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I’ve been compiling a list of links to free resources on the web that I use myself or that have been recommended. As I’m sure you all know, buying curriculum, especially at the high school level, can amount to hundreds of dollars per course. For many families, this can be cost-prohibitive, especially If you have more than one child in the upper grades.
I try to mix and match as much as possible, carefully picking and choosing what I buy, and using free material if I can find it.
Fortunately, “free” does not mean you have to compromise on quality. There are so many good learning materials available that you don’t have to feel that you’re skimping on your children’s education if you use them.
I thought I would share what I have to try to cut down on the time we all spend searching. For this article, I’d like to focus on the high school subjects North Carolina requires to earn a public school, college prep diploma. I will list any full courses or supplementary learning materials by subject.
First, some links to sites that offer free material in a wide array of core and elective subjects. Recently, there has been a surge of new offerings from major universities like MIT and from companies, like Coursera, edX, and Udacity that are building platforms for hosting free online classes from multiple sources. You can find these and other links here. Many of the courses I list come from the National Respository of Online Courses which offers free Advanced Placement, college level, and high school courses in U.S. history, U.S. government, the core sciences, Algebra and Calculus, Psychology and Religion. Another good place that lists free online high school courses is Hoagies’ Gifted. Here you will find most of the core courses and some electives, such as Journalism and the Basics of Screenwriting. Some of the courses listed, however, are not in the form of lesson plans, but are digital textbooks or video lessons. Of course, there’s also Khan Academy. A site that offers free, online college-level courses is The Saylor Foundation. The site Homeschool College USA provides links to free courses in all the core academic areas, as well as a wide variety of electives.
For a list of 150 free textbooks, click here.
The Wake County Public School System has a series of online video lessons called the “Success Series,” which provides a review of most of the core subjects and foreign language.
Finally, in an attempt to better organize my links (for my high schoolers and younger children), I have developed a “Pearltree” called Learn For Free that groups everything by subject for all the grades.
Okay, onto the specifics for North Carolina. The following is a list of required high school courses from NC’s Division of Non-Public Education. (They have a 24-page homeschool guidebook that contains information on how to homeschool legally in NC).
I will continue to add to this list. Please leave a comment with your own links and help build this list, if you like. To start off:
Minimum Requirements for a North Carolina Public School High School Graduation
College Prep Diploma—Grade 9–12 Subject Credits Required
English (includes Literature, Composition, Grammar) – 4 Credits
English I: A study of all the genres of literature.
9th Grade Literature/Composition from Georgia Virtual Learning
English 9A and English 9B from Open High School of Utah.
English II – World Literature survey
Invitation to World Literature
10th Grade Lit/Comp
English III – American Literature survey
American Literature/Composition from Georgia Virtual Learning
American Literature This full course was developed by an NC teacher.
English IV – survey of British Literature
English Literature/Composition from Georgia Virtual Learning
20 Popular High School Books available as free e-books or audiobooks
Glencoe Literature Study Guides free PDF
Signet Classics Study Guides free PDF
LitCharts Study Guides free PDF
Here’s a site for high school grammar and composition and other subjects.
Foreign Language – 2 Credits
(Both must be in same language)
Spanish 1 This is the Destinos course “introduction to Conversational Spanish.” Includes video lessons, online grammar and vocabulary exercises, and links to cultural information.
The Wake County Public School System has a “Success Series” of online video lessons covering Spanish 1, Spanish 2 and French 1. Here are the links:
Spanish 1 Success Series
Spanish 2 Success Series
French 1 Success Series
Mathematics –4 Credits
NROC Algebra 1A
NROC Algebra 1B
Algebra 1 – Math Planet
Algebra 1 UC Open Access
Algebra 2 – Math Planet
Geometry – Math Planet
one beyond Algebra II
or Integrated Mathematics I, II, III and a credit beyond Integrated Mathematics III)
Science – 3 Credits
Here’s a site that instructs on how to write lab reports: CAST Science Writer
A physical science:
Physical Science from Georgia Virtual Learning
Biology from Georgia Virtual Learning
AP Biology – North Warren Regional High School
This NROC course has a separate link for each semester.
AP Biology 1
AP Biology 2
UC Open Access has courses in Biology and AP Biology with Virtual Labs for both classes.
CK-12 Honors Biology Flexbook An online textbook that can be read online, printed, or you can download the PDF.
McGraw-Hill Virtual Biology Labs
AP Environmental Science
UC Open Access has a course in AP Environmental Science with a Virtual Lab.
Earth Science Virtual Labs
If you are using the Glencoe textbook, “Earth Science, Geology, the Environment, and the Universe,” you can download the following materials that go with the textbook: Study Guide and Lab Manual. And here is the textbook’s Companion Website, which has self-check quizzes and tests, chapter overviews, and animations.
Chemistry from Georgia Virtual Learning
CK-12 Chemistry Flexbook Read it online, print it, or download the PDF.
Virtual Chemistry Lab
Physics from Georgia Virtual Learning
NROC has courses in Physics.
The Physics Classroom
Social Studies – 3 Credits
Civics & Economics
American Government (for civics) from Georgia Virtual Learning
Economics from Georgia Virtual Learning
AP US History
UC Open Access has courses in U.S. History and AP U.S. History.
World History from Georgia Virtual Learning
World Geography from Georgia Virtual Learning
World Civilizations A From Open High School of Utah
World Civilizations B
World History for Us All Teaching units, lesson plans and resources for a full course.
Students Friend Includes lesson plans, a digital textbook, and additional resources for teaching a full course.
(*2 coursed to meet UNC minimum admission requirements—U.S. History & Elective)
Health & Physical Education – 1 Credit
High School Health Guides Includes teacher guides, handouts and quizzes on subjects such as drugs, emotional health, infections and diseases
Electives – 3 Credits and other Credits designated by LEA
Open High School of Utah offers the following electives: Digital Photography, Music Appreciation, Graphic Design, Health, Fitness For Life, Computer Technology, Advanced Computer Technology. Click here to go to these courses.
Journalism 1 Developed by a teacher at Joplin High School.
Money Management and Finances (full courses and other materials)
Personal Finance From Family Economics & Financial Education.
For a checklist of these course and credit requirements, click here.
For a variety of articles on homeschooling high school, click here.