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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Top 10 homeschool resources for 2013-14

I am not actively homeschooling my own children this year because both of them will be in ♫♪COLLEGE♫♪  

 However, I still spend a lot of time researching, talking about, and planning out curriculum with other parents.  My top 10 list still includes many of my old favorites from previous years, but my opinions have also changed about others.  With that said, here is my top 10 list for homeschool resources for 2013-14.  As it is very easy to find online resources for elementary students, most of my picks  are for high school students.  (All but number 1 is free)

10.  Let's face it.  Grammar is boring, boring, boring, so my pick for this subject spices it up a bit. Grammar Bytes! presents grammar in bite-size pieces with an urban flair that will attract teens to pay attention long enough to learn the concept.  You will find handouts, videos, and exercises to test knowledge.

9. Learning languages outside of a classroom or immersion experience is difficult, but if you must learn it at home, I recommend starting with BBC languages website.  They offer beginning foreign language courses in many languages.

8.  Sparknotes is especially valuable for avid readers, which all homeschool students should be.  You are presented with character analysis, plot summary, and provocative questions that make you think.  You can even find quizzes for many novels a homeschool student might read.  Sparknotes will also explain other subjects in a textbook online type of format.  It would be higher on my list, but It is kind of dry reading, no real interactive component.

7.  I love Learner.org or Annenberg Learner website, but teens can be a bit snobbish about it.  The videos are a bit retro, most being filmed at least 10 years ago, but the knowledge imparted is very relevant and information.  The biggest problem I have with it is that more of the videos are for teachers than students.

6 Khan Academy has been much higher on my list in the past, but it has moved down because while there are a lot of great tutorials, it is much more of a review resource, for tests and such, than a curriculum.  It's close, but not quite there.  But for a free resource, you can certainly make it work.  I feel like a workbook is needed for more drills.  This is where I believe it falls short. 5-10 practice problems for a concept is often not enough.

5. MIT Open Courseware is great for kids who are ready for college level work.  There are many courses available for students to use.  If you follow the syllabus and readings, you will have the same material offered to college students, including lectures, but you will not have interaction with the teacher. There are other colleges and resources that also offer open courseware, and some are even offering certificates, but MIT offers the most at this juncture.

4. I am a big fan of Yay Math! videos.  This is especially good for kids who find math videos boring.  This online educator kicks it up a notch making it a bit more entertaining without condescending to the students.  I wish his videos followed a specific textbook so we could follow along, but there are some online worksheets and quizzes for Algebra 1 & 2 and Geometry.

3.  Time4learning has always been, and will probably always be my favorite curriculum delivery system for elementary students...  I am not quite sure yet, but with the addition of the high school program, it may even move up my list.  The only thing I am unhappy about is that it was not available sooner.

2.  Hippocampus remains at the top of my list, but his has fallen from the top spot because there is some confusion inherent in the site. Instead of delivering curriculum via the NROC format, it now also includes Khan Academy, and PhET curriculum.  The NROC information is stellar.  The rest can be more difficult to follow.

1. I wish I had found ALEKS earlier, but I feel like it is a stellar resource for students who want to accelerate through curriculum. For $20 a month or less (for a longer commitment) a student can take complicated subjects as fast or slow as they please.  Subjects include all levels of math, as well as some sciences.  You will find textbook integration, and some colleges will accept some of the earned courses as college credit.


Jonelle Lantier said...

Great list! I think Sparknotes and Khan Academy are resources for students of all ages- including college-aged ones. And MIT's Open courseware is pretty good too. Do you think Coursera will be a good resource one day for homeschooling kids?

Ahermitt said...

Coursera is a pretty good resource. The only problem I have with the site is lack of flexibility in course dates which means that a student might have to rearrange their entire schedule around it.

Kimberly Fowler said...

Thank you!

Tracy Smith-Kelly said...

First, thank you for your videos and posts! I am a homeschool mom from Atlanta with a 7 year old, 4 year old, and a 7 month old. I recently came across "Easy Peasy: All-in-one-Homeschool Curriculum", and am curious about your thoughts on this curriculum. My 2nd grade is an advanced learner, so I do need him to be challenged.

Congrats also on homeschool retirement. I am looking forward to some "me" time after mine leave for college. Thanks for your help!

Ahermitt said...

Easy Peasy appears to be a one-man or one-woman show. At first glance, it looks like what one homeschooling parent researched and compiled to teach their own kid.

It may or may not be good for yours, but I am not completely sold in it. Just my first impression. I will need to look at it more closely before I can say more.