By Alisa Miller
Taking on the education of your children can be a rewarding and fun experience for all involved, but it requires a lot of preparation and organization. You can use the following web tools to enhance your homeschooling experience for yourself and your children. From general organizational tools to tools for specific subjects, you are bound to find some inspiration from the list below.
From creating goal charts to compiling shared calendars, the following tools will help you get your homeschooling information organized, as well as provide additional information for ideas and resources.
- HomeSqool. Create a free virtual homeschool classroom with this tool that even allows networking with other homeschool students and instructors.
- Joe’s Goals. This simple chart allows you to input your lessons or goals to be obtained each week, then you check them off as you complete them daily.
- MyHomePoint. This online calendar keeps track of your family’s activities, reminders, and more. Easy access for all the family makes this a winner.
- Handipoints. Create a lesson or chore chart for your children with this online tool, then your kids can check off each task as they go and monitor their progress until they reach the goal.
- The Home School Mom. Find a huge amount of information at this website, including support, lesson plans, weekly dinner menus, homeschool freebies, homeschool travel, and more.
- DonnaYoung.org. Get all sorts of printables specifically designed for homeschoolers on Donna Young’s site.
Books and Language Arts Tools
The following tools range from reference materials to online picture books to spelling check tools. There is even a fun vocabulary building game that helps feed the hungry, too.
- DailyLit. Select a book and have daily installments sent to you via email or RSS feed. Many of the books are free, but others require a small fee to read.
- Bartleby.com. Reference books, fiction, non-fiction and poetry can all be found at this site with a very comprehensive library.
- Refdesk.com. Find over 40 encyclopedias on this list to learn about space exploration, psychology, and more.
- Open Book Project. Aimed at teachers and students, this site offers IT, philosophy, and random bits of academia.
- Reading A-Z. Download and print several free books that include leveled readers, readers in Spanish and French, and books that focus on phonics, vocabulary, and fluency.
- Audio Stories 4 Kids. Download from MP3 files of many audio books for children. Titles include Alice in Wonderland, The House at Pooh Corner, and Madeline.
- Lookybook. With a click of a mouse button, you can flip through the pages of these high quality and often gorgeous children’s books.
- Children’s Storybooks Online. Find full-color story books for young readers and books for older children here, all available to read online and all for free.
- Free Classic Audio Books. Available in MP3 or m4b for iPods, get classics from Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Herman Melville, and more.
- orangoo. Double check your work and paste your text into this site to find out immediately if you have any spelling errors.
- FreeRice. Play this word game to sharpen vocabulary skills and help feed the hungry at the same time. Be careful, it’s addictive.
Find help with learning the abacus, creating a graph, or converting currency with these tools geared towards helping with math lessons.
- Universal Currency Converter. For studying international topics, this handy tool will help teach about the exchange rate with different countries.
- Algebra.help. Studying algebra is easier with these lessons, calculators, and worksheets.
- Math Playground. Specifically for elementary through middle school aged children, this site offers lots of fun activities such as logic problems, word problems, and games.
- The Abacus. Learn to use the ancient tool for mental mathematics with this online tool. Get an introduction to the abacus, history, interactive tutor, calculations, and more.
- Ask Dr. Math. Find the answer to any math question imaginable with this impressive resource.
- Martindale’s Calculators On-line Center. If you need any type of calculator at all, from a slide rule to the nutrient content of food, you can find it here.
- Roman Numeral Converter. Find out what DCLIII is or learn how to write 4,641 in Roman Numerals with this simple tool.
- SuperKids Math Worksheet Creator. Select the type of math problems and the minimum and maximum number of problems and a worksheet is automatically generated for use.
- Create a Graph. Use this tool to custom make any type of graph quickly and easily.
Find an interactive periodic table, a visible body, a microscopic look at cells, and more with the science tools below.
- Periodic Table of the Elements. This interactive, full-color periodic table is available both online and as a downloadable PDF file for printing.
- eNature.com. Type in your zip code and find tons of information about the wildlife in your area.
- CELLSalive. This site offers an interactive look at cells, plus plenty of information to learn about several cell subtopics.
- Who Named It?. This fun resource will let you discover the origin of medical eponyms or medical phenomena named for a person. Search alphabetically or browse to find descriptions of the condition and biographies of the people who lent their names.
- Visible Body. Sign up for free to take advantage of this incredible visualization tool to help you learn about the human anatomy from the muscular system to internal organs.
- Exploratorium Tools for Teaching. Find science tools including hands-on activities, a digital library, field trip information and discounts, and more on this fun site.
- TryScience. Get ideas for science experiments, places to go for field trips, and play online science adventures with this interactive tool.
- Climate Zone. Click on this interactive map to find climate data for all the countries around the world.
History and Government
From a clickable mummy to current activity in the U.S. House of Representatives, here you will find interesting tools to help learn about the past and the present.
- Clickable Mummy. This interactive mummy is a great tool for teaching all about the ancient process of mummification.
- Spartacus Educational. There is plenty to study about the American Civil War in this online encyclopedia.
- U.S. House of Representatives Floor Summary. This real-time tool lets you know about the proceedings happening on the House Floor.
- ANYDAY Today-in-History. Select any day of the year and this tool will tell you what happened in history that day, any important birthdays or holidays celebrated around the world, and religious observances and history.
- The Biography Maker. This tool will step you through creating an entertaining and informative biography on the person you select.
- EyeWitness to History. This site offers great history lessons through the eyes of the people who lived through the events.
- History Timelines on the Web. Find history timelines from all around the world from ancient history through present day.
- dMarie Time Capsule. Enter a date in history and you will find out the prices of common items, songs and books of the day, political leaders, and more.
Whether you are studying the U.S. or the world, these tools will enhance your family’s learning experience.
- 50States. This simple tool lets your student learn about the 50 states with tons of information available.
- Maps.com. Play educational and fun map games at this site.
- Visable Earth. View NASA images of the Earth here. Browse by both regions and topics.
- Countries of the World. Find facts about countries around the world including flags, history, geography, economy, and government.
- KidsWebJapan. Children can explore Japanese culture on this site. Use the Japanese house tool to explore the inside of a traditional home or discover what Japanese children’s lunches look like.
- IPL Kidspace: Stately Knowledge. Learn tons of facts about the fifty states with this easy tool.
- Destination: Himalayas–Where Earth Meets Sky. Explore this resource for photos and information about the Himalayas, then test your knowledge with the quizzes.
Not really falling into any one category, these tools will help organize virtual field trips, help with online research, teach about the nutritional value of produce, and more.
- Thinkature. Organize all your thoughts and research to prepare your paper or project with this tool. You can also use this collaboratively.
- Produce Oasis. With this tool, simply click on a letter to find information about produce alphabetically including nutrition information, seasonal information, what to look for when purchasing, and usability.
- Wizlite. As you are reading the Internet for information, use this tool to highlight any text online and share with others if you are working on a group project.
- HowStuffWorks. This site is an amazing tool for the curious child. Look up almost anything here.
- Free SAT Exam School. Find practice tests, flash cards, study guides, articles, and more to help your children prepare for this college entrance exam.
- Electronic Field Trips. Go on a field trip without ever leaving the house. Take the suggestions and tips provided or use them as a spark to your creativity so that you can create your own field trips.
- GPS Activities and Lesson Plans. Using GPS and geocaching can really enhance the learning experience. Find ways to use GPS and get lesson plans as well.
- The Classical Archives. Download up to five free music files of classical music a day. A paid subscription is also available for unlimited downloads.
- NotebookingPages.com. Learn about notebooking and get free notebooking pages from this site.
If your children are learning a second (or third) language, these tools will help get the job done.
- WordChamp. Sign up for free and create a “class” to access this incredible tool for learning a second language. Homework, drills, website reader, and conversation with native speakers are all available features.
- Yahoo! Babel Fish. Translate any text or website or learn phrases in other languages with this tool.
- Ethnologue. This incredible encyclopedia catalogs all of the 6,912 known languages in the world.
- Foreign Language News and Newspapers. There’s no better way to study a language than by going straight to the source. Get news in eight different languages.
- foreignword.com. Get dictionaries, translators, and more with the tools on this site. Lots of different languages are accessible here.
- Little Explorers Picture Dictionary. This tool shows photos of many items beginning with the letter you click on. Try it in English, French, Dutch, German, Japanese, and more.
If you use Google, these tools are absolute must-haves for your studies.
- Google Notebook. While you are browsing around the Internet, use this tool to save information you find.
- Google Maps. This interactive map program is great for geography lessons and more. Find your creativity and use this tool with tons of other lessons as well.
- Google Earth. Take your lesson on the Taj Mahal right to India with Google Earth, where you can see real places all over the world.
- Google Alerts. Get email updates on a specific topic you are studying or are interested in following.
Finding good software for little to no cost can be a challenge. The following list provides software to help your children learn and most is free.
- Discovery Educational Software. Most of the software at this site is for a fee, but they do offer a few free titles such as the Deal or No Deal game to help learn money and a program to help with learning addition.
- EclipseCrossword.com. Create your own crossword puzzles with this free software for use with Microsoft Windows.
- Giveaway of the Day. This site gives away free software downloads that would normally cost something each day. The free download is available for 24 hours only. Subscribe to their RSS feed so you can get notifications of what software is available each day.
- Mazemaker Plus. Create mazes with this software. You can even use pictures from your hard drive as templates for mazes.
- Sheppard Software. Download free software for math, science, and history games designed for use with homeschools and traditional schools.
- Owl & Mouse. Get free software for reading, interactive maps, and medieval history.
- SofoTex. Download all sorts of educational software from this site. It appears most of it is designed for older students.
- Educational free software. With a heavy emphasis on math programs, there are also plenty of other software programs available here including interactive dictionaries.
- NONAGS Educational Software. The software available at this site is designed for older students and offers a nice variety of titles from typing to solar system creation to scientific calculators.
- CNET Home Software. Find educational software among the other products marketed for home use. These titles include language learning, interactive flashcards, and more.
- OnScreen DNA Lite. Download this free software to help students learn about the structure of DNA.
- Globalmania. This free software promises that students will master world geography in seven months.
- Kid’s Typing Skills. Download this free software to help your children improve their typing skills and speed.
Specific search engines can make Internet research much easier and more efficient. These search engines range from child-specific to academic.
- Ask for Kids. This search engine is designed specifically to answer the unique questions children ask. Also, each website link provided is “G rated.”
- CyberSleuth Kids. Designed as an educational search site, you can search by key word or browse through many educational topics.
- KidsClick!. Created by librarians especially for children, this search engine allows kids to search by keyword or by topic and all sites are age appropriate.
- Tablefy. Find out the similarities and differences between the top Internet browsers, popular beverages, sports players, and more. This is a great resource for a homeschool project.
- WikiSlice. This search engine is specifically for searching Wikipedia. Suppose you want to find everything about tennis in Wikipedia. You will receive a link to the main article about tennis as well as links to other articles that mention tennis.
- Online Conversion. Need to adapt a recipe or figure out what time it is in London? This online conversion site will help you find anything you need.
- MetaGlossary.com. Find the definition to anything on this powerful search engine. Enter a term, phrase, or acronym and get results with links that can be emailed or copied to a clipboard.
- Google Scholar. This new Google search finds only scholarly literature. If you are trying to find the latest research or information on any topic ranging from diabetes to Oscar Wilde to tornadoes and don’t want to wade through the mess that can come up with other searches, this one will take your straight to the source.
- bookmach. If you are tired of all the spam that shows up, inundating your child while she is looking for news, then bookmach.com is the place for you. With over 3300 sources, you will only find the best when you use this search engine.
- Open Library. This search engine will find any book ever published. If you want to read one of those books online, you are in luck. Over 234,000 have full text available.
Reading blogs can be a very helpful tool. Find out about what other homeschoolers do and get suggestions for lessons or approaches to learning.
- Little Acorns Treehouse. This homeschool family shares the layout of their homeschool learning environment, the curriculum they use, and more.
- Mother Crone’s Homeschool. Read about the homeschooling experience of this family with two teenaged daughters using a curriculum based on Charlotte Mason.
- A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles. From the other side of the desk, this blog is written by a 17 year old who is homeschooled and is an aspiring writer.
- The Mango Times. Written by the father of a homeschooled family and a practicing dentist, this dad offers his perspective as he serves as support to his wife and children and their homeschooling adventures.
- Preschoolers and Peace. This blog belongs to the wife of The Mango Times blogger. Find her perspective on homeschooling her eight children.
- Choosing Joy. This powerhouse of a homeschooling mama is in charge of her family of nine children ranging from 3 to 23.
- Principled Discovery. Written by a homeschooling mom, this blog focuses heavily on news and information about homeschooling, education, family, and faith.
- A Woman on Purpose. This blog, written by a homeschooling mom of a military family, offers her views on education and family.
- A Typical Life. Canadian, homeschooling three girls, and mom of one grown boy, this mom injects humor in her often poignant posts about her families lives.