For kids who are learning about life through unschooling, resources are everywhere. They can learn from doing simple chores around the house, exploring nature, playing games, interacting with the community, or checking out a museum. Unschooling is a path forged by the child themselves and while knowledge is all around us, sometimes they prefer a little direction when trying to understand a subject that interests them.
There are some amazing online resources available that can provide courses they can follow along with, interactive games that are both fun and educational, and full curriculums that can teach them a wide range of subjects. Some online resources are free and others require you to purchase a course or pay a subscription fee. The age range for these resources go from “just old enough to use a mouse” all the way up to “studying for a college degree”. Almost anything can be learned online if you know where to look.
Khan Academy is an amazing online resource that provides free courses for all ages. It provides practice exercises and instructional videos so kids can learn at their own pace and then test their knowledge when they’re ready. You can also create a free account in order to track your progress in all the various subjects covered including math, science, computer programming, history, art history, and economics.
Open Culture is a website that has catalogued a massive collection of free educational media from around the web and provides users with an easy to use portal which allows you to access all this information in one place. This includes free courses, educational videos, classic and indie movies, audiobooks, and foreign language programs.
Zinn Education Project
The Zinn Education Project is a people’s history resource designed for teachers to use in a classroom setting. Despite its purpose, the material on this site can be used as a means of self-guided education and doesn’t require a teacher to distribute the lessons. You can search by time period, theme, or resource type so children can easily find the type of material they find the most interesting and study that period of history.
DIY is a neat site that allows kids to try challenges and creative projects and then share them in the kid-safe DIY community. The site prompts kids to be original, not be afraid to fail, and to try their best to make their projects as awesome as possible. It encourages kids to try new projects from all different skill categories and special patches can be earned as challenges are completed.
National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids is filled with educational games and videos that can teach kids about the world and how it works. They have a section dedicated to animal pictures and facts as well as an interactive map that allows children to explore the world. They also have a “Science Lab” in their homework help section that offers ideas for kids to try their own science experiments.
While YouTube is not a strictly educational type of resource site, it does offer a massive amount of content that can be used to learn a new skill, travel virtually to foreign lands, or get some easy to understand insights into a new topic. For younger kids, restricted mode can be turned on in YouTube’s account options if you want to limit access to certain content.
EDX is a site that offers both free and paid content, depending on what you’re actually looking for. Courses can be simply audited (taken for free) or verified certificates and degrees can be obtained for a fee. If knowledge is all you’re seeking and you aren’t looking for any kind of certificate, this site is able to provide a lot of free, high quality course content from a very wide range of subjects.
ABCya is a game based education site that allows children to learn English, math, and science through a ton of different interactive games. They have options that suit grade levels from kindergarten to grade 6. There is a free option that gives you a limited about of games that can be played per week and paid options that provide unlimited access.
Poptropica is a virtual world where children can play games, enjoy stories, and go on quests with their own custom Poptropican character. Kids can travel to the different islands in the game, solve mysteries, and learn historical facts through the Poptropica narrative. It’s free to make a character and play the games but membership options are also available that allow you access to exclusive clubhouses, pets, and outfits.
Education.com provides worksheets, workbooks, games, activities, songs, stories, and exercises that will help your child learn fine arts, foreign languages, math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. There is a free option that gives you access to games, worksheets, and activities as well as a paid membership that provides guided lessons and printable workbooks.
Coursera is a learning site that has partnered with some of the top universities to provide online courses, specializations, and degrees. The course content includes recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer reviewed assignments, community discussion forums, and hands-on challenges. Coursera is comprised of over 150 university partners offering 2700+ courses.
ABC Mouse is designed for ages 2-8 and it teaches reading, math, social studies, art, and music through three mouse avatars named ABC Mouse, 1•2•3 Mouse, and Do-Re-Mi Mouse. The site features over 9000 activities and includes progress tracking, a customizable avatar for your child, and an interactive zoo, farm, and aquarium.
Splash Math is a fun and interactive way to learn basic math up to a grade 5 level. There is a parent dashboard that allows your to track progress and a weekly goal feature that your child can set for themselves if they’d like to add a certain level of structure. Children can earn coin rewards by getting correct answers that will allow them to shop for stuff to decorate their colorful aquariums and jungles.
IXL is a learning resource that provides math and English activities for every grade level. Personalized diagnostics and analytics are available to identify areas that the child may require more help with in order to keep building their skills. The membership provides unlimited practice questions for your children to continuously test themselves.
Jam is a project based learning platform that allows kids to learn skills and work on projects through fun and engaging videos. They are encouraged to see it, do it, then share it, all within a kid-safe community of other creative and inquisitive children. Kids can build their own portfolios as well as give and receive feedback on their projects.
Shmoop is a teen-oriented learning site that offers learning guides, courses, and preparation materials for tests, exams, and college admissions. They feature a library of over 9000 educational videos that will help teach kids a wide range of subjects delivered in humorous, engaging, and entertaining ways.
Outschool is a pay per course type of education platform that lets you choose from hundreds of different independent teachers who instruct their classes via group video chat. The instructors consist of certified teachers, artists, scientists, or other individuals who are able to share their expertise. Available subjects to learn about include arts, coding & tech, health & wellness, English, life skills, math, music, science & nature, social studies, and world languages.
Udemy is another learning site that allows you to choose from different courses, various independent instructors, and an incredibly wide range of topics. You can learn skills in music, marketing, makeup, finances, interior design, nutrition, and the list goes on. Udemy is the home to over 30 million students learning from over 100,000 courses.
Homeschool with Minecraft
Homeschool with Minecraft is a clever approach to learning that uses the minecraft environment to teach kids about history and literature. Kids receive weekly lessons which includes pictures, facts, and video links as well as weekly building assignments. Live hour-long classes are held weekly and they include class building projects.
K12 is learning portal that allows you to enroll your child in a free public school or a tuition-based private school and learn through a curriculum online. Unschoolers looking to receive their high school diploma can do so with K12 through online learning without having to attend classes in a brick and mortar school. Children can also participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs and competitions. Individual and supplemental courses are also available for those who don’t want to enroll in a full curriculum or who would like to add to their course load.
Time4Learning offers a curriculum through paid monthly subscription fees. Not only do they provide lesson plans in language, math, science and social studies but they also provide helpful tools that can help with the homeschooling and unschooling education style. They also provide excellent support to the community through their blog and parent forum.
Alpha Omega Publications
Alpha Omega Publications offers a variety of different Christian homeschooling curriculums in print-based, computer-based, and online learning formats. They also provide a blog and community resources that will help you stay connected to like-minded homeschooling families.
Connections Academy is a free online public school for grades K-12. They provide elementary school, middle school, and high school curriculums as well as college prep, summer school, and career/technical education. They also offer field trips and activities that encourages community involvement and socialization.
There are so many online learning resources available that cover every topic imaginable and are suited to every possible age. Many of these resources are also great for adults who are lifelong learners that love to constantly pursue new knowledge and experiences. Some of these educational sites are rigidly structured while others are super fun and completely casual. No matter what your goals, skill level, or learning style, there is an online education resource available that will get you and your kids excited about learning.