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We’ve been homeschooling since we started traveling full-time in January 2020. I never thought I’d be a homeschooling mom, never trusted that I’d find the patience, never expected to be fulfilled in that role. Yet today, 4 months into our homeschooling journey, I have a hard time thinking I’ll ever put my kids back at school…
Our homeschooling journey is obviously a world schooling one. We are traveling internationally full-time, and our original plan was to only teach the Math and English curriculum to the kids, and let them learn everything else from the road.
Truth be told, we were done with a full year of Math and English in about 6 weeks, so we ended up covering all other subjects too.
The kids have studied an entire year’s program in about 2.5 months (note that we do work every single day, weekends included, for about 1.5 hour a day), so we have explored new ways to teach them and really enjoy the resources we have found.
Here are our favorite resources so far:
School Zone – The Big Books
The Big Books by School Zone are our basis. They cost under $15 and each child gets one at the beginning of the year. We fill out 6 pages each day – half Math / half English.
We love the Big Books (i.e., Big First Grade, Big Third Grade, Big Spelling, etc.) since they keep us in check. We find them to be at level and challenge the children from a year to the next. They also include a nice method to help the parents teach new concepts to the kids and they truly are our basis.
When we are done with them, we consider their full year covered. They include a bit of social studies, history, etc., which is great and not too much since the kids are worldschooling anyways. What we are really looking are a basis for the Math and English, and those books do a wonderful job!
School Zone – Basics
Once the kids are done with their Big Book, we get a couple of smaller School Zone workbooks. They are typically under $4 and focus on one topic. We have come to love the Math Basics for the older kids, and the Spelling and Sight Words one for our Kindergartner. They’re easy to handle and a great way to keep them working on essential skills between school years.
There are so many apps out there… all claim amazing benefits but very few stand out to us. We have downloaded dozens and deleted nearly as many. Prodigy Math has definitely stood out however!
Prodigy Math has a free app and a premium membership and works with kids in 1st through 8th grade. I love the fact that the free app is amazing. You wouldn’t ever need to purchase the premium version and we only did because our kids have been spending so much time on it, and they get nicer rewards as a premium member.
During the first few days on the app, the children are assessed. As a parent, you input their current grade and the app takes care of testing the children with easier and harder questions to ensure they are slotted into the right class.
Once they are, the children play battles and build cities by answering math question. And I mean actual math questions and problems. They have the option to write on the screen and use it a scrap paper, which is genius and very helpful when they start working on multi-step problems.
We are very impressed with Prodigy Math and haven’t found a better app yet… The kids love to play it and we’ve noticed great improvement in their math skills since they started using the app. As a parent, the portal gives us a deep understanding of how the kids are doing and what we need to reinforce, and we set goals to motivate them and send them rewards for their hard work!
We use the Khan Academy for our Kindergartner since she is too young to use Prodigy Math.
The Khan Academy is a non-profit that offers free education for all children. We have set up accounts for all of our kids and I love the numbers of topics covered.
We mostly use the Khan Academy to teach Math to our Kindergartner. But we have assigned classes such as Chemistry, Grammar, US History, and more, to our older children.
We like using the web-based version of Khan Academy, but the app is very well built and easy to use on the go!
We have also downloaded the Khan Academy Kids app, which is a cute app for kids 2-7, with nursery rhymes, stories, books, and cute activities to learn colors, letters, shapes, etc. It is a nice way for our Kindergartner to get some typical pre-school material in, which we probably wouldn’t have taught her.
Homer is our must-go app for teaching the kids how to read.
We started using it when Ava was in pre-school and it is the way she learned how to read. We have since then used it to teach Mark and Elin how to read.
Now that we homeschool, we use Homer as part of her Kindergarten curriculum. But when the kids were in school, we did a letter every night before going to bed. The app runs the kids through reading exercises, they hear and recognize the sounds, all the way to fluently reading.
One of the challenge we have while traveling full-time and getting access to English children books.
Our public library in the US doesn’t offer a great way to read books online, so we have turned to FreeTime Unlimited. There, the kids have unlimited access to hundreds of children books – from image books to chapter books.
On the parent portal, you select which content is available to them. While we give them access to all books, apps, and shows, we require that they spend 30 minutes reading before being able to access anything else that day.
We have downloaded the Freetime Unlimited app on our phones and iPads, but find it to work best on a Kids Fire Tablet.
The one-year pre-paid plan saves you a bit of money, but the monthly subscription runs around $6.99 per month if you are a Prime Member. You will find special promotions from time to time. The current COVID-19 promotion is $19.99 for a full year, and it includes a year of HOMER!!
We’ve been using DuoLingo for the last 8 years but recently introduced it to the kids and we’ve been loving that tool for them!
DuoLingo is a free app that teaches 35+ foreign languages. It caters to all ages, as long as the child knows how to read. Originally, I had downloaded the app to brush up on my German skills when we moved to Switzerland.
Now we use it to more formally teach the kids French. They’ve been loving the game-like platform and we all find it fairly addictive, which is a good thing when you’re learning!
We recently started using ABCMouse.com. It is an app for kids 2 to 8 to work on classroom subjects with 10,000+ learning activities.
When Elin finished her school curriculum, we started using ABCMouse since it is something she could work on, on her own, while we worked with the older kids. I also noticed that it was introducing “typical preschool” content that we wouldn’t have worked on with her – such as nursery rhymes, stories, etc.
She’s loved working on the app and gaining new reading and maths skills. She also really enjoys the animals and world sections, where she learns things we wouldn’t have been teaching her.
Math With Dad’s Worksheets
This resource works best if you have access to a printer. When we use it, we typically copy the math equations on a sheet and read the problems off of the iPad.
Dad’s Worksheets is a free resource and a very impressive collection of math sheets. Pick worksheets based on your child’s grade or a topic (i.e., comparing fractions, rounding numbers, etc.).
I think their themed worksheets are the cutest thing and I even use some of their themed Color-By-Number worksheets for Elin when I need to keep her busy while I work with the older kids!
Our favorite resources in one place:
I hope you love those homeschooling resources as much as we do! And if you don’t home school, they are all great supplements during the school year and during summer break, to keep those little brains going strong!