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Five Great Online Homeschool Resources (Free and Otherwise)

I'm sure I'm quite spoiled homeschooling in our current time and culture. The homeschooling pioneers had it much harder than we do.  There were not scads of curriculum created for the homeschool market;and even worse, they had NO INTERNET. It's hard to even imagine.  When anything happens to my computer or our internet service, I realize just how dependent I've come to be on online resources.  Since I got my Macbook Air at the end of last year, I sometimes feel like I live with my laptop attached to my body.

As much as I love the resources I find on the web, I am often surprised when I name a site, and a fellow homeschooler has no idea it exists.  So, I'm sharing with you today my top five favorite internet resources.

Technology in your homeschool
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Simply Charlotte Mason.


I don't consider myself a true Charlotte Mason homeschooler, but I do use and love some of her methods.  And the Simply Charlotte Mason site has some free resources and - my favorite- a suggested curriculum guide for what to teach at what grade levels.  I've never really followed our state standards, and we have many subjects that we do together; so it is very nice to have a plan for what things to cover each year.

Cliffs Notes.


Now English majors don't shoot me. My master's degree is in reading also. but I love to have the Cliffs Notes as a resource.  The truth is I haven't read every single book that my kids are reading.  And as much as I love to read, I'm probably not going to read every one. So, here I can get a synopsis, some review question, nd background information.

If the kids are reading a book that is particularly difficult for them, I will have them read the background info and the chapter summaries before they read the actual book  That way they get the actual language of the book, but maybe they can understand it a little better going in to the story.

Recently, as we read Macbeth, I used the Cliffs Notes cite to read the background. I read each scene summary AFTER we read each original scene. And I used the cutsie little video they provided to build interest in the play before we read it.

Another site that is similar to Cliffs Notes is Shmoop. Shmoop has much more than just literature notes (there is a whole paid subscription area that has all kinds of resources), but their literature selection is free and is pretty good. This site has the standard notes for each chapter as well as some discussion of themes in the book. The main difference between this and Cliffs Notes is that Shmoop explains everything in a much more conversational, light-hearted way. It can appeal more to kids- especially teens- who are reading a book they don't particularly enjoy but that they need to understand.

 Jelly Telly.


If you haven't heard of Jelly Telly yet, you are missing out.  The site is a video channel created by the original Veggie Tales creator-Phil Vischer.  In it's conception, Jelly Telly was free, but now it is a monthly subscription site. You can get a month or so free trial.  But, I will say it is definitely worth the small $5 a month charge.

The site has full episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, Awesome Bible Adventures, and my very favorite- What's in the Bible- as well as many others.

What's in the Bible is a wonderful set of videos that take a look at each book of the Bible and what exactly is in it. There is quite a bit of theology and doctrine taught her, folks, with puppets and some animation. And even though it is puppets and animation, the older kids (and even me!) love it every bit as much as the younger girls. You can buy the whole set of What's in the Bible DVDs,

YouTube.


Yes, you read that correctly.  I LOVE YouTube.  We have watched Schoolhouse Rock. We have watched science demonstrations when I didn't have the materials to do the experiment. We have learned how to do most anything from braid hair to correctly slice a mango. We have watched They Might Be Giant- who have amazing educational music videos.  We have watched the animated Shakespeare plays. We've watched teachers demonstrate a new math concept. The possibilities are endless!

Of course there are some dangerous places to go with YouTube. My kids know they can't search there, ad I have playlists set up in my account that they can chose from.  IF they hear of a video from a friend or I m looking up something for school, I will do the searching and then mark the appropriate video.  I've also used YouTube to post videos of them doing things- singing, presenting lapbooks we've made, etc.  It's a great avenue for public speaking,and you can adjust your settings so that only people you designate can see your video.

Google.


Google is my most excellent, most wonderful,most magnificent organizational tool.  I use Google for my calendar because I can share it instantly with Jason and the kids.  I use Google tasks because I love how easy it is to make lists and cross them of and see them with my daily calendar. I use Google Docs to make any possible lists and forms or school. I do all my lesson planning there because then I can access it from any computer any time, and I will never lose it all if my hard drive crashes.  I sometimes use my Google calendar for meal planing- I can see what's up that week, so I know what to plan. I absolutely love Google! I use so many great Google features that I wrote a whole series about organizing with Google.

Online homeschool resources


There are other sites I use often, but these are my most favorite.  I hope you've found a new internet tool that you too can't live without! Do you have favorite online resources? Share them with me in the comments.


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2 comments:

  1. I Simply Charlotte Mason too. At one time I did everything through Charlotte Mason methods but over the years have picked what works best for us and use it with other items/methods. Have you every attended one of Sonya's conferences. I could literally listen to her all day.
    Blessings
    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  2. I havne't been to a workshop, but she's at the convention we are going to in May, and I hope to hear her!

    ReplyDelete

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