problem with this that I do?

The key lies is trying to apply the “same” to all children. Any parent with more than one child knows how unique and individual each child comes from birth.

Homeschooling ultimately offers the ultimate benefit of FREEDOM. Freedom for you as a teacher, freedom for you students and freedom to learn in whatever way works best for those involved.

Advantages of Homeschooling

I’d bet good money that most school teachers would pay a hefty price to be able to cater their lessons and style to each individual student. They sense the differences in learning styles, yet out of necessity must move forward with approved lesson plans and mandated standards of learning.

If you take only one thing away from this discussion about the benefits of homeschooling, I want you to try to capture the gift it is to cater to your program to you and your child.

Other advantages for homeschooling stem from this core value of freedom: less time to learn, less fighting about school, having your child progress at their pace, learning along-side your child, and more.

Who Should NOT Homeschool?

My bet is you are looking here for a quick reason as to why you aren’t qualified to homeschool. None of us are homeschool teachers when we begin!

The only person who should not homeschool is the person who is not willing to try, adapt, recognize mistakes and change and, mostly, love their child through the process.

Homeschooling Disadvantages

Similar to the advantages of homeschooling, disadvantages center around freedom.

A parent who homeschools doesn’t get the “free babysitting” public school provides! Of course, school is much more than this and teachers are doing their very best to make it successful for student.

However, as you’ll soon find when you homeschool, the same amount of learning can be done at home in a fraction of the time! So what you really lose is the time away from your kids while they are at public school.

As a mother of five, I completely resonate with this. From the birth of my first child I daydreamed of the day when all my kids would be in school for hours everyday. What freedom!

Sadly, in our current COVID environment, this “perk” is all but gone. It’s likely kids will be home all the time in the near future, just as they were earlier this year.

I’ll also be honest and upfront: homeschooling your child is work. It’s not impossible, it’s not even that difficult, but it IS work. You do have to be invested emotionally, mentally and physically to succeed. Even if you pay big $$ for a program with a dedicated “teacher”, you still are responsible for making sure your child is participating.

What About Socialization?

We’ve all heard it before: homeschooling kids are weird.

One positive benefit of the COVID pandemic is to prove how silly this is. Did your kids become social misfits during your months of lockdown? Of course not!

You may have to get a touch more creative in your socialization methods for your child, but your kiddo will be fine!

Do you have neighbor kids? Siblings? Go to church? Play with kids at the park?

Your homeschooler can still get loads of socialization. After basically sheltering our kids away for the last two years around the world, I’d even argue it’s better. You get to choose the socialization methods and partners versus shoving your kids in public school with all the bullying and comparison.

What is Homeschooling?

You are probably wondering how to homeschool.  Your kiddos might be wondering how to be homeschooled.  Don’t worry, we felt totally overwhelmed too.

Overcoming the hurdle to homeschool was a major issue for me when facing down our full-time travels.  I never wanted to homeschool!  Frankly, I never considered myself patient, qualified, or creative enough to take on that role.

I’m here to say you can!

How Does Homeschooling Work?

A simple answer is this: you decide what is important to you for your child to learn, do, see, and experience. You find the resources to match your goals and get started.

The long answer involves lots of research, soul searching, talking with those important in your life, and your child’s life.

It means sometimes you start something that you think is important to find you don’t have the time for it, your child hates it, or it is a waste of time.

How homeschool works totally depends on your and your goals! In fact, there are so many styles of homeschool it’d make your head spin.

Let’s visit some styles of homeschooling.

Unschooling

A curriculum for homeschooling centered on inquiry-based learning (and I’m using curriculum loosely), unschoolers are growing in popularity. I’ve met several in our travels and see more and more online.

From the way I understand it, unschoolers don’t want to force a child to learn something they are not interested in. If your child prefers to do math today, great. If they want to go on a walk and learn about birds instead, great.

The goal is to capitalize on the natural curiosity of your child and let them learn as they wish and what they want to learn about. You might delve deep into engineering or biology instead of forcing all the basic subjects on your child.

In one of the many homeschooling forums I belong to in Facebook, I found this account in a discussion about unschooling:

Lona: I have six kids. Two have graduated from college. One is currently in college and three are being homeschooled. I homeschooled all of them from the beginning.

I’ve read ALL the books! With my first three I unschooled almost exclusively. One child was motivated, two were not.

The unmotivated ones were not prepared for college math classes. Science classes were hard but doable, and they all placed in honors writing. But, the math is not something you can catch up on quickly!

My 17yo is a sophomore in college but he still hasn’t completed college algebra. He was pretty far behind when he started. I encouraged but never forced. I even took college math classes “for fun” to inspire him! He had no desire.

Now he wishes I would’ve made him do it! It was the exact same with my 19yo. So, now my younger children do some formal schooling every day. I do homeschool three grade levels now: 6th, 4th, & 2nd.

When we travel the only formal school is math and writing. Everything else is experiential. My older kids say I should do formal science, too. But… I’m still working on that!

Unschooling comes with it’s own risks and benefits, as do all programs, but has many beautiful parts to it. It is not my personal favorite as I feel it doesn’t not set up kids of long-term success in higher education, but that may not be important to you.

Worldschooling

I would categorize myself into this kind of homeschooler. I homeschool to travel the world and use the world as part of my “lesson plan”. Worldschooling involves the experiences of travel, different cultures, new people, etc. to teach more than a traditional classroom can.

We learn about the history of Rome on our tour of the colosseum. Sea life is encountered and taught about on the seal colony shores of New Zealand. Chinese culture and tradition are burned into memory as we walk a morning market in Chengdu, China.

Many travel families choose this style of learning with varying levels of focus on other “basics”.

I personally still work hard to teach reading, writing, and math while we travel. However, some families use reading road signs, converting currency, and more as their teachers.

 Travel is usually a big part of this style of learning, but doesn’t have to be. There are dozens of ideas for homeschooling about the world from your own home.

You could do a learning unit on China and use online resources to see and experience much form China right at home! You could cook a meal, learn calligraphy, watch documentaries on China, etc.

Online Homeschool

 Modern technology provides amazing online homeschooling options. We live in such a blessed age in this regard.

Later in this post, I will compare with you various online programs from free online homeschooling to paid tuition programs. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of online homeschool programs.

Choosing your homeschooling programs online takes some time and lots of research. Generally, these programs will dictate a curriculum by grade-level or age in various subjects. They tend to follow the same standards as state education mandates.

Time commitment in these online homeschooling programs varies widely. For some programs, you implement everythign yourself with activites, printouts, online games and more.

In other programs, you’ll be given video lessons to progress through or even virtual meetings with teachers. You can pick your level of involvement, time commitment, and resources you want to use.

Homeschooling By Textbook

Homeschooling with books might feel more familiar to some of us “older” parents that didn’t grow up learning in school online. Your teaching style might involve books, blackboards and printed material.

You can find many programs in printed books that follow lesson plans and allow you to teach it all.

Out of necessity, we took as little printed material as I felt comfortable with. We did bring about half of a suitcase worth of handwriting books and math workbooks, but all of our lessons are online.

When To Start Homeschooling

It’s my personal opinion that you do not need to homeschool before kindergarten. Frankly, as long as you are working on letter recognition, learning to read, and basic addition and subtraction, you’ve even got homeschooling kindergarten covered.

I got serious about homeschool starting in first grade for my third child. We did homeschool kindergarten, but it was pretty light an relaxed with online programs. For my older two, they simply followed the programs they’d left at their previous elementary school.

Homeschooling a Preschooler

On this topic, we just recently came back to the US to spend some time with family. My mother was shocked my 3-year-old didn’t recognize her colors, couldn’t count to 10, and didn’t know the alphabet. I just laughed.

I feel like the minds of toddlers are like sponges and she will learn it in no time! I’m certainly not worried about her progress before she would even be in preschool. However, I’m a bit relaxed about it, I guess?

Homeschooling a preschooler is totally doable and you can spend as much money as you’d like on the resources to do so! Or use some of the free resources I’ll present below to do so. Homeschooling benefits apply to all ages: time with you, growth and learning

Is There An Age Limit to Homeschooling?

You might be wondering if your child can get too old for homeschool? Is there homeschooling in highschool?

Most homeschool families find elementary and middle school the most comfortable ages to homeschool. However, homeschooling a high schooler is not only do-able, but more common than you might think.

I absolutely LOVE this blog from a past worldschooler who is now a successful adult. I secretly hope my Lucy (now age 12) can follow a lot of this path and be blogging about it in the future.

The benefits of homeschooling absolutely can continue to high school. You might need a bit more planning, but there are amazing resources on it! I will share more below, so keep reading.

Other Things to Consider Before Choosing to Homeschool

   We’ve already covered many facets of homeschooling, but a lot goes into this decision! Despite the many incredible homeschooling resources, this is a family choice and one that might change your life paths forever.

You many homeschool to speak so deep to your soul as a parents or to be the only way you want your child to learn. I don’t mean to scare you, but I want you to realize the gravity of this decision! It’s a time commitment, but it’s also a lifestyle commitment.

Homeschooling Pros and Cons

There are amazing benefits to homeschooling. There are differences to homeschooling as well, which can be seen by some as cons. We’ve discussed a few of the procs and cons to homeschooling, but just to highlight more:

Pros

  • Flexibility to choose what your kids learn
  • Flexibility to choose how your kids learn
  • Flexibility to choose when your kids learn
  • Applying individual learning styles to individual kids
  • Quality time with your kid (yes, it is possible to have a GOOD time learning with your kiddo, I promise!)
  • Learning at the same time as your child
  • Creativity to make learning FUN
  • Flexibility to learn wherever you want, even while traveling
  • Knowing exactly where your child is in their studies
  • Accomplishing something great with your child

Cons

  • Homeschooling takes a big commitment from you as a parent
  • Working and homeschooling can be tricky. It’s a time balance and a lesson in patience for everyone
  • You are responsible for their learning and progress. No blaming a bad teacher anymore 🙂
  • Homeschooling can strain your relationship if you let it. Don’t let it.
  • You are with your kids most of the time if not 24/7.
  • Your kids have to have a level of commitment to get school done. This is a learning curve.

Don’t let these pros and cons for homeschooling scare you. I promise you can do this!

Goals of Homeschooling

What are your goals when thinking about homeschooling? SOme of them might be:

  • Spending more time with your child
  • Getting learning done in a more efficient way
  • Adapting learning to the way your child needs to learn
  • Traveling or having more flexibility for other areas of your life

These goals will change how you homeschool. It’s important to know your “why” to this decision before you stat and pick a program.

YOUR Schedule

What else do you have going on in your life? Stay-at-home parent, working parent, part-time working parent… whatever your situation, you’ve got other things to do besides homeschool.

Homeschooling while working from home is tricky! I’m not going to lie, it will stretch you. I’ve been homeschooling while working full time for the last few months and I feel a little like my head will spin off at any moment.

My advice for working parents who also want to homeschool:

  • Figure out chunks of time for each. If you have calls, don’t have your kiddos doing homeschool during that time. Or put them on something they actually like to do, like science videos. Otherwise they’ll skip out on you and you’ll be scrambling
  • You may need to get up before your kids to get some work done. In New Zealand, I was up and working at 5:30 am often. Granted, the time zone helped motivate this, but it helped later with homeschool too.
  • Consider getting help. Partner, grandparent, nanny, whatever. You’ll need help balancing.

You need to consider your schedule when picking a homeschool program. How much time can you realistically give each day?

Remember life goes on! You’ll still need to cook, shop, clean, do laundry, doctors appointments, etc.

Don’t worry if your house get a bit messier as you homeschool :). That’s normal!

Finances

Surprisingly, homeschooling can be pretty expensive! Some programs run thousands of dollars per year. There are also lots of free homeschool curriculum options.

I settled somewhere in the middle. We spent about $300-400 per year on our homeschool.

You need to decide what kind of $$ you are willing to commit to homeschooling. If free homeschool if your only option, no worries! I’ve found a few options for you below.

How To Supplement Tuition Costs

If you’d like an expensive program but don’t have the money, know that some have scholarship options. You’ll need to look into that with each program individually.

I also have a friend who get tuition paid for through a local charter school. This is an option to research in your local area.

Some places in the world will even “pay” your tax dollars back to help offset homeschool. For example, “In Alberta, home education provides each child $850.00 per year to offset the cost of resources.”

Because every state and country is different, you’ll need to do your own research on options available to you in your area.

Regulations

Local government regulations differ greatly on homeschooling. It is actually illegal to homeschool in certain countries, like Germany, and difficult in others.

Within the USA, each state is a bit different on their regulations. Some states will require testing at the end of the year, some states may dictate certain curriculum to you, and other states don’t care.

Because we left for our world travels from Utah, I registered there as a homeschooler. This simply meant I went into my local school district office and signed a document in front of a notary. I haven’t heard a single peep about it since then!

Again, do your research on your country and/or state around homeschooling regulations.

Learning Styles

Do you already know how your child learns best? Probably not. You haven’t been their teacher yet!

If you already know, good for you! You can tailor your curriculum to them.

Does your child like to read? Do they enjoy learning hands-on? These amy be things you learn along the way as you homeschool.

You can even consider asking their past teachers for this information. However, unless they were a problem student or excelled, their past teachers may now know them all that well.

I found my kids past teachers to not be very helpful on this front, personally.

Homeschooling Schedule

What schedule are you looking for in your homeschooling? Are mornings best? Do you want to go somewhere in the afternoon? Does your family sleep in?

In our travels, we decided to homeschool for several hours, three days a week. The other two weekdays we did light homeschool (like the programs they wanted to do) or no official homeschool as we ventured around the world.

This schedule fit our work schedule, mostly. We usually started homeschool after breakfast. I’d encourage the kids to get started even before breakfast if they wanted, but this was rare.

When we had a fun event for the day, I warned them the day before that school had to be done by a certain time.

Occasionally, we tried to homeschool after a fun day out, but it rarely worked. We tend to stay out as long as possible and return for bedtime.

Daily Time Commitment

How many hours a day should you homeschool? Great question!

According to this article, most parents are homeschooling TOO much. I’m certain I’d fall into this category! Check out these snippets:

“For pre-Kindergarten, there should only be about 20-60 minutes a day of distance learning, it recommends. And though that amount increases with each grade, it’s only about two hours max for elementary school students and four hours for high school kids. This should all be accompanied by additional optional work, engagement opportunities, and enrichment opportunities, which range from reading to building a fort.”

“We recommend that true homeschoolers, spend about an hour to two hours a day for those elementary years, two to three hours a day for middle school, and three to four hours a day for high school,” Jessica Parnell, the CEO of Edovate Learning Corp and homeschooling program Bridgeway Academy, told SheKnows.

The thing is, though your kids might be in school for six or more hours a day, they’re not spending all that time listening to academic instruction.

“We did a study back in 2010 with a research group of a little over 1200 teachers who tracked for three months the time they spend in the classroom teaching new material, and the average was seven minutes in a class period,” Parnell said. “There’s a lot of time when teachers are settling the class down, collecting homework, reviewing homework, dealing with disruptions. So a lot of time at school is not necessarily wasted time, but certainly not teaching time.”

Any parent already knows having 30 kids in a classroom means there is little lecturing and a lot more chaos management. While volunteering in my kid’s classes before we left, I noticed how little “teaching” time there was and how much time was spent getting the kids to focus!

In our travels, I spent between 3-6 hours per day. However, a lot of this is my kids goofing off!

Remember when you are homeschooling multiple children you can only really focus on one at a time. The others will certainly waste time and goof off. Just expect it.

Yearly Schedule

Another important question is how many days per year you want to homeschool? Do you want to go year-round. Do you want summers off to match other kids and/or family?

We chose to do year-round school since we would be traveling and working year-round. We took 1-2 weeks at Christmas off, 1-2 weeks in the summer, and then 1-2 additional weeks off when we all burnt out, hit a great hotel with a kids club, or went on a cruise or tour.

Testing

Personally, this factor doesn’t weigh heavily for me, but some parents might want to do testing for their homeschoolers. Some states or countries might also require it.

I’ve never worried about it much since Utah doesn’t care and I figure my kids are sticking to their “grade” level studies well.

Also, school is compulsory almost everywhere. What does this mean? It means in almost all countries, school-age children are required to be educated. Even if you are an illegal alien in a country, your child probably can go to school.

Even if you did nothing for a year, schools will have to take your children back to school! Kids also catch up quickly. I’ve had several homeschooling parents reinforce this to me: even if there are gaps, if you send your child back to school they will catch up in 2-3 months, max.

However, if testing is important to you, here are some great resources for testing.

I will say, I have heard testing in general can be a weak point for homeschoolers. Perhaps it would be a good idea to incorporate more!

What Kind of Homeschooling Curriculum is Best For You?

Hopefully at this point you’ve got a good idea of what is going to fit your family best when homeschooling! Let’s get to the nitty gritty of some options for you.

Online homeschool curriculum will be the most prevalent and easiest to connect to. However, I’ve included options of several types, price points, etc. These programs all come recommended in homeschool forums, by my friends, or by word-of-mouth.

Subject by Subject or All-In-One

When picking your programs, realize you can do more than one! One of my favorite progrmas and the one we’ve used for that last two years of Kids Online Academy. It is like picking “credits” for college. From their site:

“Kids On Line Academy is a great option for this coming school year.  Take out the uncertainty and decide which courses to use at home or anywhere in the world. Just like at a college or university, you pick the courses you want to enroll in and pay for the credits for each. This means that you can take just one course or many. You are able to pick and choose what will work best for you and your current educational situation.  KOLA can be used to complement another program or provide a complete/full load of courses.

Kids On Line Academy is a private online school so you can be enrolled in KOLA along with any other public or private school all at the same time or it can be used as part of your homeschool curriculum.”

After my initial hours of research, I loved this option. There are several options for each subject. However, I used a totally different program for math and cherry-picked workbooks from different recommendations.

In case this program sounds like the fit for you too, you can use code “Leslie123” to waive your application fee. I don’t get any commissions for sharing this, but Cara, the owner, and I both want to empower parents in this difficult time!

If hand-picking curriculum is too overwhelming, you can also get an all-in-one solution that covers all the basics.

Accredited Vs Non-Accredited

Do you want your homeschooling to be accredited? What does this even mean?

This article can give a great background on what this means. Basically, unless you are very interested in a future sports scholarship or a certain college that doesn’t accept homeschooling readily, I don’t think it’s something to worry about.

That same article states, “No state requires that a homeschool program, curriculum, or diploma be accredited (in fact, curriculum can’t be accredited!). Most institutions of higher learning do not require this either, although there may be exceptions by individual institutions or programs; and of course schools may change their requirements at any time.”

From one of my homeschooling forums, one mom wrote this: “curriculum can never be accredited. Only a school can be. If you are doing an accredited home school program, it means your child is a member of a school, and you just so happen to do the work at home. Accreditation is not required- even for college entry- and in fact some schools are not accredited.”

There are several organization that provide accreditation. For more information, you can research these two sites and start down the rabbit-hole:

DEAC

AdvancED

Group Teaching

Yet another option for homeschooling parents is to pool resources and have your children taught together. I’ve known several homeschooling parents who have formed groups and hired a tutor or a college student to teach a certain subject.

My friend Valerie, a mom to six and long time “homeschooler”, shares this,

“Homeschool suggests everything takes place within the home, and in my experience, a “home education“ takes place all over the community, and even the world. A “custom” education focuses the education on the child, not on the method. Throughout the years, my children have had classes within the home, with co-ops, commonwealth schools, private schools, tutors, and public schools.”

Valerie also helps to run a commonwealth school. She says, “We all will attend a commonwealth school once a week. There are commonwealth schools in the western United States, not just my state (there’s even one in Tanzania). A commonwealth school based on the Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI) and A Thomas Jefferson Education book, is limited to 30 families who all contribute to the teaching and work of the school.”

Valerie shares a ton more info and advice in a separate post, found here.

Take some time to consider how much “community” you want in your homeschool experience. You don’t have to do it alone!

Gaming-Based

I don’t have much knowledge on this type of learning, but have heard it around some of my forums and want to present it as an option

From this site, “Game-based learning describes an approach to teaching, where students explore the relevant aspects of games in a learning context designed by teachers. Teachers and students collaborate in order to add depth and perspective to the experience of playing the game.

Good game-based learning applications can draw us into virtual environments that look and feel familiar and relevant.”

Perhaps this type of learning is something to check out for your child.

Subjects That Are Important To You

What subjects are important to you for your child’s education? Take a moment to consider each of the basics:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Science
  • History

Filling each of these subjects can vary widely. For example, for writing (which tends to be a weak point for many students in general and one of our hardest subjects), you can consider notebooks back and forth.

We did travel journals during our world travels. I made my older kids write once per week about something we’d seen recently. We could include little mementos like tickets, postcards, or stickers from that event.

Homeschooling While Traveling

In case you have a serious case of wanderlust like us and plan to travel while you homeschool, let’s touch on homeschooling on the road.

You’d be shocked to learn how many families do this. I know of dozens of full-time RV families around the USA. I also have connected with dozens more full-time travel families that are homeschooling while traveling.

You can choose all these same options below to work for you as you travel. There is no one-size-fits-all for homeschooling for traveling families, just as there isn’t for homeschooling families staying in one place.

Typically, travel families are going to use the curriculum from their home country. It’s what is familiar and works best if they return “home”. American families tend to do American homeschooling overseas.

Benefits of Travel in Homeschooling

I’ve already stated many of the benefits of “worldschooling” above, but let’s touch on a few more.

The benefits of schooling around the wrold can include:

  • Learning different cultures and languages
  • Learning different lifestyles in a way a classroom could never replicate
  • Learning diversity hands-on. It’s a humbling experience to be the minority!
  • Constant money exchange math problems
  • Trying new foods and expanding the palate
  • Meeting friends around the world. My What’sApp is full of world-wide friends!
  • Learning to be adaptable to changes, time zones, different internet, weather, climates, etc.
  • Incorporating “experiences” into your worldschooling is both fun and educational
  • Museums around the world make for great field trips!

How Traveling Changes the Homeschooling Game

If worldschooling is your goal, which I hope to inspire everyone to do at least once, keep these things in mind when picking the program for you.

  • Space saving. If you are traveling, you need to conserve space
  • Flexibility. You’ll have travel days, play days, and work days. You need a program that will work with your changing schedule.
  • Affordable. Spend your money on travel experiences!
  • Easy to teach. You won’t have time to do a lot of lesson prep.

From a worldschooling forum I am in, one mom shared: “I am going to give you my best piece of advice from a decade of worldschooling. Do not pressure yourself or your children to replicate school at home by getting stuck on curriculum, workload, and time frames. Kids are built to learn from the world around them. They absorb more than you think from everyday interactions.”

Picking a Homeschooling Curriculum

Finally! We are to the point of picking out a program that is right for you. Whether you are looking for free online homeschool, kindergarten homeschool curriculum, or homeschooling high school, I hope these tables can offer something to you!

I’ve spent hours researching these. Forgive any errors! There is no best homeschool curriculum for everyone, so use these as a starting point for what will be best for you.

Free Homeschool

HOMESCHOOL-SELF-GUIDED-BOOKS-2

Kahn Academy Free.  Time commitment: self-guided, low to high.  A free and incredible resource for learning!  We’ve used Kahn off and on for a few years.  You can find videos on nearly any subject from math to history to science.  You can even learn another language!  This resource requires you to be completely self-guided and driven.

Easy Peasy Homeschool  Free.  Time commitment: daily lessons, low-high.  Easy Peasy all in one homeschool is Christian based, homemade program that has gained loads of popularity among homeschoolers. 

k12 Homeschool  An accredited option that connects you with a school local to you.  I believe they work with your local school to get the tuition paid for, but I don’t completely understand it.  I have seen several reviews of other homeschool parents that do not like this program, but it’s worth more research if it sounds like your thing.

Connections Academy, Free, K-12, time commitment: guided, mid to high.  Similar to K12.com.  Works with a local school that might be accredited

CK-12.  Free, K-12.  Time Commitment: self-guided.  STEM based learning (math and science focus).  Feels like a Kahn Academy but with written textbooks online. It seems that schools also work with this site to replace their textbooks.

Accredited Homeschool

accred

Bridgeway Academy $$$$, K-12.  Offers both secular and Christian options.  Works with various educational options to create a customized plan for you.  They will do an assessment and create a plan fo reach child.  Fully accredited.  

Abeka Homeschool $$$, PreK-12 Cristian based.  Offers a free week trial to their video lessons.  You have the option to buy materials and teach yourself or also access their video lessons. Accredited or independent study options (compare here).  Options for dual-enrollment for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit.

Forest Trail Academy  K-12, $$$$.  Private school registered in Florida. Online learning or correspondence courses. Secular and Christian programs available. Homeschooling program is K-8th and is a traditional book program (think paper and pencil).  Online courses are offered as well with dual-enrollment and NCAA courses available.

Laurel Springs $$$$$, K-12.  Begin classes anytime of the year (rolling enrollment).  Flexible schedule.  Option to enroll in one course to give it a try.  

K12.com Free, K-12th.  From what I can gather, this program works with local schools in your area to get you an online school that is accredited.  I’ve heard several reviews of parents that do not enjoy this program, but it is free, which is a big deal!

Williamsburg Online Academy $$$$, Grade 6-12. Focus on college prep and higher test scores for college entrance exams.  I have a homeschooling friend that really likes this program for her son, but it is a lot of course work and there is the potential to fall behind if life gets busy.  Classical education focused on leadership and other areas.

GlobalVillageSchool.org $$$  K-12, TIme commitment: self-guided or directed, low to high. Focused on sustainability, this online school is accredited according to their website. Offers various options to “unschoolers” and more traditional homeschoolers.

International Virtual Learning Academy.  $$$ K-12.  One christian option available as well as five traditional school programs.  Expect about 1 hours per day per course.  Live homeroom sessions to interact  with other students.

Connections Academy, Free, K-12, time commitment: guided, mid to high.  Similar to K12.com.  Works with a local school that might be accredited. 

BYU High School.  $$$, 9-12.  Enrollment into a scheduled program or home study available.  Diploma option available. Standard and advanced tracks available.

Tuition/Fee Based Homeschool

Preschool

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Abcmouse.com $  A fun learning platform that builds as you progress.  We’ve been using this long before we left to travel and all my kids have enjoyed it through about age 6.  I’m pretty sure Harrison has learned all of the nursery rhythms from the cute videos on this program.

Time4Learning $ PreK through 12th grade.  This program is customizable to you.  You can select different grade levels for different subjects (which is fairly common when homeschooling to have your child move at a different pace in each subject).  I’ve seen dozens of great reviews for this program and it would probably the one I would try next!

Kids Online Academy. $$, PreK through 12th grade. Time commitment: self-guided, low to high

  This is the program I’ve been using for the past two years.  I really enjoy customizing to each of my kids.  This basically gives you access to the same programs kids are using in traditional schools.  In fact, we used many of these programs in the schools my kids attended before we left.

Elementary Through High School

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adventureacademy.com $  A “older kid” version of abcmouse.com and from the same creators, this platform is for ages 8-13.  

Time4Learning $ PreK through 12th grade.  This program is customizable to you.  You can select different grade levels for different subjects (which is fairly common when homeschooling to have your child move at a different pace in each subject).  I’ve seen dozens of great reviews for this program and it would probably the one I would try next!

Kids Online Academy. $$, PreK through 12th grade. Time commitment: self-guided, low to high

  This is the program I’ve been using for the past two years.  I really enjoy customizing to each of my kids.  This basically gives you access to the same programs kids are using in traditional schools.  In fact, we used many of these programs in the schools my kids attended before we left.

Leadership Education Academy $$, K-12.  TIme commitment: paced, mid to high.

 An interesting blend of a customized program with virtual mentor classes.  Virtual classroom sessions are scheduled on Pacific time and recorded for later viewing.  Perhaps not complete enough to serve as your only school, but I’m not familiar with it enough to say for sure. It seems to be somewhat accredited for high school courses through Williamsburg Academy.  

Galileo  $$$$, Age 8-18, Time Commitment: self-guided, take breaks when you want

A great option for worldschoolers, unschoolers, and homeschoolers. This program allows flexibility to students for what interests them and prepares them for the future by exposing them to entrepreneurship, technology, and global citizenship.  Does offer sibling discounts and scholarships.

Homeschooling Supplies

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 https://www.evan-moor.com $$ PreK – 6th Grade.  Books to use for self-guided teaching.  Homeschooling bundles available with a discount.  

 https://www.carsondellosa.com $ Pre-K- 12.  Affordable supplements or grade workbooks by subjects.

http://hookedonphonics.com $$ Learn to read program.  Digital access for up to 3 children on 3 devices with supplemental paper books.  You can also buy supplemental readers by level.

https://www.littlelearninglovies.com/wordpress?affiliates=38  $.  Printables to use for supplements to your homeschool or regular schooling.  This site has darling resources!  Spelling tests, US geography, etc.

WriteShop. $, K-11 Writing supplement books.  Writing can be a difficult part of homeschool and these come recommended!  Read reviews here

Christian Homeschooling Curriculum

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Easy Peasy Homeschool  Free, Time commitment: self-guided, low. Christian based, homemade program that has gained loads of popularity among homeschoolers.  

Monarch $, Time commitment: Guided, mid to high. Interactive, Christian-based, completely internet-based curriculum.  No need to install software and compatible with most operating systems.  Grades 3-12.  For more programs that cover K-12 from the same company, see here.

The Good and The Beautiful  $$, Time commitment: self-guided, high. Christian based PreK – 8th, book-based curriculum.  These are printed courses that you buy from their virtual storefront or actual warehouse in Lehi, Utah.  A good friend of mine who is a teacher and long-time homeschooler LOVES this program.  It didn’t work for me to carry this many books in our travels, but I’ve heard several good reviews.

Christian and Accredited Homeschool

Bridgeway Academy $$$$, K-12.  Offers both secular and Christian options.  Works with various educational options to create a customized plan for you.  They will do an assessment and create a plan fo reach child.  Fully accredited.  

Abeka Homeschool $$$, PreK-12 Cristian based.  Offers a free week trial to their video lessons.  You have the option to buy materials and teach yourself or also access their video lessons. Accredited or independent study options (compare here).  Options for dual-enrollment for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit.

Forest Trail Academy  K-12, $$$$.  Private school registered in Florida. Online learning or correspondence courses. Secular and Christian programs available. Homeschooling program is K-8th and is a traditional book program (think paper and pencil).  Online courses are offered as well with dual-enrollment and NCAA courses available.

International Virtual Learning Academy.  $$$ K-12.  One christian option available as well as five traditional school programs.  Expect about 1 hours per day per course.  Live homeroom sessions to interact  with other students.

Beyond the K-12

Hopefully now you’ve got some options for homeschooling! Your next question might be: what about college?

Assuming you want to homeschool for high school, which is totally doable, you’ll need to do some prep for the next step.

College Credit Before College

Just like many high school students take AP classes or co-enroll in the local community college, homeschool students can enroll in independent study courses and earn college credit!

For example, BYU Independent Study. allows student 14 years and older and doesn’t require a high school diploma to sign up. Chances are good the college you are considering has the same option.

  Going back to one of my favorite blogs, this worldschooling girl was done with “high school” by 15. Read how she got into university.

Another site, Edx, also offers a platform for college-level courses. From their site:

“If you’re looking to help with your teen’s college prep, consider enrolling them in one of the many classes at edX, a platform that partners with high-ranking institutions like NYU, Harvard, and MIT (as well as international universities, like Oxford and Australian National University) to offer over 2,500 college-level courses. Some are self-paced and available for college transfer credit, while others are taught by qualified instructors—most of whom have doctorates in their fields. 

You and your teen can choose from a variety of standalone courses across the arts and humanities, STEM fields, music, computer science, education, and more. Most courses, even credit-eligible ones, are free, with completion certificates that will cost about $50 in most cases. 

Particularly proactive high school students looking to get a head start on their college career while at home can enroll in an edX MicroBachelors program in popular majors like computer science, for just $166 per credit. Or, they can start earning college credits now by attending the Global Freshman Academy that offers common, foundational first-year courses like English composition, pre-calculus, or college algebra and problem-solving through edX’s partnership with Arizona State University.”

College Requirements

From my research, the most important step towards college after homeschool is to make a short list of the colleges and universities your student might want to apply to.

Then, take some time to research what each requires for entry.

This article has fantastic information about this process. From their site:

“Almost every college/university has an online catalog these days. And inside that online catalog, usually at the beginning, is a section on admissions — specifically on admissions requirements.  And there is where it will say how many credits of high school English the college requires, how many credits of math, of history, etc. It will even sometimes list specific courses that the admissions department would like to see the applicant to have taken in high school, like American History or British Literature.”

“Another interesting thing to notice, too, is that many colleges do not require a minimum number of credits even close to what the states require for high school graduation.  This can also be very relieving.  Frankly, I don’t know why we even care about state requirements for high school graduation.  I mean, they’re fine to use as a reference or starting point, but it seems to me that when planning high school we tend to forget one of the great perks of homeschooling — the fact that we are in charge. We can decide how many credits our child needs to graduate and what courses he is required to take.”

Can My Homeschooler Go To College?

I love this information from the Time4Learning site:

“Yes! Be sure to do research on the homeschool-friendly colleges and universities your child is interested in attending. Depending on the school, you may need high school transcripts and/or a high school diploma.

All 50 states in the U.S. allow parents to issue a homeschool diploma to a child they feel has met or exceeded the guidelines for high school graduation. There are plenty of templates online; check out the ones at LetsHomeschoolHighschool.com. Some colleges and universities also require scores from tests like the SAT and/or ACT. Colleges and universities have admissions counselors that are available to help you understand and plan for their admission requirements.”

Frankly, all this research has empowered me to feel like homeschooling is an option for many years to come! I used to feel stuck in the mentality that we could homeschool until high school, but I no longer feel that.

Each child is different and this is a decision to be made with each of them individually, but traditional high school does NOT have to be your only option.

Homeschooling Advice

Every homeschooler will have their own advice for you. Here is mine!

  1. Be patient. Be patient with your kids, yourself, and the process. It will never be perfect.
  2. Don’t plan too much in advance. Certainly not more than a year! Really, shoot for a couple of months and plan to adjust and change what’s not working.
  3. Pray. Our Heavenly Father is as invested in your kids as you are! Let him guide you. About 3 months into our homeschooling I had a clear impression that my kids were not writing enough. All of our learning was on the computer. I promptly did some research and bought some workbooks for spelling, math facts and handwriting.
  4. Be willing to give up. At least for the day 🙂 You will likely either fall into two categories: too much school or not enough. Try to push to the middle and be willing to start again the next day when everyone’s nerves are fried.
  5. Don’t discount quality time. Simply being with you and doing things with you as their parent will teach your kids loads. You love them the most out of everyone and this reaps tons of benefits!

How To Not Scream At Your Kids About Homeschool

Let’s be real for a minute: it’s going to happen. Unless you possess super-human patience or your kids are perfect, you’re going to lose your temper.

Kids are going to cry. A lot.

Kid’s don’t want to do school. At least none of mine do! School is still a chore. They enjoy the learning and they have gotten tot he point of enjoying learning to some degree, but I get lots of groans about doing school.

How can we avoid these bad situations as much as possible?

  1. Take care of yourself. Just like parenting, homeschool is going to wear you out! Get some exercise, get out by yourself, go to lunch with friends, whatever.
  2. Let the house go. It’s hard for those of us who like a clean house, but you’ve just got to let it go now. Your kid’s education is taking place of the dishes and dirty laundry for a bit.
  3. Have a backup partner. Train your spouse or partner on some of the trickier parts of homeschool and wait until they can help you. Even if that’s after dinner, if it’s just too much, wait for them to do it! I had Chris do our reading testing a lot when I just lost my patience. Same went for spelling tests until we just gave them up altogether 🙂
  4. Have kids work in separate rooms when possible. My older kids absolutely cannot work together. It’s like two besties in a classroom… they are constantly talking, fighting, showing off for each other. We’ve made rules about who works next to or with mom, who works in bedrooms, and how we rotate that throughout the day. Have kids work on the hardest subject with you and then rotate to the next kid. This is exhausting for you, but the only way my kids can get it done.
  5. Take loads of breaks! It feels discouraging, but kids need a break about every 30 minutes. The longest I can really push hard is 1.5 hours. Sometimes, because I have so many kids, I have one older child be a “buddy” to the youngers while the other older children work on school. Then they switch. This keeps toddlers occupied and gives older kids a break from school. Win-win!

Additional Resources About Homeschooling

I haven’t read any of these books personally, but they come from recommendations form homeschooling forums or followers. Read them or have another one you love? Leave them in the comments below!

Home Grown Kids

Better Late than early

A Well Trained Mind- A Guide to Classical Education at Home

Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School

Teaching from Rest

Happy at Homeschool

How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons

Here are more of my posts on Homeschooling:

Digital Resources for Keeping Your Kids Educated

Worldschooling: Homeschooling While We Travel

Good luck in all your homeschooling decisions! I hope this helps you in your journeys, school or otherwise!

Xoxo,

Leslie

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