Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Homeschool Curriculum, Links, and a brief Rant!!

I will admit I am new to homeschooling my child this year...it is our first and I have just pulled him out of the public sector. Professionally, I am a teacher and an education professor.  I do both part time. I have taught in the public sector for close to 2 decades, with certifications in 9 fields and in two states. (I started really young.)  I don't say that to brag, but many people whom I have encountered who are against any homeschool endeavors ask me what qualifies me to teach my child.  Beyond the fact that the Bible tells me to and my child is on loan to me from Christ to raise up to be a Christian man, I am certified to teach. The next approach I get from well meaning strangers friends and family members is that my son is in middle school and I teach special education.  Fortunately for us, I am certified in all middle school fields...so...I think we will be just fine.

We are using textbooks and a set curriculum...some from Bob Jones, some A Beka, a bit from Phoenix Learning, and some Bright Idea Press. All curricula choices used this year are Christian based. It was big for me to get him away from all things secular and to do so immediately. Our literature studies are just that..literature studies in actual novels...most of them classics. Some are a bit young for his age/grade and some are very advanced. There is a good balance of what I want him to be exposed to, what he needs to read at this age to be current, and some of what he chose. It was important to me to balance out classics with his interests, or to find classic novels that are aligned with his interest. We did change the science curriculum after two weeks of science in A Beka. It was a great curriculum, but a bit overwhelming for my learner. We are learning homeschooling is about balance. One thing that is great about doing this, is we can supplement other literature, videos, hands-on learning, podcasts, experiments and field trips into any aspect of the curriculum to make it more readily accessible to his learning needs and styles. I can skip around in the text for science, for instance, and do chapter 9, then cycle back to chapter 1...and guess what, the world does not fall apart and a chasm has not ripped in my home.

So, the teacher in me and the new to homeschooling mommy who wants a live textbook to refer to as needed to not make him scared of the whole homeschool experience our first year in...all led me to choose textbooks per each subject.  Albeit, research has shown me there are some great free resources available to use as curriculum. I will explore these more throughout this next year. I will probably toss some of these aside and make a list of others. Below is a list of websites I have found that offer free curriculum choices, some complete with videos and lessons already written. I, in no way, endorse any of these sites. I simply list them here for others to peruse at leisure and see what they might find. If you come across any good sites, please do comment and share. Some of the descriptions are from the website addy for each site itself.

http://www.khanacademy.org/  One word about this site is WOW!!  Everyone needs a link to this site. We use it in the public schools and share it with parents left and right. Bookmark this site NOW!!
Ambleside Online – This is a free Charlotte Mason-style curriculum, with a complete schedule for grades K through 12.  Also contains the complete text of Charlotte Mason’s original homeschooling series, along with a library of free online books and a complimentary support group.
An Old Fashioned Education – A free homeschool curriculum that utilizes a combination of public domain textbooks and living books.  Contains a complete 40-week schedule for Bible, math, science, social studies, language arts, literature and history for grades K through 12.
Core Knowledge - This free homeschool resource contains a comprehensive, detailed guide to what your child should know in preschool through grade 8. It can be used as a foundation for designing your own curriculum.
Free-Ed - Free online homeschooling courses and self-study programs for a wide variety of subjects.   Also includes test prep for AP, CLEP, ACT, SAT and GED, and college-level courses.  A truly amazing resource for finding free homeschooling curriculum!
Lesson Pathways - This free K-12 curriculum contains 36 full-week lessons for science, math, history, phonics and reading.  This program relies upon a variety of reading materials, activities, games, and videos to provide a multi-sensory experience. It can be used as a core curriculum or as a supplement to an existing program.
Mater Amabilis - This free homeschooling curriculum for Catholics is based on the Charlotte Mason method.  Contains math, reading, writing, English, literature, history, geography, science, foreign language and music studies for grades K through 12.
Garden of Praise - Free art appreciation lessons for elementary aged students, includes a biography, study sheet, print, online games, printables and links for further study.
French Assistant - Free online homeschooling lessons in French grammar, vocabulary, and language skills.  Also includes audio samples for proper pronunciation.
FSI Language Courses - Free language courses developed by the Foreign Services Institute of the U.S. Government. Courses offered for over 30 different languages.
Hoagies Gifted - Contains an extensive list of places to find free online high school curriculum and courses.
AAA Spell - Free homeschool curriculum consisting of spelling and vocabulary lessons for grades K through 8.
English Grammar Revolution - Free online grammar lessons, language exercises, word lists, quizzes, and games.
Guide to Grammar and Writing - This website offers grammar and writing lessons that range from the basics, such as parts of speech and sentence structure, to essay writing.  Also includes quizzes.
Learn to Read Free - A free, Montessori-style reading program designed to introduce children to 55 English words.
Reading Lesson - Free reading lessons, word books, vocabulary lessons, practice readers, flashcards, coloring sheets, games and progress reports.
Scott Foresman Reading - Free printable grammar and writing handbooks for grades 1 through 6.
Shakespeare Online - A comprehensive guide for studying the works of Shakespeare. 
Spelling City - Word lists organized by state/grade level, type or theme.  Also features online teaching, practice and testing, and printable handwriting pages.
Splashes from the River - 30 free online spelling lessons for grades 7-9.  Includes rules, lessons, exercises and dictation exercises.
Stairway to Reading - Free reading lessons, flashcards, reading materials and games for struggling readers.
AAA Math - Free homeschool curriculum made up of online math lessons, practice drills and games for grades K through 8.
Algebra Help - Free algebra lessons, worksheets, calculators and resources.
Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching - A free homeschool math curriculum for grades 1 through 6.
Number Nut - Free math lessons covering shapes and colors, computation, time and calendar, fractions, decimals, percents, estimation, ratios and money.
Biology Corner - Lesson plans, quizzes and labs for Biology I and II, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology and Physics that you can use to create a free homeschool curriculum.
Chem4Kids - Chemistry lessons covering matter, atoms, elements, reactions, biochemistry, and more.  Also has sister sites for astronomy, biology, earth science and physics.
Kids Astronomy  - Free online astronomy academy for ages 7 through 19.
The Lab of Mister Q – Free homeschool curriculum consisting of a 36-week Life Science course and textbook for ages 6 through 9.
MSNucleus - Complete science curriculum for grades K through 12, including daily lesson plans, online activities and storybooks.
National Parks Curriculum - National Parks curriculum and lesson plans from the U.S. National Park Service.
Free Typing Game - Free online typing tutor consisting of lessons, games and tests, including a timed typing test and a typing certificate test.
Good Typing - Free online typing course consisting of 27 step-by-step lessons.  No download required.
Audio Books for Free - Free downloadable audiobooks recorded by professional actors and narrators.
Fairytales Collection - A collection of fairytales, myths and legends from around the world, and other free homeschooling resources. Also includes author biographies.
Free Classic Audio Books - A collection of free audiobooks that includes many homeschool favorites. Includes some text to voice narration.
LibriVox - Free, downloadable audio recordings of books that are no longer covered by copyright.
My Audio School - Classic books, old-time radio theater, historical radio and television broadcasts for a variety of subjects.
Project Gutenberg - Free e-books (electronic books) available to read online ordownload. A great source of classic novels, stories and fairytales.
StoryNory - Free homeschooling resources, including classic and original audio stories for kids.
Language Learning Library - Free homeschool resources to complement the study of Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese, German, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.
Live Mocha - Interactive foreign language program that features online lessons and facilitates conversation between language learners and native speakers.

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