Tag Archives: free textbooks

FREE Online History Resources

FREE Online Resources for Learning United States History

American History is a fascinating subject. Sadly, textbooks for United States history can be incredibly expensive. How would you like some FREE resources for teaching history to your kids? You’ve come to the right place!

Learn United States History for FREE

The first resource I would recommend is Guest Hollow. Their history curriculum was made by a mom just like you, and includes an entire year’s worth of lesson plans. The curriculum is more than just a textbook with reading comprehension questions; you’ll get fun map activities, cooking recipes, lapbooks and more. Definitely worth checking out!

American Heritage is also a great resource for a free history curriculum. You can download each lesson in an individual PDF file, or order a FREE cd containing the curriculum, or even purchase printed versions. This is suitable for all grades, with each level building on the one before. Elementary students learn about how the colonists lived under a monarchy, middle school students learn about important American symbols and texts that govern us today and high schoolers focus on the in-depth analysis of our American ideals.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ushistory.org is perhaps my favorite; there is a complete outline of topics; click on a topic and it brings you to a chapter complete with interesting and informative links. Make sure you pay attention to the links in the sidebar; they lead to more information on the topic in the chapter.

Interactive timelines and multiple organizational access points make Digital History an excellent choice for learning American History. You’ll also find a variety of helpful tools to help with learning; a textbook, various media sources, documents and more.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the US History Open Textbook from Boundless. This reads a lot like a typical textbook, and has a glossary of must-know terms. Check out all of the extra features that Boundless offers; it’s a complete package that won’t disappoint!

What do y’all use for your history? Do you know of other American History resources? Please share in the comments below!

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Update to 9th Grade History Curriculum

My daughter was having some problems with the US History class I have listed in the 9th grade free curriculum, so I have found a different option. If you are using my free 9th grade curriculum, you can choose either one. Below you’ll see the updated weeks 1 – 5 for the History portion.


8th Grade Free Curriculum – Day 4

Track your days with our 180 day homeschooling tracking worksheet. All links on this page will open in a new tab/window.


Free 6th Grade Curriculum

I have a daughter who is just starting middle school this year. While we don’t necessarily have an actual schedule we use for her (because of her learning style), I did want to share what we are using. All of the resources are free, and you can easily create a schedule that will work for you.

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Planning the High School Years – Part 5

If you’ve been following along with the Planning the High School Years series, you know that we’ve already covered creating a list of planned courses, keeping a transcript, and creating a high school portfolio. You’ve also gotten some great resources for free English and Algebra courses. In this post, as promised, you’ll get some great resources for free science and history classes for your high school students.

Free Science Courses

There are many different topics that high school students (especially those headed for college) need to take: Biology, Earth Science, Physics and Chemistry just to name a few. The lab sciences can be difficult to do at home, especially when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Unfortunately, there isn’t a completely free way to conduct labs; there are inexpensive ways, but they are a necessity.

Free Biology Courses

Boundless has a great Biology textbook that can be used for a high school course. The text includes lessons, flashcards and quizzes. This site has a variety of other texts that are great for both high school and middle school students, and their content has grown in a small period of time! It’s a great resource for homeschoolers.

For advanced students, check out the free Biology courses offered through OpenCourseWare at MIT. The hardest part is selecting which course to use. There are several different Introductory Biology courses, as well as Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology and more.

Free Earth Science Resources

For the first free Earth Science course, we return to MIT courses. The course here is actually an Environmental Earth Science course, which covers how the elements and weather affect the earth and its resources.

Here is a free high school Earth Science textbook that you can have your child use. It’s available to read online at WikiBooks, or download the PDF files from the first link.

For those of you who like to piece together your curriculum, there are free earth science lesson plans that you can use. Some students work better using a variety of lesson plans; but these can also be used in conjunction with a free course or textbook.

Free Physics Courses

For juniors and seniors, Physics may be a requirement, especially if your child plans to go to college. My favorite site, MIT OpenCourseWare, has a selection of free Physics courses. From introductory classes, to quantum physics and string theory, you’ll find it here.

The MIT courses aren’t for everyone; Khan Academy has free Physics videos that can help students master specific Physics topics. It could be used in conjunction with a free Physics textbook. WikiBooks also has a free Physics textbook that can be used.

Free Chemistry Resources

Chemistry is a hard subject to teach. For obvious reasons, lab time is a necessity. There are many different home chemistry experiments that will work wonderfully with younger children, but with high schoolers, a chemistry set is vital.

MIT has free chemistry courses that will be perfect for advanced students. I think this is the one I’m going to try; if my daughter is unable to keep up, I will switch to something else, but it seems like one of the introductory courses MIT offers will work perfectly.

If you’re looking for a free chemistry text, the “About” site has pages of relevant information. I’m not sure if you could really count this as a full text, but it may work for an introductory high school chemistry course.

Education Portal also has a wonderful free introductory chemistry course that will be perfect for a high school student. One thing I like about their site is that they offer reading text as well as learning videos, and I personally believe that the more ways a person hears something, the better he or she retains it.

Free History Courses

This section isn’t only for history; I will also include resources for US Government and Economics. The following sections will contain free resources for learning about US History, ancient civilizations and World History.

Free US History Resources

I mentioned Boundless as a resource for Biology above, and would like to mention them again for their US History text. Like the Biology textbook, the US History course also has flashcards and quizzes. Their flashcards are really unique too, as Boundless uses a rating system to schedule how often each card should be reviewed. Definitely worth checking out!

One of my favorites, MIT, offers two separate History courses: pre-1865 and post-1865.

For a free US History text, the US History site is the way to go. The only thing I don’t like about their site is that there are no assignments, activities or discussion questions. It’s just straight reading, which, honestly can get pretty boring, and hard to retain. Hippocampus.org is another one of my favorites for free courses. They have “regular” US History courses and AP US History, each broken into 2 single semester courses.

If you’d like a more relaxed format, Have Fun with History is a great option. You’ll find info by topic, a variety of activities and videos. I haven’t used this site, but it looks like there’s a lot of great information on US History.

Finally, the Digital History site has some great resources. At first, I wasn’t going to recommend that site because the last time I was on it, the site was a mess, and it was difficult to find things. However, they have since updated their information and it’s easier and more user friendly now. Their lessons range from pre-1492 to 2012, so it’s well up-to-date!

Free Western Civilization Resources

Education Portal has an informative free Western Civilization course. Remember, one of the great things about taking a course on Education Portal is that if you pass the associated test, you can receive college credit for the course! This is the only course I could find for this subject. Everything else was independent topics, such as Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, etc.

Free World History Courses

Coursera has a free world history course; typically, I have a hard time using the courses on Coursera, not because they aren’t of high quality, but because they are on a set schedule and taught by a “live” professor. There are plusses and minuses to this; of course, it means that someone is on hand to ask questions, and your student will be able to participate with other students, and have in-depth academic discussions about the class material. On the other hand, it also means you have to wait until a session is scheduled. The next one is currently scheduled to start on September 15, 2013, so if you’re interested for your high school student, sign up quickly!

There’s a pretty well formed World History course at learner.org as well. There are 26 units, and each consists of written text and video. It includes discussion questions, and “big picture” questions to keep the overall theme in mind. All in all, I really like this course.

I also want to mention World History for Us All. While much of the later lessons are still in development, what is there is fantastic! I encourage you to check it out and see if it will work for your student.

Free US Government Courses

I think it’s very important to teach our children about how our government works. In just a few years, they will be the next generation of voters! With that in mind, IMHO every single student in the United States should be required to take a government class. HippoCampus has a couple different free American Government courses. One is an American Government class, and the other is an AP US Government and Politics course.

A very informative and well written source of knowledge on our nation’s government is thisnation.com. This online text is broken up into separate topics, and includes discussion questions, research helps, historical documents and “assignments”. Honestly, I think that every American citizen should go through the course on this site!

The US History site also has a free American Government textbook; the only thing I don’t like about it is that there aren’t any questions to reinforce understanding. But it does have a lot of great information, and you can always write your own questions or simply have discussions with your child about the material.

Free Economics Resources

Wow, this post has become very long! Last but not least, Economics. MIT, of course, has a variety of free Economics courses. Options range from microeconomics to macroeconomics, public finance to economic crises. Here’s a free Economics textbook, if that’s how your student learns best.

I hope this post was helpful to you. In the next high school planning installment, I will have free resources for foreign language classes and Health. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you keep up on all of the newest and latest free homeschooling resources!

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Planning the High School Years – Part 4

If you’ve been following along with the Planning the High School Years series, you know that we’ve already covered creating a list of planned courses, keeping a transcript, and creating a high school portfolio. In this section of the series, I’ll be providing you with a variety of resources to use for each course subject. This post got long really fast, so I’ll be breaking it up into a few more posts. In today’s post you’ll find free resources for high school English and math courses (specifically Algebra).

Free Resources for English

There are many different parts to English, including vocabulary, grammar, writing, and literature studies. My child who is currently in high school plans to go on to college directly after high school, so our curriculum is going to be fairly rigorous.

Free Vocabulary Resources

The first thing I am planning on in the English department is vocabulary. Obviously, vocabulary is a very important aspect of communication skills. One option for learning vocabulary is to use Wordly Wise 3000. Another is to use the lists prepared at Vocabulary.com. Their format allows your child to learn words he or she doesn’t already know, by answering questions and only viewing the definition for those answered incorrectly. It’s a great tool!

Free Grammar Tools

Grammar Bytes has a complete list of grammar terms, as well as lessons, exercises and handouts for your child to become more familiar with each term. Some even have YouTube videos for ease of understanding.

Another alternative is to use the free grammar lessons at Daily Grammar. They have an archive there that you can use for free, or you can purchase their lessons in an e-book and their physical workbook. Daily Grammar’s lessons do offer more in-depth lessons that will benefit any high school student.

Free Writing Courses

Paradigm offers a great free English Composition course. It is a little difficult to figure out where the lessons are exactly, but just start at the first menu Item, “Invent”, and go from there.

You can also use the Principles of Composition course offered by Capital Community College. There are 3 different sections of the course, and students can follow along using the drop down menus.

Here’s another one that is worth checking out: Glencoe Writer’s Choice. It’s advertised as a course for 9th grade, so it may not be suitable for the higher grades, but they also offer courses for grade 10, grade 11 and grade 12! Check out their full English curriculum for 9th grade here.

Free Literature Courses

MIT offers some great courses on literature. And yes, they are free! You’ll find courses on Shakespeare, American Literature, Modern Poetry and more.

Make sure you check out the free English courses offered by the Education Portal. The only problem I see with these courses is that not all of them are “complete”. But you’ll see what I mean when you check out their offerings.

Free Resources for Math

There are so many different levels for math, but as KiKi is planning on college, we are starting with Algebra her freshman year and working up from there. I may have to experiment a little to see which of the following options will work best for her learning style, but any of them are great for a high school Algebra course.

Free Algebra Courses

The design of this free Algebra course website leaves something to be desired, but if you can ignore the super bright colors and clunky layout, their content is good. There are videos to help explain each lesson, as well as online access to a free Algebra textbook complete with chapter review problems and chapter tests.

I’m sure you’ve noticed throughout this blog that I tend to use a lot of texts from ck-12. This is one of those times! They have a variety of Algebra textbooks available, as well as topic specific lessons and review questions. I highly recommend ck-12 for textbooks in all of your other subjects as well. But, we are only talking about Algebra right now, so I won’t list those here…LOL

Education Portal has a free online Algebra class. This one may be a great choice, as they claim (I haven’t tested their claim as of yet) that their courses prepare a student to pass a CLEP test, therefore receiving college credit for the course. If you have any experience with the Education Portal’s courses, I’d love to hear your experiences, so please share in the comments below.

I think I am going to use the Algebra course offered by Hippocampus. I like their course layout, and the text is included with the class.

In the next article I’ll provide free resources for high school science and history.

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8th Grade Free Curriculum Day 1

Originally, we were trying out the Charlotte Mason curriculum. It’s a great plan, and I love her philosophies on education. You can find out more about what we were trying here: http://oldfashionededucation.com/. While I do recommend it, the Charlotte Mason method is not working for us. With this in mind, I decided to create a new curriculum that will work better with our children. For our 8th grader, this is what I’ve come up with. Feel free to use this, editing or changing as needed so it fits better with your family’s needs!

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Free Textbooks Online!

Looking for a free textbook? High school & middle school parents will love this one! This website is completely awesome, and I can’t believe how much work went into it. We all know textbooks are extremely expensive, and as a homeschooler, it can be hard to find affordable options. (Why else would you be here?!) But for middle school or high school, this website will be perfect!

There are different options you can choose from for your free textbooks. You can sign up through Facebook, if you choose, which is nice. After you click sign up, you will be asked whether you’re a student, educator, or self-learner. If you choose “student” or “educator”, it will ask you for your textbook title or ISBN number and the course name. If you are teaching your kids from a specific textbook (or plan to), this option may work for you. However, I signed up as a “self-learner”, then picked which subjects I wanted.

The subject choices were Sociology, History, Writing, Biology, Physiology, Economics, Business & Psychology. The History course covers US History. I hope that they offer other history options in the future.

I was showing the site to my husband, and the first thing HE asked (of course) was “do they have tests, assignments or quizzes?” Well, the answer to that is no…perhaps, since we plan to use this system for our oldest daughter, I will create some tests, writing assignments and other activities to go along with it. What do you think? Should I spend some time creating things to go along with Boundless for our free homeschooling downloads section?

Do you use this site? Considering it? What are your thoughts/concerns/ideas? Please comment below!

Exploring Geography

Geography used to be full of boring facts to memorize and endless studying of maps. New technology has made maps interactive, and learning geography doesn’t have to be so boring anymore.

Maps 4 Kids offers fun, interactive maps. Using Google Maps, kids can view a map of the United States with their choice of:

  • State Peaks
  • State Capitals
  • Tallest Buildings
  • Major Rivers
  • National Parks
  • Baseball Stadiums
  • Counties

They also have free map outlines for you to print. Kids can label countries, continents, oceans, and more using these printables.

To make learning geography even more fun, Maps 4 Kids offers several different games on their website.

You’ll find so much more on this website…it’s a must see. I couldn’t possibly list everything offered without giving it all away! Go check them out and let me know what you think.

Social Studies Activities

Here are some great resources for social studies. This website is put out by Scott Foresman, a popular publisher of textbooks.

Social studies for kids has a few different resources. The site is aimed at children in elementary school.

free social studies activities

In the Social Studies Library section, you will find a dictionary, an encyclopedia and an almanac. The best part is that the encyclopedia isn’t limited to social studies topics. You’ll find everything you would if you opened up a World Book. It’s the same thing with the Almanac; you can find facts about a wide variety of topics, not only social studies.

The Current Events section is just that: a section on current events. You can find a link to the kid’s “Time” magazine as well as links to current events ordered by year. Oddly enough, you can look at news features all the way back to 2005. You’ll also find feature news as far back as 1900!

The Atlas is wonderful; you can find information on any country, then click down through the map to get smaller, more detailed maps. Under each map you click on, you’ll find facts on the area you’re viewing, as well as links to information on other parts of the site.

Don’t forget to check out the “Today in History”! They provide a number of different historical events that occurred throughout history. You can also view different dates.

The Social Studies Activities section could be called the best section of the site. Here’s where you’ll be able to choose a free book for use in teaching your kids social studies. They will ask you to choose your state; I’m in Texas, so I chose Texas. My book choices from there are:

  • All Together
  • People & Places
  • Communities
  • Texas
  • The United States

The final section is “Meet the People”. Here you’ll find info on US Presidents, women of influence and other fascinating people facts.

All in all, this site is a big winner. I definitely recommend you check it out!

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