General Resources, Links and Information
By Maria Bernardes
Below are The Link's "Official Top 50" Recommended Homeschooling Websites compiled with your interests in mind. As far as the Internet is concerned, homeschoolers are definitely not alone. No matter what walk of life parents come from or what philosophy they believe in, they can find everything but the kitchen sink while surfing the Internet. The Web is a vast homeschooling cornucopia of information ranging from specific concerns (e.g. disabled children) to public forums; from buying educational tools to specific homeschooling trends; from explicit religious beliefs to legal issues. Finding information on the Web, however, can be a bit daunting and time-consuming, since there are literally thousands of avenues to go down and very little direction when doing so.
Don't get lost! Although it is impossible to list every single wonderfully-made site available on the web, I've compiled a basic "starting place" and you can branch out from here. The idea is twofold: We want to make your web search easier and at the same time give full respect to the differences found among homeschoolers. Have fun!
The list wouldn't be complete without the official website of The Link. Besides offering an Internet version of our newspaper, back issues can also be ordered.
Homefires.com is a site that gives you a lot of general homeschooling support. In addition to reading some extremely interesting articles, you will find communities where you can get advice and exchange experience with other parents. Also, you can receive daily fun and educational curriculum ideas in every subject as well as weekly updates of field trips.
For a really cool site, it doesn't get much cooler than the A to Z Home's Cool Homeschooling page. Check out the name and you see what I mean! Besides being chock full of things to read and do and functioning as a general all-purpose-topic home educational guide, the A to Z Home's Cool site is a door to various religious and cultural views on homeschooling. No matter what your religion is, you will certainly find compatible homeschooling resources and groups contained within.
Educational Resources Information Center. Even though this site is not particularly designed for homeschoolers, it is a brilliant option for online resources.You have access to a large body of education-related literature on almost every topic imaginable. Their database has more than 1 million abstracts on education.
Finding Homeschool Support on the Internet is a collection of links to all types of resources available on the web. Besides message boards and general information, it takes you to pages where you can learn subjects, such as math, arts and foreign languages.
Homeschool.com offers a great range of resources and information for all kinds of homeschoolers. Featured in this page is a special section dedicated to different approaches to homeschooling, where they talk a little about the most popular styles, like School-at-Home, Unit Studies, "Relaxed", or "Eclectic" Homeschooling, Unschooling etc.
TheHomeSchoolMom.Com provides you with a lot of free homeschooling resources. You'll find free software, movies, games on school subjects and educational resources, all available online. Another very interesting thing on this site is a section called 'TheHomeSchoolMom In The Kitchen', which is an e-mail group where parents can share helpful cooking and kitchen tips, recipes, and ideas.
Besides reading interesting articles and getting a lot of free ideas, tips and recipes, in the Homeschoolzone you can find the best support group for your situation in the many categories offered, such as 'mom-to-mom', 'healthy cooking support', 'science zone' and 'gifted kids'.
Homeschooling.about is a very rich general guide to homeschooling. It is packed with information, resources, products and articles for both parents and children. The editor seems to really enjoy putting things together and makes an effort to keep the features easily accessible in spite of the amount of information.
Products and Services
The Homeschool World site is a great place to buy stuff. Besides articles and general info about our field, it also offers a great range of resources separated by user-friendly areas and categories. Everything from books, videos, CDs and toys can be purchased.
Homeschooling Kids With Disabilities offers information and support to people who have chosen to homeschool their children with special educational needs. You can find several resources for kids who suffer from all kinds of disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, autism, hearing impairment, learning disabilities and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome among others. The resources include articles, legal assistance, medical information, online libraries and links to other sites on the web.
Internet Resources for Homeschooling Gifted Students offers all kinds of resources for the education of these special kids. In addition to articles, message boards and organizations, you will find curriculum ideas and online courses particularly designed for gifted children.
Do you have a legal question or doubt? The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is an excellent site for legal issues. It's very complete and organized and it also contains information about homeschooling in other countries.
Another very interesting site for resources, SASinSchool offers you the chance to buy exciting software on various subjects such as English literature, biology and geometry. These interactive products can be applied to many different teaching and learning styles.
Unschooling.com is very helpful for the ones who already unschool their children as well as for the ones who want to learn more about it. The sections are clearly separated and you find many different ways to connect with other unschoolers and exchange experiences.
Another very good site for those who seek to 'break out of frames' in their children's education, Unschooling offers several interesting articles, resources and a message board. It is also excellent for beginners, as it answers various questions about the purpose and meaning of this method of home-based learning.
Libertarian Unschooling promotes the idea that school and state should be separated. Even if this concept seems a bit radical to you, this site offers a list of very interesting articles regarding unschooling.
Family Unschoolers Network is another interesting site for those who believe learning should be a natural process in which the whole family is involved. It offers FAQs, message boards, links to books, events for unschoolers and other good websites.
Besides presenting an interesting catalog of games and books, Excellence in Education offers an 'Independent Study Program', which allows parents to create their unique homeschooling style. Also, the site provides many services, such as Field Trips and Park Days as well as individual counseling.
Homeschooling for Christians, the web version of the magazine 'The Teaching Home', offers a lot of resources and articles from the Christian approach. Besides being a wonderful bank of info relating to Christian homeschooling concerns, it also offers tips on Bible reading and suggests a unique month-by-month schedule.
HomeschoolChristian.com is another great source of information and resources for Christian families on the web. One of the most useful things in this site is that it offers over 20 message boards and scheduled chats online.
The Classical Christian Homeschooling is an excellent page for parents who want to learn about classical education and its practical applications. Besides plenty of information on this kind of approach, you will find a complete curriculum guide and online catalogue for grades K-12.
In Jon's Homeschool Resource Page the homeschooling resources and ideas can be discussed from a Jewish perspective. There is also a free support network where parents can meet other Jewish families online.
See A to Z Home's Cool, above, for more information on other religions.
Judaism and Jewish Resources is a huge collection of resources available online related to the Jewish culture. You will find information on all kinds of things, such as Hebrew, the Holocaust, Israel, and archeology. The editor did a good job selecting and organizing all sorts of Jewish info across the web.
Math and Science
All Info-About Science for Families really offers material related to all you might want to know about science. Reptiles, technology, dinosaurs, gravity, electricity, astronomy, animals . . . You name it and you'll find it on this site!
Do you have an intriguing science question? Ask a scientist in MadSci Network! Besides answering your questions, the scientists might recommend links to related information on the web so you can really expand your knowledge. Even if you don't have a specific question, it's worth having a look at their 'Random Knowledge Generator', where you can find loads of questions sent by other users and very interesting explanations for them.
If you have decided to unschool your child, Resources for Unschooling is without a doubt a great site. It offers countless lessons, puzzles, tests, lesson plans, ideas and projects available online and separated into three categories: Math, Science and Miscellaneous, where you can find such diverse topics as religion and oceanography.
This site, called Mathematics, will teach your children much more than calculations. In a very creative way, it applies arithmetic to everyday life and helps kids to find information on the web. The topics -- including animals, astronomy, sports, geography, cooking, money and many other things -- are all separated by grades. The lessons are divided in steps and contain teacher and student activity sheets, answer keys and games. Another fantastic thing, which is also very useful for parents, is a section called study-buddy where the site teaches a child how to help another kid with easy-to-use directions.
Dositey.com will provide you with enjoyable lessons, exercises, printable worksheets, and interactive games especially in math, language and arts. The activity is selected according to the child's age or the topic he/she needs to master. You can also purchase 'The Beginning Readers Course', where your kid can learn and practice both reading and writing skills.
Homeschool Math is a resource site for learning elementary math. Parents can create free worksheets by following their interactive guide. In addition, they can find teaching tips, free lesson plans and links to games, quizzes and interactive tutorials.
100 Homeschooling Science Activities offers a product called 'The Teaching Tank', which is an actual tank with which your children can have lessons in Biology, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics, all at the same time. It gives kids the chance to do a lot of experiments and integrate various science concepts with practical life.
English and Foreign Languages
Looking for a word? You'll certainly find it in yourdictionary.com, no matter what language you are thinking of. Not only will you find definitions, but also word etymology, crossword dictionaries, multilingual dictionaries (dictionaries that translate one word into many different languages at the same time), glossaries, language courses, abbreviations, slang, quotations, foreign newspapers available online, translations, links for words lovers and much more!
For the ones who are keen on writing, RedPencil is a fabulous site where writers can post their work for others to read and review. There is also a chat room and a section called 'collective writing' where many people can write a story or a poem together, each one contributing with a line or a paragraph.
Writing.com is another brilliant site for readers and writers. Besides sending your work and reading many good stories, you can interact with other members, play creative writing games, join competitions, get writing technique advice and have a lot of fun!
Ignite the Fire! is the site for free foreign language courses online. In addition to offering a list of free foreign language courses, it also brings free curriculum guides, supplementary teaching materials, online textbooks, online dictionaries and links to other resources on the web. Really worth checking out, even if it is not the only method used for learning a language.
The Children's Literature Web Guide offers many resources related to literature for children and young adults. You will find links to all kinds of things, from stories on the web to Internet book discussion groups.
Common Errors in English is a list of thousands of words that are badly used regarding Standard English. It includes words that are commonly misspelled and a section called 'non-errors', which refers to words and expressions which are often considered wrong but are actually correct.
Arts and Music
The Original Art School Online is the award-winning site for free art lessons on the web. You can learn some theory and do various kinds of things, such as digital works, drawing portraits or ships. Also, new ideas and lessons are added from time to time.
Badgett's Introduction to Music Page is a gate to many websites related to classical music.You can learn about classical music history, singers, conductors, opera houses, orchestras and several famous composers.
Essentials of Music is an extraordinary website for the basics of classical music. It offers a study of the main periods in music history, biographies of nearly 70 composers and also a glossary, where you can learn 200 different words with musical examples.
Creative Art Projects is a site packed with creative and exciting games and projects for kids. They will learn everything, from painting with primary colors to making a kaleidoscope. The lessons include a list of materials needed and easy-to-follow procedures.
Homeschooling Gifted Kids is a simple web site, which offers a list of links to excellent art resources. It will guide you to sites where you can learn to draw in 3-D, play art games, study about art history and famous artists, do clay sculptures and much more!
History and Geography
Geography World is an award-winning site offering a great deal of information on this subject. Besides learning a lot about many countries around the world, you can read about topics such as conservation, earthquakes, ecosystems, erosion, population and more. In addition, you can find many games, quizzes, trivia and puzzles.
Mr Donn's Ancient History offers many lesson plans and activities on ancient civilizations. Find out about the times of Early Man, the tombs of Egypt, the Seven Ancient Wonders, the Middle Ages and much more!
Footnotes to History talks about the 'forgotten' nations. You can learn about all kinds of countries we don't usually hear about, like ephemeral states or micronations. It's an amazingly long list full of historical curiosities.
In Atlapedia Online you can find physical and political maps of countries around the world. In addition, this site provides all kinds of information about these places such as geography, demographic statistics, climate, history, culture and economy.
Tahtonka.com provides information on Native Americans art and culture. You can learn everything about the Indians, from food and clothes to music and spirituality. This beautiful site is very well designed and it offers great links.
The Geography Web Ring brings together the best links on Geography on the web. Go there if you want to play games, find free lessons and all kinds of resources on this subject.
Educational Games and Fun Activities
As the actual page will tell you, Gameaquarium is the site that swims with learning fun! The page is interesting because it is a portal to the best free educational games and activities online, all organized by subject, for pre-school through grade 6. In addition to the various topics, such as safety, typing, music, languages and so on, there are also some very creative and unique student-designed games. It is definitely a great way to learn!
Educational Web Adventures is a fantastic site with exciting activities designed with the most innovative web technology. Children can learn about all kinds of things, including arts, natural history, engineering and culture. The subjects can be integrated through really entertaining interactive games, lesson plans and fact sheets which are chosen by subject or grade. - MB