16/05/2021 by Alyson for World Travel Family
The internet is packed with awesome online education sites and resources and over the years we’ve tried many. Some are free, some paid, some we buy for a month, some we subscribe to for years. Below we share our favourites for any age group, from stand-alone websites to the full online school my kids now attend. There are many ways, these days, to find online education for kids. You can piece together a full school curriculum yourself (homeschooling) or you can hand over responsibility for your child’s education to an online school. Both are good options, we have done both, culminating in iGCSE passes. Kids can continue in online education to 18, or indeed, any age.
In a world with so many kids off school because of quarantine and school closures, it’s time for we homeschoolers, world schoolers, and unschoolers to share what we know and what we’ve been using for years. Welcome to our world!
Best Online Education Sites For Kids
These are the online education sites, games, apps and resources we are happy to recommend. Are they the best? I don’t know. But they’ve been great for our kids at some point in their education through Kindergarden, Junior (elementary) middle school and high school. We mention free and paid resources here and we’ve used or experimented with all of these educational courses and series in the years between 6 and 16. There’s something here for kids of any age.
As I said above, my kids now attend an online school. Lockdown forced us to quit homeschooling. A few face-to-face classes with different humans was a welcome break in the monotony. We mention a few such online schools in our post on how homeschoolers can sit exams.
Reading eggs helps your child learn to read and for older kids, it improves their reading and comprehension. It’s targeted at children between 2 and 13-years-old and includes phonics. They use this program in schools too. My kids used this, sometimes just for fun, it’s bright and colourful, up to about 8 years old. For older kids, you’ll find reading materials to improve literacy and understanding. Visit Reading Eggs here
The beauty of Khan Academy is that it’s free. It’s a vast resource covering many subjects from complete beginner to university level. You don’t have to sign up, but you can create an account which will track your progress and offer incentives.
There are complete courses in the form of videos and written information. I find it very adult. The people presenting the videos talk fast and in a very adult way. I’ve actually completed the art history course on here myself, just for fun.
Khan certainly starts at a basic level for all subjects so it does cover what the kids would be doing in school, but I don’t think it’s the best or easiest thing for younger kids to use.
My kids have used this for maths and you can’ indeed, complete full years of the curriculum this way. We completed a full year of maths in just weeks using Khan at one point.
We find Khan academy a useful online learning aid for just looking things up and checking how they are done. Find Khan Academy Here. Khan Academy is a non profit established to provide a world class education to everybody, for free. This tool will help you or your kids study for the fun of it or to prep for SATs, GCSEs, A Levels etc.
Khan Academy Kids
This is an exciting development! My kids didn’t use this because it wasn’t around yet, but it’s there on YouTube for you to use. It’s for ages 5 to 8 find it here.
John Green Crash Course World History
John Greene is a joy to watch and he really brings history to life. He presents bite sized chunks of history in short videos. They are suitable for kids and my kids have always loved them, but there can be some adult themes.
You can start at the beginning of history and work straight through to modern times or simply search for the topics or eras you’re looking for.
an example of a John Greene History video is above, click play to see what I mean. These have been super useful and entertaining as we’ve worldschooled history. When the kids were younger we found Horrible Histories TV shows and audio books great fun too.
John Green now covers a plethora of other subjects on his CrashCourse YouTube channel here. It is, of course, free.
Hank Green Crash Course Biology
These are fantastic too! These Biology videos are hosted by John Green’s brother, Hank. This is suitable for older kids, college students ( nursing maybe?) and university. There is a science series for younger kids below.
Crash Course Kids
Yes, those wonderful people at Crash Course also have a complete series of free videos for kids. Suitable for most school aged kids, high school, middle school, junior school.
We’ve just discovered this one and we love it! You do have to pay for this, we’ve signed up for a month while we complete some GCSE science. I find it incredibly useful because it buys me time and keeps my son engaged in his learning. If he gets stuck on a topic he can search Study.com for a short, simple lesson which will quickly explain it for him. It’s much quicker and easier to use this than to trawl YouTube for explanatory videos. Also we learn more this way than by just Googling for correct answers.
This one is highly recommended by us. As you can see from the video above, there is an insane amount of content at all levels. The video above is just from the highschool section. I believe these courses also earn high school credits but I’m not very familiar with the US system. Find it here.
This is one we used for years. It was fun enough to keep the kids interested and it came in versions for Australia, the UK and US where accents, idioms and spelling varied. Again, this is quite ” school at home” and structured but you can do as much or as little as you like. You will need to sign up.
This school type structure makes a parent’s job easier, in all honesty. If you’re new to homeschooling, Studyladder gives you an instant, easy platform and way to homeschool as a complete novice, from day 1.
Study Ladder includes games, videos and printable work sheets for your kids from age 4 to 12. It is mapped to your curriculum. The video above will give you an introduction for parents.
IXL Maths and English
IXL maths is a conventional online learning tool that provides a structured learning program for any age of school child. We used this up to about 8 years old at home but it does work for kids From Year 1 to Year 13. Take a look at their website here. You will need to sign up. This one is more ” school at home”.
I love Brain Pop. It’s loads of fun and my kids would sit and watch videos for hours giving me some much needed free time! You have to pay for this one. You can get a free trial of just a few videos and I suspect you will be hooked. If you visit their site, here, you should be able to watch the free video of the day.
Topics we enjoyed on Brain Pop included biology, zoology, chemistry, history, it covers so much and is super child-friendly.
You can find just about anything on YouTube. From learning about permaculture to how to make money blogging, to basic maths, it’s on YouTube, just search. We always watch Chemistry experiments on YouTube or look at microscope images where we don’t have that equipment at home. I mention several YouTube channels that are great online learning tools above, but here is a list again.
- John Green Crash Course
- Crash Course Kids
- Khan Academy
- ASAP Science
- National Geographic
- The History Channel
- Ted Ed
- Deadly 60
- Dirt Girl
- Nat Geo Kids
- Brain Scoop
- The Science Mom ( I like this lady, she’s like me!)
I’m working on a full list of educational YouTube channels, with links, that will be out in the next day or two. Watch your mailbox!
There are a lot of free Open Learn courses on Open University and my kids have completed several from the age of about 12. They particularly enjoyed the zoology series based around David Attenborough’s ” Life of…” books and films. If you’re willing to pay for formal qualifications, you can do that too. You can even study for a degree or vocational qualifications via the Open University. See the list of free online course at the link above.
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We hope you found our list of free and paid online learning programs, videos and resources useful. These are how our kids got their schooling in the early days, alongside homeschool workbooks, reading, text books, movies covering curriculum topics, TV documentaries and revision aids. Their biggest teacher was, of course, the world and what was around them. Natural curiosity took care of the rest. They are older teens now and it all worked out just fine. They took, and are taking, exams. We have loads of other content on our website relating to homeschooling, unschooling or worldschooling. You can see our ultimate worldschooling guide and curriculum here. Otherwise, check out the related posts below or head here to look at homeschool workbooks. Workbooks are cheap, easy and can be fun if you make them such. With all of this learning available for free, tell me, why do we need schools at all? Our full post on how to homeschool as travellers, is here. We hope you find our post on the best online education sites for kids useful.