How to Homeschool: Bookmark Great Online Resources

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Today is the final day in the 10 Days of Homeschooling 101 series. I hope it’s been helpful. Before I share today’s post, I wanted to ask for your input. I’m considering publishing the series as an ebook for those who would like to have this series of posts more easily accessible. I want to include a bonus section of advice to new homeschoolers from veteran homeschoolers.

What advice do you wish you’d been given when you first started homeschooling?

By commenting on this post, you acknowledge that you are giving permission for me to use your comments in the upcoming ebook. If you would like me to include your name and a link back to your blog, please leave your blog address in your comment.

Oh, and, don’t forget, there will be no Weekly Wrap-Up this week since I’m on my way to the 2:1 Conference! Squee!!

Now, on to the good stuff…


The Internet is an incredible wealth of information – so much so that it can be overwhelming. While you need to realize that you can’t do every great craft, science experiment, or hands-on project out there – nor should you try – it is fun to include some great finds in your homeschool.

It’s also good to have some great reference tools bookmarked. And, let’s don’t even get started on Pintrest, an amazingly visual source of ideas (except, I seem to pin more recipes than anything else).

Here are some of my favorites from over the years:

Algebra Help – This is a recently-discovered find of ours and it’s awesome! You can plug in your algebra problem and it shows you how to get the answer. It’s a great resource for those of us who, after not using it for 20 years, are finding ourselves needing to help teenagers with algebra. {ahem}

Jimmie’s 50 States Notebook – A fantastic resource for putting together a study of the 50 states.

Highland Heritage Homeschool – Tons of printables, units, forms, articles and my favorite resource for reading level assessment.

Keeping Your Preschooler Occupied – An extensive list of ideas for keeping your preschooler occupied – and learning! These aren’t just ideas for keeping your preschooler out of your hair so that you can do school with the older kids; they’ll actually be working on useful, age-appropriate skill while they’re having fun.

Brightly Beaming Resources – This is the home of the Letter of the Week curriculum that I used for Josh and Megan’s preschool years. It has learning ideas from birth through early elementary school – and it’s all FREE!

World Book’s Typical Course of Study – We all know that kids develop differently and with different strengths and weaknesses, but if you ever want to know what kids “should” be learning at different ages – either for a little reassurance or for planning – World Book provides a nice set of general guidelines broken down by grade level.

Can Teach – Need an exhaustive list of writing prompts to get the ideas flowing? This one’s for you!

A Book in Time – We love learning history through literature. This site offers a chronological list of historical fiction and non-fiction books, along with lesson plans.

Science Timeline – Want to add some relevant science study in with the historical time period that you’re studying? Check out this list.

Outline Maps – Free outline maps to enhance your history or geography studies.

National Geographic Coloring Book – Realistic, detailed coloring pages, with facts, for a variety of animals.

Spelling City – Create your own spelling lists for online study and games.

Best Homeschooling – Tons of articles to encourage and inspire. Be sure to read my favorite, “A Preschool and Kindergarten Curriculum.”

Donna Young – Hundreds of great printables for organizing your homeschool.

Vegsource Homeschool – I love their swap boards. They’re set up “flea market” style, so that each individual sets their prices. If you find what you’re looking for and it’s at a price you like, you just email the seller to  purchase it – no being outbid or having a competing bidder drive the price up. I’ve always had great success here and never a bad experience buying or selling.

Simply Charlotte Mason – Loads of great resources for those Charlotte Mason homeschoolers (or those of us with a “little twist of Charlotte Mason”). All are either free or very reasonably priced.

Games to Make – Josh and Megan have lots of experience with these games. You’ll find tons of printable games for your early learner.

Living Math – Don’t believe me that math can be fun? I didn’t either, until I found this site. Go check it out!

PPS Leveled Books – This site, which organizes books by reading level, is a great, low-key way to assess your child’s reading level or find more books to enjoy or challenge at a slightly higher level.

Crayola State Coloring Pages – Have fun working your way through a study of the United States with these great coloring pages.

Now that you have tons of sites to explore, how will you keep track of them all? Pintrest is a great option. You can also set up folders in your favorites/bookmarks. That’s what I do. I have folders such as:

  • Language arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Reading
  • History

What are some of your favorite online resources?

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  1. I just wanted to say thank you for the series!  I have learned so much. After a 7 year break from homeschooling, I will be doing it again this fall.  I was very nervous about the decsision of schooling 5 kids and this blog has been such a wealth of information and encouragement!!  I went from being nervous and fearing I could not school them all to being excited and confident I can do this!!  Thank you!

  2. The eBook: Go for it!

    What advice do you wish you’d been given when you first started homeschooling?

    – Although the photo on the front of the homeschooling catalog that came in the mail may have been a heart-prompt to homeschool your own children, VERY few of your days will look like that. And that's okay.

    – Get involved with online support groups, whether general or curriculum-specific. (I vote for BOTH.) You may not always be able to participate in a physical support group, but your online friends are always there. And you can "meet" with them in your jammies.

    – If a certain curriculum (or even method) isn't working for your children, chuck it. And don't feel too disappointed. This is a grand experiment, after all, and you are just beginning. Do some research, talk to people, read reviews, and make another choice. And do consider your child's individual learning preference.

    If these pieces of advice are worth including, you can use my name (Ellen), and here's my blog address, Kris: https://bluestockingbelle/

  3. As someone who is just starting to consider possibly homeschooling one day (my older daughter is 3), I wanted to let you know how much I've appreciated this series of posts.  You've provided me with things to think about, great resources, and answers to some questions I've had rolling around in my mind.  Thank you!

  4. I wish someone had told me that not every resource will work the same for every family.  I felt a bit guilty about not liking something that someone close to me recommended back in the fall, but when I admitted it to her she just laughed and said that's the beauty of homeschooling – if you don't like something, there are a million more resources to try!

  5. I have homeschooled my children for almost 10 years.  I wish someone had told me at the beginning to prepare for wasting money!  Curricula doesn't always work out the way you hoped- and that's ok!!

  6. Thank you to all the ladies writing in this series.  We're finishing up our forth year of home schooling, and it's always nice to read posts which include advice and general information regarding home schooling, geared for newbies. I seem to feel like a new HS mom each new school year. As dynamics change every year, sometimes every six months (for us), HS moms need to be flexible. So thanks, on behalf of the not so new or seasoned home school moms out there.

  7. I am a fairly new homeschooler, and by that I mean that I keep trying and have given up several times. My children are still fairly young (going in to 2nd and 1st grade in the fall), and we have recently redetermined to go with a more "traditional" homeschool (we are schooling-at-home right now with K12) for the fall. This information hasn't been earth-shattering or ground-breaking for me, but it has been all very USEFUL and COMFORTING! I think it would make a great ebook, even for veteran "newbie" homeschoolers (as if there is such a thing…). My favorite post was about getting your support group ready, I have never used yahoo groups before, but sure enough, there was a group in my area! Thanks for the recommend.

    My advice as a semi-veteran that keeps getting discouraged: RELAX, AND READ A STORY!!! I know that's not new information, but I have picked out the "perfect" curriculum so many times and felt determined to do it all, created a workable schedule, and bought a cute organizational system. Then the kids all got sick, I realized that the perfect spelling workbook wasn't perfect and oh, by the way, I WAS THE TEACHER! If I had known to relax, especially through these early years, I would have just cuddled on the couch with my kids, read them a book and have had them read a few lines to me. Then, we would have sat down and colored a few pictures together while talking about whatever we had just listened to. We would do math as we baked cookies and set the table (we are having two guests for dinner, how many plates do we need? etc.). I would have continued this until I was ready to add one more element of my "perfect curriculum" until I was ready with the whole lot of it. See, I needed the baby steps to feel comfortable in my role and by trying to do too much too soon, I just got frustrated and stopped working at all. Now I know that when I'm getting frustrated and feel like I can't handle it all, to just stop and read a story. After all, a tiny bit of forward movement is better than nothing at all!

  8. If a curriculum doesn't work for you or your child, change it!  We finally switched math at mid-year for my oldest daughter and most of our struggles ended.  I still don't know how to "teach" and manage all my other household duties, including caring for two rambunctious little boys.  This was our first year homeschooling.  Next year I will spend less time worrying about our daily schedule, and more time on our yearly breakdown of study topics.  That way I can prepare for our history units more effectively.  The best thing I did was check out piles of books from the library on whatever topic we were studying and then leave them in a basket for the kids to look at whenever they needed more to do.   A month of sickness in the middle of the year changed everything.  I got so behind that I couldn't seem to catch up again.  Homeschool was more fun before that!

    Beyond that, I have found this blog to be extremely helpful, especially since I have older kids, and just reading a story is really no longer enough.  Thank you!

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