Free Homeschooling Resources
Whether you are considering homeschool or you are already committed to educating your children in the home, finding resources for this method of learning can be daunting. However, it does not have to be expensive. Nowadays thanks to the Internet you can find curriculum, worksheets, and ideas for teaching methods without paying anything. You can take your children on virtual field trips to all kinds of places around the world, such as museums, cities, and animal habitats; admission free of charge. Forums and online communities of fellow homeschooling parents and students congregate for advice, support, and additional resources. Many homeschooling families also blog about their experiences, which offers a diversity of ideas and examples of activities and lessons that are tested in the home. To get started, here is a list of links to free high-quality homeschooling resources.
Getting Started with Homeschooling
As you begin this journey, first become familiar with the laws for homeschooling in your state. Consult community forums and homeschooling groups online for more information, especially in reference to states that do not have clear-cut information for homeschoolers. Afterwards, it is time to decide what method of teaching you plan to implement. Some parents choose to go against the vein of traditional school with the method known as un-schooling. Other parents find that teaching using classical texts or with a religious focus is important. Go online to community groups and forums to read advice from seasoned homeschooling families regarding how to plan a curriculum. Find out what resources are most applicable and where to find the best resources. Finally, organize your homeschool space to best accommodate the needs of your children, you, and the format of the learning method.
- Comprehensive Guide for Newbies — Discover ideas for curriculum, find homeschooling statistics, and learn about programs and products related to homeschooling. Also ask homeschooling parents for advice using the Let’s Homeschool site.
- Community Blog and Materials — The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, provides a community blog for parents to discuss homeschooling issues. Mrs. Drummond also evaluates new programs and products that her own homeschooling children use. Other resources on the site: links to homeschool materials, grammar, and lists of 20 interesting things.
- List of 14 Homeschooling Methods — There are dozens of different methods used by homeschooling families including the Charlotte Mason Method, Montessori, Un-schooling, Classical, and Unit Studies. A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling provides links for 14 methods to help you choose the most appropriate method for your child.
- Implementing the Classical Education Method — The Classical method of education involves using the Trivium. Texts considered as classics, such as the Illiad, the Latin language, and ancient history serve as the basis of learning. Find resources for materials, curriculum, and links to information regarding Classical learning from Classical Christian Homeschooling.
- Understanding Montessori Homeschooling — Learn more about how to apply the Montessori method, a child-centered motive of learning, in your homeschool environment.
- What is Playful Learning — One of the most popular approaches to homeschooling younger children ages 5 to 8 is through playful learning, which incorporates nature, writing, and art into hands-on activities. Find links to dozens of ideas for math, science, reading, arts/crafts, and seasonal activities, as well as references for arranging your homeschooling environment for this type of learning approach.
- Organizing Your Homeschooling Space — See images of homeschooling rooms in action, tips on how to organize your homeschooling room, and ways to incorporate nontraditional spaces, such as the outdoors, for homeschooling.
Worksheets, Planners, and Forms
Every state has its own requirements for paperwork regarding homeschooling. Find out from your local school district what types of records, such as attendance and grades, that you will need to keep for your child. You can find blank forms online for free. Even if you are not required to maintain particular records, it is advisable to keep records including attendance, courses studied, and end of year reports on achievement. These are useful records for students who one day may attend public or private institutions either at the secondary or collegiate level. Other forms found online are worksheets and lesson activities.
- How to Plan Homeschool — Donna Young provides a step by step list of considerations and references to guide you as you plan your homeschool schedule.
- Homeschool Planner — Find free printable forms for everything including event calendars, weekly planners, book lists, attendance, outside activities, course objectives, and academic goals.
- Homeschool Planner in Excel — A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling provides a free homeschool planner using Excel, as well as useful tips and ideas for planning a homeschool schedule. Instructions for using the planner are included on the site.
- Printable Worksheets — Print out worksheets for a variety of subjects including math, spelling, handwriting, and science at three levels of achievement. Examples of worksheets include multiplication facts tables and spelling word lists. Graphic organizers, such as the Venn diagram, and puzzles are included.
- Printable Activities and Craft Sheets — Enchanted Learning provides a wealth of free printables for homeschooling ranging from blank books to print to world maps.
- Printable Charts, Certificates, and Activities — DLTK has created a massive database of free printables ranging from chore charts to award certificates. Find everything including bingo cards, writing paper, and money cards on the site.
Lesson Plans and References
Homeschooling allows families to educate their children as individuals focusing on methods and subjects that are most effective for their learning style. Every child is different, and homeschooling thrives to approach education with this in mind. There are several companies that offer curriculum packages for homeschooling—for a cost. However, many parents choose to create a curriculum for their child, which is often more effective cost wise and in application. They may select elements of several learning methods, such as the nature journals from Charlotte Mason and the classical texts from Classical Education, or create lessons independently. Online you will find hundreds of high quality and educational lesson plans and references. Use these to supplement your curriculum or to create a curriculum in full.
- The Learning Network — The New York Times has created a page in the Education section that includes extensive lesson plans best suited for children in middle to high school grades. The 16 subject areas include American history, civics, media studies, journalism, health, and fine arts. The Learning Network, which is a student version of The New York Times, also features current events, writing contests, student crosswords, and student opinions.
- Scholastic Teachers — Scholastic has created a comprehensive list of free lesson plans and student activities for teachers that are applicable to homeschooling. You will also find a database of Scholastic book titles arranged by reading level to help you prepare for reading lists, which you can then use at your local library for free access to the materials.
- Lesson Plans in Six Subject Areas — The Homeschool Mom has devised lesson plans in science/technology, social studies, math, language arts, foreign languages, and arts. Each subject includes a list of specific topics with hundreds of links, i.e. agriculture (science) features 24 links to free educational and governmental resources. The site features articles relevant to the six subjects that assist parents in developing curriculum.
- Thousands of Free Downloads for Teachers — Teachers Pay Teachers provides thousands of free homeschool downloads including blank charts, printable workbooks, activity guides, and labeling resources.
- Animals and Geography — The National Geographic Kids page features resources for learning about animals/pets and countries, as well as recipes, crafts, and contests that are kid-friendly and educational.
- Science, History, and Social Studies — The Smithsonian has created an amazing page dedicated to teaching children about science/nature, history/culture, art, and people/places. Each of the four topic areas includes Smithsonian-approved interactive lessons, such as matching fruit to its trees and tracking buffalo. The site provides resources for learning about influential people in the past and present, as well as different cultures around the world and throughout history.
- Art with MoMA — The Modern Museum of Art provides extensive lessons and guides for teachers who are preparing lessons related to artists and art history. One of the highlights of the site is the section of images, where you can view works of art to use for art lessons.
- 15 Subject Areas with Lessons and Information — A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling has compiled a list of lessons, experiments, research, and information in 15 areas of interest. Subjects include driver’s education, physics, astronomy, computer literacy, fine arts, and math.
Crafts and Games
While using technology in homeschools without any one-on-one interaction is not a good plan, technology is still a growing part of our world. As a result, it is a good idea to introduce new ways of learning using the Internet, computers, and tablets in order to provide your child with a well-rounded learning experience. Many sites provide wholesome crafts, recipes, and hands-on activities, as well as computer games that are also educational for children. Some of these sites are free of charge, including the following:
- Crafts, Recipes, and Activities — FamilyFun Magazine gives children and families a wide range of fun and exciting crafts and activities for every season and special occasion. You can also find kid-friendly recipes that serve as learning tools in the kitchen.
- Getty Art Games — Play games online via The Getty Museum related to Getty art, such as jigsaw puzzles, as well as pretending to be a detective using works of art. You can also find crafts related to Getty art to do at home.
- Play Games in Seussville — Discover the words and characters of Dr. Seuss while learning a wide range of lessons, from how to count to how to distinguish shapes—all while playing online games for free.
- Games Featuring Nick Jr. Characters — Children who are familiar with popular television characters, such as Dora and Bubble Guppies, will enjoy playing educational games on the Nick Jr. site. Printable worksheets and preschool craft ideas are also provided.
- Arcade Games and Free eBooks — Fun Games, a division of Pearson Education, Inc., presents educational games related to math including arcade and baseball, as well as electronic copies of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Lost Side of Suburbia, and Tess’s Tree available for free.
- Reading Rewards - an online reading log/reading incentive program used by parents, teachers and librarians, to encourage kids to read.
Return to the Resources Page for more free resources.