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Seven Great (and Free) Online Learning Resources for Families

On a pretty regular basis, parents ask us what free at-home online learning resources exist for their children. The good news is, there are a lot of amazing resources out there. The bad news is, sorting through them all can be sort of overwhelming. To make things a little easier, here are the ones we most often recommend to families:

Math and Science

CK-12

CK-12 is best known for offering a variety of free lessons in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Their site is incredibly well-organized and very accessible. It’s technically for kids of all ages, but I would say that it's best geared for students who are in middle or high school. Their website is full of video lessons, study guides, quizzes, simulations, and audio lessons. It also has "FlexBooks" (essentially, online textbooks) on most of their topics. They designed their website with personalized lessons in mind so that students can learn at their own pace and meet their own set of goals.

Patrick JMT

If you have a middle or high schooler who is struggling with math, this is a great resource. Patrick JMT was designed by a math teacher and has hundreds of step-by-step video math tutorials. The site currently features over 900 lessons that cover everything from basic arithmetic to advanced calculus. If your student is a visual learner, Patrick JMT is sure to help put them on the path to success when it comes to math.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is one of the best learning resources on the web. It's a free site that is comprised of thousands of videos and is geared towards self-paced learning. Although it is mostly known for its math resources, it offers tutorials on a diverse range of other subjects as well. In addition to offering step-by-step tutorials and videos, it also offers practice questions for each lesson. I will say that most of Khan Academy's lessons tend to be more procedural than conceptual, but it still allows students of all ages (K-12) to access educational material in a fun and easy way.

Science Kids

Science Kids was founded in 2007 by a man named Rene Smith who ran educational programs at a science center in New Zealand. This website provides all sorts of free videos, fun facts, quizzes, experiments, and games that help foster a desire for children to learn more about science and technology. Science Kids takes important concepts and then translates them in a way that your student is sure to find enjoyable. While Science Kids can certainly be used to supplement learning, my favorite section on this site is the "Experiments" section, which provides step by step tutorials on how to do things like: making quick sand, seeing what happens when you mix oil and water, creating a vinegar volcano, creating an erupting geyser with diet coke and mentos, and writing secret messages with invisible ink created from lemon juice (needless to say, adult supervision recommended for all of the above). It's a great way for students to learn about science in the real world and would probably be perfect for keeping kids engaged with science once summer rolls around.

 

English Language Arts

K12 Reader

K12 Reader offers thousands of free printable worksheets that cover a range of different English Language Arts topics like reading skills, vocabulary, grammar, writing, spelling, and composition. The worksheets in the reading skills section may be especially helpful for students struggling with reading comprehension. They help students with drawing conclusions, distinguishing fact and opinion, making good inferences, figuring out what point of view the narrator of a story has, and learning about cause and effect. Their spelling section is also impressive if you're the parent of younger students; it includes 36 printable worksheets for grade levels 1-5 and spelling worksheets that cover all 1,000 FRY sight words and Dolch sight words.

E-Learning for Kids

E-Learning for Kids is most beneficial for kids aged 5-12. They offer free supplemental resources in areas such as math, science, environmental skills, computer skills, health, English language arts, and life skills. Lessons are organized by topic and grade level. The site doesn't have hundreds of lessons like some of the other sites, but the quality of their lessons is superb. I really appreciated their life skills section, which covers topics such as bullying and the importance of communication. E-Learning for Kids also has several thorough keyboarding games/lessons that can help your student achieve keyboard mastery.

 

Life Skills

E-Learning for Life

Brought to you by the team over at E-Learning for Kids, E-Learning for Life is geared towards students aged 13-18. Their free courses focus on developing leadership skills, professional skills, marketing skills, and financial skills. They also have extensive courseware on how to operate Microsoft Office programs, Programing Skills (like Java, Adobe Flash, HTML code, and Adobe Photoshop CS5), and how to use Microsoft Windows 7. Their leadership skills section offers several simulation models, as does their financial skills section. Thanks to some of the resources on this site, your student could graduate high school already knowing how to do things like navigating through job interview questions and balancing a checkbook.