In Part 1 of this two-part post, I listed websites and resources for purchasing used and new books and curriculum. In this Part 2, every resource listed here is free! I’ve organized it into:
Informational/Partial curriculum or full curriculum (organized by subject)
Games/Interactive (organized by subject)
This list is by no means comprehensive; it merely scratches the surface of the vast amount of free resources currently available online. Also, please note that I cannot verify the appropriateness of the content of each of these sites. Some are secular, some are Christian. Use your own judgment.
Sites with Free Books/Texts
LibriVox. You can download and listen to free audio readings of books in the public domain; a good source for classics.
ICDL (International Children’s Digital Library). Free children’s books from around the world; choose your language then you can filter results from there.
Many Books offers more than 33,000 free ebooks, including titles that are not in the public domain.
Open Library has over 1.7 million free ebooks, including high school and college textbooks; available in a number of formats.
Authorama offers more free ebooks of the classics/public domain literature in HTML and XHTML format.
Read Print. Lots of classics; lets you keep track of what you’ve read in a user-friendly way and provides the opportunity to discuss books and join online book clubs and groups.
Questia has 5,000 free classics, rare books, and textbooks.
Project Gutenberg. For the older texts and classics; over 50,000 free books. Also good for research purposes when looking for original source material; along those lines, see also texts from Wikisource and Google Books.
Internet Archive boasts a rich collection of over 16 million free downloadable books, plus movies, music, software, etc.
Wikibooks. Free educational books/textbooks; note that these are open content and anyone can edit them.
Local library. When you’re looking for a particular title you need for a school assignment, don’t forget this resource! And many times even if you’re local library doesn’t have it, you may be able to procure it through inter-library loan.
Free Full Curriculum Sites
The sites listed here offer lessons in all academic subjects, for free.
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. This is a laid-back, Christian curriculum with a bit of an “unschooling” flavor. It teaches preschool through 8th grade, with a separate site offering high school curriculum. It covers reading, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, math, history/social studies/geography, science, Spanish, Bible, computer, music, art, PE/health, and logic.
Kahn Academy. Spanning kindergarten through high school, Kahn Academy has millions of students the world over, while their resources are being translated into 36 different languages. Their mission is “to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” The bulk of the course relies on instructional videos and practice exercises. (I even signed up for its math instruction to fill in some of my own gaps!)
Ambleside Online offers a classical/Charlotte Mason-style homeschool curriculum. It relies heavily on living books—real-world literature, as opposed to textbooks. Thirty-six week schedules are outlined in detail for each grade. (This would be one of my top picks.)
Free World U is a pre-K through 12 academy that teaches the subjects through electronic flashcards; a $19.95/month upgrade to the free version provides exams, an exam portal, a feedback function, a year plan, and progress bars; several other upgrades/extensions are also available.
See a list of more full, free online programs here.
Informational/Partial or Full Curriculum (remember that these subjects can also be found at the “full curriculum” sites listed above)
Teach Preschool Science. Complete, free science curriculum for ages 3 through kindergarten; lesson plans, learning experiences involving various projects, and related books, websites, and resources are included.
Science Sparks. All kinds of fun, hands-on projects, activities, and sensory/messy play for little tikes—looks like a very fun site!
Magic School Bus science curriculum (for elementary grades). This includes free lesson plans, worksheets, and experiments to go along with the episodes—which you will need to purchase or borrow.
Classic Science Life. Free downloadable science ebooks for children of all ages.
Guest Hollow . Science of Seasons is a free literature and activity-based science curriculum for a younger grade (this one is more classical/Charlotte Mason style). This site also offers other science courses for elementary, upper elementary and even high school students, relying on living books and hands-on activities (while some are free, some require the purchase of a curriculum schedule, $25). Check them out—they’re pretty awesome!
Try Engineering. Lesson plans for 141 cool projects can be found here as downloadable pdf files; ages 8 and up.
Micropolitan Museum. This science site features image galleries of microscopic specimens.
Zooborns features “the newest, cutest animals from the world’s zoos and aquariums.”
Do the kids need a little extra math practice in a certain area, or maybe just need a worksheet here and there over the summer to help them keep up what they’ve already learned? The following sites offer free math activities and printable worksheets for many different grades: K5 Learning, Homeschool Math, Education, Math Aids, and SoftSchools.
History and Geography
Bringing Up Learners. Free, full year history curriculum: lesson plans, guides, and resource suggestions.
Guest Hollow also has free American history curriculum (grades 2-6)!
Timeline Index. Everything is organized by “who,” “what,” “where,” and “when.”
Check out this LONG list of free geography curriculum, resources, and supplements.
Scott Foresman grammar and writing curriculum. Free online grammar and writing handbooks for grades 1-6.
National Treasures Workbooks. Downloadable spelling and grammar practice books for grades K-6.
KISS Grammar . Instructional materials and workbooks for grade 2 through high school.
Spelling Words Curriculum. Complete spelling curriculum for grades 1-5.
Bible Based Spelling Lessons. Spelling lessons for lower elementary grades.
Hodgepodge . Over 100 free art lessons for many ages.
Kinder Art. Preschool through high school arts and crafts projects.
This find made me so excited! Years ago when I taught piano I used the Mayron Cole music curriculum. This complete course begins as young as kindergarten or pre-K and spans through high school. Lessons, music theory, performance music—everything is here; this course is good for both group and private lessons. The books were always a little pricey, but I felt they were worth the cost: they’re fun, heavy on theory (no, those two things are not mutually exclusive 😉 ), and encourage mastery.
Then a few weeks ago I received an email that made my day: Mayron Cole was retiring and she had decided to gift her music curriculum to the world…for free. More than 3,600 pages, 525 solos, 1,000 worksheets, 60 ensembles, 650 midi and mp3 fully orchestrated accompaniments, and several games are available as free downloads—every product and book she ever created! I’ve already started downloading the books and accompaniments—it’s like Christmas, people! So check this incredible offer out here.
Rudiments of Wisdom Encyclopedia . Informative and entertaining, this online encyclopaedia is written up in the form of cartoonish drawings with text.
Virtual Homeschool Group . This site offers free, online courses for IEW, Fix it Grammar, Saxon Math, Spanish, Photography, Mystery of History, Apologia science, and more! Video lessons and computer-scored quizzes and tests included!
Science Kids offers interactive science games, as well as projects, lessons and more.
Johnnie’s Math Page. Math practice and games for ages 5-15.
Math Game Time. Free math games, videos, and worksheets.
Math Goodies. Free math games, interactive lessons, and downloadable worksheets.
History and Geography
History Mystery. Search for clues and enter the answers as you read.
Mission US. For grades 5-8. These role-playing mission games help students explore historical time periods and events. “Each mission consists of an interactive game and a set of curriculum materials that are aligned to national standards and feature document-based activities.”
DOCSTeach is a free tool for teaching from original documents; it provides primary source materials, then allows you as the parent to create your own interactive learning activities with these sources.
Ducksters Geography. I’ve played some games from this site with the kids.
National Geographic Kids. Lots of videos, games, and information for kids. It covers more than geography, of course; science and history are also touched on.
Grammar Practice Park. Grammar games organized by grade.
BBC grammar games. Alphabet, spelling, and grammar games.
Education Spelling Games. Spelling, letter knowledge, reading, and word games.
Home Spelling Words. Lists, games, tests and practice.
Spelling City targets spelling, writing, phonics, and vocabulary.
NGAkids Art Zone. Interactive art activities at the National Gallery of Art.
Starfall covers a variety of topics. There is a free version and an upgraded version which you can pay for. I have only used the free version with the kids and this has allowed them to practice reading and math skills. I noticed a difference, that they had gained ground in their phonics skills, when they started using this.
Apples4theTeacher. Interactive site with lots of games covering a vast array of educational subjects.
Sheppard Software has a variety of games, videos and quizzes on a variety of subjects.
Apps—there are many free educational games you can download.
There are so many educational videos on every subject under the sun available on YouTube and elsewhere that there’s no way I could even begin to scratch the surface. But for history and art, here are several compilations others have made of these offerings:
History Videos for Kids from Brookdale House is a great educational resource as it gives extensive lists/collections of YouTube videos for different periods/subjects of history (was having trouble with the link this morning so I don’t currently have one in this post, but you should be able to google it).
YouTube Art Lessons for Kids. List of art channels for kids.
A Big List of Free Art Lessons on YouTube. A lengthy list of YouTube channels that teach art, sorted by style/subject; many are probably geared toward older students.
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Do you have some favorite free resources you use? Share in the comments!