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January 12, 2012
 
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Every January, Homeschool.com asks our Product Testers to send us a list of their favorite educational websites.  We then compile the results into the Top 100 Educational Websites for the year.

This year was an especially exciting year for two reasons. First, the response was overwhelming! Thank you so much. Second, many new sites were recommended!

Because of the above, we decided to do something a little different this year--
  • We added new website categories -- the biggest one being the category of BLOGS. We found this addition to be exciting--and a reflection of our times.
  • We included MANY new websites -- websites that have never made the list before. It was a thrill to see so many new recommendations -- to see how homeschooling is growing.
  • We added a short description of each website, so you can know if a website is of special interest.
  • AND, when possible, we included YOUR reasons for recommending a site. Most respondents submitted a list, but if an explanation was included, we used it.

Most sites listed below are free, but there are commercial sites as well -- we considered these just too good to omit -- and after all, you recommended them!

We sure hope you enjoy The Top 100 Educational Websites for 2012 (there are actually a few more than 100 - because you had so many GREAT recommendations)!




The Top 100 Educational Websites of 2012 was sponsored by: Time4Learning.com

Time4Learning.com is an online curriculum that combines 1000+ multimedia lessons, printable worksheets and graded activities for preschool to eighth grade. The math and language arts lessons correlate to state standards. Science, social studies, and art are also provided as a bonus to most grades.

Parents love that the online learning program teaches the lessons, grades the activities, tracks the amount of time spent on activities (for attendance) and keeps reports perfect for portfolio usage.

Kids love the "outside-the-box" approach and the novelty of using the computer for school. The multimedia lessons feel more like video games than standards-based curriculum, making it great for promoting a can-do attitude toward new or difficult concepts.

Check out their grade by grade curriculum overview to see what's available.


The Top Sites for 2012 (in no particular order)

www.education.com
www.spellingcity.com
http://pbskids.org
www.starfall.com
www.readingeggs.com
www.sheppardsoftware.com
www.donnayoung.org
www.khanacademy.com
www.time4learning.com
www.homeschoolfreebie.wholesomechildhood.com
www.softschools.com
www.dltk-kids.com


REFERENCE and NEWS

New York Times Learning Network
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com
The word of the day, the news, lesson plans, a blog and so much MORE!

PBS
http://www.pbs.org/ and http://pbskids.com
A favorite of Homeschool.com readers. Pre-K--12 educational resources and activities.


NPR
www.npr.org
A staple in the news industry.

News for the Young
http://www.youngzine.com
An interactive website where children are encouraged to express their views, submit articles, book reviews or travelogues.
Shana writes, "My kid's favorite website is the kid's news website, Youngzine.com. It is fantastic!"


MULTIPLE SUBJECTS

Time4Learning
http://www.time4learning.com
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers. Affordable and engaging online curriculum for preschool to 8th Grade. Interactive lessons, printable worksheets, detailed reporting and MORE! This is a subscription site -- $19.95/month.

Khan Academy
www.khanacademy.org
Another favorite among Homeschool.com readers. Watch....practice....and learn almost anything! This site has over 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history, plus it offers 253 practice exercises.
Leslie-Ann writes, "Khan Academy continues to be our most consistently used and enjoyed site."

BrainPOP
http://www.brainpop.com
Standards-aligned, animated lessons covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, arts & music, health and more. Grades K and up. Homeschool subscriptions starting at $85/year.

Discovery Education
http://school.discovery.com and http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com
High quality, dynamic, digital content. Student, parent and teacher resources. Recommended by many Homeschool.com parents.
Lorraine writes, "Discovery Education has a subscription site with streaming videos on every subject imaginable. I use it almost every single day in our homeschooling. Nothing brings history alive like watching a video about it. Their videos are all high quality and professional. There are whole courses available for learning foreign languages. I wouldn't want to be without it!"

Enchanted Learning
www.EnchantedLearning.com

K--12 - over 30K pages covering a wide range of topics--including math, history, physical sciences, writing, foreign languages and much more. Subscription fee of $20/year.

BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools
Parent and teacher resources. Many lesson plans covering the subjects of math, history, languages, art, geography and more. For Pre-Schoolers to Grade 12 -- great for U.S. students as well!

Click Schooling
www.clickschooling.com

This website sends you one free web-based curriculum idea a day, Monday through Saturday! How cool!

Teacher Vision
http://www.teachervision.fen.com
22,000 pages of classroom-ready lesson plans, printables, and resources. For kids Pre-K--12th Grade. Annual subscription fee of $49.95.

The Big Bus
www.thebigbus.com
The Big Bus 2.0 engages students with interactive learning activities that reinforce classroom teaching in reading and writing, math, and science. Covering skills from Pre K to Grade 5, aligned to core learning standards. $54.00 fee for a one-year home subscription.

Soft Schools
http://www.softschools.com
A favorite website recommended of Homeschool.com readers. Pre--K through Middle School, math, language arts, science, social studies and more.

Donna Young
www.donnayoung.org
ANOTHER favorite of Homeschool.com readers--and for multiple years! Started by a homeschooling Mom. Contains lessons on history, handwriting, math, science, art, English and more.


Pete's Power Point Station 
www.pppst.com
All power-point presentations! Pretty cool for today's learners.
Christina writes, "This has everything you can think of and can be understood by pre-schoolers"

Neok 12
www.neok12.com

K-12 educational lessons, videos, games, quizzes and puzzles. Topics include physical science, life science, earth & space, social studies, math, and more.

www.Education.com
Not a homeschooling site per se, but a favorite of Homeschool.com parents. Browse by age -- from babyhood to highschool. Activities and worksheets by grade. Lots of information about education in general.

Education Creations  
Your one stop "file cabinet" for quality K-6 Morning Math, Daily Language, Daily Writing, Phonics, Reading, Science & Social Studies worksheets. Ideas & activities for group work, brainstorming, lesson plans, games, gifted, and more! Subscription fee of $34/year. 


MISCELLANEOUS

Teach With Movies
http://www.teachwithmovies.com
Lesson plans based on movies and films, such as The Sound of Music, Diary of Anne Frank, Mulan and more. Teach With Movies provides the curriculum materials but not the movies themselves. 350+ Guides--subscription cost of $11.99/yr.

How Stuff Works
http://www.howstuffworks.com
Fun site for everyone. Topics include engineering, environmental science, forces of nature, innovation, and more.

Songs for Teaching
http://www.songsforteaching.com
Thousands of children's songs, lyrics, sound clips and teaching suggestions. Songs about science, mathematics, social studies, the fine arts, life skills and more. You can listen to the songs online for free or purchase songs that you like.

Peer Trainer
http://www.peertrainer.com/how_to/physical_fitness_resources_for_kids.aspx
Recommended by Barbara from afterskoolkids.org. Barbara works in an after-school program and frequently uses Homeschool.com resources, including ideas from our 101 Things To Do This Summer newsletter. Although this website was only recommended a few times, we decided to include it--as the information is certainly important.


MATH

Math Goodies
http://www.mathgoodies.com
Math help portal that features interactive lessons, worksheets, and homework help. Math lessons are designed for Grades 5 to 8. Webquests, puzzles, games, and more.

Math Playground
http://www.mathplayground.com
For elementary and middle school students. Students can watch a math video, play a math game, solve a logic puzzle, and/or just have some good fun!

Algebra Help
http://www.algebrahelp.com
A collection of lessons, calculators, and worksheets created to assist students. Lessons cover key algebra topics. Their Equation Calculator shows the right answer and a step-by-step solution. Over the years, algebrahelp.com has helped students solve over 15 million equations!

Hands-On Equations
www.borenson.com
The program that demystifies the learning of algebraic concepts. For Grades 3--9. Program costs start at $34.95.

Cool Math Games
http://www.coolmath.com
Fun site for kids as young as three.
Homeschool.com reader Laurie writes, "Cool Math games for logic, thinking and fun games of all sorts".

Math Tutor DVDs
www.mathtutordvd.com
Tutorials covering Basic Math through Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and More! DVD courses as low at $26.99.

Home School Math
http://www.homeschoolmath.net
Math lessons and teaching tips, worksheets, games, ebooks, a curriculum guide, reviews, and more. The resources emphasize understanding of concepts rather than the mechanical memorization of rules.

Math•U•See
www.MathUSee.com
Math•U•See was written by a homeschool Dad, for the homeschool community. Rather than a curriculum designed for a classroom, Math•U•See is designed with the homeschool "tutor" environment in mind and covers general math through calculus. There is a cost associated with the purchase of the curriculums.

Math
www.Math.com

Basic math--calculus. General information free of charge, as well as a math store.
Homeschool.com reader Karen writes, "...not a website for a full curriculum, but for additional support with math when a concept needs further emphasis or practice."

Math Dictionary
www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com
An animated, interactive online math dictionary for students which explains over 600 common mathematical terms and math words in simple language.

Math Drills
www.math-drills.com
Over 10,000 free math worksheets with answer keys.
Homeschool.com reader Dawn writes, "My favorite website is math-drills.com."



SCIENCE

Chem 4 Kids
http://www.chem4kids.com
Where your kids can learn about matter, atoms, elements, the periodic table, reactions and biochemistry. The site links to cosmos4kids.com, biology4kids.com, geography4kids.com and physics4kids.com.

Exploratorium
http://www.exploratorium.edu
Located in San Francisco--but this site is of interest to everyone, regardless of location! Topics cover every day science, the earth, the human body, living things - even the science of baseball!

NASA for Students
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/index.html and http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov
Nasa.gov is a great site, for students K and above and includes educational programs, Nasa eClips, Podcasts,and MORE. Starchild is geared toward a young audience interested in learning about "space stuff".

Astronomy for Kids
http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=ss&id=127
Learn about tonight's sky, this week's sky, this month's sky and more. Lots of interesting information and a special section--Astronomy for Kids.

Kids Health
www.kidshealth.org
The parent, child, teen and educator sections--all make for an interesting site!

Extreme Science
www.extremescience.com

Extreme Science is the place online to find the biggest, baddest, and the best in the world and to learn about the science behind what makes each the most extreme example of its kind. This is a really cool site!

Experiland
www.Experiland.com
GREAT array of science experiments. Very thorough and easy to follow. The Conclusion and Learn More sections of the experiments are not available unless you purchase their e-books (starting at $13.99). You can check out their free printables (complete with Conclusion and Learn More sections) at homeschool.com/printables/elementary and homeschool.com/printables/MiddleSchool

Super Charge Science with Aurora Lipper
www.superchargedscience.com
Recommended by MANY Homeschool.com readers! K--12th Grade curriculums--$37/month for K--8 and $57 per month for the expanded 9--12th Grade material.

Edufy
www.edufy.org/
Built by teachers, for teachers, for the purpose of sharing science based learning activities


READING

Starfall
http://www.starfall.com
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers. Starfall provides a systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development.
Homeschool.com parent Angella writes, "Great site for fundamentals in reading K--2, and for special needs."


Project Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org
Over 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, iOS or other portable device. Recommended by many Homeschool.com parents.

Reading Eggs.
http://ReadingEggs.com
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers. A yearly subscription costs $75.
Jen writes, "I love the Readingeggs.com website."

Reading A--Z
www.readinga-z.com

Leveled books, multilevel books, pocketbooks, serial books, sound/symbol books and MORE. $84.95/year subscription price.
Sarah writes--"Love the books and resources all on one site!"


SPELLING , WRITING and ENGLISH

Vocabulary Spelling City
http://www.spellingcity.com/
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers. Spelling, vocabulary, writing, handwriting and more. Family membership is $29.99/year.
Michelle writes, "One of our family's favorite sites is Vocabulary and Spelling City!"


English Grammar 101
http://englishgrammar101.com
Free and subscription material. Annual subscription rates start at $40/year--and can be the principal teaching tool or textbook for a homeschool teacher's lessons in English grammar.

Kids Spell
http://www.kidsspell.com/
Combine spelling lists with spelling games -- over 6,600 words to practice!


SOCIAL STUDIES, HISTORY and GOVERNMENT

The American Civil War Homepage
http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war
SO much information here!

The Civil War Homepage
http://www.civil-war.net
Again....SO MUCH information!

The Oregon Trail
http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/Oregontrail.html

Very interesting info! For instance--at Ft. Laramie, bacon could be purchased for a penny per pound. Emigrants with excess bacon often considered it worthless and dumped it by the side of the road! Such an interesting tidbit of into--had to include it!

Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/homepage/lchp.html
So much information!

History - Many subjects
http://www.history.com
A one-stop website for history!

Social Studies for Kids
www.SocialStudiesforKids.com
Current events, economics, geography, government and more.
Christina writes, "This is one of the best social studies sites I've found and can also be understood by pre-schoolers."

Civics
www.icivics.org
Citizenship, separation of powers, the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government and so much more.
Leslie-Ann writes, "A captivating addition to our online learning. I literally have to give my son a time limit on learning about the constitution on icivics or we might not get other things done..."


GEOGRAPHY

States and Capitals
http://www.50states.com
All the basic info!

National Geographic
http://ww.nationalgeographic.com/kids and http://education.nationalgeographic.com
Wonderful content, amazing pictures--and who doesn't like the National Geographic!


PRE SCHOOL

Hubbards Cupboard
www.hubbardscupboard.org/index.html
Math, literacy, social studies, and Christian resources for Pre-Schoolers and Kindergartners.

Preschool Learners
www.preschoollearners.com
More than 400 free printable worksheets. Other worksheets can be purchased for five cents each. Worksheets cover the topics of early English, early geography, things we use, and others.

ABC and 123 Learning
http://www.abcand123learning.com
A learning cooperative site--a site where one can collect and borrow teaching tools. Subjects include math, language arts, science and others.

Letter of the Week
http://www.letteroftheweek.com/
Recommended by numerous Homeschool.com readers.
Kasey writes, "For my little ones I love Brightly Beaming Resources at letteroftheweek.com. It is free and covers ages 0-11 (so far, she is always adding more!)."

Reading is Fundamental
www.Rif.org/kids/leadingtoreading

For ages 0-5.

Twinkle
www.twinkl.co.uk
Free and subscription resources. Not just for the UK!


SPECIAL NEEDS

SEN Teacher
http://www.senteacher.org
Teaching and learning resources for students with special needs and with learning disabilities. Math, reading, writing and other printables.


HIGH SCHOOL

Colleges Rankings and Reviews
http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college
Very good source for college information.

List of Online Colleges
www.onlinecolleges.org

Unbiased info about college programs--site started by a college professor

College Atlas
www.collegeatlas.org

Lots of great info including college rankings in regards to the highest acceptance rates, the most students receiving aid ,the top 50 community colleges and more.

Bright Storm
http://www.brightstorm.com/#

English, math and science. Thousands of educational videos.

The HomeScholar 
http://www.thehomescholar.com
An entire website devoted to homeschooling high school students. Free information as well as items to purchase.


OPEN COURSES ONLINE

MIT Open Courseware
www.ocw.mit.edu
Lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. 200 courses available--again--from MIT!

Open Coursware Consortium
www.ocwconsortium.org
Open educational content--high quality university‐level educational materials.  These materials are organized as courses, and often include course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content.

Hippo Campus
http://www.HippoCampus.org
High-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects such as algebra, calculus, physics, statistics, U.S. history, biology and more.

Cosmo Learning
http://www.cosmolearning.com
Almost 500 shared courses in 36 academic subjects.

Free-Ed
http://www.free-ed.net/free-ed
Oline courses in the arts and humanities, business and economics, computer science and information technology, social sciences, math and many, many more.
Melody writes, "I believe this is one of my favorites. My son is talking Pre-Algebra on this site and it is convenient, thorough, and moves at a fast pace."


FOREIGN LANGUAGES

www.mangolanguages.com
A complete language learning solution. Many languages to choose from. Interactive course--$79.

Pimsleur
www.pimsleur.com
Many languages, program, and payment options.


MUSIC

Creating Music
http://creatingmusic.com
Online creative music environment for children of all ages.

Classics for Kids
http://ClassicsforKids.com Information on classical music, instruments, composers and more.



EDUCATIONAL GAMES

Fun Brain
http://www.funbrain.com
Great array of games including math games, reading games, and games for both kids and parents to play.

Sheppard Software
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com
Hundreds of educational games and activities. A favorite among Homeschool.com readers.
Laurie writes, "I like www.sheppardsoftware.com. It has a lot of free geography online educational stuff."


File Folder Fun
www.filefolderfun.com
This site is run by a Christian homeschooling family. Pre-School--Third Grade games.

Learning Games for Kids
www.learninggamesforkids.com
Games covering just about every subject. Animals, health, art & music, math, vocabulary, spelling, literature, keyboarding, U.S. geography, social studies, science and even brain games.
Katie writes, "One of our most favorite online resources is a website called Learning Games for Kids. While my kids don't always play educational games, they do love the games on this site".


WORKSHEETS and PRINTABLES

Worksheet Place
www.worksheetplace.com
Over 2,000 worksheets in the subjects of math, phonics, grammar, science and many more.

Easy Test Maker
www.EasyTestMaker.com
Create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer and true and false questions all on the same test.
Homeschool.com reader Debbie writes, "I like easytestmaker.com. I have used its free version for years! You can make review sheets too."

Super Teacher Worksheets
www.superteacherworksheets.com/full-index.html
Make your own worksheets.
Becky writes, "I found this website about three months ago. It is not specifically referred to as a homeschool website, but it is full of great free printable worksheets. I use it to supplement my current curriculum for all three of my boys and a neighbor boy who comes to my house to learn to read."

School Express
http://www.schoolexpress.com
Over 16,000 free worksheets!

Tools for Educators
http://www.toolsforeducators.com
Free worksheets, templates, etc.

The Teacher's Corner
http://www.theteacherscorner.net
Teacher resources, lesson plans, worksheets and activities.

Handwriting Worksheets
www.handwritingworksheets.com
Handwriting practice worksheets.
Michelle writes, "Amazing handwriting worksheets!"

Kids Learning Station
http://www.kidslearningstation.com
Pre-school and K worksheets. Worksheets for learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, math, phonics and much more.

Busy Teacher's Cafe
http://www.busyteacherscafe.com
K--6 resource. Printables for math, reading, writing and language arts.


ARTS & CRAFTS

Incredible Art
www.incredibleart.org 
Lesson plans for early childhood -- Grade 12.

DLTK
www.dltk-kids.com
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers. Crafts, printables, worksheets, games and more. Run by Mom, Leanne -- the "L" in DLTK.


Crayola
http://www.crayola.com
Coloring pages, craft ideas, and games. Resources for parents and for educators.

Deep Space Sparkle
http://www.deepspacesparkle.com
Art lessons for kids K -- 6. Recommended by many Homeschool.com readers.

Mrs. Brown's Art Class
http://www.mrsbrownart.com
Art classes being taught at Hemenway Elementary School--very fun!

Art Projects for Kids.
http://ArtProjectsforKids.org
Classroom tested art projects for K -- 5 and beyond.


HOMESCHOOLING

Homeschool.com
http://www.homeschool.com

Homeschool Reviews
http://www.homeschoolreviews.com
More than 6,000 reviews covering close to 700 titles across 21 categories and 73 subcategories!

Homeschool Freebie
www.homeschoolfreebie.wholesomechildhood.com
A favorite among Homeschool.com readers.
Anastasia writes, "This is the website I use every day! So good!"

The Well Trained Mind
http://www.welltrainedmind.com
A guide to Classical education at home.

Homeschool Share
www.homeschoolshare.com

Because many minds make light work--where homeschoolers can submit and share their lessons.

Homeschool Helper Online
http://homeschoolhelperonline.com
A site where homeschoolers share resources they have written. Recommended by many Homeschool.com readers.

The Old Schoolhouse
http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com
Subscription magazine. Great articles.

A to Z Home's Cool 
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com
Homeschooling and curriculum information.

www.HSLDA.org
Homeschooling legal information and more.
Gina writes, "My top website that I use is www.hslda.org...I love it!...I go to check homeschool laws for my state, homeschool links, homeschool support groups, homeschool information, homeschool supplies, and so much more!"

Oklahoma Homeschool
http://www.oklahomahomeschooling.org
Overall information about homeschooling--pertinent no matter where you live.
Lindy from South Africa highly recommends this site...and it's a favorite of Ann's, the newsletter editor at Homeschool.com


GENERAL

Amazon
www.Amazon.com

Great source for just about anything and everything.
Homeschool.com parent Erin writes, "....for books, and ALL else!"

eBay
www.eBay.com

Can find just about anything on eBay!
Again from Erin.."for misc. everything, lots of used books..."

You Tube
www.YouTube.com and www.youtube.com/education
Hundreds of thousands of educational videos.
Pam writes, "YouTube!! I use it to supplement and illustrate lessons in various subjects as well as for some science experiments."


BLOGS

http://www.homeschool.com/news
Thrice weekly blog on a variety of subjects. Short and to the point--usually only a few paragraphs per blog posting--some are very interesting.


http://LivingLifeIntentionally.blogspot.com
This blog is written by a Christian homeschooling Mom. She has great ideas (from A to Z) and she shares her printables. She even gives blogging tips!

http://EducationalGamespot.blogspot.com
Reviews of educational websites and games--from a teacher and a Mom.

http://totallytots.blogspot.com
Written by numerous Christian homeschooling Moms.
Homeschool.com reader and a blogger herself, Andrea writes, "Great toddler activities".

http://HarmonyArtMom.blogspot.com
Homeschool art and music plans, written by Barb. Read how she includes art, music appreciation, and nature study in her children's educational programs.
Angie writes, "Not just encouragement and tools for fine arts, but a transparent journey of high school."

http://AlmostUnschoolers.blogspot.com
Written by a homeschool Mom of six.
Angie writes, "Great craft ideas, simple unit studies, etc."

http://MyHomeschoolTale.blogspot.com
Written by Andrea, a Christian homeschooling Mom, homeschooling three children. Her pictures under Punch Card Incentives are fabulous!

http://www.hodgepodge.me
Written by an entire family of Christian homeschoolers (including Hodgepodge Nana), this website is colorful and educational.


CHRISTIAN

Answers in Genesis
www.AnswersinGenesis.com
Free power-point presentations as well as products available for purchase.

Old Fashioned Education
http://www.oldfashionededucation.com
Free homeschool curricula, literature and text books. Subjects include American history, Bible & Religion, economics, science & nature, and more.

See BLOGS above for Christian based blogs.




The Top 100 Educational Websites of 2012 was sponsored by: Time4Learning.com

Time4Learning combines 1000+ animated lessons, printable worksheets and graded activities in an interactive, student-centered environment that promotes a can-do attitude toward learning. 

One low price (with no contracts) includes standards-based lessons, flexible subject-grade selections, access to the grade above and below (for review and extra practice), an activity finder to hone in on specific topics, the ability to repeat activities, an automated system that grades lessons, tracks progress and keeps reports, 24/7 access and more!

Check out their grade by grade curriculum overview to see what's available or read parent reviews


The Top 100 Educational Websites for 2012 were selected by: www.Homeschool.com Product Testers.

Homeschool.com is the #1 homeschooling site on the Internet, according to Google, Yahoo and Forbes Magazine. With over a million members, Homeschool.com helps beginning and experienced homeschoolers through their...

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