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
Piedmont Education Services
Piedmont Education Services offers the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III), along with test prep materials.
The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry
What is the Charlotte Mason approach to the study of poetry? Our first step is to see that our children enjoy it. Much later they will probably take the second step for themselves, reading those poets whose work needs some preliminary study and background explanations in order to be appreciated.
Flip Over Math Manipulatives
Grades 1-5. Tub of over 500 manipulatives includes Pattern Blocks, Connecting People, Cuisenaire Rods, Coins, and Bean Counters and can be used with the Flip Over Math Books. This 49 page book (others sold separately) is written to NCTM Standards and provide hands on activities from basic math skills to advanced problem solving.
CM Audiobooks
CM Audiobooks was created to allow homeschooling parents the ability to share MP3 files of personal book readings. These audiobooks are of Twaddle-free books per the Charlotte Mason method and specifically created for those using the Ambleside Online curriculum. Anyone using the Charlotte Mason method is welcome to join and participate by reading books.
Charlotte Mason Help
The Higher Up and Further In Curriculum is based upon two cycles of history in chronological order with a strong emphasis on character development and Biblical world view. They strive to adhere to Charlotte Mason's principles by following her methods in The Original Homeschooling Series and are offering this program and schedules to anyone who may be interested free of charge.
Links and Items
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
Fun and Effective Home Learning Activities for Every Subject
As a homeschooling parent, you're always looking for new and creative ways to teach your child the basics. Look no longer! Inside this innovative helper, you'll find kid-tested and parent-approved techniques for learning math, science, writing, history, manners, and more that you can easily adapt to your family's homeschooling needs. And even if you don't homeschool, you'll find this book a great teaching tool outside the classroom. You'll discover fun and educational activities for kids ages 3 to 12, including how to:
·Create maps based on favorite stories, such as Treasure Island or The Wizard of Oz
·Make letters out of French fries as an alphabet learning aid
·Explore architecture by building igloos, castles, and bridges with sugar cubes and icing
·Review spelling words by writing them on the sidewalk with chalk
·And many more!
This comprehensive collection of tried-and-true—and generally inexpensive—ideas provides the best-of-the-best homeschooling activities that can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.
Beautiful Feet Books
Beautiful Feet Books publishes Rea Berg's "History Through Literature" study guides. They offer fine children's literature, including the D'Aulaire biographies and Genevieve Foster's "World" titles. This is a great resource for anyone wishing to utilize an approach that studies history through literature.
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.
Children at Play : Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development
Children at Play is an insightful exploration into the world of children's play and its tremendous significance in the shaping of each child's humanity. A mother and proponent of Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf system of education, author Heidi Britz-Crecelius offers practical suggestions and an up-to-date list of resources for today's families.
Pattern Blocks and Boards
This set of 10 simply designed colorful wooden blocks and pattern boards includes 100 blocks in six different shapes and colors. They help develop shape recognition and spatial relationship skills. The contents store neatly in a durable wooden case. This games was awarded the Scholastic Parent & Child's 2004 "Top 22 Toys that Make Kids Think" award.
Homeschooling: The Teen Years : Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old (Prima Home Learning Library)
The teen years are when many homeschooling parents start to question or abandon their efforts. It's a precarious time, with challenging academics, pressing social issues, and the prospect of college looming. Parents can now breathe easy: this guide calms the teen-time jitters and even offers hope to those just turning to homeschooling now that their child is about to enter high school. With brief "how we did it" testimonies from other parents sprinkled throughout the book, author Cafi Cohen offers sage advice with the turn of every page. A columnist for Home Education Magazine and Homeschooling Today, two of the most respected periodicals on the subject, Cohen has also homeschooled her two children into college. To comfort doubters, she begins with 10 reasons for homeschooling your teenager (work experience, limited peer pressure, and family togetherness, among them). She goes on to devote long chapters to traditional subjects such as math and history, and even gets to those you might not have considered, like driver education. Her suggestions for parents new to homeschooling: decompress slowly, study only one subject a month at first, and read at least one book on learning styles. This approach will save much time and reduce those trial-and-error episodes.

The guide is neatly packaged and easy to read in the same style of its sister publications, Homeschooling: The Early Years and Homeschooling: The Middle Years. A large collection of lists and quick tips offer everything from the top 10 books for teens and the most popular math programs to money-saver suggestions such as joining a local college's foreign-language club and asking for discarded equipment from local schools. The last chapter contains two college application essays written by teenage homeschoolers. It also provides reassuring information about diplomas. Many universities follow Harvard's policy of not requiring a diploma, but if you or your homeschooling support group do issue one, your teenager can answer "yes" to the diploma question on most job applications--a fact sure to illicit a collective sigh of relief from thousands of parents who homeschool their teens. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

The Letter Factory Game
Teaches Phonics! The race is on! With two games in one, children play together and learn letter names and sounds with actions and music. Wacky Professor Quigley guides players every step of the way so no reading is required! Games automatically adjust to skill level, to keep children learning at just the right pace! 2 Games in 1: Counting Colors & Letters: Learn letter names and sounds by matching color cards to move around the board. Leaping Letters: Listen to the name or sound and then find the card that matches it! Includes: interactive card reader, game board, 26 letter cards and 4 playing pieces.
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.
Reading Made Easy
Reading Made Easy is a phonics-based program, featuring 108 easy lessons, designed to be taught in less than 30 minutes per day. It is fully scripted and has original Christian content and stories. Includes hands-on writing and drawing activities. Reading Made Easy can be purchased here.
Spell to Write & Read
This teacher's manual, written by a homeschool educator with experience as a professional school teacher and private tutor, shows how to teach reading the "write" way. By phonetically teaching spelling from the start as the backbone for reading, all children can be taught, regardless of learning styles, to read and spell. If your student knows how to read already, this program can improve his or her spelling. Find out more about this product here.
Great States Board Game
What is the capital of NJ? Where is the Football Hall of Fame? These are just a few of the hundreds of questions players are asked as they adventure around the USA discovering state attractions and landmarks, capitals, state abbreviations, state locations and more. In order to answer the questions on the cards, players must look closely at the colorful USA map game board, becoming familiar with the geography of the country. Players must hurry to find the answers as the mechanical timer ticks. Contents: Game board, 100 Figure cards, 100 Fact cards, 100 Find cards, 1 spinner, 1 mechanical timer, and game rules. Duration of Play: 20 minutes. 2-6 players.
TruthQuest History
The TruthQuest History series consists of ten volumes that serve as guides for parent wishing to use real books in their approach to history education. They are full of book recommendations, along with information on the topics of study. There are also writing exercises included in these texts.
Phonics Pathways
Phonics Pathways begins with short-vowel sounds, slowly progressing to whole words, phrases, and sentences of gradually increasing complexity. Special teaching tips, extensive examples, and 100% decodable practice readings reinforce each lesson. Contains all spelling rules with a spelling index, spelling charts, spelling short-cuts, diacritical markings, and a wealth of inspirational proverbs. The new 9th edition of Phonics Pathways features many new enhancements including a wealth of reproducible games, a step-by-step spelling guide, teacher/student record sheets, a Dewey-the-Bookworm Bookmark and a new carefully-researched appendix detailing how Phonics Pathways aligns with most State Standards. Supplements to this program include The Train Game (to teach letter sounds), WordWorks (a set of cards used to reinforce phonics reading skills), and Blendit! (a set of eleven board games that reinforces knowledge of specific begining spelling patterns). For product information on Phonics Pathways, click here or visit their website.
Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives
For the first time, Basic Montessori opens the celebrated philosophy and method to a more general public. David Gettman has devised a clear and modern explanation of Montessori's revolutionary ideas about early intellectual development, and provides a step-by-step guide to the Montessori learning activities most commonly used with under-fives. These include activities for introducing reading and writing, counting and decimal concepts, science, and geography, as well as activities that help develop the child's practical and sensorial skills.
Flip Over Math Manipulatives
Grades 1-5. Tub of over 500 manipulatives includes Pattern Blocks, Connecting People, Cuisenaire Rods, Coins, and Bean Counters and can be used with the Flip Over Math Books. This 49 page book (others sold separately) is written to NCTM Standards and provide hands on activities from basic math skills to advanced problem solving.
Writing Strands & Reading Strands
This program is based on research which shows that there is no useable relationship between the study of grammar as an abstracted skill and the ability to communicate. Writing Strands provides quality reading, writing and speech materials for homeschoolers with children ages 3 through 18. The guided exercises in Writing Strands progress incrementally and allow students to work independently, yet provide the guidance students need to sharpen their ability to inform, persuade and entertain in writing. Helps develop successful writing skills for your child’s lifetime.
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.
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
    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.
    Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature
    Progeny Press study guides include vocabulary exercises, comprehension, analysis, and application questions, introduction of literary terms, background information, discussion of related Biblical themes, suggestions for activities related to the reading, a complete answer key, and more. These are some of the titles available (grade range is in parentheses):
    Featured Resources

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    Kids' Poems (Grades 1)
    Regie Routman shares her delightful selection of free verse poems written by first graders that will inspire your second graders to think, I can write poems like this too! Regie provides strategies for using kids' poems as models to guide children to write poems about things they know and care about: learning to skate, disliking asparagus, playing with a best friend, and more. She describes the way she invites children to study the model poem, beginning by asking kids, What do you notice? She sh...
    Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition
    The educators of ancient Greece and Rome gave the world a vision of what education should be. The medieval and Renaissance teachers valued their insights and lofty goals. Christian educators such as Augustine, Erasmus, Milton, and Comenius drew from the teaching of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian those truths which they found universal and potent. Charlotte Mason developed her own philosophy of education from the riches of the past, not accidentally but purposefully. She and the other founding...
    Homeschooling and Libraries: New Solutions and Opportunities
    Homeschools are alwsy looking for alternative ways of schooling that do not necessarily reflect what a typical classroom looks like. Since homeschooling is so diverse across families, information institutions, including public, academic, school, and special libraries may find it challenging to meet all their needs and desires. This collection of essays offers approaches and strategies from library professionals and veteran homeschoolers on how to best serve the needs and experiences of homeschoo...
    Waldorf Education: A Family Guide
    Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade.What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" offers a "first look" for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education - the fastest gr...
    Great Lodges of the National Parks: The Companion Book to the PBS Television Series
    Stand amid soaring Douglas fir in the great hall of Glacier Park Lodge or sit in the setting sun and gaze into the Grand Canyon at El Tovar. This beautiful gift book will transport you to the majestic lodges of our national parks to relive the glory of past vacations or plan adventures anew. This book and the PBS television series of the same title (to air in spring 2002) take armchair travelers into these architectural wonders and explore the surrounding natural beauty of our national parks. Lo...