Friday, September 14, 2007

In Honor of the School Year - 15 of my favorite education sites

Friday Fifteen

As many of you know, we home schooled for six years. Over that time I found many simply wonderful sites that would be helpful to both students schooled at home and those schooled in the traditional way. I'm hoping that maybe some of these sites will prove useful to a few readers:

1. Project Gutenberg - This is a library of over 17,000 free books whose copyrights have expired in the United States. It is a wonderful resource for those who don't have good libraries nearby or who want to save money but have their children read classics and other excellent materials. They also need volunteers and funding and this is a site well worth supporting.

2. MIT's Open Courseware - students from all over the world can participate in MIT courses for FREE. This is an ever-changing list of classes (over 1700 currently) for each term. Most classes are self-directed, but still - this is MIT! Plus they have a free weekend of classes for middle school students every November that's gotten rave reviews.

3. - there are hundreds of resources on this site, plus special sections for both parents and teachers. I'd recommend the teacher resources to parents, as well, because there are real gems there.

4. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab - this is a wonderful resource for students in 7th - 12th grades, their parents, and those advanced students who are a little younger. They have tons of exercises, explanations, plans, etc., etc. It's a wonderful service.

5. - I'm sure that Fourier Analyst mentioned this link here, but it bears repeating. This is an amazing source for all things astronomy, and again, has sections for students, teachers, etc. Wonderful resources, beautiful photography, clips, etc.

6. Virtual Library Museums Page - this is the "top" page for comprehensive listings of museums all over the world. Click on a country and links and museum descriptions will be provided. Three of my favorite museum sites (all art, because that's just the way it is) are The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre, and The Hermitage. Oh, and I love The American Museum of Natural History as well. Two more I just had to add in are and The Henry Ford. I think the Smithsonian is for obvious reasons, and I had to give a plug to The Henry Ford - it truly is one of our nation's treasures and can merit a visit to Michigan all on its own. If you click on their History Field Trips section, you'll end up with teacher resources.

7. - the site of the American Academy of Poets. This is a wonderful resource for poems, biographies, history, types of poetry, etc., etc.

8. K-12 Resources for Music Educators - links, links, and more links on music.

9. - similar to, but with the National Public Radio content. Free podcasts, clips, articles, etc., on a huge variety of topics.

10. - even though this is a commercial site, there are hundreds of activities, author's interviews, lesson plans, etc., etc. Wonderful clips, too. I've used this site for various levels of teaching over the years.

11. The Food Network - another commercial site that's chock full of great projects, etc. While this is definitely less kid-friendly than most of the other sites here, it provides thousands of recipes, great how-to videos and a lot of information about party planning, etc., which is a wonderful resource for teens who are part of extra-curricular organizations.

12. - while this is ostensibly for college students, it has wonderful resources in terms of applying to colleges, information on political issues, national parks, etc. Basically, it's a web portal for all of the materials that might be handled by the U.S. government. Which means this site is very well-funded. But it also means this site is sponsored by the U.S. government. There is a similar portal for younger kids -

13. The Educational Resources Section for the EPA - there are tons of resources and activities for students of all ages. Again, the photography and details are wonderful here.

14. One of my real frustrations is that I haven't found a site that I just love for drug education. The best one I've found, though, is NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse. It at least gives concrete information and is easy to navigate.

15. Ditto for a service learning website that I just love. But again, this is probably the best - Service It has pretty good resources but is harder to navigate than I'd like.

Happy Learning!


anno said...

oooh, what a wonderful list! I am off to explore right now!

Jami said...

Holy crap! How am I going to get all those things bookmarked? Maybe I'll just forgo work today.

Thanks HUGELY for the list!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this wonderful resource!

Fourier Analyst said...

Great list. Know some, others are new and I'm looking forward to checking them out! Fantastic resourc!

Jen said...

Anno, how are you having time to explore anything right now? ;-)

LOL, Jami. And you're welcome. I love these sites.

Greg, can you still use these?

FA, I figured you'd know at least some of these. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Jen what a fabulous list. Excellent sites. I'll be referring to this!

anno said...

I am desperate for biology resources; had hopes for the MIT courses, but they look, um, a little advanced for us. I think we're going to end up with Freeman coupled with the lectures from Thinkwell.

anno said...

I meant, of course, too advanced for me.

Christine said...

I'm not a homeschooler, but I came *this* close. Will be checking out these resources!

Thanks for the kind comments about my peacock photo at Looking made my evening.

And I used to live in the Detroit area, and I know Ann Arbor very well (don't hate me because I went to Michigan was a money thing).

Irishcoda said...

Great list! Mine is on misheard lyrics

Marianne Arkins said...

I've used a couple of these, but you've given me some new places to check out (in all my spare time! LOL). DD would get a kick out of reading on the computer...


Betsy said...

Ooooh! Fabulous! I'm always looking for new resources to help S and B keep up with their English. I've got some nice workbooks but was wanting some additional resources for when I need new inspiration!

Thank you!!!

Jen said...

Anno - try the EPA site - there's really a great deal on there that can be used for biology, in fact that's the main resource for C's bio class right now.

Betsy and Leslie, glad this will be helpful.

Christine - I'm not really a rabid football fan ;-) MSU is just fine.

Irish Coda - I'll be over your way shortly.

soccer mom in denial said...

What an awesome list! Some I use regularly and some I hadn't thought of for the kids. Terrific!

Anonymous said...

This is a great list, Jennifer. I will be sharing it with my students and their parents. Don't forget the many, many databases that are available at the Michigan E Library ( or the Internet Public Library ( and, of course, the Library of Congress.

Luisa Perkins said...

Awesome post. We homeschool every summer--extensive, structured days. I'll definitely be saving this info.