Books and Resources Part 2: FREEBIES!

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:

Books/Texts

Full Curriculum

Informational/Partial curriculum or full curriculum (organized by subject)

Games/Interactive (organized by subject)

Videos

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.

FreeComputerBooks. For the geeks, a site with tons of free computer programming/coding books; see also FreeTechBooks for free computer science books/textbooks—over 1,200 available.

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)

Science

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.”

Math

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 LearningHomeschool MathEducation, 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.

Language Arts

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.

Art

Hodgepodge .  Over 100 free art lessons for many ages.

Kinder Art. Preschool through high school arts and crafts projects.

Music

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. Screenshot_20180515-141026 

Miscellaneous/Multi-subject

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!

Games/Interactive

Science

Science Kids offers interactive science games, as well as projects, lessons and more.

Math

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.

Language Arts

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.

Art

NGAkids Art Zone. Interactive art activities at the National Gallery of Art.

Miscellaneous/Multi-subject

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. 

Videos

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!

School Curriculum Part 6: The Odds and Ends–from Art to Government

And here’s a wrap-up to the series of posts on school curriculum for this year, touching on the miscellany not previously covered. 🙂

Art

I debated on many different things for art lessons this year. There are so many neat programs out there! Unfortunately many of them are also quite pricey. So this year I stuck to something more modest and within budget: Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes. Essentially what a homeschooling philosophy is to homeschooling, this book is to one’s approach to art, laying a foundation for all art study and practice. It is, first and foremost, a philosophy of art. In fact, the first 45 pages of the book simply explain the reasoning behind the methodology presented. 20180428_110731

Brookes emphasizes the parts to the whole. In other words, she helps the student learn to “see” that all art is made up of just a few basic sorts of lines and shapes—five, to be exact: the dot family, the circle family, the straight line family, the curved line family, and the angle line family. The student is trained to look for and identify these as they draw their images, first from paper graphics, and eventually still life.

This is not something you go through and “complete” in a year (there are actually only a handful of actual lessons). It’s a philosophy of art methodology, and so something you can practice and incorporate through many years of art study. I found it very interesting, and while we worked on some introductory exercises this year, I’m looking forward to using this in the years to come. 20180428_110754

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We also used step-by-step drawing exercises from books we borrowed at the library, and from videos on YouTube (lots of great channels for kids!).

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Marcus drew Olaf, and Bri the cake from YouTube videos. 🙂

Bible and Bible/Character Curriculum

Bible reading, Scripture memory, prayer, and singing are all part of Bible time each morning. Then we delve into our Bible and/or character curriculum. I’ve used different things: one year we went through The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande. Another year we we studied through the first 10 chapters of Proverbs verse by verse. Last school year we read The Ology Book by Marty Machowski. This year we used Adventures in Obedience from the Cat and Dog Theology series by Bob Sjogren.

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The course includes two coloring books, a book of missionary stories, a CD with more missionary stories, and a parent’s guide. Each morning the kids color (and we discuss) a picture of a dog and a cat reacting to a real-life situation that children often encounter; the “cat” reacts to please himself, while the “dog” seeks to glorify God—to “make Him famous.” A missionary story (from the book or CD) is read (or listened to) each day as well. This character curriculum emphasizes growth in character and obedience from a place of pursuing the glory of God rather than from a mere moralistic, self-improvement standpoint, which I appreciate. I have few complaints, though I might share a minor caveat or two.

There were a couple of coloring pages, the message of which I disagreed with somewhat, as far as how it was presented. Most of the missionary stories are pretty neat, although a little heavy on the tales of Mennonites (this book was not written by Sjogren but is a book formerly published by the Mennonites, which Sjogren added into the curriculum). There were a small handful of stories where I thought the story choice a little strange, too. Nevertheless, there was lots of good stuff here, and the kids enjoyed coloring the pictures, discussing the attitudes and actions presented, and listening to tales of men and women who shared the gospel of Jesus.

Thinking Skills 20180428_110439

Brianna: This year we used Building Thinking Skills Level 1 from The Critical Thinking Co. (Click link, check under “special offers,” and follow the instructions to get a free printable puzzle delivered to your inbox each week!)  It’s marked for grades 2-3 so we completed half of it this year and we’ll complete the other half next year (Level 2 spans grades 4-6). The first half of the book focuses on spatial reasoning: figural similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, analogies, etc., and the second half deals with verbal reasoning (describing things, similarities and differences, sequences, classifications, and analogies). It’s a good supplement to math and language studies and only takes a few minutes a day to complete. 

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Marcus: He worked through the entire Developing the Early Learner series of 4 books. This tracks and develops fine motor, visual, auditory, and comprehension skills through fun daily exercises. 20180428_111516 

Law and Government (afflink below)

Another homeschooling family introduced us to the Tuttle Twins—and we love them! With six titles in the series (when I purchased them; I believe there are more now), this is a pretty unique set of books, as it introduces young children to the principles of freedom, Austrian economics, and classical liberalism. Connor Boyack breaks down the ideas and vocabulary of political and economic concepts, making them accessible for even the youngest kids.

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The Golden Rule introduces kids to the non-aggression principle, based on Ron Paul’s book, A Foreign Policy of Freedom. In Food Truck Fiasco, the dangers of protectionism are presented, while kids learn about business and economics (this book is based on Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson). The Miraculous Pencil explores the way the free market works and is based on Leonard Reed’s essay, I, Pencil. In The Creature from Jekyll Island, kids learn about the Federal Reserve and the meaning of terms like “fiat currency,” “inflation,” and “medium of exchange.” Road to Surfdom is a play on words, being based on F. A. Hayek’s book, Road to Serfdom. This tale underscores the unintended consequences of central planning. The Law explores the role of government, and challenges the idea that plundering personal property can be justified in the name of a “good cause.” Based on Frederic Bastiat’s book, The Law.

Bonus: each book includes a free download of worksheets to go along with it!

Ron Paul approved! 😉