100 Best Reference Tools for Homeschoolers

Homeschool students have the advantage of using the plethora of information available on the Internet to supplement their education. The following reference tools are a great place for students to start when looking for new places to find what they want to learn. With resources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias, online courses, full texts, resources just for homeschoolers, and reference sites based on particular subjects, homeschool students in search of knowledge will not have to look far.

General Reference Sites

From traditional dictionaries and encyclopedias to specialized dictionaries to stories to facts, these reference sites will open up a world of information to homeschoolers.

  1. Bartleby.com. Find a comprehensive listing of reference books as well as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on this site.
  2. Online Etymology Dictionary. This online dictionary lets you discover the origin of common words.
  3. Dictionary.com. Not only can you find definitions with this online dictionary, but you can use other tools as well as that help with grammar and style, word FAQs, and more.
  4. Library Spot Grammar/Style. Make sure you are using proper grammar and style with the resources provided here.
  5. Multnomah County Library Homework Center. This is an awesome resource with links to information on a variety of topics and to several high-quality reference sites.
  6. Internet Public Library. Find reference material on topics such as arts and humanities, law and government, business, education, and science. The online librarians will also help you find anything you need to know.
  7. Awesome Stories. This resource allows you to discover original sources from national archives, libraries, universities, museums, and government databases.
  8. Fact Monster. Get your facts from the Fact Monster.
  9. BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper. Sorted by subject, you will find plenty of reference material here.
  10. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. Use this government database to find information on everything from math to music.
  11. HowStuffWorks. This reference resource will help you learn how just about anything works.
  12. refdesk.com. Get facts, quotes, news, and more from this online reference desk.

Reading

Whether your children are beginning readers, struggling older readers, or accomplished readers, these reference tools will provide plenty of information to help.

  1. Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg offers one of the largest collections of free books on the Internet.
  2. DailyLit. DailyLit sends you small bits of the book you select to your email inbox each daily–for free.
  3. Open Book Project. Get free text books and other educational material here.
  4. Google Books. This powerful reference tool allows students to find information about books, read excerpts or full text, use interactive maps based on the content, and more.
  5. The Reading Genie. Find a listing of lessons and other materials to help strengthen reading skills with The Reading Genie.
  6. Reading Rockets. This site offers reading strategies, guides, and more for both beginning readers and older readers who need some reinforcement.
  7. Thinkfinity Online Courses. These free online courses are designed for both students and those teaching to reinforce literacy.
  8. All Info About Reading. Offering lessons, free worksheets, ideas, and more, this site provides tons of reading help.
  9. Audio Stories 4 Kids. While this site offers tons of audio books for kids, it also offers some free text versions too.
  10. Children’s Storybooks Online. This site offers full-color story books for young readers to books for young adults.
  11. Open Library. Find information on just about any book ever published, including full text for over 200,000.

Writing and Research

These awesome reference tools will have homeschool students learning to improve their research and writing skills.

  1. Purdue Online Writing Lab. This is the go-to spot for writing reference material.
  2. Teaching Organization in Writing. Get a simple overview of how to write a well-organized paper here.
  3. orangoo. Paste your writing into this tool to check for spelling errors.
  4. EasyBib. If you need help creating a bibliography in the MLA style, this tool will help.
  5. Ottobib. Similar to EasyBib, this tool creates a bibliography in most of the major styles based on the ISBN from any book.
  6. A+ Research and Writing. This site steps high school and college students through the process of creating quality research paper.
  7. University of California Berkeley Library General Guides. Find plenty of helpful research information here.
  8. A Research Guide for Students. Use this tool to learn how to do research, how to correctly write your research paper, and even get links to additional reference materials.
  9. Info Zone Research Skills. Move through the six steps of creating a research paper given here.
  10. Research and Documentation Online. Find out how to evaluate the quality of information you find during your research, learn how to cite online material, and discover places to find reliable information on the Internet.
  11. Research, Reports and Presentation Support. This site offers everything from the mechanics of writing a paper to how to research controversial topics.

Math

From basic math all the way up to college level, these math reference tools will help students of any age learn.

  1. Ask Dr. Math. This impressive resource is a must for anyone studying math.
  2. AplusMath. Students working on simple math skills through basic algebra can find worksheets, flash cards, interactive math games, and more.
  3. The Math Forum at Drexel. Find plenty of tips, problems, and puzzles to help strengthen your math skills at this site.
  4. Math Playground. This site offers lots of fun activities such as logic problems, word problems, and games geared specifically for elementary through middle school.
  5. curiousmath. Students can learn lots of great time-saving math tricks here.
  6. Algebra.help. Get algebra help with these lessons, calculators, and worksheets.
  7. Math.com. If you are looking for help with algebra and geometry, this is the place.
  8. Roman Numeral Converter. This tool helps students learn about proper roman numeral usage.
  9. Algebra Homework Help. Find algebra and geometry topics, get a free tutor, and more on this math site.
  10. The Abacus. This is a great resource to learn how to use the abacus as well as learn about its history, practice calculations, and more.
  11. Martindale’s Calculators On-line Center. Find virtually any type of calculator you may need right here.
  12. Mathematics Articles. Read these articles to gain a better understanding of everything from algebra to statistics.
  13. The Most Common Errors in Undergraduate Mathematics. Learn from this professor what some of the most common errors in math are.
  14. Free Math Help. Whether you are learning algebra, calculus, trig, geometry, or statistics, you can get help here.
  15. dansmath. With new lessons frequently added, you will certainly find resources for algebra, calculus, and other math topics.
  16. Virtual Math Lab. Visit the virtual math lab at West Texas A&M to find help in algebra, GRE math, and other standardized math tests.
  17. Graphing Calculator. Don’t invest in an expensive graphing calculator when you can use this one online.
  18. Universal Currency Converter. Use this reference tool to learn about currencies and their exchange rates around the world.

Science

From chemistry to biology to anatomy, homeschool students will find plenty of information here.

  1. MadSci Network. Find thousands of science questions and answers with this resource that also allows you to ask a scientist if you didn’t find the answer you needed.
  2. eNature.com. Learn about nature, get field guides, ask an expert, and more on this site.
  3. Chem4Kids. This site provides a ton of information on matter, atoms, elements, reactions, biochemistry, and more.
  4. Dynamic Periodic Table. This is the only periodic table you will ever need. It is interactive and provides much more detail that the old paper versions ever could.
  5. Exploratorium. Get a wealth of useful science information from this science museum.
  6. The Image. Students learning about minerals and gemstones will find tons of information and images.
  7. CELLSalive. Learn about cells up close and personally with this visually-appealing site.
  8. Who Named It?. This reference site helps students learn about the people who contributed their names to medical phenomena.
  9. The Science Page. The Science Page offers a wealth of science resources.
  10. Climate Zone. Use this interactive map to find climate data around the world.
  11. Online Conversion. Find conversion tools for just about anything here.
  12. Visible Body. This online anatomy tool is amazing, but does require a fee for use after the 7-day free trial.
  13. TryScience. Students can go on virtual field trips, perform science experiments, and have online science adventures with this fun tool.

History and Government

Use these reference tools to learn about history, current events, and American government.

  1. The Biography Maker. Choose the subject of your biography, then let this tool walk you through creating an informative biography.
  2. Biography.com. Find information on the subject of your biography with this resource that provides information on everyone from Emily Dickinson to George Washington.
  3. History Timelines on the Web. The time lines here document historical events from around the world.
  4. History Help. Use this resource to post your questions about history or browse through past questions and answers.
  5. The History Place Homework Help. Find resources to help learn about history here.
  6. U.S. House of Representatives Floor Summary. This real-time tool keeps students informed of what’s happening on the House Floor as it occurs.
  7. Clickable Mummy. This interactive mummy is a wonderful reference tool for learning about the ancient process of mummification.
  8. Sparticus Educational. This online encyclopedia holds a vast amount of information on the American Civil War.
  9. ANYDAY Today-in-History. Use this reference tool to discover any historical events, important birthdays or holidays, and any religious observances for any specific day of the year.
  10. EyeWitness to History. Learn about history from those who were present at the time with the stories and photos available here.
  11. Scholastic News Online. Stay on top of current events happening around the world with this reference site that’s organized by grade level.

Geography

Students of any age will be able to explore geography around the world without ever leaving home.

  1. Visible Earth. These images come courtesy of NASA and offer a unique view of the Earth.
  2. 50States. Learn all about the 50 states with the information available here.
  3. IPL Kidspace: Stately Knowledge. Click on any one of the 50 US states here to learn fascinating facts.
  4. Maps.com. Find educational map games, free route maps, maps in the news, reference atlas maps, and more.
  5. Countries of the World. This site provides a comprehensive listing of information about all the countries around the world.
  6. Destination: Himalayas–Where Earth Meets Sky. This resource provides information about and photos of the Himalayas.
  7. KidsWebJapan. Explore Japanese culture on this site that covers everything from culture to folk legends to technology.

Search Engines

These search engines are dedicated just for children or with education in mind and are a great way to find what you need to know.

  1. Searching for Stuff. Search by topic or select one of several kid-friendly search options here.
  2. KidsClick!. Created by librarians and made especially for children, this search engine allows kids to search by keyword or by topic.
  3. CyberSleuth Kids. This educational search engine is specifically for K-12 students.
  4. Google Scholar. Perform scholarly searches with this specialized Google search engine.
  5. Ask Kids. This search engine is designed for children ages 6-12 and all website results are kid-friendly.
  6. MetaGlossary.com. Enter a term, phrase, or acronym and get the definition with fast and accurate results.
  7. Education Planet. Search educational resources with this search tool or browse by category.
  8. Awesome Library for Kids. Browse or search with this reference tool to find articles and information appropriate for students.
  9. Lego Educational Search Engine. Find Lego robotics sites that are education-based.
  10. Infomine. Find scholarly Internet resources geared to the college-level research here.

Miscellaneous

From virtual field trips to notebooking resources for homeschoolers, these miscellaneous reference tools will help teach about a wide variety of subjects.

  1. Produce Oasis. Learn all about fruits, vegetables, and herbs with this easy to use reference tool.
  2. Virtual Field Trips. Take a virtual field trip here or create one of your own design.
  3. GPS Activities and Lesson Plans. Find out how to use GPS and geocaching to create a dynamic lesson with all the resources here.
  4. Free SAT Exam School. If you are studying for the SAT, this resource is one you won’t want to miss with practice tests, study guides, articles, and more.
  5. The Encyclopedia of Traditional Celtic Music. Learn all about this music that comes from a rich history.
  6. NotebookingPages.com. This resource provides a wealth of homeschooling information, experiences, and tons of notebooking pages.
  7. Google Translate. Translate any webpage, word, or phrase in 51 different languages.

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