Are you just starting out homeschooling? Maybe it’s your first year like us. I made a list of resources I personally use to teach my preschooler son, but you can use for all grades. This is not everything. You can order curriculum online and even find free curriculum online so you can save your money for fun stuff!
Please, please go to HSLDA before you do anything else. They will tell you your laws for your state. You can get updates about new laws and other developments related to homeschooling.
They have a TON of resources and information and have people who you can call with questions about anything. Even curriculum.
The most important reason though is that if there is a legal issue related to homeschooling such as a custody battle or something where homeschooling is the main reason they will send someone to support you and stand up with you if you have to go to court.
2. Easy Peasy
Now that we talked about the serious stuff, go to Easy Peasy All in One Homeschooling. No matter what grade you are in. It is free and well, easy. I have only looked at the early grades but it goes all the way up. She does all the work for you. A whole curriculum and you can pick and choose what you want to use and you can add to it.
The preschool stuff is all about the alphabet and has the cutest little stories about each letter. Such as Abraham the Alligator who is afraid of everything so is always saying, “AAAAAAAA!!” When we started I didn’t have access to a printer for the coloring pages etc so I found my own but I mostly just did the alphabet stories. He learned his letters sooooo fast!! I highly recommend it!
You can find Easy Peasy HERE on YouTube and then just watch the videos if you’d like…
…Which brings me to my next resource…YouTube. My son is in preschool (at home right now) so we watch videos about EVERYTHING. He will ask a question and I will find him an answer usually on YouTube. We can watch polar bears walking on ice and then a polar bear cub “walking” on a kitchen floor and having no traction. His feet are made to walk on the ice. we watch whales breaching, and a time lapse video of a plant growing. We watched a group of people who poured cement in an ant hill then excavated it. Have you seen that one?
We can watch videos of volcanoes erupting, and rockets launching. This is something that people could not do a long time ago. You had to be satisfied with what you could show them a picture of in a book…and you probably had access to five books.
Speaking of videos, how about full length documentaries? Netflix has it all. Your kids could watch stuff without even knowing they are learning. You can also set it to each person in the family’s own personal account so they watch what is appropriate for them. My toddler watches educational kid shows as well as some documentaries, but at his age YouTube is better for his short attention span.
I limit what and how much he watches, (more about that later) but my favorites he watches are: Daniel Tiger (An animated Mister Roger’s Neighborhood spinoff), SuperWhy, Peg + Cat, Little Einsteins, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, and all sorts of LeapFrog videos. One nice thing I enjoy is…no commercials. I hate seeing the commercials now because they are raunchy. They also break up the shows and mess up their little brains.
5. Google Earth/Street View
With Instant Google Streetview and/or Google Earth you can take your kids on virtual field trips anytime. I played around and saw the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. I explored Jackson Harbor, NSW Australia and then Uluru which is my favorite.
You could check out another country you are studying and see how their homes are different than yours. How are the trees different in Africa? How much snow and ice can you see in Antarctica? Actually, with Google Earth you can see the same place at different times in Earth’s history. Maybe you can watch the ice caps melt…
I also looked at SeaWorld’s orca tanks. It is sad. I found six whales in one tank smaller than the swimming pool for humans. (I am very anti-cetacean captivity.
Maybe I’ll write about it someday…Prob not.)
6. Your Local Library
This seems pretty obvious, but actually I know two of our local libraries have a homeschooling section. It wouldn’t hurt to tell your librarian that you homeschool. Mine had information about other families in the area who also homeschooled.
7. Local Dollar Store
This one seems obvious too but when I started I had NO IDEA the stuff I would find there that could be educational. I found a whole school section with classroom posters, play money, an alligator who grows in water. (A leg broke off so we put it under our microscope and compared the cells dry vs wet etc.)
If you aren’t sure what to buy at the dollar store etc. check out Pinterest. Try maybe “homeschooling dollar store” and see what you find. If you have not discovered it please check it out. You can totally blame me when you are addicted and no one ever hears from you again because you are just sitting in the dark pinning various unit studies, lapbooks, recipes, craft projects, preschool themes, interior decorating,…..and on and on. I have seriously three accounts…probably more I forgot about. I AM ADDICTED TO PINTEREST.
Ok. So you would be amazed how many things I can buy there. Search add on items. School supplies. Science supplies. I have ordered the strangest stuff. I ordered live shrimp for a shrimp tank. I ordered the coolest microscope. You can order pre-made slides for a real microscope with bacteria and algae, scales, feathers, I don’t even know what else.
10. Your home town
We live in a tiny hamlet with no car so we walk everywhere. Look around your town and explore it like you just moved there (which we did.) Ask the firemen if you can get a tour. Ask the police if you can get fingerprints done and learn about safety. Maybe you need a group to do that. Don’t have one? Start one. Put up fliers all over town or Facebook.
11. Your Village
They say it takes a village right? Well who is your village? Who do you have in your life that you allow around your child? What do they do? If you look close enough you have a wealth of knowledge in your friends and family.
Your friends and family have jobs, hobbies, and skills right? Do you know someone who is knowledgeable about cars? Have them teach your kids how to service an engine, check the oil, or change a tire. Do you have someone who works at a factory? Perhaps they can arrange a tour or can talk to your child(ren) about the product they make from start to finish. Maybe you have a friend who is an exeptional cook. Or has a different way of life than yours. Maybe they went on a trip. I have a friend who just came back from Jordan to visit her family. I could have her tell my son all about her trip and how life is different over there.
You probably have someone in your life, or can find someone, who lived in a different time period. They would probably LOVE to tell your child(ren) all about how it was different “back then”. They probably have momentos to show you too.
Use your imagination. Look closely at your “village”.
I use Kindle a lot. I am cheap so I always search for free books. Try each subject you are looking for and then refine your search to “Low to high” and you will find a zillion free books. Keep in mind that most books do not stay free for long. It is usually a promotion so check often and “order” them early.
You do NOT need a Kindle device to use Kindle. You can download the app for whatever device you are using. Go to Amazon and search for your device. “Kindle app Windows 8” etc.
13. The Earth
No. I mean the real Earth. Go outside. Lie in the grass. Watch bugs crawl. Talk about what you see, smell, feel, touch, and hear. Go on nature walks. Have a scavenger hunt. Give your kids a place to dig. I live in an apartment so my son has a tote with dirt in it for his trucks.
There is really no reason to spend a ton of money on homeschooling. Especially if you are doing preschool or kindergarten. Sure, as time goes on more books are needed. More supplies. Just look around you and use what you already have access to first. You don’t need a classroom. Isn’t that why we are homeschooling in the first place?
How about you? What is your favorite resource you could not live without? Please comment. I would love to hear from you.