Homeschool friends (and teacher-friends!!), get ready to discover an exciting resource to help simplify your search for educational materials. It all starts with your library card, so grab it, and read on to see how you can access thousands of educational eBooks and homeschooling materials right from your laptop, tablet or phone.
This post is sponsored by hoopla digital.
Free Digital Resources for Educators and Homeschoolers
One of the most difficult parts of homeschooling is finding high-quality books and resources to make sure your student is getting the best education possible. I know from experience that it can be confusing and costly, so when you find something free and comprehensive, it’s like striking gold. This is why I was thrilled to find out about hoopla digital, a service that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows right from home. It’s offered through participating public libraries, so it costs you nothing to access thousands of resources to make homeschooling a bit easier.
About hoopla digital
hoopla is a digital media service offered to library card holders. You can access it from their website or their app. You can stream or download titles with no waiting, essentially bringing your public library right to your front door. Much like the library, you’re able to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies, comics and TV shows for a set amount of time. You use your library card to sign up and getting started is easy.
Of course, you don’t need to be an educator or a homeschooler to use the platform, but again, it’s a goldmine for those of us who are. They’ve recently added thousands of educational eBooks and homeschool materials, including resources created by teachers, TIME FOR KIDS® Nonfiction Readers and The Great Courses. You’ll also find a great deal of STEAM content from popular series like Science Readers, Mathematics Readers and Strategies to Integrate the Arts.
Using hoopla digital for homeschooling
There are a number of ways hoopla can take some of the stress out of your homeschooling day. Here are a few suggestions for using it with your kids:
- Put hoopla in charge of read-alouds. When we first started homeschooling, I’d almost lose my voice with all of the instruction and real-alouds required from the curriculum we were using. I searched high and low for free audiobooks and wish I’d known about hoopla then. Choose your title and let the app do the reading. It also comes in handy when kids simply prefer to listen to the book or want to follow along when they’re reading.
- Extend units or themes with hoopla. We’re currently studying the Revolutionary War in history and I was pleased to find a number of videos and books to help support what we’re learning. My son specifically enjoys studying the weapons–something rarely discussed in a typical school book. We were able to find a great book to allow him to explore that as an extension to what our curriculum is teaching.
- Sharpen your own skills with hoopla. Math is my weakest subject and has been since I was a student myself. You can imagine how happy I was to find videos in The Great Courses series to help me brush up on some of the math skills I need to teach my son right now. If you need a bit of help with something, you’ll likely to find it on hoopla as well.
- Let kids have a little downtime with hoopla. Kids can find books and comic books to read for fun and hoopla also has music, movies and TV shows they’ll enjoy. There’s a “kid mode” to keep them from being exposed to mature content so you can feel safe letting them access the app or site on their own.
- Find required books without leaving home. Every now and then an assignment or project requires a library book or research materials we don’t have at home. hoopla makes things so much easier by making these books available online. It’s great to get out and go to the library every now and then, but it’s even better knowing you can simply grab all the books you need from the home computer.
- Create elective courses for free. Instead of paying for elective courses like foreign languages or art, use the resources hoopla offers to create them yourself. Find videos, books and audio courses that teach new skills step-by-step. I’ll be using this approach for Spanish for the rest of the school year.
I’m certain there are many other ways the platform can make your homeschool life a bit easier. I’d love to hear your suggestions, so leave them in a comment or on The Mama Zone’s Facebook page. If you’ve used hoopla or plan on checking it out, I’d love to hear about that too. It really is a wonderful resource for educators and parents. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Anitra is the founder of The Mama Zone and she’s been sharing useful tips for mom here since 2009.