Amid all of the sensational stories on the news, funny memes, and toilet paper hoarding, this past year has been one for the history books.
There are so many new homeschoolers on the horizon and that is wonderful. It is common knowledge among homeschoolers that we like to share our opinions on curriculum and resources.
As a homeschool veteran and mother of 8, I want to help in any small way that I can. We’ve been homeschooling for over 13 years and thrive on finding ways to make learning fun.
My children and I brainstormed and came up with a list of our favorite FREE fun educational resources for families for when you get sick of the books and don’t really want to let the kids binge-watch Netflix.
Before I share my list, I want to welcome you to my little corner of the internet. Our family’s motto is to ‘pursue, encounter, and explore.’
Children who are engaged in their educational surroundings learn naturally. All books and worksheets are great for some kids, but most kids thrive when they get to explore with their senses.
In our first couple of years, I admit that we focused more heavily on books and other busy work. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day to get to the fun stuff, or so I thought. There are so many things that I wish I had known when I started.
It has taken a while for my type-A personality to let go of the school-at-home mentality and allow my kids to explore their gifts and talents in other ways. The more we explored educational resources for families that were fun and engaging, the more I have relaxed into the role as a homeschool parent.
In my experience, kids are quite creative and if shown some fun and inspiring ways to release that creativity, your walls will and furniture might be spared and your kids will gain a new skill and will be kept busy for a while.
After all, in all honesty, I wrote this list for you, mama. You are going to need a little break. We all need breaks, even if we’ve been homeschooling for years.
When is the last time you created a little art? Art is a great way to let off steam, process things going on around you and it is a lot of fun. All of the links are resources that we have used and enjoy.
Art for Kids Hub – These art lessons are taught by Mr. Hubs. My kids love that each of his art videos includes one of his kids. He teaches kids how to draw cool stuff in a simple and easy-to-follow manner.
Mr. Otter’s Studio – This YouTube Channel has art lessons using different mediums and is great at explaining step-by-step how to create beautiful artwork. The watercolor and drawing tutorials are easy to follow for kids about 8 and up.
Art Projects for Kids – These lessons include step-by-step instructions on how to draw, paint and use chalk and oil pastels. We have been using the FREE lessons for years. They are geared toward the K-6 crowd.
Doodle Draw Art – Lisa has fun how-to-draw videos of popular cartoon characters, Kawaii-style doodles, and watercolor tutorials, and more.
Draw So Cute – My kids love this YouTube channel. Wennie teaches her students how to draw cute Kawaii or Manga type drawings that are so cute and her lessons are easy to follow.
Catholic Icing – My kids spent the better part of Friday drawing everything on Lacy’s YouTube channel. Learn how to draw St. Patrick in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
You ARE An Artist – You will love Nana. She teaches you how to paint with chalk pastels. The videos on YouTube are FREE, but there are also themed eBooks, video art classes as well as a paid membership if you can’t get enough.
We have been on the lookout for quality online music lessons for years. I have had babies or toddlers for many years and in-person lessons are so stressful for us. We had someone teach in our home, which was great until she couldn’t come anymore.
The piano lesson we found are not FREE, but our music teacher Carly is amazing and we love her lessons. She also offers lessons to moms which is fantastic if you’ve always wanted to learn and never had the chance.
Lessons are super affordable at $15US/month and you can cancel anytime. The best part is that you pay one price for all of your kids!
Busy Kids Do Piano only opens membership a few times a year, so be sure to get on their mailing list. That way you can be ready to join and sometimes there are special discounts to join.
My younger children enjoy Music at Home Kindermusik lessons. It is great for kids from 0-9 and is a gentle introduction to many music concepts in a child-friendly and engaging way.
We start our homeschool days with Music at Home. It gets the wiggles out of the little guys and fills their cups so that I can work with the bigger kids. You can check it out for yourself. They offer a FREE 7-day trial.
My kids LOVE it when we include lots of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) into our homeschool. Your kids will love these activities.
Yes, these activities are a bit nerdy, but we don’t care if you think that we are nerdy. Your kids won’t care either because being nerdy is FUN!
LEGO Digital Designer – It doesn’t matter if you own thousands of LEGOs or none, your kids can use the LEGO digital designer to create anything using any piece of LEGO known to mankind.
Seriously, they have all the bits. My kids aged 7 and up have all used this program. I have no clue how hard or easy it is to navigate because they never ask me to help them. If they get stuck, they ask an older sibling.
LEGO Bits and Bricks – This is a computer coding software built in LEGO bricks. Of all things, the Kingdom of Cybit gets infected with Teravirus and the land gets infected. ‘Bit’ the robot shuts down.
The name of the game is to reboot ‘Bit’ and save Cybit by solving puzzles. This is a fun game that gets kids thinking sequentially and spatially. Let me know what you think.
Scratch – This is a computer programming game designed to teach children ages 8-16 how to code creative animations. It is a program used in many schools, so it might be something your children are already familiar with.
Lightbot – This is another simple computer coding game. You need to give a little bot commands and light up the blue squares. It is based on the same principles as LEGO Bits and Bricks.
LEGO Ideas Pinterest Board – Sometimes kids just need some inspiration and that is why I have a Pinterest board dedicated to LEGO. There are lots of fun builds to keep kids inspired and busy.
Stopmotion Explosion Animation – This is an absolute favorite pastime at our house. Animating with LEGO figures is something the boys really enjoy. There is a kit that you can purchase, but if you have an iOS device they have a FREE app.Buy on Amazon
A LEGO Brickumentary (Amazon Prime) – I haven’t watched this yet, but my kids seem to think I should include it anyway. That way we will have to watch it, too.
Reading to your children and having them listen to audiobooks is a great way to pass the time. My kids are audiobook junkies. Audiobooks are great for increasing your child’s vocabulary.
VOOKS – These are animated storybooks. They offer a FREE 1-year subscription to teachers, but they also offer a 30-day FREE trial to everyone else. I use these animated stories in our homeschool to keep little ones occupied while I work with the older children.
Librivox.org – This is a collection of recordings of books that are in the public domain. Most of them are classics and lesser-known books that are out of print, but many of them are widely known. The following is our favorite recording of Anne of Green Gables read by Karen Savage on Librivox.org.
LibbyApp – This is a great app to use with your local public library. We use it to download, both ebooks and audiobooks from our Public Library.
Tumble Book Library – This is something that I just recently learned about. Check and see if your public library has access to the Tumble Book Library. Children can have the stories read to them and read along with the text. Reading only gets better with lots of practice.
ABCMouse, Adventure Academy and Reading IQ are not FREE but are really inexpensive and the kids love it.
Teach Your Monster to Read – This is a fun game that my little ones use to practice their phonics and early reading skills. Just beware that the characters speak in a British accent. This threw my kids off a little at first.
Storynory – FREE audio stories for kids.
Other educational resources
These are fun educational resources that I have found, some of which are being offered as a result of the school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
My kids really wanted me to include the Usborne Quicklinks in this list. You don’t need to own the corresponding Usborne books to watch the videos or to play the games on this site.
There is a wealth of information in their quick links. My 10-year-old loves all of the WWI and WWII books.
I am not 100% sure that World Book is FREE without access through your local Public Library or as part of a membership like the one with SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
There are also quite a few other exciting resources that people are sharing all over social media. These are also FREE:
Famous Museums Virtual Tours – Amazing virtual tours of famous museums around the world.
Typing Club – learn how to type using this FREE program
Duolingo – You or the kids can learn a new language for FREE. A couple of my kids have used Duolingo, but eventually switched to online classes for high school credits.
Poetry Tea Time – Advice from a fellow homeschool mom on how to throw a poetry tea party with your kids. This is something lots of homeschool families do. It is a lot of fun and not all that hard to do.
Helpful advice from other veteran homeschool moms
Sweetness and Light – Are You Suddenly Homeschooling?
Wildflowers and Marbles – An Open Letter To Parents Thrust into Homeschooling
Some final thoughts
Homeschooling can be stressful, but also an exciting time, and I hope that you and your children make some great memories and you are able to make this year the best ever!
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have rough days. This is completely normal. All homeschool moms go through this, I can assure you.
Never hesitate to reach out to other homeschool families in your area. Together we can change the world and make it a beautiful place. Let’s do our best so that our children can look back at their homeschool years with fond memories.
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Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API