6 Favorite Practical Homeschool Resources (My Kids Love)

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My top homeschooling resources for speedreading-coding-languages and even whole programs
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You all probably know by now that we homeschool (yes, I’m one of those) and I’m often asked about my favorite homeschooling resources. Our homeschooling set-up evolves year to year as the kids get older, and now that I have kids ranging from toddlers to middle schoolers, I’ve been using several online tools that my kids love and that are making my life easier.

Even if you don’t homeschool, these tools and resources may help make school easier for your own children and speed up the learning (and homework) process

My Top 6 Homeschool Resources

Thanks to the age of the Internet, homeschoolers have many more options than they once did and you can learn almost anything online! (This applies to parents too… I’ve learned almost everything I needed to know about starting a business online.)

While many of these aren’t true homeschool curriculum, these resources teach some of the most valuable skills that (in my view) all kids should learn. (P.S. These are also great for adults who want to learn these skills!)

Most of these homeschool resources are free, but the paid ones are well worth the cost.

1. How to Learn Speed Reading

I’ve mentioned in passing several times that I learned to speed read in middle school and that to this day it is one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned.

This is one of the top skills I’m working with my kids on because it makes all of the others so much easier. The best part is that really anyone can learn it. I have a photographic memory and learned this a little differently, so I had trouble teaching my kids until I found a computer program that makes it super simple.

The program is called Spreeder, and it un-teaches bad reading habits and retrains you to read quickly and efficiently. There is a free app version that only works online, but I’d highly recommend the inexpensive premium version that allows you to speed read practically anything. We have the paid version and it has already been well worth it.

Spreeder also allows you to copy and paste many formats of text into the program and it makes it easer to speed read through it. You can put e-books, articles and even blog posts (like mine!) you’ve been meaning to read in there and you’ll be able to read them at 300 words per minute when you are just starting out!

My kids love this because it is on the computer and seems like a game to them. They can even somewhat “compete” on how many wpm (words per minute) they can read.

Check out Spreeder here and learn how the system works.

The same company that makes Spreeder also has several other great learning programs that we use:

2. Online Piano Teacher

Our favorite piano teacher retired earlier this year, and I’ve been struggling to find another local teacher. A friend told me about Hoffman Academy that teaches the basics of piano online for free. I was skeptical at first, but have been really impressed with how easy it is to follow along and learn. (I might not have quit piano myself as a kid if I had this instead of a grumpy teacher who smacked my knuckles whenever I messed up!)

Fair warning- my kids love this and our house is a constant chorus of the Star Wars theme song and “Tomorrow” from Annie right now, but they are really enjoying it. As much as I do love their beautiful music *ahem*, we just got a keyboard with headphones for them to practice on when the baby is napping and the real piano is too loud.

3. Easiest Way to Learn a Language

In school, when given the chance to learn languages, I picked Greek and Latin. As you may imagine, this was certainly helpful on the SAT, but hasn’t been quite so useful in daily life.

I picked up a little bit of Spanish while traveling several years ago, but never became fluent. Since we’re homeschooling, the kids are learning Spanish and French, and I’m learning as well alongside them using a free online tool called DuoLingo which makes learning languages a game. They are retaining what they learn much more than when it was just bookwork, and the program is really fun.

The best part?

It has an app for phones and tablets as well. When we are out and about, I can let the kids do a lesson on my phone in the car or while waiting for a sibling at sports practice.

4. Online Homeschool Curriculum Options

As someone who carried a 40+ pound backpack to high school, it still amazes me there are literally entire courses and curriculums online. I’ve looked through a lot of them and found several that are very high quality and meet my high academic criteria.

Some are free, though my favorite ones are not. Still, they are much less expensive than private school and I really like using them as a supplement.

Ron Paul Curriculum

This tool isn’t free, but it has been a lifesaver for me over the past year and is really inexpensive compared to other programs available online. The Ron Paul Curriculum has online classes for all of the core subjects including reading, math, and history. We use it as a supplement to our regular curriculum, and the kids especially like the history curriculum.

I love it because it doesn’t require any textbooks or extra materials. The courses are taught by college professors via video lectures and I am really enjoying watching and learning too. They also focus quite a bit on writing and have students write weekly essays starting in 4th grade. I’m a tad bit biased, but writing has been an incredibly useful skill for me and I’m happy to see my kids learning solid writing skills as well!

The curriculum also focuses on critical thinking and uses original sources whenever possible.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is another great all-in-one homeschool curriculum online. We use several of the courses supplementally. Their math programs are very interactive and my kids especially love the coding and computer animation classes right now. They offer advanced classes all the way up to calculus and even test prep for all major tests. Did I mention it is free?

Academic Earth

Mainly for older kids, Academic Earth offers advanced classes from many collages for free. You don’t get the college credit for the classes, but if you are just interested in the information, it is an incredible way to learn. If you’ve heard of the free classes from Harvard and MIT available online, this is where to find them.

iTunes U

If you’ve ever wanted to sit in on college lectures from some of the top professors and universities in the country, iTunes U gives you that ability. It’s a free app that you can download for your computer, tablet, and smart phone, and offers over 350,000 lectures and courses from many top universities, including: Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and many others.

What’s great about this resource is that it’s audio (and sometimes video) based, so the kids and you can listen to the lectures while on the go. It’s like getting a degree from an Ivy League school, without actually having to pay tuition!

5. How to Learn to Code

In an increasingly technological world, computer science skills are extremely marketable. In fact, I know of several high school students who learned to code and who are saving for college or to start a business by doing freelance coding work. Though I have a rough understanding of HTML and CSS code after all of the years of blogging, I certainly don’t know enough to teach it.

We use Codecademy for online instruction on how to code. It is easy to understand and interactive. Any student who is able to read can start learning many different coding languages on this site.

6. Kids Cook Real Food e-Course

I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this one, but I had to add it here because my kids have learned so much from it. Not only do they know how to prepare a healthy meal in the kitchen (something that’s just a little close to my heart), it helps the younger ones practice measuring, fractions, and following directions.

It’s all online and teaches kids knife skills, how to follow a recipe, and more.

Other Educational Resources for Homeschooling

Check out this comprehensive list of homeschooling resources from The Pioneer Woman for some age-specific free resource recommendations.

I’m testing out Tom Woods’ recommendations in this Wellness Mama podcast episode on critical thinking. I’ll update here if I find any new favorites!

Do you use online tools to help your kids learn? What homeschool resources do you love? Share your best tips below!

5 Online Resources to Make Homeschooling Easier

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


65 responses to “6 Favorite Practical Homeschool Resources (My Kids Love)”

  1. Maddeline Avatar

    Hey Katie,

    Do you have any suggestions on Science Curriculum? I’d like to find something that’s evidence based and provable. That is for young kids who need the facts.


  2. Lindsay Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I know you do extensive research and read books often, could you recommend an early childhood development book? I’m looking for something in depth with research articles (like something you’d read in a college course). Any recommendations?

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Great question! I haven’t found a single book that encompasses all the aspects of what I looked into for early childhood development but some that are helpful to me are: The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn’t—and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger; Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children; The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed; The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money; How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success; The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less

  3. Kathy Avatar

    Awesome, thank you so much! I already use several of these, but hadn’t heard of others, like Spreeder.

  4. Betsy Kunkel Avatar
    Betsy Kunkel

    Thank you for sharing!!! Do you have multiple computers since there is so much to do online?

  5. Desiree Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    thank you so much for this amazing article. I am going to start using some of your tips right away with my son as it has been hard for me to get him interested in school and learning new things! I do have a question for you, do you know of any similar resources in Spanish? Even though I am fluent in English my son has always talked and learned in Spanish. I will be using Duolingo with him from now on but I was wondering if you happen to know of some useful website for Grammer, History, Geography etc in Spanish. I’ve had a hard time finding any and thought I’d ask.

  6. Tracy Avatar

    Thank you so much for this list!! So many good resources – I’m super excited about the piano lessons!

  7. Jacqueline Muscha Avatar
    Jacqueline Muscha

    We listen to a lot of audio books mostly fiction or geared towards a school topic in history and science. I was wondering if you could recommend some resources either online and/or audio books that teach entrepreneurial, money saving, and business tips to young children. I know they need to learn the basics like Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but I was just curious if there was anything available to get children interested in the “business” world. Kind of like an introduction to where they will be using all that reading, writing, and arithmetic skills!

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      We watch a lot of TED talks around these topics, but there are also a lot of podcasts that cover them as well, such as Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast…

  8. Rebecca Avatar

    Thank you, THANK YOU, Katie, for these valuable resources! We’re starting home study for our 6th grader this year and our youngest will be starting kinder next year. We’re at such as loss as we’re brand-new at this and don’t have any family or local friends who home school. Trying to find local home school groups in our area hasn’t panned out either. Right now we’re trying to select a curriculum which has us second guessing ourselves like crazy. We really needed this post!! Thank you again!

  9. Jamie Antenucci Avatar
    Jamie Antenucci

    I do believe you’ve got your mojo back!

    Way to go!
    Jamie Antenucci

  10. Alexandra Avatar

    I am a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, but with five kids 8 and under I am considering the Ron Paul curriculum in the future and supplementing with real books, nature study, ect.. Do you have any thoughts? Do they offer anything besides reading and math for the younger kids? How do you feel about their math?
    Thank you,

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      They have been great for us, but I haven’t relied on them solely as a curriculum. The courses are solid but a little tough to navigate in the beginning until the kids get the hang of it. At those ages though, I’d personally be comfortable relying on just Ron Paul for the core subjects.

  11. Nicole Avatar

    I love OutSchool and compass! Thank you for the speed reader application. I am so excited to start using it with my son this year.

  12. WHITNEY Avatar

    Thanks so much for the foreign language, typing & speed reading tips! I have found the ‘academics’ are more straightforward, but other subjects & skills can be tougher to source. I’m specifically wondering about art lately…I found an app called the “ACB (anti-coloring book)” by a veteran teacher named Susan Striker. Is anyone familiar with it? I like the idea of a teacher written app and I love the concept of creative thinking outside of the box vs. ‘inside the lines’. Just wondering if anyone has tried it or has any other good art resources. Thanks in advance!

  13. Kailey farmer Avatar
    Kailey farmer

    What core curriculum do you use for your younger children? We have a 5 yr old & 3 yr old. Thank you!!

  14. Natalie Bennett Avatar
    Natalie Bennett

    I love the sound of the Ron Paul Curriculum. I know it is “late” to be still waffling between homeschooling curriculum choices, but I am.

    I’ve done research on the RP Curriculum. I trust your opinion quite a lot, as well as the article from homeschool base https://homeschoolbase.com/curriculum/ron-paul-curriculum, but the Fox news article https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ron-paul-launches-libertarian-edged-home-school-curriculum made me second guess the curriculum. It sure does seem like Paul has a lot to “benefit” from.

    Can you confirm that you’re still enjoying the curriculum and that it is complete enough to use?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Yes! We still use it and love it. I wouldn’t trust what any media source says about a homeschool curriculum, as they’re all biased in their own way. Do some research and talk to other families who have used the different options and choose what works best for your family.

  15. Frederico Avatar

    Hey! First of all thanks for such blog. Does this software you shared have other language options? Thank you.

  16. Marla Pillow Avatar
    Marla Pillow

    Pinned! Great resources!

    I’ve used Easy Peasy before https://allinonehomeschool.com/ – and did not like it…. I thought it was too religiously skewed in places and not true.

    Khan is unbelievable, I love it. Still can’t believe it is free. How can they keep going without any payment??

    I’ve used quite a few resources from homeschool base that were super useful – https://homeschoolbase.com/free-homeschool-curriculum/ – that is where I first heard about https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse

  17. sandra Avatar

    Thanks Katie, so many useful links! Will definitely be going through these soon.

  18. Erin Marie Avatar
    Erin Marie

    I’ve been eyeing the Hoffman Academy for piano. Glad to hear you like it. We will probably try it.

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