Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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Top 10 homeschool resources for 2014-15

Unfortunately, one of the sites I have relied on heavily (Hippocampus) to provide my kids with free, high quality education is has lost it's contract with NROC but I have found a couple new sites for you to try.  Keep in mind that most of my picks are for high school students, as that is hardest to find, and that you need to check these out thoroughly. My kids no longer try out these sites as they are in college, so I rely on reviews, poking around, and a couple hours of trial access.

10.  MIT Open Courseware is a great way to challenge advanced students who aren't quite ready for the college classroom environment.  Most specifically, I recommend the Audio Video Lecture based courses as they are easier to follow.

9.  Spanish Hour has helped a couple of young people I know with this very important foreign language. You can start with the basic free membership, and then move to Premium membership for the extra tools later. It helps to prepare for the CLEP exam which means your kid won't have to tangle with Spanish in college.

8.  If you are interested in other foreign languages too, check out the BBC Languages site.  It will get your kids through level 1 at least.

7.  Sparknotes may end up replacing hippocampus in my heart.  Not only does it have a study guide for every good and classic book ever written, but it also has study guides for every high school course your child will encounter.  The only problem is there are no videos inserted into the study guides... and I prefer videos, but my kids don't.... and they are the ones learning.

6.  Grammar Bytes isn't the easiest site to use, but you can cobble together a full grammar course from this site.  I prefer the Terms page, that lists all of the grammar terms and takes you to work sheets and videos for each term.

5.  TenMarks.com Go to this site and get the free trial NOW.  It last all summer.  It is billed as a summer math program to help them catch up and get ahead, but I know that we, my family, did most of our intensive math work in the summer, so go for it.  I don't know what their plans are, but I am hoping they can provide year round instruction for homeschooling kids... It is the perfect combination of video instruction and online practice.

4.  Yay!  Yay Math is becoming more and more all encompassing.  It now includes worksheets for all videos and some online quizzes!.  Now I just wish it had more subjects, but you can certainly get your fill of Algebra 1 & 2 and Geometry.

3.  Some people call Time4Learning a supplement, some call it a full curriculum. If I was going to start homeschooling all over again, I would use Time4learning from day 1 and continue into and through high school classes.  When we homeschooled, we stopped at grade 5 because the kids complained the videos were to "childish", but now with the addition of the high school videos, and more mature videos, I could have bridged those middle years somehow.  Plus, I feel that in retrospect, more unschooling would have served my kids well, and Time4Learning would have allowed them to get the basics to make me comfortable, and then left plenty of time free for them to explore.  Plus, the price is very reasonable, as it has been for over 10 years.

2.  Khan Academy is doing a better job at tracking math learning, and also teaching other subjects.  I just  wish they would upload workbooks so that students can practice the problems (math and science) and test their knowledge in the other subjects.

1.  We used ALEKS for my daughters last year of high school, and wish we had found it earlier.  It is a mastery based program that makes sure the kids don't just learn it, test it, and then forget it.  It keeps checking back.  The only complaints is that it could use the videos that the other programs provide.


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