What excites us to do homeschooling is the opportunity to finally be hands-on with our kids’ learning – to personally see what areas they excel at, what challenges they have, and what their learning gaps are. We want to prepare them for life, not just for them to finish academic subjects. We want to instill values and discipline and raise them wholly so their lives may be fragrant offerings to God.
Our homeschool set up is quite unique because we are away from our kids and there is a significant time difference between our locations (us being in USA and them in the Philippines). The two of them are in their early teens and so they are very active. We, on the other hand, struggle with keeping our energies high during class. You see, we do our fulltime jobs, and then teach ‘til our bedtime. Online materials, which are printable whenever needed, are best for us because being far, we need to be able to watch their screens and evaluate their progress online.
In other words, creative, reliable, high quality, and interactive materials and platforms are non-negotiable for our homeschool to succeed. We have tried, and continue to try, a lot of materials and here is an overview of some of our most favorite discoveries so far.
LIVE ONLINE PLATFORMS
YAPA Kids is a US-based community organization dedicated to inspiring academic curiosity in Grades 1 to 8 students. It is intended as a supplement to elementary and middle school education. Their team consists of a group of highly passionate and qualified high school students who are looking to share their experience and skills with others. They offer live, online, small-group classes which are of exceptional quality. Because they are small groups, interactions with teachers and between students are maximized. Students may join for summer, fall, and spring semesters, or stay for the whole school year. Classes are free of charge; however, they gladly accept donations.
Besides academics, my kids benefit from the valuable experience of being in an international class with multi-cultured classmates from over 15 countries. As of date, our boys are enrolled in Public Speaking, Writing, Literary Analysis, Java, Python, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Medical Enrichment, History, Business, Singing, and Arts. Oh, yes, we try to enlist them to as many classes that are available and doable as possible for their time zone. 🙂
To register for Yapa Kids classes, fill up this form and mention our email address, email@example.com, as reference.
Varsity Tutors has around 18,000 highly qualified tutors that connect to students via live learning program. They offer four ways of learning – private tutoring, small group classes, large group classes, and the Learning Lab, which is a self-study format. Needless to say, we take advantage of the free ones – large group classes and the Learning Lab. Although these are not full courses, they are very good short classes for electives and self-development.
The large group classes are taught by subject-matter experts, and they facilitate a huge range of topics. Because these are large groups, there’s very limited to zero student interaction; nonetheless, they are great for short electives, remedial, and leisure learning. The Learning Lab offers adaptive assessments and personalized learning plans to help students focus on where the most improvement is needed. They have a full library of practice tools that are aligned to academic standards. Students learn at their own pace.
Schoolhouse Teachers is a full curriculum for the entire family. For a low annual cost, we have access to more than 400 courses, free account with RightNow Media and World Books, a gold plan with Applecore, annual subscription with The Old Schoolhouse® magazine, community support, homeschool planner, and a whole lot of freebies that is worth far more than our subscription cost. I have written an article describing this wonderful package; click here to read.
We appreciate the school boxes that Schoolhouse Teachers staff has put together. This saves us a lot of time planning what to teach our kids for each subject at the grade level they are in. In our first year of homeschooling, we have not fully utilized the courses as we experimented with more interactive materials. Our older teen has soon acquired the discipline for more rigid and independent learning, so for this year, we are maximizing the school box courses as well as many of the electives. We are finding the courses very well written and presented. Their contents are great for preparing our kids for college and for life.
In case you want to subscribe to Schoolhouse Teachers, we have good news. Myself being Schoolhouse Ambassador with them, the support group that we manage is given a special discount of only $99/year lock-in subscription cost. To avail, (1) join Lifeschool-Homeschool PH support group on Facebook, (2) use our affiliate link, and (3) use our code at checkout. Your purchase cost is locked-in, so you get the same discount every time you renew subscription. What blessing! Enjoy. 😊
I was surprised and fascinated about this discovery. GCF Global Learn Free is a service given by Goodwill Industries, a known non-profit that helps people find jobs and grow their careers so they can change their lives. The courses offered at GCF Global are very practical and intended to equip learners for career placement and advancement. They are great for our young learners as well since they build a future equipped with valuable work and life skills. Lessons are simple and clearly presented with articles and videos and concluded with quizzes. Ah, I love the quizzes as they provide practicum and essential evaluation of our kids’ comprehension.
GCF Global is a go-to for our Computer and Technology subjects as well as many electives such as MS Office applications, Digital Photography and Design, Digital Media Literacy, Career Planning, and Computer Programming. They also offer maths, grammar and reading, and foreign languages. You may want to check all the topics here as they are a lot to list. Oh, did I mention GCF Global is entirely free of charge? It is!
Khan Academy is probably one of the most well-known online resource for homeschoolers. Being a non-profit, their mission is to provide free, world-class education for anyone anywhere. They offer personalized learning as students can learn and practice at their own pace. Materials are great for filling in gaps in the students’ comprehension and then accelerating their learning through mastery. The reporting system is great for parents. Teachers from all over the world benefit from this resource as they can utilize it for their classes.
We like Khan Academy because it is organized and mastery-based. We utilize their Grammar, Hour of Coding, Growth Mindset, and Personal Finance, among many courses.
They also have educational game app for kids two years old to seven. Needless to say, because of their mission to make education available globally, the game app is free.
Sheppard Software makes learning fun and stimulating. There are hundreds of available educational games in their site which are accessible even via phones and tablets. They are great for young learners yet my teens don’t outgrow them. We still refer to Sheppard Software whenever usual lessons become tedious. They are very useful especially for my younger boy, being a kinetic learner. I can’t trivialize how much learning my boy gets from playing the games. A lot of the challenges are stimulating and belonging to advance grade level. Even I have to make sure I review well before I can perfect the scores, LOL.
Not only is math a challenging subject for many. It is also challenging to find a good material that students can easily understand and enjoy. We tried various materials and it’s an understatement to say that we are very happy to have discovered School Yourself. For one, lessons are from award-winning Harvard instructors. Two, we get free unlimited access to lessons. Three, assessments are personalized based on smart algorithms that figure out where our kids need help the most. Also, its interface is interactive and allows students to participate with their answers while lessons are being explained.
It is simply superb, smooth, reassuring, the best! I know! I am a Math major and Math teacher myself. I would be willing to painstakingly teach each lesson, but thank God for School Yourself and the generous Harvard creators of this resource, I’ve got my hands mostly untied. By all means, try it. 🙂
Crosswired Science advertises itself as God-centered science curriculum for K-12 with the motto “Showing the glory of God through the things He has made.” It’s exactly the reason why we have subscribed.
It took us the longest time to find an affordable yet quality science curriculum that supports our Christian faith. Being a Physics major myself and a follower of Christ, I remember my university years of struggle from digging and weighing contradicting worldviews, and finally coming to the conclusion, “Hey, they are not at all contradictory!” Like Galileo who fought for his discoveries believing that God is the perfect Mathematician, we want our kids to learn, discover, and enjoy the wonders of creation as they are led in awe as to how great our God is who has made everything around them possible.
Crosswired Science provides interactive video lessons, quizzes, experiment guides, and daily devotionals linking each lesson to Bible verses for meditation. How wise! We use Crosswired Science as supplement; however, one may use it as a full science curriculum. Our subscription costs $19 only for the whole year.
SquidBooks provides neat, organized, animated, interactive, personalized science learning that meets the needs of diverse learners. It is complete with articles, graphic organizers, vocabulary exercises, fun quizzes, and a reporting system. Parents and teachers can create many classes, enlist students in each class, assign particular lessons and command deadlines. SquidBooks helps us parent-teachers understand where our kids need additional support via the superb reporting system, allowing us to provide customized instructions that cater to their academic needs.
Our kids love how supposedly complicated scientific concepts are simply presented and clearly explained. We, in turn, love that they almost always perfect every quiz and that they can finally pride themselves of acing their Sciences.
SquidBooks adheres to evolutionist point of view, so for families like us who are into Young Earth and Creationist view, parental guidance is requisite. My husband and I agreed that since these scientific views are taught in universities, it is good for our kids to be also exposed to them. Our time of homeschooling gives the perfect opportunity for deeper discussions regarding these opposing views. For the less conservative homeschoolers, this resource is great. They come with a subscription cost, but they offer free trial; and for each family that you refer, you get an additional free month to a maximum of 8 months.
My family is very grateful that we have found SpellQuiz. It gives our kids a superb platform to learn the English language. We love how easy, enjoyable, interactive, yet challenging the activities are. The state-of-the-art interface allows our kids to learn not only spelling, but also grammar, vocabulary, speech, and keyboarding all at the same time.
SpellQuiz sends out certificates of achievement for every milestone. Collecting them adds up to the excitement. Students may also participate in online Spelling Bee competitions. What fun! Parent-teachers benefit so much with the reports that SpellQuiz sends. It is complete with each student’s achievements, performance evaluation, activities, certificates, and other statistics.
Our kids themselves say they love learning from the platform, so we love referring it to friends. SpellQuiz comes with a subscription cost, but this very generous company is open to helping families find alternative solutions. For example, submitting a written feedback and a video testimonial on how your learners are benefiting from their program will secure you up to 6 months of free access. If you can afford, by all means, subscribe to a paid plan because your subscription will help develop more features and serve more learners globally. To avail of 10% discount from the annual subscription, kindly message us at Lifeschool-Homeschool PH and ask us for a special discount code. We’ll be happy to help. 🙂
Quill provides free tools to make elementary to high school students better writers with its writing and grammar activities. Parent-teachers can choose and assign lessons based on the concepts their child needs to master, from basic to intermediate to advanced skills. Their materials, we’d say, are somewhat challenging, so we reckon it’s perfect for sharpening our ardent learners’ skills. Although Quill is primarily a grammar and writing curriculum, it comes with a feature wherein parent-teachers can filter discussion topics – culture, history, science, and more, so that our kids learn additional nuggets regarding various subject matters.
Quill is like a strict and perfectionist professor that corrects every single error – punctuations, capitalization, space, spelling, grammar, and more, and afterward praises the learner for a job well done. Want excellence for your kids? Quill it is!
You may choose between basic or premium subscription plans. Basic plan is free while premium plan costs $80 for a year for unlimited students. Click here to try it out for free, and when you do, you give us 4 weeks of free premium subscription, so thanks!
Disclaimer: My kids are not currently using this material, obviously because they are now grown up. However, because we realize that many of our readers are parents of very young kids, we decide to include it in this article.
We first encountered Children Learning Reading on 2013 when our non-profit organization, Himaya Resource Center for Transformation, did Reading program with various communities in the countryside of The Philippines. Beside our main material from BLESS (a School of Tomorrow partnership program), we tried to look for more resources. The fascinating videos of little kids as young as 2 years old learning to read effortlessly, and the many testimonies of parents who use this material captured our attention. We purchased the package for a one time subscription fee. It includes both stage 1 and 2 lesson plans, rhymes, stories to read, audio recording for letter sounds, sight words, and printable flashcards. Then and until now, we still raise our two thumbs up for the simplicity and effectivity of this program. It is best for little kids and even for older kids and adults who struggle with reading.
There are plenty of resources for Bible study materials out there. We can simply read the Bible, discuss last Sunday’s preaching, borrow our church’s Sunday school material, and so on and so forth. Below is just two of our favorite sites, which are by themselves enormous libraries.
RightNow Media has the largest Christian video library for kids and adults alike. It’s a kind of Netflix for Bible studies. Click on the Kids section and you’ll see a display of over 2,000 media library for young learners to enjoy. All-time favorites for young kids, such as Superbook, VeggieTales, Bibleman, and Mr. Phil Show are only a few of its treasures. Drive Thru History, Lessons from the Land, Ryan Defrates: Secret Agent, and Friends and Heroes are some great finds for pre-teens. Oh, I can name hundreds for middle and high schoolers, even for parents and every serious Christ-follower!
Some of the videos have worksheets included so parent-teachers can extend learning and emphasize on important lessons through fun activities. Nevertheless, simply watching together is already a time very well-spent at the lifeschool-homeschool.
Access to RightNow Media is not via individual subscriptions but through Christian churches and ministries. We get our access via our church and also from our subscription to Schoolhouse Teachers curriculum. If your ministry organization is subscribed, ask for a code so you can register under their subscription. Otherwise, Lifeschool-Homeschool PH support group is gathering at least 100 members to share with the monthly cost. Let us know if you are interested.
Bible.com does not only provide Bible reading plans. It is also a vast resource for Christian videos such as The Chosen, The Bible Project, some films, preaching series, and many more. In addition, it provides hundreds, if not thousands, of daily devotional reading plans that your kids can do individually or together with family and peers.
Few of our devotional reading plans as parents are: Homeschool Moms Teach the Psalms, Raising World Changers in a Changing World, Teach from Love. Currently, my teens are doing 21 Days to a Teenager’s Spiritual Change, Now and Later, NIV Daily Bible for Teens, and more.
What else is a better way to start the day than communing with God and meditating on His Word? Bible.com provides a wondrous kick off for each day’s life-schooling.
There are much more free and low-cost resources out there. We have only mentioned a few of our personal favorites. Click here for a list we have gathered from other homeschool families. Kindly fill us in for more should you find some treasures we don’t know of. We like to discover more with you. 😊