Homeschool Resources for Teachers and Students

As the popularity of homeschooling continues to grow in the United States, so does the quantity and quality of online resources available to support this educational endeavor. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics, more than 1.5 million school-age children were homeschooled in 2007. That represents a 74 percent increase since 1999 when only 850,000 children ages 5-17 were homeschooled. This dramatic increase has fueled an entire industry dedicated to offering home-based educational materials that not only meet the specific educational goals homeschooling parents tend to have for their children but also prepare these students to pass mandatory achievement tests administered by state and federal educational authorities. While the bulk of earlier homeschooling curriculum tended toward religious themes especially that of the Christian faith, an increasing number of public school districts are now offering at-home learning options with secular educational offerings. While many homeschooling parents opt to purchase full-year curriculum packages offered by major publishers, many also still opt to supplement their children’s educational experience with various online products and opportunities. This trend is backed by a 1997 study of nearly 2,000 homeschooling families by the Home School Legal Defense Association in which 83 percent of the surveyed families indicated they use home computers in their educational program.

Language Arts:

  • English Grammar and Style Theme Page: This website provides a list of other online links offering homeschool curriculum resources, reference materials including English language style books, and instructional materials for homeschool teachers.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab: This free site is a service Purdue University offered to internet users’ worldwide seeking assistance with a variety of writing and grammatical questions as well as free classroom materials.
  • Guide to Grammar and Style: This website written by Jack Lynch, who is the Acting Senior Associate Dean of Faculty of Arts & Sciences and a professor at Rutgers University, provides access to an English language users’ guide prepared for Lynch’s students as well as his professional thoughts on English usage and a list of other online sources Lynch refers to his students.
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: This website offers online access to all of the works written by this English author frequently studied in English literature.
  • Embracing The Child: This site offers a “book of the week” recommendation. It also provides categorical listing of popular children’s books according to age, subject matter, and reading ability.  
  • Spelling City: This website offers free access to learning activities for spelling and vocabulary lessons.   

Math:

  • Algebra Help: This site offers lessons, calculators, and worksheets specific to algebraic problems aimed at giving students additional experience in this mathematical topic.
  • Ask Dr. Math: This website hosts The Math Forum, a project of the Goodwin College of Professional Studies at Drexel University through which students from elementary to high school level may seek free assistance with mathematical problems ranging from basic arithmetic to advanced trigonometry.
  • Breaking Away From The Math Book: Material on this website written by Dr. Pat Baggett, a math professor and homeschool consultant at New Mexico State University, and Dr. Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, a computer science professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, guides homeschooling parents through creative mathematical lessons that take students out of the textbook and into real world applications.
  • Figure This! Math Challenges for Families: This website sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers users the opportunity to take a variety of mathematical challenges.
  • Home Education Magazine: Rethinking Midschool/High School Math: This website hosts an essay describing the author’s philosophy toward home school mathematics providing other homeschoolers with ideas on how to incorporate these into curriculum.
  • Metric Conversions: This website provides a variety of metric conversions including weight, time, and distance as well as access to information about world time zones.
  • Living Math! This site owned and maintained by Julie Brennan, a homeschooling parents and certified public accountant, is designed to help parents and teachers view mathematics from real world applications and pass that insight on to children.
  • Math For Homeschoolers: A list of great resources and information on math lesson plans and activities for homeschoolers.

Science:

  • Miami Museum of Science: The Atoms Family: This website discusses different forms of energy via stories guided by various gothic horror characters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolf Man.
  • University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web: This website offers an encyclopedia-like listing of the natural history of thousands of animals through the use of text, sound, video, movies, and pictures.
  • K-12 Science Curriculum: This site offers free lesson plans tailored for elementary and secondary level students respectively.
  • NASA Earth Observatory: This website from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration offers users a daily glimpse of activity on the Earth ranging from volcanic activity as seen from space to imagery of storms, glacial activity, and heat levels across the globe.
  • Fun Science Resources Especially For Students: This website lists hundreds of links to other science-oriented sites for students in grades K-12.
  • U.S. Geological Survey: Start With Science: This educational website features scientific news and offers a topical library of earth-related issues ranging from climate change to drought, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, and wildfires.
  • National Geographic Online: True to its print magazine reputation, this online version offers stunning photographs and insightful articles regarding a variety of Earth-oriented activities and issues.
  • Curricular Companions: This website offers detailed step-by-step resources to supplement science curriculum with hands-on activities and exploratory reading recommendations.
  • Science NetLinks: This site maintained by the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers science lesson tools for grades K-12 as well as essays on various science experiments from across the globe and ethical applications within the scientific community.

Social Studies:

  • Library of Congress: African American Odyssey: This site describes the context of the more than 240 holdings comprising this exhibition in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and offers readers a detailed accounting of the African experience in the United States from slavery to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
  • California Gold Rush: A series of articles written by the staff of the Sacramento Bee describing all the aspects of the gold rush including its participants, its impact on the western United States, the journey many undertook to get to California from the East Coast, the atmosphere of mining camps, advice on how to tour gold country today, and resources for teachers.
  • The United States Civil War Center: This site maintained by Louisiana State University offers an extensive listing of online links to a variety of information regarding the Civil War.
  • Historical Map Web Sites: This site from the University of Texas at Austin contains links to hundreds of historical and modern day maps of regions all around the world.
  • My Social Studies: This site maintained by Fred Risinger, who is the former president of the National Council for the Social Studies and retired professor from Indiana University at Bloomington, offers users access to a plethora of online social studies information previewed by Risinger and organized according to subject area.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner: As part of the Smithsonian Institute’s online presence, this website provides complete coverage of the events leading to Francis Scott Key penning the words to the national anthem and offers users the opportunity to interact with the then 14-star flag by taking a quiz to earn stars, click on various sections of the flag to learn about its features, and to sing the national anthem online.
  • White House 101: Facts And Fun For All Ages: This is a virtual tour inside the White House offering personal facts about various presidents, their families, their pets, and the workings of the White House.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: This product of the English Department at the University of California Santa Barbara provides links and commentary on a lengthy list of social studies and humanities categories.

Educational Games:

  • A Game A Day: This website offers new games and puzzles on a daily on two skill levels.
  • Seussville Games: This site offers educational games and activities based on the characters of books written by Dr. Seuss.
  • Pauly’s Playhouse: This website offers interactive games designed for younger students.
  • Funbrain: This site offers educational games by grade level categories.
  • Anatomy Arcade: This site offers a variety of games from jigsaw and crossword puzzles to interactive flash games that quiz users on the various parts of human body systems.
  • MaMa Media: Designed by Seymour Papert of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this site offers access to hundreds of original games and activities that allow kids to create their own characters, stories, and artwork.

Other:

  • Best Homeschooling: This site offers essays, articles, and advice from long-term homeschoolers as well as educational professionals.
  • Quiz Hub: This site offers free access to pre-written quizzes covering a variety of subjects across grades K-12.
  • Internet Public Library: Professional public librarians volunteer to maintain this site and search for reference materials online per requests made via the website as well as maintaining access to a variety of newspapers, magazines, and special collections.
  • Idealist: This website serves as a clearinghouse for volunteers to connect with organizations seeking nonpaid and paid workers in the social and environmental arenas.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: This site maintained by the national foundation of the same name offers parents and teachers a series of curriculum aimed at teaching children the value of being kind.
  • Teens and Unschooling: This site written and maintained by homeschooling advocate Sandra Dodd addresses concerns parents may have regarding the socialization of their teenagers while being homeschooled.
  • Home School Legal Defense Association: This site offers homeschoolers with assistance getting started in their at-home education, legal defense information, and a platform for national advocacy.