5 Free Fun Online Sources for Learning to Code

Free Online Learn to Code Games

I have a certain little boy, well really two little boys, who are falling head over heals for learning to code.  As the wife of a husband who works in technology and uses coding every day for part of his job I can’t help but encourage this passion.  Being budget minded I saught out the most inexpensive… Ok downright FREE… resources I could find.

LearningtoCode

Hour of Code:  This website features video tutorials and the tools to code in things like Javascript so that students can create their own games.  There is a whole tutorial around the latest Star Wars film that absolutely enthralled my boys.

Scratch – This website uses the ever popular coding language of Scratch to teach children how to create games.  My children have been using this website for several weeks.  I love the problem solving Scratch requires as well as the creativity.  A friend of ours made a pretty sophisticated Donkey Cong type game using this website.  It was impressive!

Snapsource – This website is something Berkeley has put together and is incredibly open ended meaning any budding programmer has the framework to for endless possibilities.  On the other hand, there aren’t any directions or tutorials that I can find.  This would be great for the child whose had some practice with coding.

Code Combat – This website is just fun!  Children learn to code not by watching video tutorials or completing some kind of assignment or challenge.  They learn by advancing through the levels of a game.  A very fun and somewhat addictive game.  Watch out parents!

Code Studio – This website is full of coding courses separated by age level. Even early readers ages 4-6 can get in on the action.

Do you know of any free coding resources?  If you do share them in the comments!

 

No Money For Curriculum? How to Homeschool For Next to Nothing

NextToNothing

Most homeschool families rely primarily on one income. Even ours! Yes I do have my own photography business and that certainly helps our family budget, but the truth is, what I make part-time pales in comparison to my husband’s salary. Living on one income isn’t easy. Adding in costs for homeschool materials can really throw a budget for a loop. Let’s talk about how to get your children a great education for nearly nothing.  I am saying “nearly nothing” instead of free because I don’t believe you can truly do it for FREE.  Paper and pencils and related supplies do cost money and you’ll need a bit for gas or the bus to get to the library and perhaps other locations too.  Also, a number of my suggestions do involve internet access. But other than that, I do think you can homeschool without spending a penny.

1. Core Curriculum

I begin here because let’s face it.  If you aren’t able to teach some basics… reading/writing/math… then you are sunk.  Science and Social Studies fit in here too!  How do you do it?  How do you teach these important subjects without shelling out big bucks for expensive books and curriculum?  I’ll give you one word… the library. If you can get to a library you can find plenty of books on these subjects.  Take from them what you can.  Since these probably aren’t going to be open and go curriculum type books chances are you’ll need to take some time to read through them and develop your own plan.  But a plan is doable.

In my home state we have a fantastic library loan system.  Using the library’s computer I can request books from any library in the state and they’ll be shipped right to MY library.  I’ve heard other states offer this too.  In our case it is free.  I do believe some states charge either per book or per request. This service can be a true lifesaver.  In some areas of my state there is something called the Book Mobile.  This is a van full of books that travels to areas where families might have more trouble traveling to the library.  I’ve been told that if you get to know the driver you might be able request books of interest.  Something to look into for sure if you are homebound.

I have been blessed with voracious readers.  My children are often spouting out interesting facts about whatever… a common refrain in my house is “Mommy did you know….?”  When I ask them where they learned

that from they almost always say… “A book!”  When we hit the library we bring home no fewer than 50 books at time.  We keep a big basket in the living room filled with them.  Every day my children have a “reading time” where they pull books from that pile – and others in the house – and read to their hearts content.  We read books aloud together every day.  It’s just a part of what we do as a family.  I often tell my husband I should probably just abandon most of our curriculum and just let them read themselves into forever.  They seem to learn just fine without my “lessons.”  A stack of books on their topic of choice equals quite a bit of education.

If you have access to a computer, an old smartphone or an ipod touch, or even a handme down tablet or e-reader then you can log onto Amazon.com and download THOUSANDS of books for free!  They change daily so weekly checkups are a must.  Check out freereadfeed.com. They are a great source for finding Kindle freebies any time. You’ll find free books on pretty much any subject you are interested in.

Not too long ago I posted a list of free and frugal resources for homeschooling on the cheap from around the web.  You’ll want to check that out.

2. Field Trips

We are blessed that we have family that love to lend us a hand in our schooling.  My brother-in-law was gracious enough to buy us a family pass to the local Science Museum.  Of course we can go as often as we’d like but even better is when our museum partners with other museums.  When that happens we get to visit other places for free!  This month we are hitting up Old Sturbridge village as many times as we can saving our family $75 each time.  In March we’ll get to visit Mystic Aquarium saving our family over $100 each trip. Our local library also has passes you can borrow to various destinations.  Plus, it isn’t uncommon for some establishments to offer free days.  There is an Art Museum here that does so once a month.  There are other recipricol museum passes available as well.  Some will allow you to tour children’s museums and others science museums at a reduced cost.  If you are super lucky you can get a membership that covers both! The Boston Children’s museum offers this.  You don’t have to live in Boston to get it and it covers thousands of museums around the country.  Something to look into!

Other suggestions include the parks.  We’ve been able to explore lots of state parks, off season, for free.  Parks in my state don’t charge entrance or parking fees in the fall, winter, and early spring.  We once took a stack of books from the library on ocean life.  Then we used our CT Science Center pass to study their exhibit on the CT Long Island Sound.  We followed up a few days later with a trip to Mystic Aquarium, which we got into for free because the Science Center was offering a reciprocal deal with them that month. PLENTY of ocean knowledge to be had there.  Finally we landed at Rocky Neck State Park.  This is a popular beach

here in CT.  It was March and we were blessed with very balmy weather.  We didn’t pay a penny to park or enter.  We spread out a blanket, had a picnic lunch, and traipsed the shoreline collecting treasures we then sketched and identified using our library books.  Later at home we wrote stories about our beach adventure.  In other words I put together an entire month long unit on oceans and sea life, one that contained rich hands-on immersive experiences… FOR FREE!  Ok, I had to pay for gas to get to and from our destinations.  It included Science, Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Art… I got it all in and it didn’t cost a thing.

3. OnLine Videos and Related Content

The world wide web is a TREASURE trove of fee content!  Specifically free online videos and course work.  I know I linked so some of it in my resources post but here is some more to wet your palate.

Youtube is an amazing source of information.  If you have internet access you can type in a search for nearly any topic and BOOM, videos at your fingertips.  I do recommend Mom search on her own first ahead of time.  The web can be a bit wild so you don’t want any accidental surprises.  Similar things can be found on Netflix which is a pretty darn cheap subscription if you can swing it.

Lots of cable channels put at least some of their content online for free every day.  Sites like Discovery Kids, PBS, and PBS Kids offer free online content.  I also found and bookmarked THIS site with a list of 25 other sites all with free online learning content.  Did you know MIT… yes THAT MIT, even offers a great deal of coursework for FREE right on their websites? Here is a link to get you started.  I hear Yale has something similar.  Nasa has some fantastic video on their website too.

Have you seen Kahn Academy? Here is a fantastic, high quality resource for teaching your students Math, Science, and Humanities courses.  It is quite unbelievable what is available for free on that website. I point this one out on it’s own because it is just such a deep and vast resource.  It can’t be missed.

Honestly, my list in this space could go on for ever.  Google is my friend!

4. Blogging

And can I put this out there?  Do you blog?  Have you thought about it. If you are an active homeschool blogger you CAN get some very nice curriculum to review for free.  It takes hard work and dedication to maintain a blog and develop a following of readers.  Then there you do have to spend time and heart energy reviewing the materials sent you are sent.  It is no cakewalk for sure.  I myself loose many hours of sleep keeping this place going and working hard on my reviews not only so that my family can be blessed by the things we receive but so that all of my readers and the publishers of the curriculum I am given can be blessed too.  My children are obviously involved too and my husband definitely supports me.  It is a total team effort.  However, I know plenty ladies who are able to school all of their children almost entirely on products they get for free.  If you are willing to work at it, it can be done! Just something else to think about.

 

If homeschooling is a priority for your family, something you are willing to sacrifice time and energy for, then I totally believe it CAN be done without breaking the bank.  With a little enginuity you can homeschool for next to nothing!  Click here to read more about how other families pinch the homeschool pennies.

Please, if you have any resources to share with my readers leave on comment below!  It would be a true blessing.

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