Tag Archives: free secular homeschooling resources

Free Classical Literature Downloads

Online libraries allow visitors to download books for free.  There’s no reason to spend money homeschooling, newer material is dumbed down anyway.

Learn how to download classics from a digital library. Find classic literature online and supplement your homeschool curriculum with digital library resources.

Publications whose copyrights have expired are referred to as “in the public domain” and considered public property. There are several digital library websites that allow visitors to download books for free or for the cost of an annual or monthly membership. There are also resources that offer the opportunity to download audio books through an online library.

Homeschooling with Classic Literature

Searching for classic literature through an online library can be time consuming. Begin with a book list that includes titles, author and original publisher or publication date. Try checking with your homeschool curriculum publisher for a recommended book list or a required reading list.

If your homeschooling curriculum doesn’t specify a book list, there are several book lists available online. Try visiting The Great Books, sponsored by the Access Foundation. Their goal is to keep a comprehensive classic book list with links to online library sites that allow visitors to download classics.

Before you visit an online library to download classics, designate a file folder in your computer for each book. Often, the book will be available in several formats; .pdf, .html and .txt are the most popular. Sometimes one book might require more than one file to be downloaded. This folder is also a good place to keep study notes, or a reading journal. Separating each book into its own folder helps keep lesson plans organized, too.

Download Audio Books for Free

Listening to audio books as a family is a great way to enjoy classic literature. In The Well Trained Mind [Peace Hill Press 1999], Susan Wise Bauer suggests that students listen to a chapter from an audio book each day during a restful time. She means this to be a time when a homeschooling mother can take a break and children can enjoy classic literature without distractions. There’s no reason an adult can’t enjoy books this way, too.

Technical help for Free Downloadable Materials

To download audio books, first decide how you’ll be listening to them. If you plan to use an iPod, you can save them to iTunes in .mp3 or .mp4 format. If you’re using any other player, .mp3 is most likely to work the best. Windows media player will play .wmv files, but you can’t always download audio books in that format. Create a folder for your playlist and keep all of the “tracks” together. Sometimes one chapter will consist of several tracks. Consider whether you’d like to keep each chapter separated by folders for a chapter-by-chapter replay.  Don’t worry, converting them is easy and the newer iPods and iTunes will play both, but the windows player will not plan an mp4.  So when in doubt, use mp3.  Read more…

Partially reprinted from Downloading Classic Literature, originally published on June 15, 2008, with permission from Lisa Russell, the Homeschooling featured writer at Suite 101.com

Secular Homeschool Curriculum

Calvert School. Calvert is one of the oldest homeschool curriculum companies in existence, they distribute materials all over the country, and they’ve done so for over 100 years. They offer subject-by-subject courses, or entire boxed sets for the whole year. They publish a lot of their own textbooks, they also use a fair amount of original resources. In addition to the boxed-set program, they also have an online homeschooling program that was released in recent years. Calvert has partnerships with public school districts to provide homeschooling for families through public funds. The public-funded program isn’t available in all areas.

Keystone Curriculum– I just browsed their website and i’m not sure why i thought they were Christian, but i can’t find anything on there that states it, their high school biology course mentions the mechanics of evolution in the course description, so it looks like i may have been wrong.

Laurel Springs School is a self-study College preparatory school, so it’s an advanced program. Their site is professional looking, I don’t know anyone who has used the program, so leave a comment please if you have personal experience with it.

If you have a little aversion to boxed curriculum, check out Oak Meadow. They are very Waldorf-style, in that they stress experiences over instruction and they specialize in nature, play and natural learning. I used their Kindergarten program with my older girls and we all really loved it. Much of their program is teaching PARENTS how to recognize and encourage real learning, as opposed to teaching from the manual. it’s very kid-centered, peaceful, natural and we loved it.

Core Curriculum of America is one that i hadn’t heard of until i started researching this. They also distribute Christian Curriculum, so I would caution families to keep their eyes open for subliminal or subversive statements. Freethinking kids are generally able to spot inconsistencies, but if I were spending money on a curriculum only to find they were sneaking in religious material that I specifically disagree with, I’d be angry. Not that I’ve ever seen this product or even heard of the company, but when a christian company says that they’re going to release a secular curriculum, I wonder if they really can.

Christian companies are here