The frugal and creative homeschooler need not even pay for Internet service. Most libraries provide wireless Internet access for free as well as computers with online access. Even some city parks provide wireless Internet access. Using the abundance of educational Internet resources, homeschoolers from preschool through high school levels can assemble a personalized online curriculum based on curriculum standards checklists and special interests.
A self-designed homeschooling curriculum might also be called an out-of-the box curriculum or an unschooling curriculum. With the abundance of educational resources available online, the Internet can be relied upon heavily for assembling and out-of-the-box curriculum or for pursuing interests in an unstructured way.
Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
Children’s educational websites cater to the youngest Internet users. Websites such as PoissonRouge.com and Starfall.com help young children learn to use computers, websites, and browsers, while developing letter recognition, early reading skills, and other basic skills such as math and scientific observation and experimentation. Several popular television shows also have companion websites that allow children to transition comfortably from one to the other. Very young children may especially enjoy online painting games, which allow them to use a variety of creative tools while developing computer skills.
Elementary and Junior High Homeschool Curriculum
Older children can take advantage of standards-based reference websites such as Discovery Education Home Resources, as well as other educational websites including History.com and Discovery.com. These websites provide information in an interactive multimedia format with videos, games, and quizzes.
Free online virtual worlds provide children with a fun way to explore topics and develop skills. OrangeKids.com, for example, sends players on missions to develop financial literacy, and Poptropica.com, developed by Family Education Network, gives kids a safe place to explore and play.
Homeschool parents may enjoy perusing HomeschoolShare.com, Hslaunch.com, and HomeschoolHelperOnline.com, which allow parents to share homeschooling resources such as activity sheets, unit studies, lesson plans, and lapbook templates and kits.
High School Homeschool Curriculum
Teen homeschoolers can take advantage of open courseware. Khanacademy.org, a non-profit organization, calls itself a free classroom for the world and provides thousands of video lessons on a variety of subjects. Wikiversity.org aims to “set learning free.” Several top-rated colleges offer free open courseware programs, including MIT, Stanford, Yale, Berkeley, Tufts, and Harvard. See the Open Courseware Consortium for more options.
A do-it-yourself homeschool curriculum allows homeschoolers to create their own educational program. Colleges have long provided an option for students to self-design a major program. Now homeschool students of all ages can do the same with the abundance of resources available via the Internet.
You might also enjoy: The Online Homeschooling Collection
Source: Camp, Tammy. “10 Places to Get A Free Education.” TammyCamp.com, June 15, 2010.