Free and Open Online Courses for High School

Homeschooling through high school can be tough, for both parents AND students! What do you do if your child needs extra help, or wants additional studies in a specific subject area? What if they want to start taking some college courses at home? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time thinking about transcripts, admissions, student loans and everything else that goes along with high school and college, as well as how much all of that COSTS.

Having said all that, I have something to share with you. It might be shocking to hear, but take a deep breath and continue reading…

Are you ready?

There are free courses available online. Free. Online. Available to everyone.

Still with me? 😉

Organizations like the Saylor Foundation have made college/continuing education courses available for a while, but recently launched open online K-12 courses (Saylor Foundation Launches Open Online K-12 Courses)! Their course selection is limited right now, but they do plan on adding more as they can. Immediately available is an American Literature course, as well as a couple of math courses. Oh, and all of these are aligned to the common core state standards!

In addition to the Saylor Foundation, major universities are opening up certain online courses for high schoolers. Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, Duke, Harvard, UCLA, Yale and Carnegie Mellon are just some of the major schools offering free courses right now! From Quantum Mechanics, to Classical Greek Civilizations, to Current Media Studies (and everything in between), there is something for everyone.

These courses would be great for beefing up transcripts (imagine applying to a college or university, already having college level courses under your belt!). They would also work well as a complement to your traditional curricula. If your high schooler is still undecided about what they want to pursue in college, trying out some different courses would be a fantastic way to explore career interests. And one last suggestion as to why you might want your child to enroll in one or more of these courses: keeping their brains engaged and sharp over the summer!

If your high schooler wants to attend a specific college/university, definitely check their course listings and see what they have to offer as dual enrollment or pre-college options.

Online Summer Learning

Brain drain. It happens all the time. Kids everywhere experience it. Young minds feel so fresh and full when the school year wraps up, only to feel slow and groggy and not as full when the next school year rolls around in a few months.

imagesSo what can you do to help prevent the summer brain drain in your kiddos?

Here are some excellent online resources that you have at your avail. These online resources can be a nice break from traditional workbook/textbook learning environments, and work well for homeschoolers and public/private schoolers alike!

Time4Learning – T4L is a fun, multimedia program for grades K-8 that has lessons and activities for language arts, math, science and social studies. It can be used for summer learning, but can also be used all year long as a core curriculum, or as a supplemental resource.

VocabularySpellingCity – VSC is an award winning program who’s mission is efficient game-based study of literacy skills. Their summer program is perfect for all grades, K-12!

Time4Writing – Writing, whether it be creatively or essay writing for the SAT (and everything in between), can be one of the hardest areas for students fighting brain drain. With T4W’s flexible course schedule, summer writing practice has never been easier.

These are just a few, of many, online resources out there. Share with us…what are your YOUR favorite resources and activities for fun summer learning?