Educational websites for students and parents
A seemingly infinite number of websites are available for learning. Teachers know how difficult it is to find online materials that pique students’ interests and improve their skills.
Plus, the best websites have helped kids focus and rely more on their self-discipline than on their parents or teachers. Of course, many of these websites are free, which is excellent!
To help parents, students, and teachers find such resources, we’ve compiled this list of great free and paid websites. We’ve sifted through hundreds of educational websites to find the top 24 that we think will best meet the requirements and sensitivities of high school students.
Our selection covers all subject areas, and some are even cross-curricular. Each website is valuable and adaptable enough to be used year-round, and all teach kids skills they can use outside the classroom. So let’s check them out one by one.
Best Free & Paid Websites for School Students
There are countless educational websites and online resources covering a wide range of topic areas, but it is hard to know which websites are both high-quality and entertaining enough to hold a school student’s attention for an extended period of time.
These websites will undoubtedly assist you whether you want interactive games for your young children, math skills support for your elementary-aged youngsters, educational videos, or support for kids and teachers. Many of the websites even include teaching materials for parents and teachers who homeschool their children.
Before we explore the list, it’s better to mention that most of the websites on our list are completely free and focused on K-12 students, although some may contain features for other ages and price ranges as well.
You’ve heard of National Geographic, but did you notice there is also a free website just for K-12 students? National Geographic Kids is an engaging, educational platform that allows school-age children to discover the universe from the comfort of their chairs.
The National Geographic Society is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our planet’s natural wonders.
This top-rated website is an invaluable resource for K12 students who want to understand history, science, geography, and other topics.
They’ll enjoy online learning games, science projects, quizzes, hilarious fill-ins, films about fascinating creatures and trivia, search for free materials and videos about space, history, science, the environment, and much more. That is impressive for a free educational resource that also has insightful videos on its YouTube channel.
Chegg is a website that supports K12 students in a wide range of areas, such as allowing high school students to rent books (including e-books).
The most helpful features of Chegg are the textbook solutions and the professional questions and answers, where users can get step-by-step answers to their questions. Many professionals are available on the website to answer questions about different areas and topics. You can also use the search feature to review previous questions and their respective answers.
While it’s not free and costs prospective students about $14.95/month, it is still a valuable resource. CheggStudy is useful for math problems since it contains solutions to textbook questions as well as professional Q&A. The question is probably from a book, and it (or something similar) was asked by someone else, depending on the subject. Chegg is an excellent problem-solving resource.
Quizlet is an online learning platform that allows users to search and create flashcards and test themselves on those flashcards in a variety of ways. If you look up a particular set of flashcards on Quizlet, there is a good chance that another student or teacher has already created a set for the exam you are preparing for. Quizlet is a free platform that also includes premium options.
Quizlet Learn, available exclusively to paying subscribers, is a fantastic resource to help you achieve specific study goals. Quizlet first lets you specify your study objectives, such as whether you want to learn everything or get a basic idea. The next question is about how fast you want to reach your goal. Then, your current level of knowledge on the subject is determined.
The website now offers a personalized learning course based on the student’s answers. For instance, it may recommend users begin studying with multiple choice questions and then move to cards; if the student can answer all the questions on the cards correctly, they are done. The site displays their progress at the close of each round of learning, indicating how many words or cards they have learned and how many are left to learn.
4. PBS Kids
PBS KIDS is a completely free website for children, providing kids up to 10 years old with the opportunity to discover new concepts and ideas through digital platforms. Kids can watch their favorite characters engage in age-appropriate activities with them, watch movies and videos, play songs, enjoy learning games, paint on a clean canvas, design their own landscapes, and get coloring sheets – all for free.
It is undoubtedly one of the top free educational websites. There’s even a free smartphone app. With playful learning and famous characters, it creates a fun learning atmosphere. In addition to math and language skills, the website also covers creativity, science, and early learning topics.
Kids are hooked in instantly since the website integrates aspects of the popular PBS characters. Combined with the game-like design, this makes for a fun learning platform for school children. PBS Kids is quite adaptable in terms of technology. It is suitable for both single computer classes and multi-unit computer labs.
Edx is one of the free educational websites especially beneficial to 6th-grade as well as other students and above. It is one of the few names on the list that helps high school kids prepare for the top colleges in the country. It provides them with continuous access to advanced learning opportunities via various sources of education.
The online educational website provides advanced training from some of the best schools and universities in the country and even the world. This website offers courses in a variety of fields, including languages, biology, math, and computer technology. It is an excellent platform that is easily accessible to high school students to achieve professional development and apply to institutions all around the world.
6. BBC Bitesize
BBC Bitesize is a free online study resource that is divided into three sections, ranging from elementary school to the age of 16 and up; all students will find something to study here and develop skills.
Whether you’re teaching a student about the U.S. or an elementary school kid about phonics, you can use Bitesize. Daily classes in basic areas such as English and math begin at 9 a.m. for all ages and are infused with activities, movies, and quizzes. All users, particularly those with children with SEN (special educational needs), can also get assistance.
The website features many engaging, interactive sections for different interests. One of those is the drama section, which involves writing about drama. This aspect usually covers guidelines on how to write about nonverbal cues, expressions, and gestures.
Most teachers use BBC Bitesize for two reasons: to expose the student to the fundamentals of a subject before delving into it in depth, and to encourage them to review their progress at the end of the course.
The Smithsonian Learning Lab provides a wide range of videos, quizzes, and other sources of education to engage students and help them expand their knowledge.
These resources include audio and videos, digital photographs, writings, art and culture, and other items.
Prospective students may also utilize the tools in the Lab to upload, alter, build, and share learning materials with their peers and teachers.
They can utilize the Lab’s search function to find free resources for their own training. It’s also important to point out that the lab is a free, online educational source for users.
As this is an American website, there may be differences in curriculum or language compared to UK sites, but overall this is an excellent environment for young people to enhance their learning and discover new things.
Every day is different at BrainPOP; there is a new subject to focus on, in addition to providing numerous educational materials in math, science, history, language, and others. BrainPOP offers a wide range of educational games, animated films, and activities to help children learn more and better understand the universe.
BrainPOP resources cover a wide range of topics and subjects, such as science, sports, reading skills, world history, math, art, and electronics. BrainPOP also offers tools to “challenge prospective students to ponder, draw connections, and participate in deeper, inquisitive learning.”
Like most educational platforms, BrainPOP offers both free and premium features.
Brainscape is a flashcard tool and website that features many informative flashcards for kids at all grades. They even provide sets for studying for the drivers’ education exam in numerous states, AP classes, and other activities outside the school.
While some features are free, with a paid membership, students can create their own sets. There are some pre-made materials for younger children, but Brainscape is best for students aged 12 and older. History, science, geography, and literature are just a few school subjects covered in the flashcards.
The website is designed for prospective students who need to absorb a large amount of information into their brains over time, such as in history or literature subjects. The site organizes topics by course and decks by subject, allowing teachers to create their own classes and add numerous pre-made sets for middle and high school students to study.
Like most flashcard platforms, Brainscape offers free and premium access for users. However, the majority of the features are available through the free membership.
Prodigy is a free, interactive math learning tool that combines Common Core math (1st–7th grade) with a fantasy-style game that kids will love.
Prodigy goes beyond game-based teaching by providing teachers with robust analytics and assessment tools that allow them to swiftly detect difficulty areas, modify lessons, and effectively manage class time.
Students are assigned to a math level based on their prior knowledge and a covert diagnostic conducted during the initial tutorial. As students play, the difficulty of the questions rises and falls based on their responses and skill level. If a student struggles to grasp a topic, subsequent questions will help fill in the gaps. Many (though not all) classes include virtual features to assist students as they work their way through various math games.
There is a speaker to ask questions, a suggestion button for guidance, information about the skills needed, and a sketching tool to work through the solution. These enable prospective students to develop their own problem-solving strategies and not rely on parents or teachers. The game features approximately 300 math exercises divided by grade level.
11. Khan Academy
Khan Academy has evolved from a math education website to a full-fledged academic website that provides teaching to those who need it. The site offers clips, images, progress monitoring tools, activities, exercises, and more.
The learning approach of this website is highly personalized, as it is very similar to that of a teacher giving a lecture in class. The videos and presentations are played on an e-board, which is quite similar to a teaching experience in the classroom.
In addition to the website, Khan Academy has released downloadable software for users. The big upside to the software is that it can be used offline, without an internet connection. It offers exercises in various areas for children from kindergarten to high school who want to prepare for the SAT.
As all users know, a good number of educational websites use gamification to improve learning. StoryWorld is just such a site. It’s another free learning website with activities where kids may learn new sounds, alphabet, and phonics. Any child can easily explore the website thanks to its particular features that use fun music, interesting activities, and tactile sensations.
Kids may have even more fun by adding their own voice as the guide while playing different games. When a child understands all of these sounds and letters, it acts as a springboard for reading and writing or learning new numbers.
13. Oxford Owl
As you can guess, Oxford Owl is an educational site mostly directed at students and teachers in the UK, or simply people who speak British. Of course, people all over the world can use this tool.
The Oxford Owl website offers thousands of materials to promote reading, writing, and math skills. It serves as a personal tutor, as the website contains a wealth of informational materials needed to excel academically.
It also includes a free eBook library for children up to age 11. This refreshing website makes learning enjoyable and easy. In addition to the many resources available, prospective students may acquire textbooks from other platforms such as Amazon, Kindle, and many others. Other areas of the website include parental guidance and support.
Users should be aware that this website is a comprehensive, entertaining, and online educational resource where children can spend many hours learning. Most of the material is divided by age groups, so the site’s content is very focused and age-appropriate.
Although the website promotes its items, most are books or instructional materials. Children might be irritated by all the material aimed at teachers and parents, but they will discover joy in learning through an engaging experience.
Users can easily sign up by providing their first name and the first letter of their surname. The forums are mainly about books; although there is no filter, members remain respectful and on topic.
It’s nice to see a website that is well-organized, comprehensive, and full of important information. Scholastic does an excellent job of appealing to and attracting such a broad age group, from preschoolers to adults, as well as teachers and parents.
One downside to having so much material is that people might get confused about where to go first. Scholastic’s easy navigation is helpful, of course, but younger learners and maybe even adults might get disoriented trying to go through everything.
This American school website offers informative and instructional content to students of all grades on topics such as science, art, wildlife, the environment, computer science, and much more. This website is ideal for curious kids and teens who have questions about almost everything. The website, as the name suggests, demonstrates how things function. And “stuff” refers to everything and anything that comes to mind.
This website is reliable for exams, school work, and school projects. It is appropriate for learners ages 11 and up. The website is user-friendly and offers numerous examples, infographics, videos, pictures, and cartoons.
So if a child is constantly pestering their parents with questions, this is the website to visit. HowStuffWorks saves parents from spending hours looking up facts to answer their kids’ questions.
16. Cosmic Kids
Of course, school websites are not just about math, science, and history. Physical education is also an important school subject in the digital age. That’s exactly what Cosmic Kids is all about.
Making sure learners get enough exercise is difficult these days, particularly if you don’t have access to an outside environment. Cosmic Kids solves this problem by offering yoga and mindfulness sessions for K12 students. The videos are presented by a personable and exuberant presenter named Jaime. Jaime weaves stories via yoga poses, including Frozen and Moana. In this way, even the most reluctant yogis will be intrigued!
We liked that Jaime offers a variety of yoga activities, such as “Zen Den,” a series designed to help students stay relaxed and talk about their thoughts, and “Brain Breaks,” for when kids need a quick break from reading to get moving. A distinct benefit of Cosmic Kids is that it develops children’s emotional intelligence while providing a much-needed break from schoolwork.
Cosmic Kids allows learners to sign up for a free 14-day trial, followed by a paid subscription.
17. Awesome Stories
Awesome Stories offers a selection of nonfiction “stories” with related materials covering history, literature, science, art, and many other topics. Each “story” has a plot, an original source, as well as a link to videos, pictures, and learning assignments. Awesome Stories helps teachers explore by grade level or select school assignments associated with specific objectives. Users can also search by genre, region, or content type.
Awesome Stories is aesthetically pleasing and a good approach to encouraging children to think carefully and critically about different subject areas. Primary materials and Common Core-aligned learning assignments are included in the stories, and learners can browse for appropriate stories to enrich their learning topic.
Teachers and students can use Awesome Story Builder to create their own stories, read other tales, watch videos, and complete learning exercises. This feature is practical: it’s an excellent opportunity to teach kids how to structure their views in writing, provide source papers, and assess the relevance of a global event or historical figure.
A free account allows users to browse for stories and use free resources. Premium memberships, however, offer other useful features such as visual vocabulary organizers, audio storytelling, benchmark-based school assignments, and monitoring and grading tools.
Starfall is a learning site with interactive games, activities, music, and reading and math lessons. The site’s reading program is divided into four sections: ABCs, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read, and I’m Reading. Students can work through these four sections at their own discretion and move on to new areas as their reading skills develop.
Most of the content is intended for kindergarten learners, but there are also a number of exercises that cover more complex concepts, such as grammar, and are appropriate for upper grades. The Parent Teacher Center offers online worksheets, pre-K and kindergarten curriculum, downloadable music, and other teaching materials. There is also a store where you can buy accessories like books and furry animals. Also, visit the Accessibility section to learn how to use Starfall for students with special needs.
A fraction of Starfall’s extensive content library is available for free. Teachers must pay for a membership to access all content. Teachers can use group access to provide learners with login information so they can use the site at home.
Funbrain is another excellent, free, educational website for teenagers. In addition to learners, teachers can benefit from it. The website offers excellent educational tools in the form of hundreds of games and exercises. This high-quality website is appropriate for children up to 13 years old.
The free learning website has appealing visuals as well as engaging videos. One of the biggest upsides to FunBrain is that there is no need to sign up or create an account. Therefore, students can simply click on the web pages and start learning immediately.
Over 100 interactive exercises are available to help children from preschool to 8th grade improve their English language skills. In addition, learners can read a wide range of books directly online, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Even arcade games allow kids to develop their reading skills to play games properly. Here, too, everything is completely free.
iCivics was created primarily to address the decline in civic literacy and to help K-12 students gain a better understanding of the United States government. The website features numerous games that cover fundamental concepts such as citizenship, rights, the judicial system, government, freedom of opinion, and the Constitution.
There are about 300 accompanying teaching and online learning resources, ranging from curriculums to films to document-based analytical assignments. Everything is searchable and can be sorted by groups, scope, order, or standards. Teachers can also organize resources by type, timeframe, grade level, and technological needs.
Users can enjoy the games without logging in but must create an account to monitor their progress and receive school assignments. Each profile has its own avatar and username, and activity is tracked on the account page. Students who register on the site can save their game progress, access additional features, and compete with other users. They can also participate in contests to earn Impact Points to donate to selected charities.
iCivics is an excellent approach to getting middle and high school students interested in social studies. The dashboard allows teachers to design courses, assign exercises, and provide information for learners.
Teachers can use RocketLit to teach history and science using articles tailored to each student’s reading level. Step-by-step instructions and videos help teachers quickly review articles and prepare school work. At initial registration, students go through a test to determine their reading level, but teachers can override this placement.
Teachers may review student data and multiple-choice test scores to get an idea of student performance. However, they will most likely want to follow up with additional school assignments and assessments. For example, students can use annotation tools to highlight new terms or take notes on topics in the article.
Students can study test items by indicating where they find the solution in the text, look up new terms, or prepare presentations showing what they discovered. Although reading levels range from kindergarten to 12th grade, RocketLit is probably most ideal for elementary and middle school students because the core writing style and themes are consistent. Depending on their abilities, it can be effective for ELLs in any grade.
RocketLit offers a 30-day free trial.
22. Tate Kids
As you can guess, Tate Kids is a platform that belongs to the world-famous Tate Modern museum in London. It is essentially a free educational website, divided into three sections: Make, Games and Quizzes, and Explore.
The Make section covers practical learning activities with detailed directions. Students create sculptures, draw, practice dancing and craft, and use technology as part of the activities. Aside from the directions, the activities give some background on their original inspirations, videos, and drawings.
In the Games and Quizzes section, students can take part in fun quizzes like “What Color Are You?” Students can also play interactive games to make and showcase their work in a supervised gallery (with parental approval).
The Explore section includes biographical information on numerous artists, media, styles, photographs, videos, and topics for students to discuss.
This free website offers a wide range of brainteasers, mysteries, puzzles, and challenges for learners to help them develop their logical skills. Children can let their creativity run wild and use their imagination. The features on the website allow students to show off their most outstanding qualities and discover remarkable hidden skills.
HighlightsKids enables students to read correctly, think critically, and reason profoundly. Therefore, kids aged 6 to 12 would benefit greatly from visiting the website. The attractiveness and elegance of this free learning website make learning much more fun and enjoyable for kids since it plays a significant part in developing an immersive learning experience.
The name is an obvious giveaway that the website focuses on developing reading skills. This website provides reading materials for children in preschool through first grade. There are group learning activities, supplemental reading materials, and phonics exercises to keep students entertained as they work their way through the levels.
Everything is created by teachers and parents in the United States, so you can be confident that the tools have been well vetted. Students and parents can sign up for free and download interactive games to play together. Teachers and schools can also get detailed instructions for reading exercises with the class.
Do You Want to Be On the List?
So, there you have it. This is our list of the top 24 free and paid websites for K12 students. If you look closely at these websites, you can see that there are some common denominators:
- They all provide eye-catching photos and videos that serve the ultimate purpose: Learning!
- They’re the best in class by offering relevant, quality content.
- They understand design. They know where to highlight their mission and where to include social media buttons on the website.
- They’ve guaranteed mobile-friendliness, effortless navigation, and quick load times. In other words, people won’t be pulling their hair out when visiting the website.
- Lastly, they have boosted their enrollment rates by understanding their main audience and optimizing SEO to rank high on search engine results and get the word of mouth going.
These are so simple, yet so vital to your school website’s success. In many cases, schools use in-house resources and expertise to create a website that has all of these five points. Some see success, but the majority see no result that is worth all the time, effort, and money they’ve spent on the journey.
There’s one way to minimize the risks while getting results, and that’s to use a reliable website service provider like School Webmasters. At School Webmasters, we can help you understand your competition and design the roadmap that will put you well ahead of the curve.
Bonnie Leedy, CEO, School Webmasters, LLC.