Kewl Skewl - 6 Super Websites to Help make Homeschool Awesome
When I was a kid there was a big fat stigma around home-schooling. There I said it. Actually, I am not going to pretend it's the first time I have said it. My husband was home-schooled and the first few years of our relationship lent itself, (almost entirely) to gentle ribbing on the topic. With my background in teaching it never even crossed my mind to spend my time teaching just my own kids, and I am 100% sure that I even said the "N" word about it... Never!
Which brings me to now. Homeschooling and how I am doing it. And life, teaching me to stop saying never.
Technically my eldest daughter would be going to kindergarten if she were in Australia (and lived near a kindy, and it were compulsory - so actually she might not). But she really wants to start reading, and enjoys maths, and is already meeting the standards for reception geography (incidentally because she is 4 and is on to her second passport), so I figured there was no harm in starting her on the foundation curriculum a year early and stretching that little brain of hers.
Thank goodness for the internet, because also, as opposed to olden day home education; Homeschooling these days doesn't have to be one expensive curriculum bought from a provider, or all entirely written by over-zealous parents. It's like window shopping on a mega scale, and you can chop and change as much as you want.
Assuming you are already homeschooling and registered with the appropriate authorities (we aren't at that stage yet because we are still in the pre-homeschooling phase and too young). Here are some awesome websites I have found to help you along the way.
1. Reading Eggs
This program is written by the ABC and teaches kids up to year 2 to read. Each program has a printable worksheet to go with it (with black and white and colour printing options incase you don't know how to use your printer settings?). It also gives you level reports and tracks the progress of your kid's development. My daughter's favourite thing is the certificate each child receives once conquering map. My favourite thing is that it spells out which ACARA standards are being met by each 'game' and worksheet, enabling easy reporting. It does cost, but there is a trial period free to see how your kid likes it.
2. Maths Seeds.
This is the sister program of the above. But teaches maths. Also with the printable worksheets, and optional testing that unlocks 60 seconds of a car game if they choose to participate.
OK this is so fun. Not that my art obsessed children need any encouragement. But with Artventure, you do online art classes, and Kirsty (the art teacher) takes you step by step through how to draw a whole range of pictures. You can play too. Actually I drew these grandparents, and it may be the best picture I have ever drawn. You can also get a discounted membership if you are a member of the HEA (see below).
4. Teach This
This is a resource I have used endlessly in my relief teaching life. But recently, upon looking at it through a different lens I have found a whole range of things perfect for home school. There are whole units written, with each subject, links to curriculum outcomes and relevant resources. Again this is a paid annual subscription, but well worth it! Also, there are loads of printables like this one about how to tie a shoelace!
I can't explain why my child is always in costume...
5. Amazon's Kindle Unlimited
Because of the nature of our transient lifestyle at the moment, collecting massive amounts of hardcover books just means extra luggage, or extra things to re-home when it's time to move on; And also, because all the libraries (except one that has just opened) around us, hold books in Chinese characters. We are members of Amazon's kindle library. It's the same, just virtual. You can hold 10 books at a time, and then return them when you want to borrow more. There are also picture books on here. We are in the middle of the Magic Faraway Tree series at the moment, and surprisingly the novels are holding the attention of my 2 1/2 and 4 year olds. We just finished the first book last night and onto the next.
6. Homeschool Education Association.
This gives you loads of discounts and even some to the websites I mentioned above, as well as professional development type articles for parent teachers.
Hopefully this helps you, even if you're not homeschooling and just looking to get your kids off annoying YouTube channels with kids reviewing their toys and onto something a little less mind numbing. If you've got any to add to the list I'm all ears!