Online Resources Homeschoolers Should Invest In

Teaching your children at home can be expensive. Curriculum, field trips, classes and more all compete for your homeschooling budget. For most of us, the things we want to have far exceed the amount we have to spend, so we constantly have to make choices when choosing resources.

For my family, these three online resources are where we choose to invest some of our homeschooling budget. Every year, they are on our must-have list.

Some may feel these online subscriptions are too expensive, but that is the beauty of homeschooling. Everyone’s must-have list is different. These programs work for us, so I make room in our budget for them.

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If you know the names Tim and Moby, then you know BrainPOP. This is a subscription site with animated curriculum. I believe this site’s greatest strength is the ability to explain difficult and complex subjects in an engaging manner, making them easy to understand.

Sometime we have been studying something and my kids just don’t get it, yet after watching a BrainPOP segment, they finally grasp it. Not only do they understand, but they are engaged and laughing along the way.

BrainPOP has videos on a wide range of subjects (with more being added regularly) as well as links  for additional resources and an interactive quiz for kids to see how much they’ve learned.

I use this resource every time a segment fits the subject matter we are learning. At some point during our lessons, we sign in to see what Tim and Moby have to say. I usually access it from my computer or through our iPad app.

I’ve shared more about BrainPop over at Curriculum Choice.

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Discovery Education

This is by far my largest single purchase each year for our home school, but it is also the resource I use most frequently. Name a subject and there are a variety of resources available in the form of videos, images and articles. You can even use their lesson plans if you are interested.

Discovery Education has a wonderful search feature. When I have a subject that I want to explore, I type it in the search bar and it pulls up everything available. I narrow my search by choosing the grade level I’m looking for and the type of format I want (full video, clip, image, etc.).

You have the ability to save whatever you want to an area called My Content. This is a HUGE time saver. I create multiple folders and save everything I find interesting. Often, when I am planning out a lesson, I will take some time and find the videos I want to use and put them into a folder to use later.

So far I have used this site the most for science, history, art, music and grammar. We have found some new favorites, like Horrible Histories, and watch old favorites, like Jeff Corwin.

The sheer volume of this website is astounding. It makes it very easy to supplement a ton of lessons with engaging videos.

Check out my review over at Curriculum Choice for even more insights.

If you are a member of Homeschool Buyers Co-op, you can sign up for a free trial of Discovery Education.

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Mark Kistler’s Live Virtual Drawing Class

Mark Kistler is an Emmy winning artist who has been teaching kids how to draw in 3D for 35 years. Recently, he started offering LIVE virtual drawing classes in addition to the downloadable ones he’s had for years.

Multiple times throughout the week, you can sign in and draw right along with him. If you can’t make the live events, they are recorded and available for you to download at any time.

I can’t articulate how much my daughter LOVES this website. She knows she is learning directly from a master, whose students have gone on to work in some cool jobs using what he taught them.

Every week she sits down at the computer with her drawing pad, headphones and pencils and draws right along with him, with hundreds of other kids from around the world.

Abigail has always been interested in art, but through these live lessons, her skills have skyrocketed!

Mark Kistler is funny, engaging and an amazing teacher. This site is a gem, a true value!

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As I mentioned, these are not the cheapest online resources, but they work for our family. I spend less in other areas (like curriculum books) so that I can fit them in to our budget. I hope you consider working them in to your homeschooling plan.

What are the must haves in your home school?

must have online items

*For more great homeschooling ideas, visit the iHomeschool Network Must Haves for Homeschool link up. 

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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  1. Megan, I’ve often considered using BrainPop and Discovery Education in our homeschool, but have second guessed the subscription due to our budget. It’s great to hear how it works from another mom, which is really helpful. : )

    1. Thanks Kirsten! I totally know what you mean. Buying those first subscriptions was very scary (like you said, you don’t know if it’s really worth it), but like I wrote, they are all vital parts of our school plan now. I’m glad I could give you a bit more insight into what the programs are like. Let me know if you have any questions about them. I’d be glad to help further.

  2. Hi Megan,

    That’s a GREAT list of online resources!

    Your readers might be interested in knowing that the Homeschool Buyers Co-op has the best deal anywhere for all of them…


    Discovery Education Streaming Plus

    Please note that our summer GroupBuy gave homeschoolers that best deal ever at $99/year, but that deal ends 9/30.

    Mark Kistler 3D Drawing:

    Mark Kistler Virtual Classroom:

    Co-op membership is free and open to all homeschoolers.


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