edsitement.neh.gov—This site is so much fun to visit! A project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, also funded in part by Verizon’s Thinkfinity, I recommend this resource for developing a social studies curriculum. The topics seem virtually limitless, and each lesson plan includes guiding questions, learning objectives, instructions for how to prepare to teach the topic, assessments of student progress, and even tips on how to expand the lesson with additional reading or activities. Everything you need is contained in one clear, concise package of information. This is a tremendous resource, whether for school or simply for personal enrichment.
www.discoveryeducation.com—With the same quality and commitment to respecting the wonder of nature as other Discovery mediums, Discovery Education has to be experienced to be believed. Their website explains their offerings as “award-winning digital content, interactive lessons, real-time assessment, virtual experiences with some of Discovery’s greatest talent, classroom contests & challenges, professional development and more.” And indeed it is so much more! There is an opportunity to subscribe to unlock additional resources, but with such an incredible amount of information available for free, I don’t feel like I’ve missed a thing by not being a subscriber.
Find access on the go to all of Discovery’s fantastic resources at www.discovery.com/mobile. Apps, games, mobile video, mobile web, and more can be accessed at this page.
free.ed.gov—Not only is it the name of the website, but it’s also the price tag on more than 1,500 learning resources from dozens of federal agencies all brought together in one easy to navigate website. FREE is actually the acronym for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. The homepage is far less flashy than the other websites featured here, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It is a straightforward portal into a vast array of information broken down by subject. It gives you a brief synopsis of the resource itself before you click through to the next website. This feature is particularly beneficial if you are exploring or brainstorming lesson plan topics.
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazinetechnology resources
www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com—If you are reading this article, chances are you are already a fan of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and its auxiliary products. Their former online resource, Teacher’s Toolbox, has recently undergone a transformation. It has blossomed intowww.SchoolhouseTeachers.com, one of the most comprehensive web-based resources for homeschoolers available. As part of your subscription to the now completely digital monthly magazine (an extremely valuable resource in itself), you also will have access to the website and all its content, including printables, website links, devotions, a free E-Book each month, access to back issues of the magazine, webquests, units of study, and more. The site even has recipes! Plan dinner while delivering a quality education to your children, or incorporate cooking into your lesson plans and address math, science, international culture, and more (yes, there are suggestions for this too!).
The Old Schoolhouse® also has an app for Android, Apple, and Kindle Fire devices so that you can access the support and encouragement of their publication from anywhere.
These resources put a world of information right at your fingertips. There is no reason to feel overwhelmed or alone in the homeschooling experience. The numbers are growing quickly, as are the resources to support you and your children in your quest for a world-class education delivered on your terms. I encourage you to explore, enjoy, and utilize these tools. I am confident that they will enrich your homeschooling experience and demonstrate the role that technology can play in the quality education of our students.