Overview: There are substantial and useful free homeschooling resources available combining online and offline materials. These are useful both for year-round schooling and to combat the summer slump.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a mix of crisis and opportunity for parents. While the remote learning approach hasn’t benefited every child, some kids have thrived doing it. In other cases, parents are concerned that their kids fell behind due to the stress of the last year and want to help them catch up.
In both cases, there are substantial free online resources that can help.
Created to fill what was seen as a global gap in education, Khan Academy is run by a non-profit that designs curricula for use both in the classroom and outside of it.
Entirely free, with a full range of courses broken down by grade, the entire system is accessible through their website and the accompanying apps, with no ads and no subscription fees. It also includes “get ready” courses for subjects some kids struggle with, so they can start their year with confidence.
Most important to many parents, it has the seal of approval from authorities such as the College Board, Bank of America, and Google.
Stride K12 works closely with states to align their materials and curriculum with state standards. That’s especially important for families that might have had to move during the pandemic, as well as kids in military families, kids facing complex moves, and other situations where learning might have been interrupted or kids need to catch up.
Supported by 29 states, Connections Academy is notable for engaging parents as well as kids. Parents serve as what Connections calls a “Learning Coach,” essentially a cheerleader and guidance counselor for your kids to get through their classes for the day and keep their eye on the goal. It’s particularly useful in situations where kids learn best when somebody talks to them about what they do.
For older kids who might be thinking about a career, or are interesting in more challenging work, EdX offers courses from a number of Ivy League universities, such as Harvard and MIT, for free, focusing in particular on in-demand careers. Many of these are introductory courses related to degrees and are a good way for kids to “try out” careers and approaches to see if they like them before choosing a college or major.
All of these courses come with free materials and don’t need any textbooks or other content, but you might wonder where the classic literature is.
Project Gutenberg is dedicated to getting as much public domain content as possible onto the internet in easy-to-read formats, including Kindle, reducing the costs of assembling a reading list and helping you find books for free. You’ll even find beloved stories like “The Wizard of Oz” available for family reading.
Kids learning at home sometimes need help to stay on task and focused, and you can’t always be in the room. Parental control software can help. Help your kids get better screen time, with Screen Time.