Homeschooling can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a new homeschooling parent or an unexpected one! But it can also be really fun (and free)! We’ve been homeschooling our four kids for almost two years now and we love it. Today I want to share how we homeschool online and some of the great resources we use!
Math and reading are super important, and definitely what we focus on the most, but when you move beyond the core subjects, you can help your child develop in every way: mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. As a homeschooling parent, you have the opportunity to hone in on their needs and preferences, strengths and weaknesses, and choose activities that will challenge them and help them grow.
In other words, get creative! We have nothing against traditional schooling, but when you cut out the extra time at school not spent on learning (assemblies, waiting for other students to finish/catch up, etc), you have lots of time to hit the basics and then explore other subjects. Especially with that 1-on-1 (or, in our case, 1-on-4) attention!
What are my homeschool options?
You can buy a full, off-the-shelf, homeschool curriculum and use it to teach your kids, and if that’s something that interests you, go for it. But we have homeschooled for two full school years now, and we haven’t found this to be necessary at all.
Our Homeschool Made Simple course teaches everything you need to know to get started homeschooling. This stress-free system will have you breathing easy and homeschooling like a boss!
There are so many online resources that allow you to homeschool for free, that we don’t feel many purchases are necessary. We have spent a minimal amount of money on supplies, some workbooks, and a few paid subscriptions that we either already had or wanted, or planned to use temporarily. For example, we found ABCmouse and Reading Eggs to be worth paying for when we had a child who was learning to read, but once they learned, those subscriptions were no longer a must-have…until the next kiddo was ready!
Overall, just don’t stress! If things get difficult (for you or the kids!), take a break. No use in crying over spilled fractions. :)
Best Online Homeschool Resources
The list below includes all of the online resources and websites we use while homeschooling our own kids. The core subjects are there, but you’ll also find games, technical skill learning, creative outlets, and so much more.
Affiliate links are used within this post. If you make any purchases, I may receive a commission (thanks!).
Khan Academy Kids: For the little ones who aren’t quite ready for Khan Academy, there’s the Khan Academy Kids app!
Google Drive: A great way to keep their work organized. They can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations right from their own Drive and upload any offline files they’ve created. Our kids keep a daily journal in a Google Doc and use Google Sheets for their school tracker. If they need to show proof of the work they’ve been doing, this is a great way to keep it all in one, easy-to-access place!
Typing Practice: An easy way for all ages to improve typing speed and practice tricky keys.
Geography Quizzes: Perfect for learning about countries around the world!
Times Tables: Times tables come in handy for math all the time! Kids can practice their times tables easily from home with this website. Our 6th, 3rd, and 1st graders all do this on a daily basis!
Music Theory: Reading music is a great skill to have! This site is a good resource for anyone — whether you play an instrument, sing, or just want to learn.
Chess: Chess is fun and teaches kids about strategy and thinking a few steps ahead. If you don’t have a set on hand, you can play online.
Duolingo: Duolingo is an easy way to start learning any language. Our family has been learning French in preparation for our trip to France!
YouTube: YouTube is useful for homeschooling because it has thousands of educational videos in just about any subject you could want!
Textbook PDF files: There are plenty of textbooks and textbook excerpts that can be found online (like this third grade science textbook), which can be useful in helping kids learn certain subjects.
Podcasts for kids: Another fun way to learn is through listening to podcasts! I recently pulled together a list of podcasts for kids for our soon-to-be-released family travel course. You can grab it here!
I mentioned these two at the beginning of the post, but we’ve used both ABCmouse and Reading Eggs at times for our kids when they were learning to read. Our 3-year-old now does Reading Eggs daily! Both of these are paid resources, but they offer a free trial so you can see if you like it!
Free During COVID-19
Varsity Tutors Virtual Summer Camps: Our kids are very excited to attend the summer camps, with topics ranging from chess to improv, and video game design to magic potions!
Outschool: Live online classes on a variety of topics including specific skills. Free for those whose schools are closed due to COVID-19.
Free audio books for kids from Audible: Audible is offering free online stories to listen to for as long as school is closed. All stories are free and are available on a computer, phone, or tablet. Our oldest has started listening to Harry Potter!
National Emergency Library: Many books have been made available at the National Emergency Library during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Kindle Unlimited: Access to a large library of books, for about $10 per month.
Workbooks: Even with all the online homeschool resources, it’s still valuable to put pencil to paper! You can find our favorite workbooks and other supplies in our Amazon homeschooling store.
Body books: Don’t forget the importance of teaching kids about hygiene and their growing bodies. Here are the books we recommend for tween-aged kids:
Netflix/Hulu: These streaming services include lots of educational content, including animated shows for the younger set and documentaries for the older set!
Steam games: We recommend RPG Maker, which is a game-creation program where kids can use coding and creativity to create, share, and play games! We also love Portal 1 & 2 for fun, puzzle/logic problem-solving! You can buy and play these through the Steam gaming platform.
I hope this list helps you pull together a homeschool curriculum that works for you and your kids!
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