I homeschooled my autistic teen for 6 years and loved every minute of it. During those years I was able to figure out what worked and what didn’t for how he learned. He attended K12, a nearby CoOp Homeschool program and now he is fully remote in a public school set up. There are still lots of gaps in his learning, especially when it comes to Math. It has been a whirlwind finding what websites work and which ones he falls asleep in, LOL!
So without further adieu, here are the 10 most used websites I have tried and sometimes still access to either get FREE or a low cost printable (s) for a core subjects, so it can be broken down and can easily processed and/or access visual versions of the same subject matter but may have a video or visual representation of what the teacher is trying to convey to his a general education class.
We love BrainPopJr! It was an exclusive resource for us and especially our autistic son from K-3rd grade and sometimes we still access this website because it’s colorful and fun to learn about different history events and all the core subjects as well.
“BrainPOP Jr. offers digital educational content for children in kindergarten through third grade. With over 250 topics, it gently encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas.” by BrainPopJr
BrainPop is like the big brother to BrainPopJr, since it addresses the 4th-12th grade core subjects, it also has some subjects and core for younger learners and/or learners that are a bit more advanced as well as those with special needs. My son was reminiscing with me while writing this post because he really loves BrainPop (still does).
“Animated Educational Site for Kids – Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Arts & Music, Health, and Technology.” By BrainPop
Where do I start, when my youngest was struggling with his reading quota for most days while in Kindergarten-3rd grade, I was seeking a way where my autistic son would be learning and having fun at the same time, enter Starfall. It was exactly what I was looking for at the time and used to be a FREE resource but it became huge, so now it is a paid plan. Still one of the older ones out there and still very fun to look at and search around to see what still remains and what has changed. But overall from what I can tell it has pretty much stayed the focus and is awesome for younger children, as well as those with special needs that have trouble with reading and staying focused.
“At Starfall, children have fun while they learn.”
“Starfall.com® opened in September 2002 as a free public service to teach children to read. Since then it has expanded to include language arts and mathematics for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade. Starfall’s emphasis on phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity has proven effective in teaching emergent readers. Starfall activities are research-based and align with Individual and Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics.
The program emphasizes exploration, play, and positive reinforcement—encouraging children to become confident and intrinsically motivated. Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children and is especially effective for special education, homeschooling, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). It is widely used in schools that serve children with special needs and learning difficulties.
Our low-cost membership program expands the free content to include animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities spanning K-3. Membership also supports the production of new books, songs, educational games, and movies.
The program, provided by the Starfall Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was conceived by Dr. Stephen Schutz. As a child, Stephen had difficulty learning to read due to dyslexia. He wanted to create a website with untimed, multisensory interactive games that allow children to see, hear, and touch as they learn.” By Starfall
When I was just starting out with homeschooling it was hard to figure out what would work and what wasn’t working for my autistic son, so I joined education.com and was able to access lots of worksheets that pertained to his core subjects like history, math, social studies, language arts and more.
“With 30,000+ digital and printable resources, kids can learn about any topic they’re curious about. Browse the library” By Education.com
We did this all through his Kindergarten-3rd grade and it was fun watching my son do the reading egg books that he read and participated online and then they would ask him questions about what he read using the vocabulary, the content, and more. It was fabulous.
“Reading Eggs makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great online reading games and activities.” By Reading Eggs
Just like the name implies this website consists of various math games in a game format, so kids can have fun while learning. My son still loves to go to this website from time to time to work on his math concepts.
“The future of Flash games on Coolmath games.” by Coolmath
This is an excellent site for summer and to work on those subjects that your student continues to struggle in. It is like having a tutor inside your home who does 1:1 with your child and when they don’t “get” a concept, the strategy changes. PRICELESS.
“Time4Learning, Inc. provides educational services. The Company offers education program that combines technology and curriculum including math, language arts, science, and social studies for preschool through twelfth grade. ” by Time4Learning
As time has gone on, especially as my autistic son has grown into a teenager if he is not engaged and involved in his learning he will zone out, so having an assignment be fun and rewarding is what really works for him. I also think it depends on the teacher as well:-). This is what Learning Games is all about, which is to get the student engaged in the learning and have fun too.
“Educational games are a great tool for building foundation math and language skills that today’s elementary school curriculum requires. These online learning games and songs for kids are fun, teach important skills for preschool and elementary school kids and they’re free. Want educational games that help build skills in math, language, science, social studies, and more?” By Learning Games For Kids
This is again a website that is geared toward Math and they make it fun, engaging, interactive and more. Gaming is where its at right now and educational apps and websites are starting to gear towards educational concepts and challenges in a fun and interactive way. My son hung out here most days during his middle school days and earlier, especially when he completed his assigned homework, I would usually have him visit this site as a perk. So he automatically knew, or whatever I wrote on his daily schedule at the time, that when he was done with his homework he would get to “play” on the Math website.
“For our 12 and under users, Coolmath4Kids is an amusement park of games, lessons and more, designed to teach math and make it FUN” By Cool Math 4 Kids
This site was introduced to us by one of my son’s speech therapists and we have not stopped since. It is a wonderful site where famous people read books to children online with so much animation and fun. The first time my son heard a book read to him online with animation and expression and by a famous author, we were both hooked. I can’t recommend this enough. So much fun and you have lots of books and genres to choose from too.
And there you have it. These are the 10 websites that I accessed during the early years of homeschooling my autistic son and some I still refer to from time to time. I hope it is a great resource for you as well wherever you are in your homeschool journey or are thinking about it. Good Luck and Take Care.
Mandu Usoro is a lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, experienced homeschooler and US Army Veteran with a BS Degree in Social Work and AA Degrees in Psychology as well as Health Care Administration. She enjoys spending time with her family, advocating for her special needs son daily as well as writing for fun and inspiration about being a parent of a special needs child and more. You can get in touch with her on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and at https://www.homeschoolspecneedstidbits.com/contact-us .