"The best way to educate oneself is to become part of the revolution." - Ernesto "Che" Guevara, quoted by Abbie Hoffman in "Revolution For the Hell of It"
Free Database Access
Newspaper, periodical, and academic articles published in respectable educorp type journals may be valuable to the revolutionary who wages a battle of minds. These articles are usually paid for in one way or another - either a subscription to the journal in which it is published, purchasing it online, paying for a database subscription ($$$), etc. However, academics and students for the most part have free access to these databases through their educorp institutions. Here is how to get access for free if you are not a student but you live near a college or university.
Go to the nearby college or university and find the library or a computer area. Look for a computer which is unattended but is on the desktop screen. Students have login IDs and passwords to get on a computer, but often walk away when they are done without logging off. Now just go to the school's library web page or ask a help desk drone where the portal is for the databases and indexes. From off-campus you would have to enter your school-provided user ID and password, but since you are already logged onto the school's computer system through someone else's ID it will use their account automatically, requiring no password entry.
If this particular school requires you to login even on campus, or if you can't find an unattended computer, then just ask the help desk monkey for a temporary or staff ID. Someone hacked your account and the ITS department is sorting out the problem and trying to trace who did this dastardly deed but in the meantime you have a paper due tomorrow and just have to get on now. They will do something for you.
This is how you would get into databases like you see in Google Scholar searches: LexisNexis, JSTOR, EBSCOS, etc. Other publications you can get from these databases include many workers' press papers going back for a century, government reports, legislative bill history, agency reports, congressional hearing testimony, etc etc.
Knowledge is power.
arXiv (at Cornell University) - http://arxiv.org/ - A good database of papers for the harder sciences. WARNING Quite a few papers are questionable or written by cranks. Make sure you double check the information and background check the author.
CiteSeerX (at Pennsyvania State University) - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/ - Most of the papers are available and free, others have bibliographic info, so you can expedite your search in another database.
Teach Your Children Well
Even if your local school system is good, it doesn't hurt to also teach your kids a bit at home, especially before they start school. Home kits like "Hooked On Phonics" teach kids to read in the form of a series of games (It also gets them away from the mind-numbing TV set for a few hours!).
There are many home schooling groups across the USA. Ask around, but remember that some are rather far right-wing in scope, since many Christian Fundamentalists see "liberal" public education as a "corrosive influence". Because of this, you may want to double-check any science and biology books before you buy them. Some Christian home school publishers sell books supporting Creationism or "Intelligent Design" and denouncing both Evolution and the works of Charles Darwin.
Here are some places to start looking:
Easy Homeschooling - http://www.easyhomeschooling.com/
Homeschool.com - http://www.homeschool.com/
Homeschool Curricula - http://homeschool-curricula.suite101.com/
Home School Free Stuff - http://www.homeschoolfreestuff.com/
Home School Learning Network - http://www.homeschoollearning.com/
Home School Legal Defense Association - http://www.hslda.org/
HomeSchooler Network (Part of Family Education Network)- http://www.homeschoolernetwork.fen.com/
Hooked On Phonics - http://www.hooked-on-phonics.com
Wikibooks has a number of educational books for kids that can be downloaded free of charge as part of their "Wikijunior" project. Some books may be under construction.
A list of completed Wikijunior books can be found here:
If the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are not to your liking (or if they're not liking to you), consider SpiralScouts International, an alternative youth group for boys and girls of minority faiths. If there isn't a SpiralScouts group near you, they can help you start one.
Another secular youth group in the USA is Camp Fire USA (formerly Camp Fire Girls, until they went co-ed in 1975).
Volunteer-run weblabel Kazoomzoom offers free downloads of material for children. Quoting the website: "We provide fun, free stuff for kids, like music recordings, audio stories, printable toys, and storybooks."
Archives of Kazoomzoom material (if the main website is down):
Electronics designer and software developer Adam Pierce designed and built a miniature electronics kit for his son for a few bucks worth of spare parts (which does just about the same as a $50 kit from Radio $hack). Consider this for a kid who likes to tinker with stuff.
Check out Instructables for any number of construction projects you can do with your kids.
Free E-Books, Audio Books, and Educational Resources
Educational resources are many times expensive to the point of being prohibited financially. To counter this situation one can find easily through the internet an extensive base of educational resources from school books, teach your-self guides, language studies, computer programming, etc... in e-book form as well as in audio books.
For such one of the many options (and one of the most effective) is to make use of the "global collaborators network" (aka torrent seeds) through the bittorrent protocol (for further info on how to begin: http://wiki.stealthiswiki.org/wiki/Free-Software).
Through torrent trackers (ex. http://thepiratebay.org) or even through internet search engines (on http://www.google.com type first: filetype:torrent, followed by the subject wishing to obtain info about (ex. "filetype:torrent learn spanish" without apostrophes this will return an extensive list of usually expensive learning resources obtainable for free)) resources are easily accessible to download directly to your computer or any other computer within your reach and later either printed or transferred to another medium for future personal use.
Google offers thousands of free books online. Any book that does not have a valid copyright is available for free download here. You can search exclusively for full download books like this by clicking "full view" under the search bar.
The Internet Archive has literally over two million printed works available for free download, ranging wildly in topic and content. Type your topic in the search block for material in your field.
Ebookee is a great site for ebooks of all kinds and a few audiobooks, although downloading (which are links to third party filesharing sites like filesonic and rapidshare) can be tricky.
For 'harder' sciences, such as chemistry, mathematics and physics, Khan Academy can teach you all and everything, from basic addition to multivariable calculus. If you want to study any of above, it is the best place to do it. Note that all lessons are YouTube videos, so watch the bandwidth.
Look for part of site with practice problems, as is has grown significantly lately.
Never underestimate the power of the internet and free information, virtually every book ever released is accessible.
Although please consider the following before proceeding.
The First Con: Accordingly to the time of release of the respective object searched, it is possible it's electronic form not being yet available, as well as for rare and hard to find resources. But always there are exceptions, so if they are not accessible through bittorrent protocol, just try to google them.
The Second Con: Unfortunately in many countries downloading through bittorrrent protocol copyrighted material is considered piracy and by such illegal. This point should be taken in consideration although in many times disregarded be the weight of all the advantages.
The Third (and most important) Con: For much, if not all of the material accessible, there was a REAL COST involved on research, studies, time, effort, creativity, and etc... . So please recognize this effort made by hard working people in order for them to continue to provide us with ever more knowledge. BUY their books once having the chance or financial opportunity. It is at least the most honorable thing one can do, but always with consciousness (why should one waste their money buying a book from Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Freud, and many others who's selling of books only enrich the already rich perpetuating the current world order).
The Teenage Liberation Handbook (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0962959170?v=glance) Read "The Teenage Liberation Handbook", even you're not a teen.
Dropping Out Booklet (http://www.crimethinc.com/tools/downloads/pdfs/dropping_out.pdf) A pdf file about a drop outs life...ironically, i recieved a print copy of this a school sponsored concert awhile back.
An Essay On The Topic Of Dropping Out (http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html) A nice essay on dropping out of society.
Search For a Library (http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/librarysearch/) Go to the library. you don't have to have a card to read.
Locate Schools and Universities (http://nces.ed.gov/globallocator/) Ok, this is a lot like the site above, only it allows to locate public schools and colleges in addition to libraries. Quite nifty.
GED Info (http://www.dtae.org/adultlit/ged.html) Answers to GED Questions
About the GED (http://adulted.about.com/cs/ged/a/GEDintro.htm) about.com's guide to the GED: including find a place to take it.
Find Volunteer Work (http://www.volunteermatch.org/) volunteer...learn...
Unschooling Library (http://www.unschooling.com/library/essays/index.shtml) Information On Unschooling
Unschooling Article (http://www.aaronsw.com/school/2000/12/12/) Opinion piece on unschooling.
Learn Something (http://www.wannalearn.com/) online lessons on just about anything.
Free Courseware (http://www.ocwconsortium.org/use/index.html) Courseware from universities across the world
Wilderness Survival (http://www.wilderness-survival.net/) Learn how to survive in the wilderness...as well as some creative solutions to everyday problems.
Computer Science courses online (http://aduni.org/courses/) Interested in computer science? here's a site where you can find some coursework for computer science for FREE. real college level stuff.
Find an apprenticeship (http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/training/apprenticeship.htm) Run by the US department of labor, here's a site where you can locate some apprenticeships or just find out about different programs offered by the Department ofLabor.
Find a Community College Near You (http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/AboutCommunityColleges/CommunityCollegeFinder1/Community_Coll Find a community college in your area. even if you're not interested in attending college, community colleges offer an array of services, ranging from free/low cost counseling, free meals, community lectures, free classes, concerts, meeting spaces and medical services.
Online Foreign Language Classes (http://www.word2word.com/coursead.html) Free foreign language courses online. not comprehensive, but a good introduction.
Another Online Foreign Language Class Site (http://www.ilovelanguages.com/) Another foreign language site, only this one has TONS of links on it.
Living Off The Grid (http://offgrid.homestead.com/InformationPage.html) Learn how to live off the grid.
Living Off The Grid Part II (http://www.off-grid.net/archives.php) more on living off the grid.
NPR Programs (http://www.npr.org/programs/) A list of NPRprograms.
More Detailed NPR Stuff (http://www.publicradiofan.com/) A very comprehensive list of public radio shows and stations. find public radio no matter where you are.
MIT offers free access to tons of courses online via ( http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/home/home/index.htm). They even thought of us with a free course entitled "How to Stage a Revolution". ( http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/history/21h-001-how-to-stage-a-revolution-fall-2007/lecture-notes/).
BBC Languages (http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/) Free on-line courses on learning other languages.