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(Free) Online High School Courses & Curriculum Materials

Listings compiled and courses reviewed by Kathi Kearney
(editor's note: Thank you, Kathi!)

Also visit Free Online Text Materials for great online resources, Internet Investigations for free curriculum units right on the 'net, and (Free) Materials for Gifted Classrooms, terrific educational materials.

Online Bargain Basement: Free High School Courses ...explains how to select and use an online course for your student, and offers samples of a variety of the best free online high school courses. Also get the handout, Using the Online Bargain Basement (Word).  Presented at NAGC, Charlotte, November 2006.

...updates our 2006 presentation, this time including resources for K-12 and beyond, for both acceleration and enrichment, with interactive courses for individual students and robust curriculums to be used with an entire group or class... all FREE!  Presented at NAGC, Minneapolis, November 2007.

Bargain Basement: Professional Development ...guides teachers, administrators, counselors and other professionals to FREE professional development resources in many corners of the Internet!  Presented at NAGC, Atlanta, November 2010.

Online Bargain Basement takes on Global Awareness ...guides teachers, parents and students to FREE resources to develop our kids globally aware learning environment. Find free tools that you already own or use, then explore languages, cultures, TV shows, cartoons, penpals, contests, social projects and more!  Presented at NAGC, Denver, November 2012.

If you're using an online course, consider a back-up copy of the whole course to use off-line (in case the site goes to fee-based or disappears entirely mid-course!)... WebWhacker Educators Edition

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page does NOT administer these courses. Free courses are just that, free materials available for your personal use, at your own discretion.  Students may use these courses as their primary source of education, using the AP or SAT-II exam in the subject to confirm their knowledge at the end of the course, or by using some other school-approved examination.  Students often use these courses as supplementary study tools when taking the same-named courses elsewhere. 

Schools may or may not accept these courses as educational options.  You must contact your school to clarify their requirements and acceptance of online educational options. 

Course Collections
English Mathematics Science Social Studies
Health Education Physical Education Computers Electives

Course Collections

Collection Subject Resource & Description
Various Annenberg Media Learner.org Annenberg Media uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. This mandate is carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs with coordinated Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12 teachers
Collection Subject Resource & Description
High School, College and AP courses National Repository of Online Courses (NROC) a growing library of high-quality online courses for students and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement©. This project, supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, facilitates collaboration among a community of content developers to reach students and teachers worldwide. A Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE) project

University of California Open Courses online AP and honors freely available for the use of students and educators


Course Title Resource & Description
English Composition Paradigm Online Writing Assistant 
This online course provides instruction and practice in the development of basic writing composition skills necessary for college-bound students. Each explanatory section comes complete with assignments. Also included is instruction in how to write four different types of essays: Informal, thesis/support, argumentative, and exploratory. This course could be used as a stand-alone course in composition, or the course segments distributed over several years of high school as part of another English course.

Principles of Composition is a complete course in English composition with interactive exercises and assignments, covering patterns and structures of composition. (Capital Community College, Hartford, CT)

Supplemental Resource: The Elements of Style, by Strunk  
English Grammar The Internet Grammar of English is an online course in English grammar originally designed for university undergraduates. It incorporates interactive and self-correcting exercises, and is a complete course in English grammar, easy to use. Because this is a British site, grammar terms may be slightly different than those commonly used in the United States. (English Department, University College London)

Grammar and Writing is an interactive course in grammar applied to writing. Includes many online interactive quizzes and complete explanations of English grammar, with applications to written composition. (Capital Community College, Hartford, CT)
Literature SCORE CyberGuides, 9-12 The SCORE CyberGuides are model literature units based on the California state standards. Each unit provides comprehension, analysis, and extension activities based on literature. 43 different book units are available; select according to student interest and reading level. All are appropriate literature selections for high school study.

NOTE: You will need to locate a copy of each book. Some units use books that are available completely online. The following books from the SCORE CyberGuides unit series may be read online or downloaded free in their entirety:

Huckleberry Finn (also available on audiobook)
The Canterbury Tales 
Cyrano de Bergerac 
Great Expectations (also available on audiobook)
Julius Caesar 
My Antonia 
Romeo & Juliet 
The Tempest 

British Poetry of World War I  A series of free online seminars exploring the poetry of World War I. In addition to traditional literary analysis, teaches students to evaluate original manuscripts (provided in digital format). For advanced students. (Oxford University, England)
Creative Writing BBC’s Get Writing Course 
Beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of instruction and practical application exercises. Explore the site, then click on “mini-courses” to get started. (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Screenwriting The Basics of Screenwriting
A six-module course covering these topics: The Premise, Character Development, Screenplay Structure and Visual Storytelling, Setting the Scene, and Formatting Your Masterpiece. (American Film Institute)
Journalism News Writing is a video instruction series in the basics of journalism. 15 half-hour video segments, using online video-on-demand, with commentary by leading journalists.
NOTE 1: Requires broadband connection.
NOTE 2: There is an optional a student text and teacher’s guide to accompany this video online course, but they must be purchased. The books are not absolutely necessary to use the video course. You may wish to listen to each segment, then design your own assignment to practice the video segment topic.
Debate Debate Central will link you to many resources on debate, including a 13-part “Critical Advocacy”  streaming video series on the how-tos of debate (at least the free version of RealPlayer must be downloaded to your computer to view these videos). Also included is the free syllabus, course instruction videos, and free online debate textbook used for Dr. Snider’s Fundamentals of Debate course at the University of Vermont. Used together, these resources could comprise a full-year debate course for high school English. (University of Vermont)


Course Title Resource & Description
Algebra I Algebra 1A and Algebra 1B Introductory Algebra course, interactive, with homework, quizzes and tests (with key) (NROC)

Patterns, Functions, and Algebra Basic Algebra course; interactive with online video. Originally designed for teacher training. (Annenburg/CPB)

Supplement this course with free online Algebra I textbook, Understanding Algebra (Boise State University)

Supplement this course with video lectures for Algebra
NOTE: Requires broadband connection

Geometry Geometry Basic geometry course; interactive with online video. Originally designed for teacher training. (Annenburg/CPB)

Geometry of Art & Architecture This companion site to a Dartmouth College course provides an approach to geometry that may be particularly appealing to arts-oriented students. (Dartmouth College)

Supplement this course with Euclid’s Elements 
Algebra II No free online course yet located
Financial Mathematics No free online course yet located
Advanced Mathematics No free online course yet located
Pre-Calculus Calculus on the Web (see Calculus below)
Calculus Calculus on the Web COW is an internet utility for learning, practicing and experimenting with the ideas and techniques of calculus (ongoing work of Gerardo Mendoza and Dan Reich of the Mathematics Department at Temple University)

Monterey Institute for Technology & Education AP Courses Monterey Institute offers free online AP courses:
Calculus AB This calculus course covers functions and graphs; limits and continuity; derivatives; applications of derivatives; antiderivatives & definite integrals;...
Calculus BC This course is meant to help high school student study for the Advanced Placement BC Calculus test offered yearly by the College Board

Supplemental Resource: AP Statistics Course Description and Syllabi You must register (it’s free) first, then you may download any AP Course Description and sample syllabi

Probability & Statistics Elementary Statistics A basic elementary statistics course complete with 12 thirty-minute video lectures, assignments, quizzes, online calculator, and exams with answer keys. A complete statistics course. (Sofia Open Content Initiative)

Against All Odds: Introductory Statistics This online video course includes 26 half-hour video modules and introduces the basic principles of statistics.
NOTE 1: Requires broadband connection.
NOTE 2: Optional textbooks to accompany this course may be purchased.

Advanced Placement Statistics This website offers the course outline, course materials, readings, teacher resources, assignments, projects, and sample tests for the Advanced Placement Statistics course taught at the prestigious Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols independent school in Cambridge, MA. You will need to purchase or borrow the required textbooks and calculator. (Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols School, Cambridge, MA)

Supplemental Resource: AP Statistics Course Description and Syllabi You must register (it’s free) first, then you may download any AP Course Description and sample syllabi


Course Title Resource & Description
Biology AP Biology I and AP Biology II AP Biology sequence, interactive, with homework, quizzes and tests (with key) (NROC)

AP Biology Online Syllabus This is a massive and well-organized site, which includes reading assignments, teacher's lecture outlines, a timetable for the course, selections from online textbooks and hypermedia from leading colleges and universities (including MIT), and a large number of well-selected online activities to support learning the course material, including links to virtual labs. Although technically not an "online course," the materials could be used as is, accompanied by the recommended textbook, to more than meet the instructional requirements of AP Biology. You will need to purchase or borrow the required textbook, Biology (fourth edition), by Peter Raven & George Johnson (McGraw-Hill, Publishers). (site by Chris Halloran, North Warren Regional High School, Blairstown, NJ)

Laurie Callihan, science teacher and co-author of the book The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School, writes: "I followed the links on this page and almost forgot there was life outside the internet! An incredible maze of online texts, practice problems, cool sites and lots more – you could spend days here!”

Supplemental Resource: AP Biology Course Description and Syllabi You must register (it’s free) first, then you may download any AP Course Description and sample syllabi

Chemistry General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II (Less like a course and more like an online textbook) For advanced students with an excellent math background.

Concept Development Studies in Chemistry An online chemistry textbook.
Physics Physics I Online Course Outline This site is actually a hyperlinked online textbook, not a full course. For advanced students. 

Physics I, 8.01 This course is a first-semester college freshman level physics course available free in its entirety, including 35 videotaped lectures.  The entire course, including video lectures, may be downloaded. For advanced high school students who are ready for college-level work. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare Project)

"8.01 is a first-semester freshman physics class in Newtonian Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, and Kinetic Gas Theory. The website features lecture notes, problem sets with solutions, exams with solutions, links to related resources, and a complete set of videotaped lectures. The 35 video lectures by Professor Lewin, were recorded on the MIT campus during the Fall of 1999.  Prof. Lewin is well-known at MIT and beyond for his dynamic and engaging lecture style."

Monterey Institute for Technology & Education AP Courses Monterey Institute offers free online AP courses:
AP Physics B The fifty-five lessons in this course on Physics cover such topics as Motion, Newtons Laws, Work and Energy, Power, Mass, Impulse & Momentum, Torque & Rotational Statics, Harmonic Motion, Gravity, Pressure & Buoyancy, Bernoullis Equation, Thermodynamics, Electricity, Circuits, Induction & Waves, Light, Atomic Energy, and Wave-Particle Duality.
AP Physics C The thirty-nine lessons in this course in Physics cover such topics as Newtons Laws of Motion, Conservation of Energy, Mass, Impulse & Momentum, Rotational Kinematics, Harmonic Motion, Oscillations, Law of Gravity, Coulombs Law, Electric Fields & Potential, Dielectrics, DC Circuits, Coulombs Law, Forces & Fields, and Maxwells Equations

Earth Science No free online courses yet located
Environmental Science Nature Transformed: The Environment in American History is an extensive interdisciplinary, online, hyperlinked curriculum guide including essays, discussion helps, extensive links to related online resources and readings for each section. Students who complete all essay readings, participate in discussions if possible, and select several areas to explore further using the related online resources will obtain a strong foundation in environmental science as it has played out across American history. (TeacherServe, National Humanities Center)

AP Environmental Science an interdisciplinary field involving the study of our world, our culture, and the relationship of humans and the planet. It includes topics such as the Biosphere, Plate Tectonics, Global Warming, Conventional and Alternative Energy, Environmental Ethics, and many more.

Forensics Forensics Illustrated - Step Under the Tape complete high school forensics class, including PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, tests, answers, and more.
Physics of Technology No free online course yet located
Agriscience No free online course yet located

Social Studies

Course Title Resource & Description
American History Digital History includes a free hyperlinked online U. S. History textbook, learning modules, classroom handouts and worksheets, active and problem-based learning activities, multimedia including online e-lectures, virtual exhibits, and links to hundreds of primary sources and history reference materials. This site can be used to create either basic or AP U. S. History course content. (University of Houston)

AP U. S. History a complete set of lessons meant to help students for the College Board's Advanced Placement United States History test. It provides a rich set of interactive media and multimedia presentations that explore the history of North America from pre-colonial times, though the forming of the United States, and the two hundred years since.

Supplemental Resource: AP U. S. History Course Description and Syllabi You must register (it’s free) first, then you may download any AP Course Description and sample syllabi

Civics (1/2 unit) No free online courses yet located
American Government AP U.S. Government explores the principals, philosophies, practices, and institutions that comprise the United States system of government. Lessons explore the founding of the United States, the motivation and goals of political documents such as the BIll of Rights and Constitution, as well as historical debates and issues that have had substantial US politics.
Free Enterprise (1/2 unit) My Own Business or Online Business Course: Getting Started an online course on starting your own business. Includes 12 session modules, short audio lectures, and specific assignments.
NOTE: Be sure to select the “free course” option. (My Own Business private company, in cooperation with the U. S. Small Business Administration)

Supplemental materials: Find many other free online business and entrepreneurship courses, curriculum, materials, and templates at this Small Business Administration website
World History No free online courses yet located
World Geography No free online courses yet located
Western Civilization The Western Tradition Video instructional series; 52 half hour programs covering the scope of Western civilization. Uses video-on-demand, playable from the site.
NOTE 1: Requires broadband connection.
NOTE 2: Site lists an optional textbook; if you choose to use this you will need to purchase or borrow it.

Health Education

Course Title Resource & Description
Health No free online courses yet located

Physical Education

Course Title Resource & Description
Physical Education I Bowling This course was originally part of BYU’s independent study program. This is a comprehensive one-semester college-level physical education class, appropriate for older high school students. (Brigham Young University)
NOTE: Requires access to a local bowling alley
Physical Education II Intermediate Swimming This course was originally part of BYU’s independent study program. This is a comprehensive one-semester college-level physical education class, appropriate for older high school students. (Brigham Young University)
NOTE: Requires access to a local swimming pool


Course Title Resource & Description
Computer Literacy WebTeacher  Substantial course (more than 80 hours of instruction) covering internet-based computer literacy

Microsoft Office Training  Tutorials for all current MS Office products, including Word, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, Access, and other Office products

Programming Web Page Authoring  Beginning hands-on introduction to using Hypertext Mark-Up Language (HTML) to create web pages which can be uploaded and displayed on the Word Wide Web

IBM Tutorials and Training  Tutorials in more than a dozen products and technologies, including Java, Linux, XML, HTML including Cascading Style Sheets, and more

Opera Web Standards Curriculum  a complete course teaching standards-based web development, including HTML, CSS, design principles and background theory, and JavaScript basics

Computer Science ArsDigita University Comprehensive curriculum modeled on the undergraduate Computer Science program at MIT, including 13 courses in Computer Science and related Math topics

Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) series of Stanford classes in computer programming, artificial intelligence, and linear systems and optimization.  Courses include all lectures, handouts, assignments, exams, and an interactive social network for course users


Foreign Language Electives Social Sciences Electives Science Electives Fine Arts Electives

Electives - Foreign Language

Course Title Resource & Description
Various Languages BBC Languages Offers full exploratory and beginner level language instruction in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese & Greek.  Tools include video instruction, mp3 phrase downloads, and more.  Each language offers a "Gauge your level" section, to determine starting place.
French I & II Francais Interactif is a complete college-level first year French course (corresponding to French I and French II of high school level French; one semester of college coursework usually equals one year of high school coursework). This course includes all the basics of language study -- vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, culture, and practice. The site is complete with sound files, grammar exercises, cultural information, videos, and even internet explorations.
Grammar explanations and practice link to a clever sister site, Tex's French Grammar, which provides detailed grammar explanations for the entire French grammar plus sound files and interactive exercises for grammar practice. For high school French I, use chapters 1 through 6; for French II, use chapters 7 through 13. (University of Texas - Austin)
German I Beginners German provides a full German I course online, including extensive instruction in German grammar. 20 chapters of which 12 are currently online, practice exercises, online grammar lectures and reference section. Includes sound files. (University of Exeter, United Kingdom)
Icelandic I Icelandic Online: Modern Icelandic Language and Culture Includes all instructional materials and sound files. Free signup. (University of Iceland)
Italian I Oggi e Domani A complete, online Italian I course with interactive instructional components, sound files, quizzes, and tests. (University of New York at Brooklyn)
Ancient Greek I Ancient Greek with Thrasymachus This extensive, complete curriculum guide includes detailed lesson plans for the teacher, materials for the student, and student exercises. The curriculum guide accompanies the textbook, Thrasymachus, by C. W. E. Peckett and A. R. Munday, and was written by a professor of classics at Duquesne University and a high school teacher of Greek and Latin at St. Paul's School (a private independent school). You will need to download a Greek font for your computer (directions are included). (Alison Barker)
NOTE: It is helpful to have the textbook Thrasymachus, published by C. W. E. Peckett and A. R. Munday, Bristol Classical Press, 1990. However, it is possible to use the curriculum guide as is if you do not have access to the book.
Modern Greek Modern Greek 101 & 102 (Elementary)
Modern Greek 201, 202, & 203 (Intermediate)
Modern Greek 301 & 302 (Advanced)
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Modern Greek, with online instructional materials, quizzes, and sound files. You need to register to use this site, but registration is free. (Kypros-Net in collaboration with CyBC, Government of Cyprus)
American Sign Language (ASL) ASL University Lessons
First and second semester high school language course in American Sign Language. Third semester available soon...

Electives - Social Sciences

Course Title Resource & Description
History of Religion in America Divining America: Religion and the National Culture Includes essays by leading scholars tracing religious issues and influences across American history. Extensive links to supplemental resources and primary source documents accompany each essay. Used together they provide a course of study in the history and influence of religion on American history and culture. (TeacherServe, National Humanities Center)

Electives - Science

Course Title Resource & Description
Astronomy From Stargazers to Starships A complete course, physics and algebra-based. (U. S. Government, NASA)

Electives - Fine Arts

Course Title Resource & Description
Music Theory Introduction to Music Theory A basic music theory course; includes instruction, assignments, and sound files. (Connexions)
Music Appreciation Sound Reasoning is a music appreciation course with built-in “listening galleries” and an interactive online workbook. (Anthony Brandt, Connexions)

For more free online curriculum unit collections and individual units,
visit Hoagies' Gifted Education: Internet Investigations

Last updated December 01, 2020

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