Free Quality Online Classes

Home school families have many new learning opportunities available to them through the use of Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs). MOOCs are free, Internet-based classes that are produced by colleges across the country. They are a good choice for well-prepared high school students. Sometimes parents of younger high school students and even middle school students, do MOOC classes together as a family project. Learn the basics about MOOCs with this short video:

MOOCs offer a lot of potential for home-educated students and their parents to explore a wide variety of subjects. The vast majority of the courses are completely free of charge. When signing up, choose the audit option rather than a certificate. It is always free to audit, and the auditing option still includes working through the homework assignments.


AP Art History, Khan Academy

This course covers all 250 works of art that form the basis for the new AP Art History Exam. The information is presented as high quality videos and text with accompanying online quizzes. This material would be very useful for high school students looking for a general art history class, or could be combined with high school art studio work or as a supplement to other fine arts studies.

Computer Skills

An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python

Students with a strong interest in computer programming could consider this class. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python was designed for beginning students with little or no programming experience. Learn more about how this class is structured by watching the video on the class homepage listed below. The course gets harder midway, so some students might want to just use the first few weeks as an introduction to programming concepts. The class is offered frequently and since it is free of charge, it can always be revisited multiple times in the future. The class is rated very high, with 2000+ students giving a 5 star, excellent rating.

Foreign Language

Chinese for Beginners

Coursera offers a class in Mandarin Chinese for beginning students. This class emphasizes the spoken language and does not use Chinese characters. The content is centered on phrases for initiating conversation and basic communication. It consists of on-demand lectures with quizzes over each lecture. The on-demand nature of the class means that you can access the course at anytime and go at your own pace. Its format is clear and easy to follow. It emphasizes basic pronunciation with a focus on the 4 basic tones that are used with vowels. The class would be a good introductory course for someone considering the study of Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. It would also be helpful for families that have a lot of contact with international students.

Spanish Vocabulary: Meeting People

In this entry level course, students will take the first step toward exploring the foundations of Spanish grammar and pronunciation, and will begin to build a working vocabulary of common Spanish words and expressions. They will be able to talk about themselves, their family, and friends in the present tense, and begin to explore the cultural context of the Spanish-speaking world through a series of videos and interactive activities, including speaking, reading and writing exercises.

Health & Nutrition

Child Nutrition and Cooking

Stanford University offers this on demand class of videos and basic quizzes. It is an interesting basic class emphasizing healthy food choices and a few simple recipes for nutritious foods that would appeal to most high school students, as well as those providing meals for young children. This class could be used for part of the hours for the high school health credit. Because it is offered on demand, it can be started at any time.

Literature: Contemporary

The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is offers a five-week class that only require 1-2 hours/ week of student commitment. One of the teachers of the class is Stan Lee, co-creator of Spiderman, Iron Man, The Avengers, and other Marvel super-heroes. Students interested in this topic could consider keeping a log of hours spent as part of a contemporary social studies or literature credit. This popular class is offered repeatedly. Check the link below to see when the next session starts.


How to Learn Math

Here’s a course that would be beneficial to anyone taking a math class. For students under 13, the parent is encouraged to register and then work through the material with their child. Consisting of six short lessons that only take about 20 minutes each, this class from Stanford University could revolutionize the way both parents and students look at math. Students learn that it is qualities like persistence and the ability to make errors and learn from them that is important for success in math, not “natural ability.” We also learn that our brains grow from learning from our mistakes, not from doing things perfectly. The short, lively videos are interspersed with quick, ungraded, open-ended quizzes. This on-demand class can be started at anytime. Highly recommended.

Introduction to Algebra

Here’s a 14-week class that provides a good introduction to Algebra. The interactive videos that are used with this class. make it easy to follow, and it would be a good supplement to use with Life of Fred or Math-U-See for Algebra 1. This class starts at various times throughout the year.

Introduction to Geometry

With a similar format to the above algebra class. The interactive videos are very helpful.

School Yourself

If you are interested in using the videos from either one of the above classes, but don’t want to adhere to a class schedule, the videos are available at no cost at the School Yourself website.

Study Skills

Learning How to Learn

Learning always takes time effort, but there are ways to make the time spent more effective. This course, which is subtitled Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects, offers four hours of videos, 3 hours of exercises, as well as some bonus materials. The lectures are interesting and very engaging. In the introductory video, the techniques learned in the class were described as being relevant to anyone from struggling high school students to graduate students. This excellent class is offered on demand, which means that it can be started at any time and you can proceed at your own pace.