Free Internet Homeschooling is Real. Find Out How You Can Use the Internet for Homeschool!
Technology has brought us incredible access to information that is updated moment by moment. We now have a nearly endless supply of documentaries, YouTube videos, podcasts, webinars, live streaming events, articles, blogs, and more to satisfy any question or expand on any topic. Although there is much to be said about curling up with a good book, some may argue that our now instantaneous forms of knowledge can replace the more static forms like school textbooks. As homeschoolers, we have more choices about the sources of our children’s learning. Find out what Internet homeschoolers are doing here!
|Pros and Cons of the Internet Homeschool Method|
|Support for Families Creating an Internet Homeschool|
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although many of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.
What is the Internet Approach to Homeschooling?
Internet homeschoolers appreciate the benefits of current knowledge and understand the opportunities for learning couched in a worldwide platform. They use what is out there on the Internet to frame an education for their children based on what is important now and what can build knowledge for making decisions for the future. The Internet approach to homeschooling, in its truest form, does not use a structured curriculum; however, there are many homeschoolers who use other methods of homeschooling as the basis of their children’s educations and then supplement with Internet resources that expand or deepen learning or bring knowledge up to date. All these homeschoolers use the Internet as their classroom!
Pros and Cons of the Internet Homeschool Method
Most of us would probably say that we both love and dislike the Internet, and Internet homeschoolers have to navigate both the good and the bad. The benefits include access to up-to-date news and information, real-time access to the world’s current expert leaders and organizations, flexibility for travel without the use of printed materials, and low cost. With these benefits comes cutting edge knowledge and answers for our curious minds at the tips of our fingers. At the same time, there is a lot of information on the Internet that lacks quality or is based solely on opinion. As an Internet homeschooler, you will have to weed through the garbage to get to the gems. You will have to learn which websites are valid and trustworthy and which should be overlooked. You may also be concerned about the extent of screen time your child will be experiencing, and will, of course, need to be mindful of Internet safety and distractions. Further, you may be challenged by the lack of structure that having a more standard curriculum can bring. You may find that you spend more time preparing and that you find yourself concerned that you may not be covering everything that needs to be covered to best prepare your child for college and career.
Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the challenges and reap the full benefits of your Internet homeschool. Lean on the experiences of homeschoolers who have come before you. Find lists of quality resources (like those below) and ask your local network for suggestions. Keep a notebook of those Internet resources you have enjoyed and found valid. You may be able to design a homeschool schedule that reduces long periods of screen time (i.e., by alternating screen activities with non-screen activities like gym and art) and by taking measures to make screen use healthier (i.e., by looking into monitor features and materials that can reduce glare, etc.). To create a little more structure, you may want to access your state’s grade level standards and then search for materials that will help your child meet those standards. This may be particularly important if you intend to return your child to public school and for preparation for college. You may even consider adding an online curriculum, like Time4Learning or Power Homeschool, as a backbone to your Internet homeschool, supplementing the curriculum and exploring “special” areas with the use of the Internet.
Tips for Using the Internet for Your Homeschool
Using the Internet as the source of your homeschool knowledge may feel overwhelming at first. There is simply so much out there that you may not know where to start. Here are some ideas from those who understand homeschooling:
Homeschooling, Families & Kids Considerations with Mobile Internet | Mobile Internet Resource Center
Find out how to analyze your mobile Internet needs (free content) and then become a member to learn more about mobile Internet requirements, how to assemble your family mobile Internet, and how to set up parent controls.
Managing Internet Distractions | Homeschool Success
Explore the significance of the problem and how to reduce the distractions of the Internet, especially for those high schoolers who are online.
Podcast: How to Use the Power of the Internet in Your Homeschool | Homeschool.com
“Patricia Inman speaks with us about using the internet as a learning resource in your homeschool. Online resources present many opportunities to enrich your child’s education. However, this resource is not without its dangers. It’s important to take precautions to take full advantage of its educational benefits.”
Tips for Using the Internet in Your Homeschool | Homeschool.com
“Contributor Meg Phillips shares with us how we can effectively use the internet in our homeschool teaching efforts.”
If you are willing to incur some minimal cost, you may find that services like these can add benefit to your homeschool:
Curiosity Stream $
With Curiosity Stream, you can stream thousands of documentaries, series, and shows on demand on any device. Explore the Curiosity Channel, “featuring a scheduled lineup of Curiosity programming” and watch for new releases from Curiosity Studios, “producing Curiosity Originals exploring science, nature, history, tech, travel, crime, adventure, and more.” Check out the One Day University to access “the best professors’ most insightful and entertaining lectures.”
“Netflix is a streaming service that offers a wide variety of award-winning TV shows, movies, anime, documentaries, and more on thousands of internet-connected devices. You can watch as much as you want, whenever you want without a single commercial – all for one low monthly price. There’s always something new to discover and new TV shows and movies are added every week!” You can create a profile for your child, too!
“Over 140,000 classes, endless possibilities. We empower kids 3 to 18 to build their own curriculum of interactive, one-of-a-kind classes.” Topic areas include arts, coding & tech, English, health & wellness, life skills, math, music, science & nature, social studies, and world languages.
Rosetta Stone $
Choose to learn one or more of the 25 languages available from Rosetta Stone: “The best way to pick up a language is to surround yourself with it. We help you learn efficiently through real-world scenarios, interactive activities, and audio from native speakers. Rosetta Stone sets you up for success by introducing new skills at the perfect pace and giving you opportunities to practice key words and phrases in multiple contexts. We give you immediate feedback on your pronunciation […], preparing you to hold meaningful conversations in your new language.”
Support for Families Creating an Internet Homeschool
A great way to get your Internet homeschool on the right track is to connect with other homeschoolers who are using the Internet. You can try to find others in your own network or in local support groups, or you can try connecting with Internet homeschoolers online through groups like these:
Homeschool for Free
“A place to find free homeschooling materials, ideas, and inspiration!”
“For parents and carers who are Homeschooling Online. A place for you to share your experiences, ideas and resources for a growing community.”
Homeschooling with Outschool Parent Community
“Homeschooling with Outschool Parent Community is for parents homeschooling (or prospective homeschooling) parents who have children taking classes on Outschool.”
Online Classes for Homeschoolers and Virtual Learners
“This group is for advertising online classes and for parents to find classes that will suit their children.”
Secular Homeschooling with Netflix & Other Media
“Welcome to Secular Homeschooling with Netflix & Other Media. We share the best of the best in educational digital resources and streaming media!”
Internet Homeschooling Programs and Resources
Despite its many benefits, the Internet can be overwhelming. There are a lot of websites that claim to be what they are not, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. Would you like some help finding homeschool Internet programs and resources, especially suggestions for Internet resources that are totally free? Check out these to see if they are a good fit for your Internet homeschool:
A2ZHomeschooling Explore Pages
Browse this collection of topics, including language arts, math, social studies, science, fine arts, health & fitness, languages, computer literacy, drivers ed, holidays, and general interest. Discover lists of Internet resources, videos, games, printables, field trips, and more!
Find video series for full courses, including Black American History, World Mythology, World History, U.S. History, Big History, U.S. Government and Politics, Psychology, Economics, Intellectual Property, Sociology, Linguistics, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Astronomy, Biology, Ecology, Anatomy & Physiology, Outbreak Science, Zoology, Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics, Artificial Intelligence, Economics, Navigating Digital Information, Media Literacy, Literature 1 and 2, Business Soft Skills, and Business Entrepreneurship. There are also courses in How to College and Fast Guides: To Electives and Majors.
“Online homeschool platform & curriculum for Pre-K to 12th grade. 7 standard courses: Language Arts, Reading/Literature, Math, Science, History/Social Studies, Visual/Performing Arts, and Physical Education. Includes 180 Days of Curriculum, Over 16,000 Lessons, Weekly Spelling Program, Quizzes and Tests, Classic eBooks, 36 Weeks of STEM, Extra Curriculum, Fun and Easy-to-Use. Everything you need to independently homeschool.” Free accounts available, or you can upgrade for more features.
Educational Podcasts | A2ZHomeschooling
Check out this great list of educational podcasts for elementary students, middle schoolers, and high school students and adults, and learn about apps where you can find podcasts.
History Channel: History Classroom
“History Classroom offers resources for educators, including education guides, learning tools, and links to educational content.” Find links to History at Home, This Day in History, Idea Book, Study Guides, History This Week Podcast, History Film Corps, and Biography. Search the Topics section to find materials about the Great Depression, World War I, Immigration, Eras, Movements, Traditions & Rituals, and so much more!
“We’re a nonprofit with the mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. […] Students practice at their own pace, first filling in gaps in their understanding and then accelerating their learning. […] Created by experts, Khan Academy’s library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It’s all free for learners and teachers.”
NASA Space Place
“Launched in 1998, NASA Space Place’s mission is to inspire and enrich upper-elementary-aged kids’ learning of space and Earth science online through fun games, hands-on activities, informative articles and engaging short videos. With material in both English and Spanish and resources for parents and teachers, NASA Space Place has something for everyone.”
Check out the official YouTube Channel for Bill Nye, The Science Guy. Take your child on a fun ride to learn about electricity, insects, wind, magnetism, the eyeball, outer space, and lots of other science topics.
Varsity Tutors: Free Online Courses
In addition to providing online tutoring, Varsity Tutors also offers free online courses. Do an earthquake lab or learn about backyard bites and stings. Find out about the gods of Egypt, the Cold War space race, and so much more!
We would love to add your expertise to this blog. Please share your Internet homeschooling experiences and resources in the comments below….