Homeschool friends, be careful and cautious when choosing curriculum and products for your children.
The internet if full of free home schooling resources, but know when free, isn't really free or when free isn’t worth it!
Free isn't really free, when you have to give over all your personal information, or credit card number in exchange for an item.
Beware of Scams or Scam Artists
Over the years, I have seen first hand, businesses and individuals whose only intent was to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Sadly, the homeschool community is not exempt.
One particular case happened a few years ago in our area. An individual set up an area homeschool sports program. The word got out – homeschool sports, who wouldn't be interested!?
Many families enrolled their children, forked over money for classes and team fees, getting absolutely nothing in return. This person made off with the cash and left numerous homeschool families high and dry.
We later found out this crafty individual pulled a similar stunt previously, in another part of the country. He since left our state. Could he be in your neighborhood now?
Do me a favor, and check out any individual or company before purchasing products or services.
Back to This Free Online Home Schooling Program...
Being the skeptical, yet nosy person that I am, last summer I couldn't keep myself from finding out about this totally new free product for home schooling families.
I was also in the market for some homeschool high school courses for my oldest daughter... and you know what?
I ended up getting duped!
All is not lost, though. You can learn from my bad experience, even though I was told if I say anything publicly, I will get "sued for libel". So, unless you ask, this company shall remain nameless.
But if you see a too good to be true free online home schooling program offer, run the other way!
Consider The Cost of Free
Remember that free usually costs you something. Not much in life these days is truly free – except maybe, my totally free website content! :)
Be careful of the different levels of free...
There is totally free, no strings attached.
Free with purchase.
Free for a limited time.
Free plus shipping and handling.
Free, but you must hand over all your valuable personal information and your first born child!
When purchasing or giving over your personal information to anyone, or company, always consider if what you are receiving is truly worth it - free or not!
Read The Fine Print
After reading the fine print – lots of fine print, I learned that in exchange for their free online home schooling resources, I needed to fill out some surveys to participate in their free program, and/or possibly donate money, etc.
Everything wasn't totally free either, some courses required the shipment of cd's etc. so you had to pay shipping and handling fees and if you did not return the items, there was a $10 fee for each individual item.
If Your Gut Tells You Something, Listen.
I noticed that this new free online home schooling academy was offered by the same company that owns several Christian online home schooling academies.
Although I had never purchased products or services from this "Christian" organization previously, I knew about this company and had read some articles written by the owner who has quite an impressive bio.
I did have some reservations, but went against my intuition and signed up and purchased a couple of "free" courses.
Although my credit card was charged, I never did receive an email confirmation... and so began a long list of shady business practices.
Red Flag #1
Red Flag #2
Red Flag #3
Red Flag #4
In the process I also asked them to return my money. Somehow, I was mysteriously disconnected from their online customer chat service numerous times. Hmmmmm...
In my frustration, I communicated my disappointment with their company and service. I also informed them who I was and that my websites reach thousands of homeschooling families a month. That is when the online chat person wrote that I would be sued for "libel" if I said anything.
I could write more on this issue and my experience, but this will suffice.
Interestingly, I recently came across others who have also had similar experiences with this free online home schooling program, and decided to break my silence to save you the headache and loss of money.
Take this opportunity to learn from my mistake.
Although the internet does contain a vast amount of useful free online home schooling information and resources, when it comes to your child’s education and your hard earned money, make sure the free online home schooling resource is truly free... with no strings attached!
"Hi Heather, I enjoyed reading about "Free" stuff. I too have been duped with homeschooling stuff in the past.
Don't be too discouraged. We homeschoolers learn to adapt and move on. Thanks for the heads up and I look forward to more articles."
"You can report the company to a division of the Better Business Bureau. Something you should mention to your list in addition to the information you've already given.
It would be good for people to check out the name of the owner, too. I did a search on a company that I was suspicious of and a lot of stuff came up, including customer reviews, previous companies he owned and customer reviews of those companies.
Sometimes I do it by checking the PHONE NUMBER. This, when it's a scam always seems to bring up the nasty work of the company. It would be wise for people to always do a search on a company they are not familiar with and check with friends before they leap.
Great tips, Linda and thanks!
Some Totally Free Online Home Schooling Articles for Your Enjoyment:
Home School Reading Tips: Motivating the Reluctant Reader
Turn Your Home School Science Struggles Into Success!
Heather's Helpful Hints for a Healthy Homeschool
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