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
Central Maryland Unschoolers
This is list for unschooling families interested in connecting with other unschoolers in DC and central Maryland (Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and surrounding counties). They have casual monthly get-togethers that offer support, conversation, socializing, and playtime for adults, teens and children.
African-American Unschooling
African-American Unschooling is the resource for African-American homeschoolers with an Africentric approach to learning all the time. African-American Unschoolers encounter math, science, reading, writing, art and history in the real world because real living leads to real learning.
The Story of Two Desperate, Burned Out, Homeschool Moms
Robin Bray shares the story of innovation and creativity in approaching homeschooling burn out, and how these creative ideas led to the creation of a co-op.
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 naturali...
CM-Waldorf
This list is designed for those interested in the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling with a Waldorf twist. Topics for discussion will be geared towards combining these two approaches successfully, and any other related issues.
Links and Items
Discovery of the Child
Maria Montessori went beyond the conventions of the day to seek a new way of knowing and loving a child. In THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD, she describes the nature of the child and her method of working more fully with the child's urge to learn. With 16 pages of photographs.
Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry/Biology
These user-friendly, unabashedly Christian, one-year science curriculums for elementary students include teaching lessons, coloring pages, hands-on time, memorization lists, review sheets, creative writing assignments, and a supplemental book list. The Chemistry text is intended for grades 4-8, and includes such hands-on activities as making model atoms, breaking covalent bonds, and making gas expand. It also lists chemistry terms, notations, and rules. The Biology text is witten for grades 3-6, although it can easily be scaled down for younger students, making this an excellent choice for teaching all your elementary-aged kids together. The schedule of 35 weekly lessons calls for teaching twice weekly, allowing a family time for projects, exploration of resource books, field trips, etc. The conversational style gives students the basic information they need, making this an ideal first course in life science, especially useful for those following a classical approach.
Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study With the Gentle Art of Learning : A Story for Mother Culture
Karen Andreola, renowned interpreter of the Charlotte Mason method of education, has written a unique sort of book in the homeschool world. Pocketful of Pinecones is a teacher s guide the nature study cleverly disguised as a heartwarming story written in the form of a mother s diary. Woven into the story are: More than 100 examples of what to look for on a nature walk, Latin names for the living things to observed by the characters, study questions, nature poems and verses. Other features include: a supplement of selected quotations by Miss Charlotte Mason, an annotated list of books with a nature theme-both fiction and non-fiction, nostalgic pencil drawings. Yet Pocketful of Pinecones is a story about Carol. Carol is on her feet a lot-industriously caring for her family. In her diary Carol pours out her secret worries, hopes, joys, and disappointments. She also writes of the nature walks she enjoys with her children. Her goal is to safeguard their sense of wonder. Together they observe God's marvelous creation and the children record their finds in their Nature Notebooks. Carol reads Home Education by Miss Charlotte Mason and attempts to put the advice into practice. Designed to be a pick-me-up, each chapter is short enough to minister to a mother who has only snatches of time in which to nourish her soul. Carol s story continues in the sequel Lessons at Blackberry Inn.
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
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.
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.
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. 
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.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
Considering God's Creation
Considering God's Creation is a creative in-depth encounter with natural science from a biblical perspective. It is adaptable for grades 2-7. This is a large 272-page book that comes with a Teacher's Manual with audio CD.
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.

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.
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.
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.
A Reason For® Handwriting
A Reason For® Handwriting provides a fun, meaningful approach to developing effective handwriting skills. Each lesson is built around a Scripture verse chosen not only for proper letter combinations, but also inspirational content. “Border Sheets” encourage students to share God's Word with others. You'll find product information about A Reason For® Handwriting here.
Noah Webster's Reading Handbook
This is the historic text (originally called the Blue-Backed Speller) that has been updated to teach phonics/beginning reading. The blends and words in this reader are arranged to correlate with the sequence in which the special phonics sounds are taught. This reader is an invaluable teaching tool for children who need extra practice in the application of phonics rules. Find out more here.
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.
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.
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.
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Featured Resources

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A Charlotte Mason Education
The immensely popular ideas of Charlotte Mason have inspired educators for many decades. Her unique methodology as written about in her six-volume series established the necessary protocols for an education above and beyond that which can be found in traditional classroom settings. In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason's methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportuni...
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 naturali...
Montessori Life
Designed to provoke thought, professional growth and provide a forum for discussion of major issues & ideas in education.
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 SubjectAs 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...
Raising Topsy-Turvy Kids: Successfully Parenting Your Visual-Spatial Child
Understanding how children learn best allows you to meet their needs and help them succeed. A visual-spatial learner remembers things in pictures and learns better with visual clues and strategies. This book addresses those needs and helps you figure out how to encourage this type of learner in your homeschool environment.