Top 17 Best Homeschool Curriculum for STEM
When it comes to creating the best homeschool curriculum, one of the challenges that parents and instructors often ask us here at CodaKid is “how do I get my child to learn STEM subjects in a way that is engaging and accessible?”
To answer this question, we created a list of homeschool curriculum for STEM, based on the following criteria:
- Simple: The curriculum is very simple to use and it does NOT require parents (or instructors) to have a very strong technical background in order to teach STEM
- Meaningful: Curriculum does NOT heavily rely on unnecessary tests and/or projects that do not align with the student’s interest
- Engaging: The curriculum encourages your child to explore his or her surroundings (on and offline) and use resources beyond what was already given to him or her
- Challenging: The curriculum gives your child assignments and topics that encourage your child to think outside of the box in order to solve problems and appreciate STEM for what it is
This way, no matter what your background, any instructor can teach a child science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the 17 best homeschool curriculum options for STEM.
littleBits is a system of electronic building blocks that snap together and turn children’s ideas into inventions.
Featuring a wide variety of kits, including STEAM student set, Avenger’s Hero Inventor Kit, Code Kit, and Electronic Music Inventor kit, littleBits provides a wide variety of student projects.
Their recent acquisition of Jam.com, a massive repository of project-based maker videos tells us that littleBits is getting serious about video-based delivery, and we expect great things from them in 2019.
Cost: Varies by kit. Both individual pricing and classroom pricing are available.
CodaKid won a Parent’s Choice Gold Award in 2017, but what makes this curriculum a popular choice among homeschool families is that it allows kids to interact with professional software engineers and coders while learning how to create their own video games, apps, websites, and more. CodaKid’s “online anytime” approach offers homeschoolers the convenience of self-paced instruction with help when you need it.
For students who want to learn more about what it means to be an actual programmer using real life programming languages (and other professional software engineering tools), this is an excellent tool to use.
Cost: A free 2-week trial and after it costs $25/month or $199/year for a yearly subscription.
Created by the people of Time4Learning, Science4Us is an award-winning, introductory STEM course that teaches elementary school students (grades K-2) how science connects with non-STEM subjects such as art and physical education.
For instance, in one lesson, students learn about earth science by creating a limerick.
Right now, the course offers four scientific subjects:
- Physical Science
- Inquiry Science
- Life Science
- Earth/Space Science
For parents looking to give their children a liberal arts style STEM education, this is a good program to use.
Cost: $19.95 a month for the first student and $14.95 a month for each additional student
Scratch 3.0 released in early 2019 and is the latest rendition of the original Scratch visula block coding platform for kids.
Developed by Mitch Resnick and his team at MIT, Scratch provides kids as young as age 6 with a free creativity suite that allows them to build their own games, puzzles, animations, and more using their intuitive platform.
If you would prefer a more curated pathway through Scratch, you can find some excellent books on the subject, or you might even try CodaKid’s Scratch 3.0 guided tutorials if you would like an online self-paced course.
A 2013 Smart Media Award winner, UZingo is an upper-level tool designed for middle and high school students to learn more about math and science at their own pace.
In addition to utilizing assessments that keep track of students’ progress, each video lesson requires students to solve real-world problems. This way, students can better retain information without having to consult lengthy textbooks.
At this time, UZingo offers courses in the following math subjects:
- Math Foundations
They also offer courses in the following science subjects:
- Physical Science
- Life Science
- Earth and Space Science
For parents looking for a way to help their children understand STEM subjects at a slower pace, this is a nice resource to have on hand.
Cost: $50 to $100, depending on where parents shop the course on
JASON Learning is a textbook free tool that offers a multitude of online classes for parents and educators to choose and customize for their students.
Depending on which class(es) educators choose, students can participate in contests and programs that best fit their needs from math to environmental science.
Cost: $75 and up for a homeschool package
A two time winner of the practical homeschooling reader award, the TimberDoodle STEM Curriculum Kits are designed to help children understand how STEM subjects interconnect with one another.
Depending on which option(s) parents choose, each kit comes with a multitude of toys that kids can use to learn about STEM (on and offline) such as these SCRATCH coding cards. They also come with a curriculum guidebook that explains how to use the toys(and books) inside the kit.
In addition, each kit comes with a checklist for parents to keep track of their child’s progress. As such, for parents who have a basic understanding of STEM subjects and want to expose their children to the world of STEM offline, this kit is an ideal choice to start off with.
Cost: $40 to $500 (depending on what you want to be included in the kit)
Created by former NASA scientist (and university professor) Aurora Lipper, E-science is a hands-on, STEM curriculum that utilizes a combination of video, reading, live video teleclasses, exercises, projects, and quizzes.
This way, students can follow along as they learn more about STEM subjects.
In addition to biology, chemistry, and physics, E-Science also offers courses in marine biology and geology.
Cost: $37 per month for the K-8 section and $57 per month for the expanded 9-12th-grade material
As the name suggests, Experience Astronomy is a curriculum designed to help students from elementary to high school level understand astronomy.
Each course comes with a series of videos, activities, and books that parents can use to customize their children’s STEM curriculum.
According to the website, these lessons can last from 15 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how the courses are taught.
High schoolers can even take the optional Advanced Experience Astronomy program in order to receive high school credit.
Cost: $100 to $200 a year, depending on the plan
Code.org is an online coding curriculum developed by two brothers, Hadi and Ali Partovi, to help students from elementary to university level understand coding principles by giving them the opportunity to create their own games and animations via coding blocks and real-life programming languages.
Once a year, Code.org launches the Hour of Code event in order to get students interested in studying computer science.
In 2018, Code.org was deemed a gold guide star winner.
Apologia Online Academy is a Christian-based science curriculum designed to help students understand what exactly STEM entails.
Voted #1 in STEM and Bible, Apologia offers a multitude of self-paced classes, as well as live graded and non-graded courses for students to take.
For students interested in studying both religion and science, this is an excellent course to take.
Cost: $638 per STEM course/per student, for teacher-graded courses
Short for the Art of Problem Solving, AoPS Online courses are Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredited courses designed to help students better understand math, chemistry, physics, and computer science.
In addition to the classes themselves, AoPS also offers free Math Jams, which are discussions of the courses themselves, and 7-month training programs designed to help children understand math, chemistry, and physics beyond what the classes themselves offer.
Many of these classes are taught by teachers who won awards in math and even graduated from schools such as MIT and Princeton.
Cost: $355 per student without books, $415 per student with books
An acronym for Electronical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, the EEME curriculum kit is designed to help children ages 7 to 12 understand everything there is to know about engineering from how to design a computer the right way to figuring out how transistors work.
With the kit, students can learn how to put together their own “miniature computers” using free online lessons available on the website.
Each kit comes with a series of electrical parts(wires, batteries, and so on) that students can put together with.
As for the lessons, they have interactive quizzes for students to utilize.
Cost: $19.95 a month for the basic plan, $170.55 for the multi-project plan
Teach Engineering.com is a free, online tool that offers hundreds of NGSS standards-aligned STEM lessons for elementary, middle, and high school students.
It provides educators with free access to a growing curricular resource of activities, lessons, maker challenges, and many others that help children learn about Computer Science in and outside of the classroom such as logic and designing courses.
Combined with an additional resource, Teach Engineering.com can help your child learn to be a better programmer (and much more).
Similar to Makey Makey kits, piper computer kits are kits designed to teach students ages 7 – 13 how to code by having them build a “computer” from scratch and play a series of Minecraft: Raspberry Pi Edition video games.
Each kit comes with a series of parts such as wires and breadboards for children to put together. All of the games utilize an easy-to-learn Computer Science curriculum for kids taught by Stanford University. This way, even parents with very little computing background can teach their children how to code (among other skills).
For students interested in learning computer science on-the-go, the piper computer kits are a nice tool to have on end.
Similar to Code.org, Tynker is a fun, educational resource that allows children ages 5 and up to create their own video games and animations using popular franchises such as Minecraft and Barbie.
All of the lessons are self-taught and range from “Intro to Coding”, where students learn basic coding principles such as conditionals and sequences by putting together coding blocks (similar to those found in Scratch) to “Advanced Languages,” which teaches students how to program using real-life programming languages.
This way, children can learn how to create their own virtual creations at their own pace while engaging themselves with their favorite characters.
Overall, Tynker is a good tool for parents to teach their children how to code using characters that children themselves are very familiar with.
Cost: $20 per month or $60 per quarter. For yearly sales, Tynker is $7.50 per month or $90 per year. Lifetime sales are currently $180
Fascinating Education is an online course created by retired neurologist Dr. Sheldon Margulies, in order to encourage middle and high school students with very little to no scientific knowledge to, “approach science through the “right hemisphere” of the brain.”
Each subject comes with a series of 20 lessons (or less) that parents can adjust according to their child’s needs. These lessons have a quiz at the very end of every lesson, as well as a series of lab assignments that students can complete on or offline.
As of now, this site offers the following subjects:
For parents looking for a “no-textbook” approach to teach their students, this is a nice tool to have on hand.
Cost: $20 to $200 per yearly course, depending on the option
We believe that the following homeschool curricula will give you some excellent options to research for your students:
- TimberDoodle Kits – Great for parents who want to teach their children STEM beyond using online courses
- Science4Us – Great for parents who want to teach their students STEM from an elementary liberal arts background
- Fascinating Education – Great for parents who want to teach their middle and /or high school students biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and/or medicine in a fun, engaging way at their own pace
- littleBits– Great for parents who are looking for Arduino boards and accessible circuitry kits to introduce the fundamentals of electrical engineering.
- Scratch 3.0 – The original visual block coding program for kids with a new design and mobile capabilities.
- UZinggo – Great for parents who want middle and high school students to learn about Math and Science at their own pace
- JASON Learning – Great for parents who enjoy customizing their children’s STEM education and tracking it however they want
- E-Science – Great for parents looking for a hands-on STEM curriculum taught by a former NASA scientist
- Experience Astronomy – Great for parents looking to teach their children astronomy anytime, anywhere of the day
- Code.org – Great for parents looking to get their children more involved in learning how to code
- Apologia Online Academy – Great for parents who want to teach their middle and high school children STEM subjects from a Christian-based perspective
- AoPS Online – Great for parents who want to get their middle and/or high-schoolers more involved with math-based learning
- EEME – Great for parents who want to give their children a fun and engaging introduction to engineering
- Teach Engineering – Great for parents who want to give students grades K-12 a steady foundation on STEM subjects and theories
- Piper Computer Kits – Great for parents who want to teach their children how to build their own hardware as young as 7 years old
- Tynker – Great for parents who want to teach their children how to code using their favorite franchise characters
- CodaKid – Great for parents who want to teach their children real-life computer science skills from real life computer scientists
In the meantime, would you mind letting us know which STEM curricula are you thinking about giving a try this year? If we missed something really good, we’d love to add it in a future update!
Please leave comments below!