How To Homeschool
Homeschooling offers parents the flexibility to choose the best educational method for their children. The spectrum of homeschooling models runs from unschooling, also called self-learning or child-led learning, to a structured "school at home" type of environment. In addition, there are many schools of thought, fostered by educators such as Raymond and Dorothy Moore, John Holt, Maria Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and many other. Explore the different methods and styles of homeschooling. You'll be inspired, intrigued, and equipped with the tools to make the best educational choices for your own family.
Methods
Homeschoolers cover an entire spectrum of different educational methods. On the one end, you have unschoolers, families that believe in self- or child-led learning. Relying on real world experiences, they learn by living. On the other end of the spectrum, you find parents who have "school at home." They may set up a classroom environment, use structured curriculums, and rely on schedules to keep things moving smoothly. And of course, there is everything in between. There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. Explore the different methods, ideas, and approaches that make the homeschooling experience so rich.
Curricula
There is a smorgasbord of choices when deciding on curricula for your family. It is often trial and error until you find what works best for you and your child. We offer you a complete look at the curriculum choices available.
Teaching Aids
Past the basics, teaching aids, manipulaties, games, and toys can make learning more fun. There are many innovative learning tools and educational games to choose from. We've compiled many of the best here.
Testing
Testing is a requirement in many states. We make it easy to comply with testing requirements by gathering information and resources for testing services all in one place.
Online Resources
Are you looking for free worksheets? Want to find online educational games? Do you need a unit study? Here is the place to find them all. From online lesson plans to reading lists to academic and content standards, you'll find tools that will help you successfully homeschool.
What's Popular
Unschooling Families
This list is a friendly place for all to chat about anything you wish to explore. Parenting issues, schooling issues, political issues . . . as unschoolers, we know that nothing is off topic.
Unschoolers Online
Unschoolers Online is a website dedicated to providing detailed and helpful information on everything related to unschooling and homeschooling. You'll find local support group listings, news, articles, book recommendations, links, and more.
Learning Styles and Hemispheric Dominance—Right or Left Brain: Which is Dominant in Your Family?
This is part two of a set of articles discussing learning styles and hemispheric dominance. Here Karen M. Gibson focuses on the theory of right-brain/left-brain dominance and some of the research and theories surrounding this concept. She also details some strategies for learning in response to understanding your child's natural patterns and styles of learning.
Catholic Charlotte Mason
Online support group for Catholics interested in the Charlotte Mason method.
The Path to Success
So, you have made the decision to educate your children at home. Before taking the next step, think about the things you shouldn't do. One of the biggest mistakes we make is following current logic or someone else's idea of what is best. Your family has been uniquely designed with a specific purpose in mind.
Links and Items
Create! Press
Create! Press carries creative approaches to teaching creative writing and composition. Their products include the Create-A-Story game, Writing Adventures, Stepping Stones, and more.
Alpha-Phonics
Alpha Phonics is a primer for beginning readers. It features 128 self-explanatory lessons, printed in large, clear calligraphy suitable for beginning readers. You'll find product information about Alpha-Phonics here.
Cuisenaire Rods Multi-Pack
Grades Pre K & up. An economical way to bring rods into the classroom. Pack contains six sets of 74 rods, six trays with, and Teacher's Guide. For use with 12-18 students.
Apologia Educational Ministries
Apologia publishes several science textbooks that are especially suited to the homeschool environment. They are filled with easy to understand lessons and experiments which can easily be performed at home. The curriculum is also backed by a question/answer support system. This set of textbooks is written under the "Exploring Creation" name. There are three elementary level texts: Their middle school and high school texts include:
  • Exploring Creation With General Science
  • Exploring Creation With Physical Science
  • Exploring Creation With Biology
  • Exploring Creation With Chemistry
  • Exploring Creation With Physics
  • The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
  • Exploring Creation With Marine Biology
  • Advanced Chemistry in Creation
  • Advanced Physics in Creation
  • Plus other texts
    Smart Mouth
    Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more players

    Smart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.

    Living Learning Books - Science
    Living Learning Books offers activity guides for teaching science. This curriculum was designed to provide the structure needed to feel confident using a living book approach to education. All of the preparation work has been done--book lists, project ideas, coloring pages, even shopping lists for project supplies. The activity guides provide a teacher planning checklist, library lists, internet links, lesson plans, and more. Level 1 covers Life Science, Level 2 deals with Earth Science & Astronomy, Level 3 explores Chemistry, and Level 4 is Physics.
    Sing, Spell, Read & Write
    Sing, Spell, Read & Write is a phonics-based program that uses a 36-step program of carefully sequenced steps to teach reading, writing, and spelling. More product information can be found here.
    Explode The Code
    Explode The Code provides a sequential, systematic approach to phonics in which students blend sounds to build vocabulary and read words, phrases, sentences, and stories. Frequent review of previously learned concepts helps increase retention. Each workbook in this series contains exercises that incorporate reading, writing, matching and copying. The consistent format of the books helps facilitate independent work. This series includes primers—Get Ready for The Code, Get Set for The Code, and Go for The Code—which introduce initial consonant sounds. In addition, Beyond The Code provides a comprehension component introducing basic comprehension skills with phonetically controlled stories. You'll find product information here.
    Learning Language Arts Through Literature
    Learning Language Arts Through Literature is a fully integrated language arts program that teaches grammar, reading, spelling, vocabulary, writing mechanics, creative writing, thinking skills and more.
    Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ
    For too many years, the segment of homeschoolers that consider themselves "Christians" and "unschoolers" have been ignored. Many thought one couldn't be both a Christian and an unschooler. But Teri Brown with Elissa Wahl expose that not only to Christian Unschoolers exist, they are growing in numbers. Through Christian Unschooling: growing your children in the freedom of Christ, the authors support Christian unschoolers everywhere--letting them know they are not alone. For those Christian parents who are facing school-at-home burnout form a strict schedule, they offer another path to learning.

    Unschooling, child-led learning, free learning, interest based education, child-delighted learning--whatever you choose to call it, this book explains what unschooling is (and isn't) in easy-to-understand terms while holding your hand as you walk the unschooling pathway.

    Many essays of unschoolers are included--offering their viewpoints, "typical days", opinions on lessons and learning, how they are guided by the Lord and much more.

    Additionally, comprehensive information on starting an unschooling support group is included along with plenty of ideas to inspire you in the subjects of language arts, history, math, science and more.

    Visual Brainstorms
    Children who love word games, logic puzzles, secret codes, mazes, and math mysteries will stretch their mental muscles with Visual Brain Storms. This set of 100 cards, each of which includes a humorous, full-color drawing, promises "the world's best brainteaser questions." The characters in the questions often have funny names (Professor Pith Bugby pops up often) or faces or dilemmas to solve. The answers and explanations are on the back of each card, along with a related bonus question. Many of the puzzles involve math concepts, spatial reasoning, logic, or sequential thinking, but some can be solved with plain common sense. Here's a sample: "Frank and Helen's annual singles elimination tennis tournament has drawn 18 players this year. How many matches must be played before there is a winner for the year?" Answer: "Every match will produce one loser, and every person other than the winner will lose once and only once. Eighteen players makes 17 losers; therefore it will take 17 matches to have a tournament winner." Visual Brain Storms is a humorous, painless way to improve those higher-order thinking skills. Visual Brain Storms: The Smart Thinking Game is for one or more players. --Marcie Bovetz
    The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School
    The Unprocessed Child is a work of nonfiction about a child raised with no coercion and no curriculum. Laurie Chancey spent her childhood immersing herself in topics of her own choosing. She was never forced to learn something simply because tradition and/or society said it was necessary. No one was looking over her shoulder to make sure she was learning the "proper" subjects.

    Having never seen a textbook or taken a test, never used workbooks or any type of teaching techniques, Laurie scored in the top 10% of the state of Louisiana on her college entrance exam. She enrolled in college when she was eighteen, and graduated summa cum laude three and a half years later. Laurie is a bright adult, but her IQ is not why she did so well. She spent her life learning to learn and it’s something that now comes easily to her.

    The Unprocessed Child was written by her mother and is full of examples of raising a child with respect and dignity. It is the first book written about a radically unschooled child who has now reached adulthood and is a responsible member of society.

    Questions about the radical unschooling lifestyle are answered on topics ranging from socialization, parental responsibility, self-discipline, chores, bedtimes and much more. The book shows that it is not only possible to befriend your child, but that it is highly preferable to the struggles that so many parents go through with their children. It proves that school is not necessary for learning, socializing or motivation.

    Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler
    There can be no greater delight in parenting than passing on the Faith to the next generation. To help with that glorious responsibility comes Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler, a parents handbook to home-based religious instruction for the youngest members of the family. Filled with practical ideas, developmental guidelines, and a contagious enthusiasm for the treasures of the Catholic Faith, this exciting guide makes raising truly Catholic kids one of life s greatest pleasures. Recommended in Catholic Heritage Preschool Author: Kathy Pierce Pages: 176, Paperback Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor ISBN: 087973-392-6
    Handbook of Nature Study
    A matchless handbook for decades, this classic work has been the natural history bible for countless teachers and others who seek information about their environment. Written originally for those elementary school teachers who knew little of common plants and animals, and even less about the earth beneath their feet and the skies overhead, this book is for the most part as valid and helpful today as it was when first written in 1911―and revised in the spirit of its authors by a group of naturalists in 1939. After all, dandelions, toads, robins, and constellations have changed little since then! And modern society's concern with the quality of life and the impact of people on soil, water, and wildlife makes this book even more relevant. Nature-study, as used in this handbook, encompasses all living things except humans, as well as all nonliving things such as rocks and minerals, the heavens, and weather. Of the living things described, most are common in the northeastern states, and many, such as the dandelion, milkweed, and mullein, and the house mouse, muskrat, and red fox, are so widespread that people living outside the United States will recognize them easily. Anna Botsford Comstock very appropriately took the view that we should know first and best the things closest to us. Only then, when we have an intimate knowledge of our neighbors, should we, journey farther afield to learn about more distant things. Teachers and children will find the material in this book invaluable in that regard. Details of the most common, but in some ways the most interesting, things are brought out, first by careful, nontechnical descriptions of the things themselves and later by thoughtful questions and study units. Because the most common things are treated in greatest detail, materials for study are easy to find. Whether the reader lives in the inner city or in the rural outback, the handbook is a treasure trove of information. A teacher does not need to know much about nature to use this handbook. The information is there for the novice and the expert alike. All that is needed is an inquiring mind, senses to observe, and a willingness to think about nature on a personal level. To enter this book in search of information about any common organism, stone, or object in the sky is to open the door to a fresh and lively acquaintance with one's environment.
    Happy Phonics
    Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
    Name That Country Game
    "Dear Pen Pal, Konnichi wa! We've been to see Mt. Fuji. Name my country! Sayonara, Michiko." Challenge your group with this fast-paced geography game, created in 1992 by Educational Insights, Inc. Everyone begins at the post office. Players twirl a finely printed spinner (built into the game board itself) to select one of 60 countries. If the player can correctly identify the country's location on the board's numbered map, he or she may advance along the path to the finish. Bonus moves are won by landing on "postcard" spaces, listening to the clues on one of the 40 postcards, and correctly identifying the pen pal's country. (The sample postcard above came from Japan.) A more challenging game can be achieved by requiring players to name the country's capital; answers are provided. --Liane Thomas
    Bob Books
    Bob Books are organized into sets that progress in level as your child learns. They have cute stories and darling illustrations. These books are perfect for children ages 4 to 8.
    Pecci Reading Method: At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child
    At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child offers a balanced approach with intensive phonics and literature-based reading instruction. This is a simple method of teaching reading, with lots of supplemental materials. Get product information here.
    Great Science Adventures
    Great Science Adventures is a series of books that offer a creative approach to learning science. Each one showcases the series' method of using creative, hands-on activities to enhance exploratory learning. Each book contains 24 lessons, with 2-3 lessons completed each week. The unique format contains activities and basic content appropriate for grades K through 8. Perfect for multilevel teaching or if you want to challenge your advanced students individually. Titles include:
    • Discovering the Human Body and Senses
    • The World of Tools and Technology
    • Discovering Earth's Landforms and Surface Features
    • The World of Space
    • The World of Insects and Arachnids
    • The World of Plants
    • The World of Light and Sound
    Don't Waste Your Time Homeschooling: 72 Things I Wish I'd Known

    Traci Matt, a veteran homeschool mom helps you make the most of your homeschooling efforts. She takes a look back at 20 years of successes and challenges, offering tested strategies to assist you on your home education journey. This book will help you learn ways to keep a peaceful home, stay out of the isolation trap, practice self-care, learn how to live with teens, and respond to the questions of others.

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    Homeschooling on a Shoestring : A Jam-packed Guide
    So you want to homeschool but don't think you can afford it. This book is a compendium of ideas for the family that wants to start or continue homeschooling on a tight budget. Includes ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom, sources for inexpensive curriculum, affordable teaching tools, and ideas for low-cost field trips. Also discusses ways to run your household more efficiently and with less cost.
    Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home
    Educational Travel on a Shoestring shows parents how they can help their children learn–and have a blast–while traveling. From researching destinations to sharing activities that both teach and entertain, this priceless guide offers practical information for parents who want to have more fun with their kids, build closer family ties, and enjoy richer educational experiences–all without spending a fortune.
    Unclutter Your Home: 7 Simple Steps, 700 Tips & Ideas (Simplicity Series)
    Hundreds of practical ideas for sorting, evaluating, and getting rid of all those material items that get in the way of a simplified lifestyle.
    For the Learners' Sake: Brain-Based Instruction for the 21st Century
    This proposal for a platform of education reform needed to prepare students for a 21st-century workplace and society draws on information and ideas from two current areas in neuroscience: brain research (physiology and applications to learning) and systems thinking (mental models). Analyzing the history of education methodology over the past two centuries, this book shows how the 19th-century factory model prevalent in schools today fail to produce the kinds of flexible thinkers and problem solv...
    Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step-By-Step
    Failing the Mary Poppins' snap-the-fingers approach to cleaning, here's the next best thing: an utterly practical handbook that offers lasting results for anyone looking to banish clutter from every room in the house. Home organizer par excellence Meryl Starr offers up her hardworking organizing solutions in The Home Organizing Workbook, a straightforward guide to getting organized. The room chapters begin with targeted questionnaires that help the reader identify specific organizational problem...