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
Hillside Education
Hillside Education publishes quality literature study guides with a distinctly Catholic perspective. The guides include discussion topics, writing prompts and art activities that draw out literary themes and help students connect with the stories. Products range from full-length study guides that can be used for a year's literature study, like the Novel Inquiries series, to discussion guides that can be used in conjunction with any reading program.
Homeschooling Essentials: A Practical Guide to Getting Started
If you're ready to begin homeschooling, then the experiences of others can offer valuable help and encouragement as you jump into this new adventure. This practical guide answers common questions, helps you navigate the legalities of homeschooling, talks about the practical side of homeschooling and different methods, offers resources and gives advice about high school. 
Students Against Testing
This website offers an alternative look at standardized testing. Students Against Testing was created to be a strong force against the score-obsessed education machine known as standardized testing. At the same time, SAT also exists as an advocate for bringing positive, creative and real-life learning activities into the schools.
Is it OK for Christians to Unschool?
It has been argued that since John Holt was not a Christian, Christians cannot be unschoolers. A Christian mother discusses her perspective on unschooling.
K12
Founded in 1999 by William J. Bennett, along with other leaders, K12 offers a traditional program of learning using online technology and traditional content. Many states are offering the K12 program through Virtual Acadamies, with programs that are free of charge to participating families.
Links and Items
Easy Grammar Systems
Easy Grammar Systems publishes the Easy Grammar and Daily Grams teaching texts for use through high school. Students use a “hands on” approach (deleting/marking) and learn correct usage and why that usage is appropriate. Review and using information previously learned to teach new concepts help to insure mastery learning. This method is both easy to teach and easy to learn.
Five in a Row
Five in a Row provides a step-by-step, instructional guide using outstanding children's literature for children ages 4-8. Unit studies are built around each chosen book. There is a series for preschoolers called "Before Five in a Row," along with other volumes for older children.
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.
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.
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.
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 solvers needed in the 21st century. A comprehensive tour of the brain and details of the most recent neuroscience findings inform a plan to arm today's students with an education lacking in traditional classrooms. Also included are dozens of ideas for brain-compatible activities that can be adapted for use in the classroom.
The Complete Home Learning Source Book : The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology
This ambitious reference guide lives up to its name. Practically three inches thick--and we're not talking large print here--it's packed with titles, ordering information, and Web site addresses. From where to send away for a kit to make your own Chilean rain stick to how to order a set of Elizabethan costume paper dolls, the book connects families to a world of learning possibilities. Book titles, short synopses, authors' names, publishers, and years of print make up the bulk of the guide. Classics such as The Cat in the Hat and Curious George share billing with lesser-known titles like Stone Fox, the story of a legendary Indian dog-sled racer. Every entry appears with recommended ages and an icon that shows whether the item is a book, computer disc, or video; an outstretched palm denotes hands-on materials. Most of the resources seem to have been test-driven by the author and her three homeschooled sons. Rebecca Rupp, a former scientist who has been teaching her kids at home for more than 10 years, peppers the guide with anecdotes about her children's experiences in various subject areas, much of it drawn from the family's extensive journals. Along with books, magazines, and kits for reading, math, writing, science, and history, a considerable amount of space is given to computer and television resources, as well as "life skills," a broad category that includes everything from etiquette and carpentry to sewing and sex education. Like a Yellow Pages guide to knowledge, The Complete Home Learning Sourcebook belongs on the shelf of anyone looking for new ways to spark a child's imagination. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
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.
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.
A Reason For® Reading
A Reason For® Reading offers a series of over 100 Leveled Readers that provide small increases in difficulty from level to level. These colorful books feature Scripture stories and Christian value themes. Story Guides include high-frequency words, teaching ideas, discussion questions, and much more.
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!
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
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
MCP PLAID Phonics
MCP PLAID Phonics from Modern Curriculum Press incorporates best practices for teaching essential phonemic awareness and phonics skills with lots of flexibility. Find information on these products here.
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.
And What About College?: How Homeschooling Can Lead to Admissions to the Best Colleges & Universities
Get all your questions about helping your homeschooled student apply and get accepted to college answered with this resource. It discusses transcripts, diplomas, education choices, online colleges, and more. If you are worried about whether your homeschooled student can have a successful college search, then this book will help allay those fears and offers good support and information. 
Catholic Homeschool Companion

Here’s your one-stop resource for information, insight, and inspiration about every aspect of educating your children at home — written by those who understand it best: homeschooling parents themselves!

Would you like to teach science or phonics better? Introduce your child to Latin, piano, or great works of art? Try new classroom approaches that other parents find effective? In these pages, you’ll find helpful essays from more than forty veteran homeschooling parents to help you do all this and more. You’ll also find wise advice and practical tips to make you a better teacher and your homeschool more productive and enjoyable.

Of course, homeschooling involves more than academics. That’s why The Catholic Homeschool Companion includes essays to help you foster your children’s moral and spiritual development, involve time-challenged dads, teach kids with special needs or in special circumstances, and handle other common problems homeschoolers face.

Are you frustrated trying to fulfill state academic standards or diocesan requirements for sacramental preparation? No problem!

Here’s shrewd advice from parents who’ve fought those battles already. There’s also humor to lighten your heart when the daily grind gets you down, and, for those really bad times when you wonder whether homeschooling is even worth it, The Catholic Homeschool Companion brings you heartening testimony from teenagers and young adults who tell how grateful they are that their parents taught them at home.

Information, insight, and inspiration: it’s all right here in The Catholic Homeschool Companion, the must-own resource for new and experienced homeschoolers alike.

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.
Homeschooling: The Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8- Year-Old Child
Nothing beats seeking the voice of experience if you want to join the estimated 1 to 3 million parents who teach their children at home. Here's a guide that comes direct from the experts: a mother of two homeschooled, now-grown children and 83 homeschooling families she surveyed. Their stories make reading this starter kit on teaching ages 3 to 7 worthwhile. For those ready to take on what author Linda Dobson calls "a natural extension of being a good parent," the manual provides at-a-glance boxes of insightful anecdotes called "How We Did It," as well as lists at the end of each chapter of helpful books, magazines, Web sites, software, and computer message boards that connect homeschooling households. The straightforward writing covers the basics on reading, writing, and math; different teaching approaches; organizing a curriculum; even how to deal with skeptical relatives and spouses. There are no specifics on each states' homeschooling requirements, which vary widely. But as a primer for parents starting out, the book serves as a confidence builder and an inspiring how-to guide. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
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
    Featured Resources

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    Rhythms of Learning : What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Vista Series, V. 4) (Vista Series, V. 4)
    In numerous lectures and through teaching teachers for the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner described and suggested methods of education based on the rhythmic unfolding of spirit, soul, and physiology in children as they grow. In each section of "Rhythms of Learning," Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli introduces the reader to lectures on specific aspects of children's rhythms of development and how Waldorf education responds. We are shown how Waldorf teachers must, through their own inner capa...
    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...
    Why We Homeschool
    It is a common misconception that most parents homeschool due to bullies, school shootings, or bad teaching content. While these things are important, there is a higher purpose for choosing to home education your children. Even if all those things were corrected, there are stronger reasons to stay committed to the homeschool model. So why do you homeschool? This book looks at the meaning and significance of a true Christian education. 
    Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Primary Level
    Grades K-4. Each 120 page book contains worksheets and has selected activities that cover the major math standards. Each page outlines the grade level, materials needed, settings, learning experiences, and are based on NCTM Standards.
    Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner
    Dr. Linda Silverman coined the term "visual-spatial learner" to describe the special and unique gifts of people who learn best through seeing and with images. This guide is a great resource as you support your homeschooling visual learner in discovering the best ways to learn and succeed.