FREE Homeschool Planning Resources

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Peace of mind and organization live side by side in the homeschool world. Goals are important but easily lost if not written down and followed.  Through the years I have flip-flopped between not keeping track of anything to having a daily checklist.  Despite my wishy-washy organizational skills, my children thrived.  However, during the years with no planning, I grew frustrated.  Take my advice and give planning the ole college try.  I suggest trying a free planner before buying an expensive one that may not fit your needs.  You have nothing to lose!

Five J’s

Joy over at Five J’s has several helpful resources for planning out your year. Here are a Weekly Assignment Planner and a gradebook for free download. You’ll definitely want to print out anything that Joy made herself – she is an excellent graphic designer!!

Homeschool Skedtrack

Homeschool Skedtrack is a free online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. One of the main features is their automated scheduling of activities. If you miss an activity, Skedtrack frees you from the headache of rescheduling everything. I think this is something worth paying for, but it is FREE! It meets so many needs in one place. You can keep track of high school transcripts, courses, grades (by automated calculations!) and so many other things. You really need to check it out if online planning is for you.

Donna Young

Donna Young doesn’t just give you printable forms, she has numerous tips and advice on how to plan, how to use a planner, and how to assemble her free planner pages to make it useful to you. I have mentioned DonnaYoung.org several times now in this series of How to Homeschool for Free. This site has an incredible array of forms and other necessary things for the home school family. I love Donna Young! I use it all the time, year-round for more than my homeschool needs.

Highland Heritage HomeSchool

Highland Heritage HomeSchool has two sections where you can find planning forms. The first is the teacher planning section. It has schedules, calendars, attendance, grade logs, report cards, conference records, co-op planners, lap book rubrics, and many more things for your planner. Print the ones you will use and leave the rest. The second section you will find useful is the Student Portfolio forms. It has checklists of things you can plan to assess and record in the student folders. I also found a student self-evaluation form that I think I might use for my kids.

The Homeschool Mom

The Homeschool Mom is a go-to for any homeschooling mom for advice and help. The planning pages are thoroughly comprised and will meet the needs of many home school moms. It is free for personal use. Weekly planner and menu planner pages include FlyLady compatible weekly and menu planner pages, Calendars, High School Course Planner, Chore chart, Weekly Planner page for use with Weekly Assignment page, or Unschooling Record Keeper, Assignment Sheet, Reading List, and several more choices for your planning pleasure.

New Beginnings

New Beginnings has a free curriculum planner. The moms here will show you 7 steps to customizing your planner to suit your needs. It includes Lesson Plan Pages for ALL your children, Calendars, Attendance Charts, Class Schedule, and Teacher Schedule. Again, print the things you need and don’t bother with the rest. I like how the moms here don’t make you feel like you have to do it their way. Personalization is important and they tell you how to do it and make it work for you.

Homeschool Tracker

Homeschool Tracker is Microsoft Windows-based planning and organizing software designed to track your lesson planning and records. It allows you to keep track of field trips, grades, assignments, and attendance. You can even generate report cards and a few more things. Their Homeschool Tracker Basic Edition is free, and they offer more advanced options with reasonably priced membership at $8 per month, or $65 annually. It will not work on Mac computers unless you have Windows Parallel.

Happy Planning!

***Be sure to join our How To Homeschool For Free Support Group for daily encouragement and more great resources for your homeschooling journey!***

Disney Will Teach You How To Create Your Own Theme Park!

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Disney has an entire course on Khan Academy that teaches you how artists, designers and engineers work together to create theme parks. Go behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers and complete project-based exercises to design a theme park of your very own with Imagineering In A Box!

Lesson 1: Build your own world

This lesson addresses the question: where do you want to go? It introduces the idea of experiential storytelling and the difference between an amusement park and a theme park. We’ll explore how storytelling and theme impact every decision made in the design of a land and how they engage all senses.

You’ll walk out of this lesson with a theme and high concept for a land of your own design along with a mood board and map that conveys the land.

Lesson 2: Build your own attractions

This lesson addresses the question: what do you want to do in your themed land? It introduces students to the range of possible attractions within a themed land with a focus on dark rides. It exposes the importance of theme and storytelling in attractions in general. Following the creative development process at Walt Disney Imagineering, students envision and design their own dark ride. This includes both the artistic (beat sheets, models) and engineering (throughput, footprint) aspects of ride design.

You’ll walk out of this lesson with a beat sheet (bullet point summary), a digital layout and a physical model of your attraction.

Lesson 3: Build your own character

This lesson addresses the question: who do you want to meet in your land or attraction? (Who lives there?) The lesson introduces a variety of ways that Walt Disney Imagineering brings characters to life and explores the process of character development through character sheets, performance, costume design, armatures, actuation and control (with a focus on animatronics).

You’ll walk out of this lesson with a character sheet, a costume, a simple physical armature design and a digital actuated armature.

Click here to get started!

Greek Tales for Kids – Free Animated Videos that Teach Kids Greek Mythology!

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This is a super fun series that’s FREE for Amazon Prime members! Each of the six seasons has five episodes of famous Greek myths, like Pandora’s Box, as well as some of the lesser known stories, like the Augean Stables. These fantastic tales have been told for thousands of years, and now your family can enjoy them in this easy to follow series, full of monsters, magic, and adventure.

Head over to Amazon here to watch the series!

And make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily help, freebies, encouragement, and more in your homeschooling journey!

KID Shows Now FREE To Stream on Amazon!! {PBS Kids, Preschool, Elementary, + Family Movies!}

Anyone else going a little bit crazy with kids at home ALL day EVERY day?

Even those of us who homeschool all year are going crazy because home school does NOT equal being at home all the time. In fact, we joke all the time about how how “home”school is hardly ever actually at home.

Lots of companies are jumping on board with things to help kids pass the time AND continue learning.

Amazon just announced that they will be releasing several FREE titles for kids and all their PBS Kids shows to watch for FREE! You don’t even need an Amazon Prime membership to watch!

Here’s a list of some of the shows that are now available here. Please keep in mind that we always recommend reading reviews on Amazon or Plugged In if you have a concern about a show or a movie.

Preschool:

  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
  • Pete The Cat

Elementary:

  • Lost In Oz
  • The Snowy Day

PBS Kids:

CyberChase

  • Design Squad
  • Odd Squad
  • Wild Krats
  • Reading Rainbow

Family Movies:

  • Megamind
  • Max
  • Opposite Day

Just click here to access all the movies!

FREE Stories For Kids From Audible! {Pre-K, Elementary, Tween, Teen, Classics, French, Spanish, + More!}


Amazon’s Audible (more info on Audible here) is offering LOTS of books for kids, tweens, and teens to listen to for FREE during our nation’s self-quarantine!

The website is called Audible Stories and the FULL books and stories can be streamed from your laptop, phone, tablet, or desktop computer.

Here’s a list of some of the book categories and the books that Audible Stories has available:

Littlest Listeners

  • Timeless Tales of Beatrix Potter
  • The House At Pooh Corner
  • The Lion and the Mouse

Elementary

  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
  • 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
  • The Children’s Homer

Tween

  • White Fang
  • The Jungle Book
  • A Little History of the World

Teen

  • The Screwtape Letters
  • In Praise of Difficult Women
  • Ties That Bind Ties That Break

Literary Classics

  • Brave New World
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Call of the Wild

Folk and Fairy Tales For All

  • Grimm’s Fairy Stories
  • Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know
  • The Too Cleaver Fox

Click on Audible Stories here to listen!

We also have several great audiobook options on How To Homeschool For Free on our Free Online Audiobooks Page!

HUGE List Of VIRTUAL Field Trips Your Kids Can Take From Home!



Online FREE Virtual Field Trips!

With the shutdown of schools across the country (and world), pretty much everyone is now homeschooling in one way or another. Whether you normally do public, private, or home schooling, everyone has been affected by the inability to do one of our kids’ favorite school activities: field trips.

(And make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily help, freebies, encouragement, and more to support you in your homeschooling journey!)

So either voluntarily or due to circumstances, we’re all homeschooling right now. For those who are not used to homeschooling, we want you to know that there are a plethora of ways to homeschool that will greatly aid you in your new journey. And fortunately, you can also add field trips to your list of homeschool activities! How?

Virtual field trips!

From virtual trips to the zoo (including live animal and sea life cams!), national parks, space museums, and even a field trips to Mars, there are an amazing amount of online field trips you can take your family on right from home!

Here is a list of some of the best online virtual field trips available. Please let us know if you know of any other great ones that are not on this list and please share this post with any friends you think may be interested!

And be sure to bookmark this page and check back as we will be updating this list over time.

How to use Essential Oils!

Click here to learn more about essential oils!!

If you’ve been considering essential oils be sure to check out this great post on How to Use Essential Oils to guide you in your journey!

Outer Space

Why not visit another world from the comfort of your home? With these interactive virtual tours, you can explore the galaxy and even take a trip to the International Space Station!

  • Interactive Mars Virtual Tour – NASA has teamed up with Google to create an interactive Mars virtual tour using the data collected from the Mars Curiosity Rover launched in 2011. Learn about the Curiosity mission, click around the terrain to move the Rover across the surface, and travel to different mission sites.
  • International Space Station – NASA – NASA has provided videos that allow you to tour the ISS with the astronauts on board.
  • International Space Station – ESA – The European Space Agency has also provided a guided 3D tour of the International Space Station.
  • 3D Mekanlar Virtual Sites in Space – 3D interactive tours of several our space destinations including Saturn, Jupiter, the International Space Station, Neptune and Triton, and more
  • US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL – Take a look at the Saturn 5 Rocket and more on this virtual field trip at the US Space and Rocket Center.

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

National Parks

Yellowstone National Park actually has SEVEN different virtual tours available that would make for great virtual field trips.

  • Fort Yellowstone
  • Fountain Paint Pot
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Mud Volcano
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Yellowstone in 3-D

Yosemite National Park has an incredible interactive virtual tour available of many areas of the park including:

  • Diving Board
  • Tolumne Meadows
  • Nevada Falls
  • Ahwahnee Hotel
  • Swinging Bridge
  • Hetch Hetchy

Live Animal Cameras

This is a fun way to see what’s going on at the zoo LIVE without going to the zoo! Check out these live animals cams from several different zoos as a fun way to observe wildlife from home.

Farm Tours

Farm Food 360 has ELEVEN different tours of various aspects of farming to give you a unique look into the world of farming. Here are the tours they offer:

  • Milk and Cheese
  • Dairy Cow Farms
  • Grain Farms
  • Sheep Farm
  • Mink Farm
  • Egg Farm
  • Egg Processing Facilities
  • Canadian Feed Mill
  • Oat Farm and Processing
  • Apple Orchard
  • Pig Farm

Art, History, and Science Museums

There are several amazing art museums from around the world that offer all kinds of free virtual tours!

Art Museums:

Science and History Museums:

Around the World in ZERO Days!

It’s pretty clear right now that traveling the world is just something none of us are able to do. But don’t let that stop you from visiting your favorite destinations with these virtual tours of famous and exotic locations around the world!

    • The Great Wall of China – If you want to visit the Great Wall be sure to check out China Guide’s virtual online tour of the Great Wall.
    • Google Maps Instant Street View – Type in pretty much anywhere you want in the Instant Street View search box, choose the “Street View” icon to the right of the search box, and go anywhere you want.
    • Castles Around the World – 3D Mekanlar has castles you can virtually explore all over the world including Bayern, Alexandria, and Jerusalem.
    • Towers Around the World – 3D Mekanlar has virtual tours of towers all over the world including the Eiffel Tower, Kuwait Towers, and Atomium Tower of Brussels.

***Make sure to join our How to Homeschool for Free Facebook Support Group for daily encouragement in your homeschooling journey!***

How To Get FREE 30 Days To BrainPop!

My kids absolutely LOVE BrainPop and I’m so excited to share that BrainPop is offering all of their programs for FREE for 30 days to help students and families affected by school closings!

BrainPop has videos for STEM, Social Studies, English, Health, Arts & Music, Vocabulary, Grammar, Listening, and Reading & Writing. They also have BrainPop Español AND apps to go along with it all!

It really is a great daily educational supplement for any homeschooling family!

To get the free 30 days (while it lasts), just click here to sign up. You don’t even need to enter any payment info for the 30 days free. 🙂

450+ FREE Online Educational Resources {Due To School Closings}

Many schools across the country are now closed for the next few weeks, if not longer, and parents are looking everywhere online to find educational activities for their kids.

There are several websites that we’ve posted about here on How To Homeschool For Free previously that are still GREAT options (and some of my favorites), but the people over at Amazing Educational Resources have a spreadsheet that is continually updated with new companies that are responding to school closures with free educational resources for teachers and parents.

 
How To Homeschool For Free – Support Group
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Welcome to the How To Homeschool For Free Support Group! This group is for ENCOURAGEMENT and SUPPORT in finding free (or inexpensive) homeschool resou…
 

You can find this spreadsheet by clicking here.

You can also check out MORE completely free resources for the following subjects by clicking on the links below. PLUS, take a look at the menu bar at the top of the page for even more subcategories!

Free FULL CURRICULUM options for all ages

Free Homeschooling Resources for Math

Free Homeschooling Resources for Science

Free Homeschooling Resources for Language Arts

Free Homeschooling Resources for Bible

Free Homeschooling Resources for Government

Free Homeschooling Resources for Geography

Free Homeschooling Resources for History

Free Homeschooling Resources for Penmanship/Handwriting

Free Homeschooling Resources for Preschool

Free Homeschooling Resources for Reading

Free Homeschooling Resources for Spelling

Free Homeschooling Resources for Physical Education

Free Homeschooling Resources for Art

Free Homeschooling Resources for Computers, Tech, and Typing

Free Homeschooling Resources for Music

 
How To Homeschool For Free – Support Group
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Join Group

Welcome to the How To Homeschool For Free Support Group! This group is for ENCOURAGEMENT and SUPPORT in finding free (or inexpensive) homeschool resou…
 

Free Online Assessment Tests!

Curious where your student stands in their schooling or want to see if there are any gaps in their learning? Check out these online assessment tests!
Before I go through the free test-taking resources available online, let me say that I’m an “unschooler” at heart.  I love learning being just a regular part of life and I think that most gaps in a homeschool education can be taken care of pretty easily.

But there are certain subjects that I do like to test in each year, like math and reading.  The kids don’t know that it’s a “test” (especially when they are younger) but it gives me a tool for finding any gaps in those subjects that I need to take care of.

If you do opt for a test that gives scores, know that not all scores are completely accurate and are not the final say in grade level (if you even do grade levels). Keep in mind as you administer a test that a lower test score does not mean that your child is “behind” or that you have not done an awesome job as a teacher – these are just tools for finding any gaps in the areas that you want to be sure to cover.

State Testing

EdInformatics

EdInformatics provides a list of states with assessments and benchmark tests available online (keep in mind that different states have different standards)

Internet4Classrooms

Internet4Classrooms has a simple way to find an assessment to meet your needs. When you arrive on the page linked here, you will be asked for information but most is optional. You simply click on the grade level or subject you are interested in testing. There is a wide variety of tests available here for printing as well.

Academic Benchmarks

Academic Benchmarks will give you the state guidelines for different grade levels.

Secondary and College Testing

Test Prep and Test Practice

If you want to give your child a preview of the SAT visit Test Prep Preview or Test Prep Practice. Both websites offer free testing samples which include the GRE, Vocational Exams, Law School LSAT, and many more.

Curriculum Placement Tests

Taking Curriculum Placement Tests is another way to find any gaps in your homeschool academics (these are what I typically use). Several curriculum companies offer free diagnostic and testing tools for your use. Even if you have to register to take the test, you are not obligated to buy the curriculum at all.

Sonlight

Sonlight provides Horizons Math readiness tests.  You will also find tests for Teaching Textbooks, Singapore Math, and Saxon. Once you have your student take the test, look at the results to see where gaps.

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth tests are intended to assess end of year mastery.   The tests group the questions by topic, so it is easy to find any gaps in understanding. Let us know in the comments if there are any other assessment testing resources that you like!

Tax Free Weekend 2017 – A State By State Guide

Tax Free Weekend For Each State - Shop Without Paying Taxes!

Each year, several states across the U.S. have a Tax Free Weekend where you can buy clothing, school supplies, and sometimes computers and other items without paying any state sales tax!

Here is the list for Tax Free Weekends for last year. We’ll have the 2017 updated list as soon as the dates become available:

Alabama – August 5-7
Arkansas – August 6-7
Connecticut – August 21-27
Florida – August 5-7
Georgia – July 30-31
Iowa – August 5-6
Louisiana – August 5-6
Maryland – August 14-20
Mississippi – July 29-30
Missouri – August 5-7
New Mexico – August 5-7
Ohio – August 5-7
Oklahoma – August 5-7
South Carolina – August 5-7
Tennessee – July 29-31
Texas – August 5-7
Virginia – August 5-7

You can click on each state above to read more about the guidelines for that state.

Make the most of your state’s tax free weekend by combining it with the best back to school sales! Just click on a store below to see the sales for the current week:

Staples Back To School Weekly Deals

OfficeMax/Office Depot Back To School Deals

Target Back To School Deals

Walgreens Back To School Deals

CVS Back To School Deals

Rite Aid Back To School Deals

Find even Back to School Deals at your favorite stores!

 

Several states have a tax free weekend where you can get clothes, shoes, and sometimes electronics without paying any tax!  Find the dates here!