Tools and Resources we actually use
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We wanted you to be able to easily find and use the resources we use and recommend, so we gathered them all in one place. To make the cut to be on this page, we will have used the resource for over a year. Now, we know that some things work better for different types of learners, so we will show why and how we used a product or resource and for what kind of learner. And most importantly, you can see at a glance which items are completely free.
Disclaimer: Many of the recommended tools and resources listed are free, but some of them contain affiliate links. This means that I would earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click on one of them and make a purchase. I only recommend products which we use and have helped us.
The Ron Paul Curriculum provides a complete video-based, homeschooling K-12 curriculum, at a competitive price, for any student disciplined enough to complete the daily lessons and assignments. While you can get a complete “grade-level” for the whole year, you can also pick and choose specific subjects and complete them on your own time-line. The site is designed to create self-learners with minimal parental instruction.
We’ve used this when starting high school and found the curriculum to be challenging in a good way! We used over a dozen courses over two years by 3 different learners. One of the most amazing parts was seeing my kids turn into self-directed learners. The curriculum worked particularly well with my most word-oriented student, who learned to crank out well-structured essays with ease.
Tom Wood’s Liberty Classroom is an online history, government, and economics curriculum. It doesn’t offer other subjects, such as math or science. However, the courses it offers are excellent. A libertarian worldview forms the foundation of Liberty Classroom. All the Classroom’s courses defend the principals of small government and personal freedom in the fields of history, economics and politics. At the same time each course thoroughly educates students on all facts, views, and opinion related to the subject in question.
We’re lifetime members and enjoy watching video courses together as a family.
If you’re interested in earning college credits through CLEP exams, the FREE-CLEP-Prep site is a must to check out. It provides free study guides for each test, a fairly accurate difficulty scale for all the CLEP exams and links to lots of high quality third party study material, both free and paid. Between this site and the REA Study Guides, the CLEP takers in our family have aced the 11+ CLEPs they’ve taken.
Khan Academy offers some of the best online math courses and short videos out there, and its completely free. Using Khan as a supplement to any curriculum or problem spot in Math can greatly enhance learning. The only draw back we found is in some of the subjects other than math. Although Khan is constantly adding new courses, we felt that the ones we sampled were nowhere near as useful as the math content.
Overall, most useful for specific areas like “learning gaps”.
Prep Scholar specializes in online ACT & SAT prep. The Prep Scholar blog has been extremely useful for helping with college decisions and testing preparation.
By the time we needed ACT and SAT test prep, my kids were independent learners and used a combination of great test books (see below) and the free tests that are provided by the College Board. However, while we never actually purchased Prep Scholar test prep materials, we found the advice on their blog to be an incredible resource that we returned to many, many times.
— Canva graphic design website
A free online graphic design tool, Canva is a simple to use and very powerful platform which can be used for almost all graphic design needs.
We started using this during high school when an assignment was to build a website for a business class of the Ron Paul Curriculum. Besides being useful because of its time-saving features with an extensive template library, we found Canva fun and easy to use. We’ve never used the Pro version that has a fee.
When you are in a learning household, some basic needs have to be met or chaos can reign. While I am not opposed to chaos, mathematically speaking, days can be smoother if you stay on top of a few household tasks like menu planning.
Plan To Eat is my go to meal planning program and has been for the past 10 years. Who doesn’t need some more organization in their life? This superb planning tool for online customizable meal planning helps you keep track of your recipes, meal plans, and shopping list — all in one place.. I started using it to learn how to become more organized about meals.
Learning opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Becky of Clean Mama can help anyone learn to improve their cleaning routines. She has some great books, too.
Side-note: Favorite web resource for the messier among us: At A Slob comes Clean, Dana gives funny insights and tips to declutter your way to be able to clean a surface!
Dehydrator: The 9-Tray Excalibur. I love this dehyrator. It’s huge and works great — no problems for the past 9 years that I’ve owned it. I think it may need a new fan or something soon because it is getting louder recently. But I do use it a lot. Before this, I owned the Nesco round tray, which I also highly recommend. The Nesco was my first deydrator and it convinced me that I needed a larger size!
I probably would recommend any dehydrator because it it a great way to preserve foods and the appliances are straightforward!
Read more about teaching kids about food preservation.
The same article also mentioned my favorite apple/peeler/corer/slicer.
I will keep adding more books to this reference. So many books, so little time!