Homeschooling

Online Resources To Learn English for Free

My kids, born in the era of social media, YouTube, and Hollywood movies, find English the easiest subject to study, next to Math in Ian’s case. They are also avid readers of chapter books including Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dog Man, Captain Underpants, etc. We speak Filipino and English at home and read plenty of stories written by local authors that are mostly written bilingually – Filipino with English translation. My kids also know how to write in Baybayin – a lesson I taught them in the first year of homeschooling using the worksheets I made which you can also download for free from this blog.

Although English is the easiest to learn, the rules of grammar and vocabulary can be complicated too. If you have been reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve seen so many of my grammar lapses. That’s despite reading Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style a number of times and having written so many scientific reports, presentations, and articles at work and on this website.

So to master the grammar and vocabulary rules, and whatnot, I have made a list of online resources that my kids and I will be visiting and exploring a lot this academic year. This list focuses on learning the language through storytelling because that’s how I did it back in the day, by reading so many books. I am doing the same for my kids who are bookworms like me. The online resources below have games, activities, and other learning materials to offer for kids and parents as well. Feel fee to explore as you go along with your homeschooling.

Learn English By British Council

Homepage screenshot of Learn English by British Council

My favorite section is the part where the kids can watch a story animation and under each, there is a list of games and activities that a child can do to help with checking or testing for comprehension. Instant written and performance tasks!

The website also has games, videos, printables to supplement teaching in English. Really, this website is every English teacher’s dream! Go ahead and explore!

Short stories to test comprehension – each short story has suggested activities and games for kids to do after listening or watching a story. The list also includes famous stories by Shakespeare. 🙂
midsummer night's dream animation
This animation of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” includes activities such as games and questionnaires for testing comprehension.

Story Nory

If you have kids who are visually impaired but love to listen to stories, this website is for you. The website is a new discovery of mine last week while I was searching for free audio stories. My favorite section is their collection of fairy tales and stories by famous authors such as Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (hello, Sherlock Holmes) but they also have original stories. You can also download the audio for listening offline.

Take note, some of the stories may not be suitable for very young kids so do choose the ones appropriate for your child’s age group.

Story Nory’s is also available in Apple App Store.

Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl is another gem for teachers and students. The website offers a huge collection of storytelling videos, activities, ebook library, that you can explore by age group. As you can see in the screenshot of the homepage below, the materials in the website can be used by kids from ages 3 to 11. I did a cursory look at their array of traditional tales and it’s fun to see story tellers tell the stories by imitating animal sounds and changing their tone from male to female. Super fun to watch that I also want to do the same while reading books to my kids!

oxford owl homepage
Oxford Owl’s home page (screenshot)
oxford owl storytelling
The website features story reading videos of various books from different era grouped according to age range.

English Bus

This one was recommended by a friend who teaches English in Japan. When I first saw the website, it looked too academic to me. The contents however more than make up for the lack of graphic interface simply because it contains tons of English learning materials. The materials are suitable for teachers as well as high school and college learners. The website also offers strategies for non-native English speakers to learn pronunciation, review for tests like TOEFL, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. I do recommend this website for parent-teachers if they want to master English.

Open Culture Audio Books

Open Culture boasts of more than 1000 free audiobooks by authors from A-Z. The audiobooks are free to download so you can listen to them offline. In order to keep the books and other resources free, they do ask for donations. I will gladly donate to this website soon because they simply have tons of material that I can use for homeschooling. Just go ahead and explore! Also, did you notice the free courses they offer? Wow.

Screenshot of Open Culture Audio Book’s homepage

Games to Learn English

We have used this website extensively in our homeschooling last academic year. Ian had fun playing most of the games here, his favorites were Spelling Bee, Weather, Prepositions, Animal Mystery, and Hang Man (my fave too). The games are more suited for young children who are just starting to learn vocabulary and spell words. Some of the games may not work if you don’t have Adobe Flash Player so make sure you have one installed on your computer.

Screenshot of Games to Learn English main page

If you liked this article, you might also want to read following articles I wrote related to homeschooling:

  1. Learn to write in Baybayin

2. Travel for free with Virtual Tours to Visit and Explore as Part of Homeschooling Activities

3. Have the kids learn through games, live worksheets and activities through my Top Online Resources for Homeschooling this 2021

4. Teach Art to Kids even if you’re not an artist

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