For budding engineers Google Sketch-Up is a must. It is a free tool for creating 3D models and there are video tutorials available too. Being an ex-mechanical engineer I have a background in 3D modeling. Although this tool isn't as sophisticated as the professional software found in engineering companies it is an excellent starting point. Kids can create houses, globes, chairs, cabinets, and anything they can imagine.
Scratch is another tool for young engineers. It is a program for teaching children how to write computer programs. We used this program to do a computer programming unit this year. I asked the kids to watch a tutorial and then use what they learned to create a program. Each time they created a new program their skills improved.
Here is the latest video game created by the kids.
Two players compete against each other; pink and purple. Balls fall from the top of the screen and points are earned when a key is pressed as the falling ball reaches the corresponding ball at the bottom of the screen. Points are subtracted when keys are pushed before or after the balls touch. Pink balls are controlled with the keys a,s,d,f. Purple balls are controlled with the keys h,j,k,l.
This animation called Dancing Babies shows the babies moving about the screen to create several different geometrical designs. It's another recent creation by the kids.
Salsa Spanish is a website with many videos designed to teach Spanish to children in a fun way. The videos are completely in Spanish and are entertaining. One episode is a play on Red Riding Hood. They are excellent for elementary aged children.
Duolingo is free language learning software available on the internet. Sophisticated as Rosetta Stone, it's unbelievable that this tool is free. The creators intend to use data collected for language learners to make a better language translation tool.
Librivox and The Baldwin Project are two websites which contain books who's copyright has run out. Librivox contains audio files which can be downloaded to an iPod and The Baldwin Project contains written files. My children are currently listening to the Wizard of Oz series. Did you know there were over 15 Oz books?
Starfall is a website for children learning to read. It uses a combination of phonics and fun games to motivate children.
Seterra is a free geography quiz tool. After downloading the game kids (and adults) can practice worldwide geography including, rivers, countries and capital cities.
Of course everybody has heard of Youtube. There are tons of historical and scientific documentaries on Youtube. Plus, it can be used to look up information on musicians, artists and how-to crafting instructions.
Help Series have found.
Free Curricula Websites - Hwee at The Tiger Chronicle
Homeschool For Free - Chareen at Every Bed of Roses
10 Free Websites to Help Homeschoolers - Savannah at Hammock Tracks
Homeschoolers Get it Free - Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl