Beyond the Basics: Real Life Homeschooling
The homeschooling adventure is filled with joys and challenges, successes and failures. We've filled our pages with support and information for parents facing special challenges: homeschooling a large family, caring for babies or toddlers while homeschooling, single and working parents who choose to homeschool, military homeschooling families, special needs homeschooling, home educating teenagers, and educating the gifted child. We also take a look at the practical side of homeschooling--how to make it fun, how to get organized, how to save money, how to prepare for college, and much, much more!
Real Life HSing
Homeschoolers sometimes face unique situations. It is helpful to connect with others who have the same life experiences as you do. And there is no denying that challenging situations arise in the best of circumstances. Sometimes the best support you can receive when dealing with a challenging situation is knowing that others have dealt with it too. Homeschooling in general can be challenging--homeschooling in special circumstances can feel overwhelming. But there is help and information for almost every situation. We've compiled the best resources for homeschoolers who face unique situations: working and single parenting, homeschooling with little ones in the family, military homeschooling, home educating a gifted child or a child with special needs, and homeschoolers who are incorporating religious or ethnic ideals in their homeschools.
Making It Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Practical HSing
Any homeschooling family knows that the process of learning takes up most of your time. Getting things organized may the key to success for some families. We've compiled tips and ideas to make your homeschooling practical and a good fit into the rest of your life. As a bonus, we take a look at some of the ways you can save money while learning together as a family.
High School
Homeschooling through the teenage/high school years offers several different challenges. You may need to meet specific requirements and you may find that you are teaching subjects with which you are not familiar. In addition, many parents don't begin homeschooling until their child reaches high school age. To help navigate this sometimes new territory, we've put together helpful resources to help both parent and student successfully homeschool during the high school years.
Colleges & Careers
More and more universities and colleges welcome and encourage applications from homeschoolers. We'll help you understand the process of applying for college and the special needs of homeschoolers, including preparing transcripts, entering college early, and working with institutions that may not be used to unconventional learning models.
What's Popular
Catholic Homeschoolers of Wisconsin
This is a private list for leaders of Catholic homeschool support groups within the state of Wisconsin (or in border towns in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and UP Michigan). It is a place to exchange information that may be of interest to Catholic homeschoolers throughout the state. It is also a forum for the dissemination of statewide invitations to various Catholic homeschooling events, such as conferences, graduations, dances, etc.
Large Families Forum at BabyCenter
Do you come from a large family? Are you planning one? Share the challenges and joys a big family can bring.
Blank Park Zoo
The Blank Park Zoo is located in Des Moines and features animal exhibits and educational programs. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education and recreation. Blank Park Zoo has been a part of the Des Moines metro community since 1963.
The Ideal Homeschool Field Trip
Guidelines for planning a great outing with your homeschooling kids. This post is written by an experienced homeschooler who loves to get out and about to learn in a variety of ways.
OLVS Curriculum Support Group
This email support group is a place to discuss homeschooling with OLVS curriculum.
Scripps National Spelling Bee
Scripps National Spelling Bee is the most widely known spelling bee organizer in the world. In general, the program is open to students who have not reached their 16th birthday on or before the date of the national finals and who have not passed beyond the eighth grade at the time of their school finals.
Single Parent Homeschoolers
This is a list for single parents homeschooling their children. The purpose of this list is to support single parents.
Storybook Hill Children's Zoo
Storybook Hill Children’s Zoo was established in 1976, in partnership with the Optimists Clubs of Dubuque, as an effort to increase the knowledge and understanding of common animals among the people of Dubuque. The zoo is a replica of an American farm from the 1940’s, and contains a wide variety of animals that a person visiting this time period might see on an actual farm.
National Black Home Educators Resource Association (NBHERA)
The National Black Home Educators Resource Association (NBHERA) is a resource network founded by Eric and Joyce Burges in July 2000. This association encourages, supports, and offers fellowship to families who are exploring benefits of home education. NBHERA was created to serve the African American community by providing assistance with information about getting started homeschool, networking/connecting veteran families with new families, recommending resources such as books, music, films, spea...
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
The Mission of the Dubuque County Historical Society [and its National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium] is to explore life of Dubuque, the Mississippi River, and the Rivers of America and their global connections, and to research, interpret, educate and promote the conservation of their historical and natural environment. The National Mississippi River Museum is the nation's premier center to interpret and preserve the Mississippi River's natural environment and history, inspire a global aud...
Old MacDonald's Farm, Bever Park
Old MacDonald’s Farm, Bever Park’s Children’s Zoo, is operated by Cedar Rapids Parks & Recreation. Located on the SE side of Cedar Rapids, it is a free public zoo and features farm animals and North American waterfowl. This city landmark is over 100 years old and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Open Daily from late April to early October.
Iowa Single Homeschool
This is for single homeschooling parents in Iowa.
SOS Children's Villages - USA Family Dinner Time Art Contest
The Family Dinner Time Art Contest celebrates family dinner time and kicks off on Thanksgiving each year. Children may submit artwork of their family at dinner time to win a home computer. Artwork can be in any form, but must illustrate a family eating together. For sculptures and other difficult-to-ship items, please send a photo as opposed to the actual artwork. A winner will be selected from each age group: preschool ages 1-7; grade school ages 8-12; and high school ages 13 -17.
5 Steps to a Successful Field Trip
Summer is a great time for field trips. Your schedule may be a bit more flexible, making it the perfect time to head out and explore! Field trips are an excellent way to enhance the learning done during the previous school year and inspire future learning. Planning and enjoying a field trip for a group or for your own family is easy. Here is a list of ideas to make the most of every experience.
Blank Park Zoo Home School Programs
The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines offers a number of home school programs, including Home School Safari, Zookeeper for a Day, and Home School Day. You can also schedule your own home school class.
Resources
Home Schooling from Scratch : Simple Living, Super Learning
Parents learn what they really need, how to find or create materials and opportunities for less money, and how to organize their household for economical, happy learning.
Organizing Plain and Simple: A Ready Reference Guide With Hundreds Of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges
Desk drowning in papers? No room for the car in the garage? Santa still sitting on the roof in May? A less-is-more philosophy is great, but we all still have way too much stuff. The home office swallows up whole rooms, as does the family computer station. Then there's the home gym, the TV room, and the playroom, not to mention our collections - books, CDs, toys. Time management experts agree that when the minor things that take up space in the mind are eliminated, there is room to think about the big things. The same goes for the home. The visual clarity that comes from de-cluttering rooms, finances, and time promotes mental clarity, peacefulness, and contemplation. When everything is organized, it is easier to enjoy the meaningful things in life.

Organizing Plain & Simple is like a course from an expert teacher, grounded in the fundamentals and enriched with philosophy, tips, anecdotes, illustrations - everything necessary to make home and life run more smoothly. Donna Smallin takes a personalized, nonjudgemental approach to explaining how to assess each individual's situation and suggesting where to start organizing - room by room - and then covers how to stay organized. Then she offers advice on organizing time and finances, as well as organizing for the seasons and for special events - the birth of a baby, combining households, a move, kids going off to college, successful downsizing. Smallin presents a broad range of innovative solutions in the running feature "One Challenge, Three Solutions" that includes tips for solving classic organizational issues from a wide range of professional organizers.

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook
If you are thinking about homeschooling, or are struggling with a educational homeschooling curriculum that is difficult to use, let Dr. Ray and Dorothy Moore show you how to make homeschooling an easy-to-live-with family adventure in learning. This low-stress, low-cost program shows you how to build a curriculum around your child's needs and interests - and around a realistic family schedule. Instead of a cut-and-dried approach, you'll discover the freedom of a flexible program that encourages creativity and initiative.
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.

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.
Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy
Save Thousands of Dollars a Year

Jonni McCoy and her family are proof that you live on one income. The McCoys made a successful transition from two incomes to one while living in one of the most expensive parts of America: the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her Miserly Guidelines will help you save thousands of dollars a year on everything from groceries to electricity to insurance and household cleaners—as well as reveal the hidden costs of holding a job and common money wasters. Her practical, proven cost-saving techniques, strategies, tips, and recipes will help you live frugally without feeling deprived.

Black Books Galore's Guide to Great African American Children's Books
"This is a great resource that fills a tremendous need. It should be on parents' shelves at home as well as in every school." —Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. Harvard Medical School

These are exciting times for African American children's literature. Never before have there been so many titles available. Now the three mothers who founded Black Books Galore! —the nation's leading organizer of festivals of African American children's books —share their expert advice on how to find and choose the best. This fully annotated guide opens the door to a wonderful world of reading for the children in your life. Here are the most positive, the best-written, and the most acclaimed books in every category, including board books, story and picture books, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, biography, fables, and more.

Invaluable for parents, teachers, and librarians, this easy-to-use, illustrated reference guide features:

  • Quick, lively descriptions of 500 books, plus 200 additional recommendations
  • Helpful guidelines for encouraging young readers
  • Easy-to-find listings organized by age level and indexed by title, topic, author, and illustrator
  • Portraits of selected authors and illustrators
  • Listings of award winners and Reading Rainbow Books.
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Homeschoolers' Success Stories : 15 Adults and 12 Young People Share the Impact That Homeschooling Has Made on Their Lives
Despite their growing numbers, many homeschoolers still find their experience somewhat isolating. This collection of short biographies aims to alleviate some of that loneliness. While the stories profile modern-day homeschool grads and students, famous homeschooled personalities from the past are offered up early in the book for historical inspiration. John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, photographer Ansel Adams, poet Robert Frost, and songwriter Irving Berlin join the long list dug up by author Linda Dobson. And just in case there were any doubts that fame has eluded today's homeschooled, Dobson throws in actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Hanson singer siblings, and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. The people whose stories are told here are successful entrepreneurs, Ivy League students, and athletes, such as Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor and U.S. ski team member Todd Lodwick. But to Dobson's credit, she unearths a healthy array of "regular folk" as well. Their stories are no less interesting and, most importantly, they dispel the notion that homeschooled children are over-the-top achievers and freaks of nature. Among the subjects here are an Arkansas state trooper, a private chef, an art gallery owner, and a Cost Guard Reserve seaman.

Each chapter begins with a photo and yearbook-style sketch of the personality, complete with favorite areas of study and a memorable quote. The biographies are short and insightful, with the author often injecting her own thoughts. Dobson, the mother of three homeschooled children, has written numerous books on the topic (The Homeschooling Book of Answers and Homeschooling: The Early Years, among them) and is a news editor and columnist for Home Education Magazine. In her casual, succinct writing style, she brings to life personalities that have little in common beyond their method of education. Some were taught at home completely; others for only a few years. They offer advice, warnings, and fond memories. And their overriding message is that homeschooled people are just as diverse and interesting as the students found in traditional schools. "We are not alone," is the cry heard from these pages. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Black Children : Social, Educational, and Parental Environments

Black Children, Second Edition collects current empirical research unique to the experiences and situations of black children and their parents. As the editor emphasizes, "African American children develop a duality for their existence. To be fully functional, they must develop the skills to do well simultaneously in two different cultures, both black and non-black." This volume explores the meaning of this duality in four distinct environments: socioeconomic, parental, internal, and educational. The complex picture that emerges discredits many of the myths that surround black childhood development and initiates in-depth exploration into the diversities of the African American experience.

Taken together, the entries in this volume provide a valuable collection (suitable as both a core or supplemental textbook) for scholars, advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and professionals in the fields of education, counseling and clinical psychology, social work, family services, and related social services who are concerned about the optimal growth and development of black children.

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.
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.
The Work-at-Home Sourcebook
This indispensable directory contains information not found in any other book on the subject. The Work-at-Home Sourcebook is the only book available which gives specific information for finding, applying for, and getting home work with AT&T, J. C. Penney, and more than 1,000 other companies that routinely hire qualified home workers. Contact information, job descriptions and requirements, and details on pay and benefits are included. Other chapters cover handicrafts, franchises, telecommuting, learning how to work at home, and ideas for businesses that can be started from home with a minimal investment. All information has been updated, and over 150 new opportunities are included.
Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Homeschooling moms and dads can be overwhelmed by the demands on their time. Between their children’s educational needs; their roles as spouse, parent, and more; and their own individual desires and goals, these mothers and fathers struggle to accomplish all that must be done. In Help for the Harried Homeschooler, experienced homeschooler, author, and mother of four Christine Field offers sound advice for parents who want not only to achieve homeschooling success but also to reach a balance in their lives.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
One Thing at a Time : 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day
Simple, effective ways to put things in their place

Those piles of papers, clothes, and other things you thought you'd successfully de-cluttered have returned, and this time they brought friends. What's the use of trying to fight the clutter? Is there a better way?

This powerful and useful guide delivers solutions that work, no matter how overwhelmed you feel. The answer isn't an elaborate new system, or a solemn vow to start tomorrow. Instead, psychotherapist and organizer Cindy Glovinsky shares 100 simple strategies for tackling the problem the way it grows--one thing at a time. Here's a sampling of the tips explained in the book:

*Declare a fix-it day
*Purge deep storage areas first
*Label it so you can read it
*Get a great letter opener
*Practice toy population planning
*Leave it neater than you found it
Written in short takes and with a supportive tone, this is an essential, refreshing book that helps turn a hopeless struggle into a manageable part of life, one thing at a time.
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
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
Featured Resources

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Reading Made Easy
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The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
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So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
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Conquering Chronic Disorganization
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National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, Fourth Edition
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