Free Educational Resources
AmblesideOnline: An online, free, Charlotte Mason curriculum, the first of its kind, and the one that's been around the longest. There is also a forum for discussions and sharing of resources. AO has been around at least 15 years and was put together by seven homeschooling moms. It's free, or nearly so, and you don't have to pay them anything- you can use their online materials and find the books that are not available online at yard sales, thrift stores, and local libraries. From the website Freely Educate (which has a lot of other free resources listed):
The curriculum is not necessarily easy, but with short lessons and plenty of time outdoors, children thrive on it. I felt like fresh air came into our homeschool when I was introduced to this style of learning. It suits my personality well!
"Ambleside Online is a free homeschool curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own private and correspondence schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards. Ambleside Online uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts. The curriculum uses as many free online books as possible, and there is no cost to use this information or join the support group." ~ from Ambleside Online's description
A little encouragement: If the book lists and schedule at first seem overwhelming, look again. The children are not sitting for 8 hours at a desk. Rather, they are reading and studying in small amounts, to have time to absorb the information.
Or you can use one of their years as a guideline and plug in your resources this way.
Great Hearts is a great books approach with a very helpful curriculum overview chart.
Paidea Academy has an online scope and sequence you could use to create your own program.
Angelicum is another great books approach with a free scope and sequence (the rest is not free)
The Hillbilly Housewife put together her own version of a free online curriculum a couple years ago- you can find more about that here.
The Baldwin Project is similar in that it is also a literature based program. It's not free, but there are many free resources available at the website.
Simply Charlotte Mason is another Charlotte Mason approach- it isn't free, but there are some free resources.
Tanglewood combines Charlotte Mason with classical.
Easy Peasy is another free curriculum online., laid out day by day and very scripted.
Mensa has some lesson plans for use with gifted kids.
And, of course, there's MIT's open sourceware- they have high school lesson plans, and you could use a lot of their courses for gifted high school students, or for yourself to arm yourself before trying to teach your kids.=)
If you like the Core Knowledge approach (this is not the same as Core Curriculum), there are a lot of lessons organized very nicely free online here.. Core Knowledge is based on the ideas of E. D. Hirsch- you may have seen those books "What Your First Grader Needs to Know" for different grades. You can also just check the books out at the library a few times a year, if you don't have a lot of competition for the books at your local library.
Core Knowledge by E. D. Hirsch links to his books at Amazon.
Here's a very useful overview and scope and sequence for using the Core Knowledge philosophy.
Augsberg ARt-free book online, there are several books in the series, all at googlebooks. Googlebooks is only available to US citizens, and the books there do not always stay there, so download now and examine later.
If you like the book Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too, there are some pages on implementing it here. Donna Young also has some pages that match well with the book's philosophy.
Valerie has written here at Frugal Hacks about how she taught her kids to read for about a dollar.
The Logic of English has a series of videos helping you to learn to teach reading the Orton Gillingham Way (Spaulding is one well known reading curriculum using this approach)
For part of our reading instruction I used the materials in the back of an old library copy of Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do about It
Starfall has a great bunch of lessons on teaching reading, including some very helpful online phonics books.
We used a jelly roll pan or a cake pan with a layer of sand or salt and had our kids trace letters with their fingers. We used plain paper and pencil and has them do copywork Charlotte Mason style.
You can also find a lot of handwriting worksheets online. Donna Young has some of the best worksheets on the net, all for free. Here's her handwriting pages.
Dr. Vavra's Kiss program is online for free and covers all the years you need.
If you took one of the romance languages in school and could just use a refresher so you can use it to teach your kids at home, I really love duolingo.com for foreign language. I don't like it as much for starting from scratch, though. If anybody signs up, let me know, because it's fun to 'friend' people you know and see how you're doing with your levels.
If you want to do sign language, lifeprint.com is great= and also free.
For an interesting approach to history, see Guest Hollow (this is a link to the 18th century)
In the AmblesideOnline Forums, in the study hall section under music, there are tons of useful resources for composer studies, including links to biographies, free music by that composer, and more. It's a very valuable collection.
Free for today at Amazon:
Chew Chew the Food Chain Train
Nutrition and real foods eating for kids
What about you? What are some free online educational resources you've used?