Did you know that home-educated students score an average of 15-30% higher than public-school students on standardized tests? In this research conducted by the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschool students outperform by these numbers regardless of their parents’ income or level of education. You don’t need an expensive curriculum for success. Your child can be educated with these free or inexpensive homeschool programs online!
When I selected these programs, I focused heavily on programs that I found to be easy and fun for kids and teenagers. Additionally considered was the amount of parent involvement required for the curriculum.
The 7 best online homeschool programs that are free or inexpensive
1. Easy Peasy – All in Homeschool (Free; Pre-K-12)
The creator, Lee Giles, began this website by posting her very own homeschool assignments that she used for her own children.
The site makes people feel like they are in somewhat of a co-op setting. In fact, parents can volunteer to help create courses or other types of work. Users are also able to make donations to support the site.
This curriculum is online based but families have the additional option to purchase workbooks. The coursework has all the resources linked within the lessons.
If you are a parent of a Kindergartener, you might be happy to hear that the creator focuses heavily on phonics.
Without a doubt, this curriculum involves a lot of parental involvement for young students.
Also, grading and navigating can be difficult due to the blog style setup. For this reason, you may want to join the Easy Peasy Facebook group to ask questions or get support from other educators if needed.
- Easy to access community
- Continuously updated by creator
- Not as easily managed as some more full-service online homeschool programs
- Activities are not very interactive
In short, this is probably the best free curriculum I’ve found on the web. You will probably like Easy Peasy if you are on a tight budget, just starting out, or want to be involved more in your child’s learning.
2. Discovery K12 (Free or paid upgrade; Preschool-12)
DiscoverK12 offers over 16,000 lessons for students in grades K-12. They have a traditional, non-common core curriculum.
The program is flexible and allows parents to pick what their child will learn. Grades are not automatically calculated upon completion. Therefore, parents will need to have more involvement with Discovery K12 curriculum over other options.
If you want to upgrade your account to a parent-teacher account, you can get access to quiz/test scores, transcripts, answer keys, and more.
For each grade level, Discovery K-12 offers 180 days of study. Additionally, they offer extra curricular courses such as Spanish, Coding, Personal Finance, and Business 101.
Assignments are easily listed out for your child to follow. Parents can follow the K12 academic calendar or create their own.
Student accounts are free but most parents will probably want a parent/teacher account. Currently, this account costs $99/year ,however, the website states that this price will be changing soon.
To view the current pricing, read about their Parent/Teacher Account here.
- Free option.
- Assignments are listed in an easy to understand checklist style layout.
- Unique courses such as Business 101 available.
- Option to print out books to reduce screen time.
- Includes classic literature that most students are required to read in the USA.
- Transcripts available for paid members (although not accredited.)
- Not very colorful/exciting.
- Does not keep track of how long students do some assignments.
- No access to answer keys unless you upgrade to the paid version.
- A lot of reading is required.
- Some add-on courses will be too difficult for young students.
- Students have to refine searches themselves.
Altogether, I believe Discovery K12 would be best for older grade levels. The program has a heavy emphasis on research and writing. As a result, this will work well for some students but not others.
If you are considering Discovery K12, you will like that it is free or inexpensive. However, you might have to spend time adjusting the program for your child.
3. Study.com (3rd-12th; paid)
Study.com is one of the best online homeschool programs for students in grades 6-12, however, it is not free.
This is a complete curriculum available entirely online.
They have a basic, premium, and college accelerator plan offered to families. The premium plan is probably most popular as it allows access to all their courses and online quizzes.
Classes include general studies for younger students and also have additional electives for 9th grade and beyond. The classes include short videos followed by multiple-choice quizzes.
Study.com’s pricing is as follows:
Basic Edition: 39.99/month
Homeschool Edition (premium package): 59.99/month, however, you can get a 45% discount if you chose to be billed annually.
College Accelerator (for college credit): $199/month
- Support available from instructors.
- Platform is set up to be fun and simple to use.
- Animated video lessons.
- 30-Day money back guarantee .
- Minimal lessons available for grades 3-5.
- Missing some key writing elements for elementary grades.
- One of the higher priced online homeschool programs on this list.
This program would be best for grades 6-12 due to the lack of studies available for 3rd – 5th grades. However, Study.com is a great complete program that will require minimal involvement from busy parents.
With a 30-day guarantee, parents have nothing to lose in trying it out.
4. Time4Learning (Pre-K-12; Paid)
Time4Learning is one of the best inexpensive online homeschool programs offered today. Like many other programs, they are not accredited but they do have an easy and fun complete curriculum.
The platform itself combines color animations, images and interactive activities. Parents get their own login where they can customize their child’s lesson plans and assignments.
In addition, Time4Learning will configure the student’s plan if needed. For example, your child may be in the fourth grade but tests in 5th grade Math. Time4Learning will adjust the plan to include that higher level class.
Moreover, Time4Learning allows students to easily revisit lessons they need to review again. Worksheets are available to students who wish to print and hand practice lessons.
High Schoolers will find a more traditional style of teaching. Many lessons start out with a video and concludes the lesson with a quiz. Even so, the company still tries to make the videos fun by adding animation, having the instructors dress up as characters, etc.
Time4Learning doesn’t require a lot of parent involvement unlike other programs. You’ll find that the area requiring the most parent involvement is for the writing prompts. The system is not currently able to evaluate writing. However, parents are supplied with a grading rubric.
If grading isn’t your thing, you can also check out their sister company, Time4Writing. Time4Writing includes writing courses with certified teachers.
Apart from this, you should also know that the curriculum is secular. That means the curriculum is non-religious, which may be a problem for some people.
Here is their current pricing:
PreK-8: $19.95/month however, discounts are available if paid annually. Also, each additional child is $14.95/month
High school: Starts at $30.00/month for four courses
Time4Writing: $119 for each course
- Most colorful and fun platform I’ve seen to date.
- Many educational lessons for every grade level.
- Very affordable with discounts for multiple students.
- Minimal involvement from parents.
- Does not include optional religious courses.
- May have issues accessing from iPad/tablet.
- Older students may find the platform too childish.
Many parents chose Time4Learning because of its comprehensive curriculum. It’s fun and interactive. However, it may be most attractive to younger students versus teenagers.
5. Under the Home (Free; K-5)
Under the Home is a free online homeschool program for students between kindergarten and fifth grade. They seem to be adding lessons for 6th grade too.
This a complete program, however, it does require textbooks that are available online or commonly at a library.
You’ll find that the material and lessons were created off of older books. Although this may be a little less relatable to children, the lessons themselves are still accurate today.
- Dated material may make students lose interest
- Does not maintain records
The material is a little dated. Nevertheless, the simplicity is calming and enjoyable. Overall, I think it’s a great free and simple curriculum for parents.
ABC Mouse (Ages 2-8; Free or Paid)
ABC Mouse is full online curriculum designed for kids ages 2-8. ABC Mouse stand out from the crowd as it continues to be the most downloaded learning program, as of 2020.
Kids will learn math, reading, science and social studies. Additionally, there are thousands of fun and educational activities to practice art and problem solving. Kids get to create their own avatar and “purchase” items for them.
As of now, ABC Mouse is $9.95 a month and offers a discount for an annual membership. Also, some libraries offer this program for free!
Also, parents are able to easily track their child’s progress with a membership. Parent involvement with this program is minimum.
- Easy to learn platform.
- Very affordable or free at a library.
- May be too simple for some kids, therefore you may want to use supplemental homeschool material.
- Kids may spend too much time shopping
- Some games don’t seem to have much educational value
ABC mouse is one of the most popular online curriculum for a reason. I’ve used this program with my own kids and they loved it. However, parents might not want to rely completely on this program because of the lack of challenge for some ages.
Adventure Academy (Paid; 8-13 years)
Say hello to the new program from the creators of ABC Mouse! Adventure Academy was designed for kids between 8-13 years old. This program looks like it is off the hook exciting.
First, this is the first mass online learning multiplayer game I’ve ever seen. Kids can create their own student avatar and wander around the campus with other real life student avatars.
Second, students have access to thousands of lessons and activities that make learning fun. They get rewarded for completing lessons with game money that they can spend in the game’s marketplace.
Now, the website does not advertise this program as a full curriculum. If you find that your child is lacking in some areas, you will want to add in other material.
You can include up to three kids with one subscription. Current pricing is $9.99/month with of course discounts on annual memberships. They also offer a 30-day free trial to new users.
- Extremely interactive and fun.
- Very affordable.
- Up to 3 kids can be on one membership.
- Ability to play multiplayer.
- Available on multiple platforms.
- Little parent involvement needed.
- Kids may get distracted with game play.
- This is a new program so there could be glitches.
- May not be a full curriculum, yet.
- Some games are lacking in education.
Adventure Academy is extremely impressive. Many students will like this program. Parents do need to monitor the amount of lessons being completed though as students are able to spend a lot of time playing games.
Bonus: home school supplement material
Transparent Language teaches multiple languages. They cater to both adults and kids with two different layout options.
If you purchase their program directly, the price is currently $24.95 a month. However, you may be able to get it for FREE.
For free access, enter your zip code on their website. Then, you’ll be able to see all the libraries in your area that offer the service.
If you have a local library that provides Transparent for free then all you need to do is get a free library card to log in.
Without a doubt, these inexpensive and free online homeschool programs will set you up for homeschool success.
If you’re feeling a little left out, check out our pick of these 5 Free Online Educational Sites for Adults.