There’s no denying that home schooling is becoming an educational option utilized by more and more parents as an alternative to public education and private education. Others are choosing to home school because they have a certain value system or religious viewpoint they want to instill. Whatever the reason you and your family have chosen the option of home schooling, there are a multitude of terrific online resources out there to make your choice more effective for you.
Whether you are a seasoned home schooling veteran or just considering taking the leap, you will find these five resources inspiring. These sites are well-designed and visually appealing (that means that while you will enjoy utilizing them, they will also appeal to children and engage them visually), easy to navigate, and often include lesson plans and additional resources. They also have a great deal of information and material available for free! Warning: When reviewing these sites, set aside plenty of time. They are wonderfully addictive!
1. Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) – Consider this your go-to resource for math and science lessons. With over 2,700 videos and more being added regularly, you can study any subject anytime. The site originally focused on the areas of expertise of its founder, Salman Khan, who received three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard before founding the Academy. However, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the curriculum is being expanded to include a variety of humanitiesrelated topics.
As a registered user on the site, your child can track their progress, seek assistance and earn points and badges as they go. As the educator, you are able to see the quality of their work in detail and access reports on your student’s progress. If you just need to stop by occasionally for a little help with a homework subject, that’s fine, too, and you do not need to register.
2. Canadiana (www.canadiana.ca) – A really cool website that provides extensive social study curriculum resources on the themes of constitutional history, Aboriginals and pioneers/immigrants in the ‘Canada in the Making’ section. You also have access to the Canadiana Discovery Portal, a search engine to the digital collections of archives and museums across the country. This site is a one-stop shop with lesson ideas, essay and report topics, fun activities and even tests and quizzes ready for your use! The entire website is available in either English or French.
3. Discovery Education (www.discoveryeducation.com) – With the same quality and commitment to respecting the wonder of nature as other Discovery mediums, Discovery Education almost has to be experienced to be believed. Their website explains their offerings as “award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, real time assessment, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s greatest talent, classroom contest & challenges, professional development and more.” And Indeed, it is so much more! There is an opportunity to subscribe to unlock additional resources but with such an incredible amount of information available for free, I don’t feel like I’ve missed a thing by not being a subscriber.
4. The Historica-Dominion Institute (www.histori.ca) – The Institute’s wonderful website is “dedicated to Canadian history, identity and citizenship." If I could access only one website with which to educate my children, this would probably be it. It is home to The Canadian Encyclopedia, a library of lesson plans on Canadian history, and a professional development page populated with articles by leaders in the field of history and education. Be sure and check out the collection of ‘Heritage Minutes,’ one-minute video segments profiling famous Canadians from all walks of life including sports, the arts and medicine. The TCE (The Canadian Encyclopedia) Blog is a must read for anyone interested in the arts and humanities. This site is a tremendous resource, whether for school or simply for personal enrichment. Also available completely in French.
5. Read Write Think (www.readwritethink.org) – Language Arts, reading and writing - find it all here! A partnership between the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English (US), this site is sponsored by the Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity program. With classroom, parent and after-school resources filterable by Grade, theme or learning objective, you will have a tough time deciding which activities to use. Would you like to accentuate your lesson plans with topics in Canadian literature? Go to www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com and type ‘Literature’ in the search field.
These five resources put a world of information right at your fingertips. I encourage you to explore, enjoy and utilize them. I hope they will enrich your home schooling experience as well as demonstrate the role that technology can play in the quality education of our students.
Lauren is a wife and working mom focused on technology and its impact on the future of education.
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