September 26, 2019
Homeschool Resources: Encouraging an Engaging Education
Homeschool Resources: Encouraging an Engaging EducationSource: The Burgundy Zine
Thanks to the accessibility of educational resources in the information age, homeschooling is easier (and cheaper) than ever. As a homeschooler or home education teacher, the internet will inevitably become your best friend.
However, it can be tricky to find quality resources. The internet is a vast, wonderful place, ripe with information, but finding resources that are actual, factual, and engaging is where the challenge comes in.
Curating Your Curriculum
One of the many beauties of homeschooling is the amount of control students and parents have over the curriculum. There’s just one stipulation: you have to abide by the state’s curriculum requirements for each grade.
Abiding by State Requirements
All states have compulsory laws that require youth between the ages of six to 17 years old to receive some degree of education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Homeschool regulation varies from state to state, as depicted in the interactive map on the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website.
Most states have very few prerequisites for parents to become home educators, ProPublica reports.
Only thirty three states have mandated subjects, while the remainder have no means of verifying whether or not the student has met the core competencies.
Homeschool assessment will also depend upon where you live, as some states require no assessment and others will require periodic assessment with an evaluator.
More information on required subjects in each state is available on the HSLDA website – click on your commonwealth to educate yourself!
The following are a compilation of resources that can be utilized for K-12 students. Most of them are free or offer trial versions of their website, while others may offer a membership or optional resources that may be purchased.
Jump to a Subject
What could be better than a Spelling Bee where you don’t have to worry about tripping over your vowels and consonants in front of the entire school or classroom? Vocabulary Spelling City provides spelling lists for K-8, with high school-level vocabulary words available, as well.
With a login to their site, you have access to games and additional resources. You could also use the spelling words provided for free with no login to create your own spelling tests, flash cards, vocabulary exercises, and so on.
IXL is a phenomenal resource for K-12 language arts quizzes. Skills are broken down by grade and further divided into categories like “Reading Strategies,” “Writing Strategies,” “Vocabulary,” and “Grammar.”
Flocabulary serves as a source of inspiration, providing in-depth lesson planning guides for teachers.
Khan Academy provides quick, digestible, yet thorough video lessons for each skill and unit of their mathematics courses, which are conveniently organized by grade. Students have the ability to rewatch or fast forward through videos, giving them the leisure to learn a skill and fall in love with math at their own pace.
There are also quizzes that follow each video to reassure the student grasped the concepts. These quizzes are untimed and may be redone over and over until the student feels comfortable with the subject.
If you create an account, you can also track your student’s progress and present it to an evaluator (if it’s required in your state) during assessment.
IXL has math quizzes for grades K-8, with additional subjects ranging from Algebra to Pre-Calculus.
School Yourself empowers homeschoolers with interactive math lessons and problems on subjects including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and statistics.
This one’s a bit more of a fun resource to show at the end of a lesson, or for students who are really into crunching and manipulating numbers. ViHart is a self-proclaimed mathemusician who hypnotizes her viewers with her fast-paced, almost obsessive run through advanced math concepts that she flips on their head.
With detailed curriculum units for middle grades and high schoolers as well as educational games, iCivics is your one-stop shop for everything civics: from government functions to civil rights to the media industry.
The LOC shares resources for teachers on a handful of US history subjects, including World War I, the Civil War, and Rosa Parks.
The US National Archives gives teachers resources that will help their students better understand important documents from the foundation of our nation to contemporary America through their online tool, “Docs Teach.”
Docs Teach allows you to zoom in and out of crisp, high resolution versions of United States National Archives documents to completely reimagine history.
Digital History has an interactive timeline that allows students to jump into an era and explore its history, culture, and events. In addition to the reading, Digital History provides images, films, and music to help your pupil visualize and immerse themselves in the time period.
There are also textbook recommendations and quizzes available on their site.
IXL provides history and humanities quizzes for grades K-8.
Want to travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your humble abode? Insert Google Earth. Students will have so much fun experimenting with the interactive platform, they won’t even realize how much they’re learning about geography, coordinates, and maps!
Google Earth helps students strengthen their map skills and may even come in handy if they end up going into the field of Earth Studies. The program also has tools for plotting points, drawing lines, and so forth, which could be utilized in various lessons.
Additionally, Google provides educational resources for this software, including their “Carmen Sandiego” classroom activity.
Crash Course’s World History series explains important historical figures and events in colorful, graphic videos that average about 10 minutes long.
Driven by passionate journalists and documentarians, Vox shares short-form videos on pressing, global socio-political issues. Their videos are founded upon eye-catching graphics that truly bring their topics to life.
Following the same format as their math lessons with understandable yet detailed videos followed by quizzes, Khan Academy provides lesson plans for science categories such as physics, astronomy, chemistry, and biology.
IXL has science quizzes tailored for grades K-8.
The National Science Foundation has a plethora of videos and articles for subjects including the arctic, astronomy, biology, chemistry, computing, earth sciences, nanoscience, and physics.
Got a computer whiz kid on your hands? This is just the site for them.
Codecademy teaches students how to program through simple, hands-on programming activities that gradually involve more syntax and slightly more complex concepts. By the end of the course, the student will be fluent in the basics of their desired programming language.
The lessons are breezy and understandable. For more detailed, brain-scratching information on a specific programming language, you can encourage your homeschooler to read through the documentation and resources on that programming language’s website.
NASA has a large body of resources for educators to explore and craft lessons with. Their YouTube channel also features jaw-dropping glimpses of the big, blue, beautiful marble we are fortunate enough to call our home, in addition to interviews and Q&As.
NASA Johnson has also constructed a playlist of International Space Station videos that give students an inside scoop on life aboard the ISS.
National Geographic’s search tool makes it easy for educators to carouse through K-12 appropriate topics on all things ecology. Their YouTube channel also features fascinating documentation of life from all around the world.
Vox shares short-form tidbits of technology, environmental issues, and more with their viewers through engaging graphics.
VSauce, Michael there, dives into the quirky, spooky, seemingly unsolvable science and math issues in immersive videos that leave students dying to binge more.
This YouTube channel provides a “crash course” on a variety of scientific subjects, including biology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and the history of science.
Created by the same masterminds behind Crash Course, SciShow follows a similar format that’s more speaker driven on a many scientific topics.
TedED hosts a library of health videos in animated format along with their traditional, speaker-driven footage from their TedTalks.
CrashCourse provides lengthy explorations of the human body in their “Anatomy & Physiology” series, which is based on college-level curriculum.
Educators can explore the human body, health problems, and personal health with their K-12 students through KidsHealth’s interactive lessons and quizzes.
AsapSCIENCE’s whiteboard doodles and bite-sized content truly resonate with students as they learn about sleep, the human body, and drugs. Throughout these videos, students are exposed to how their lifestyle choices affect both their mind and body.
Planned Parenthood provides online resources for sex education relevant to students in middle and high school.
Advocates For Youth’s Sex Education Resource Center shares the latest reproductive health news globally.
PE Central allows home educators to choose from various activities and topics that are appropriate for each grade level.
Exercise, Yoga, and Dance Tutorials
Many TV Cable providers have a sections on their digital library specifically for exercising, yoga, and dancing.
YouTube is another solid (and free) source to find a wide variety of workout routines, yoga tutorials, and step-by-step dance tutorials.
Go For a Hike
In the digital age, it’s very possible to educate your homeschooler online and practically for free.
If you have a favorite resource for home education, we’re all ears! You can tell us all about it through our contact page and we’ll add it to this list (crediting you, of course, for the recommendation).
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