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.
Homeschool Curriculum
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
Northside Unschoolers of Chicago
The Northside Unschoolers is a support group for homeschooling families that practice child-led learning.
Illiana Homeschool Cooperative
This is a group of homeschooling families in northwest Indiana and northeast Illinois who are providing socialization and educational opportunities for their children.
Off The Beaten Path
Off the Beaten Path is an inclusive support network of unschooling families based in Lake County, Illinois. OTBP’s mission is to provide a means for local unschoolers, and those wanting to learn more about interest-led learning, to connect and support one another.
In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences
Children learn in differing ways. Thomas Armstrong specializes in helping parents identify the unique areas in each of our children that enhance their special way of learning and expressing creativity. This work on multiple intelligences talks about the eight different kinds of multiple intelligences, showing you how to discover your child's particular areas of strength. 
A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason's Timeless Educational Ideas
Are you disappointed with dumbed-down reading material (“twaddle”) written for children? Do you wish for your children to feast their hearts and minds on noble ideas, fine art, and great literature? Are you hoping your children gain an appreciation of nature and a deep understanding of natural sciences? Most importantly, do you want your children to develop a lifetime love of learning? If you answered “yes,” you may discover a Charlotte Mason-inspired twaddle-free education is just what you’ve b...
Bayside School Services
Bayside School Services offers do-it-yourself standardized achievement tests, available all year. Bayside gives you original publisher materials plus genuine CTB scoring reports, including free practice tests for all grades where available. Test prices include shipping, handling, scoring and all practice tests. Special pricing available for group orders.
Unschooling in the Midwest
This group is for unschoolers in the midwest to offer support to other life learning families and to organize activities.
Living Math Forum
This is an on-topic list dedicated to the discussion of "living math" - mathematics education using living books and materials, as opposed to traditional curricula as the primary learning tool. Discussion applies to mathematics learning from birth to adult self education, with the understanding that arithmetic is only one feature of mathematics as a whole. Math history topics will apply as well. Educators using Charlotte Mason, Thomas Jefferson Ed (relaxed classical), Montessori, Waldorf and uns...
Understanding Waldorf Education : Teaching from the Inside Out
Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf schools with their philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Through learning experiences that involve all of the senses, children use a variety of intelligences to develop thought, feeling, and intentional, purposeful activity. Whether you_re a Waldorf parent or teacher, or you just want to learn more about these innovative educational concepts, this book contains impo...
What is Natural Learning?
So what on earth is natural learning? Isn't all learning natural? What would you do different if you were following a natural learning approach? How can I pursue natural learning?
Points in Evaluating a Curriculum
A list of items you should consider when evaluating a curriculum.
Chicago Homeschool Co-Op
Chicago Homeschool Co-Op is a network of homeschooling families in Chicago with at least one child under 6 years of age. Currently, they meet twice a week, once for a "field trip," and once at a member's studio space in the Logan Square neighborhood. In addition, members are encouraged to seek one another out outside of group get togethers.
Will County Unschoolers
This is an inclusive homeschooling group for Will, DuPage, and surrounding counties in Illinois. They meet every Wednesday, alternating each week between the Joliet area and Aurora/Naperville area.
Christian Unschooling
Christians can and do unschool. Here you'll find support and more.
Unschooling in IL
Email list for Illinois families who are unschooling. This is for parents for have chosen the method of unschooling as the means to teach their children. Join the list of Illinois families who are unschooling.
Resources
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.
A Child's Story of America
This text reads like a story book more than a history textbook. This book has a decidedly Christian bent. Students are given a comprehensive overview of U.S. history from Columbus to the present. Review questions are included throughout, as well as helpful maps. The text contains numerous pictures and large print. An optional test packet and answer key is available.
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.
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.
Free to Learn: Introducing Steiner Waldorf Earkt Childhood Education
Free to Learn is a unique guide to the principles and methods of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood education. The author draws on kindergarten experience from around the world, with stories, helpful insights, lively observations and pictures. This inspiring book will interest parents, educators, and early years education students. It is up to date, comprehensive, and contains many illustrations, including a 16-page color section. Lynne Oldfield invites you to explore Steiner Waldorf kindergartens. Here, teachers and parents believe that children's early learning is profound, that childhood matters and that the early years should be enjoyed, not rushed through.

Topics include:
· How kindergarten enables healthy child development
· What is movement based learning
· Why creative play is so crucial
· How children learn through imitation and rhythm
· When children are ready for school
· How to get support for parenting and daycare

Free to Learn is a unique guide to the principles and methods of Waldorf early education, drawing on kindergarten experience from around the world, with stories, helpful insights, lively observations, and pictures.

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.
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.
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!
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 capacities and awareness, learn to recognize and meet each new stage of development in children as they unfold new capacities on every level of their being.

This collection is the clearest introduction to the ideas of Waldorf education currently available. "Rhythms of Learning" contains Steiner's most important lectures on teaching and child development. It is an excellent resource for everyone interested in taking education successfully into the 21st century.

Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
A short, illustrated guide to the use of Montessori classroom materials. Describes how to set up a "children's house" - an environment for learning where children can be their own masters.
Secret of Childhood
Maria Montessori describes the child with warmth and the exactness of a scientist. She also discusses the array of materials and techniques needed to release his learning potential.
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):
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.
Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School
Grace Llewellyn, author of the The Teenage Liberation Handbook, offers the stories of 11 teens who made the decision to reject traditional schooling methodologies and take their education into their own hands. The essays highlight offer a day-in-the-life look at teen homeschooling and unschooling, as the teens embraced self-education and increased in their self-confidence and motivation. 
Kinder Dolls: A Waldorf Doll-Making Handbook
This comprehensive guide for beginners and experienced doll makers shows how to create many different kinds of handcrafted dolls from natural materials. Handmade dolls with their simplicity of expression and design leave children’s imaginations free, rather than being confined by perfectly finished dolls made of artificial materials. Instead, these dolls encourage the magic of creative play and bring children the gift of imagination in which they see themselves as “makers.”

Included are:
· Ten designs, including soft, baggy, angel, pouch, sack, and limbed dolls
· Twelve basic clothes patterns and ethnic variations
· Tools, techniques, and materials
· Safety guidelines and sewing methods
· Recycling tips and where to get materials

The Story of the World
This book series by Susan Wise Bauer is another that is best enjoyed as a read aloud rather than seen as a history textbook. It is full of engaging stories, mixing facts and historical legends. The companion study guides offer questions, narration exercises, activities, crafts, and reproducible pages. There are also lists for each chapter of supplemental books that are easily found at your local library.

Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 1: Ancient Times (From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages (From the From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times (From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age (From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR)
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.
Montessori International
Montessori International is the magazine for all parents and teachers. Montessori International magazine is a high quality colour education magazine with a Montessori focus and a truly child-centred approach. The magazine is for Montessori parents, nursery owners, teachers, and students with an interest in Montessori education.
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.

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.
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.
Total Language Plus
Total Language Plus is an innovative curriculum focused on teaching thinking and communication skills using literature as a base. The authors believe an integrated system is more efficient than a fragmented approach, discovery style learning is the most effective and learning should be enjoyable. The "discover, do, drill" method is employed throughout the TLP program with activities focusing on thinking skills. These comprehensive novel studies cover spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, analytical and critical thinking, comprehension, writing, listening, and field trips and projects.
Shurley English
Shurley English maintains that effective instruction in English must be founded upon an understanding of how the parts of speech work together in a sentence. A good grammar foundation gives students the skills to improve writing. Grammar is the structure of sentence composition. Through grammar, students learn how to write, improve, and expand sentences. After they have an understanding of sentence structure, students are then able to combine sentences successfully into paragraphs, essays, and reports. For product information on Phonics Pathways, click here or visit their website.
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.
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading
Drawn Into the Heart of Reading was developed for use with students of multiple ages at the same time, perfect for the homeschooling family. It is designed for use as an entire reading program or as a supplement to an existing program for students in grades 2-8.
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.
English from the Roots Up
English from the Roots Up explores the Latin and Greek roots of words. Many people haven't realized how valuable the Latin and Greek vocabulary is in the formulation of the finely structured English vocabulary of today. Even learning a few Latin and Greek root words gets you hooked and you want to learn more. Why? Because you can move from "what words mean" to "why words mean"&mdashin short, a thinking vocabulary. You'll find product information here.
KONOS
KONOS offers unit studies for homeschoolers, with a focus on character building and the study of history.
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.
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Featured Resources

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Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo
Only children don’t have to share bedrooms, toys, or the backseat of a car. They don’t have to share allowances, inheritances, or their parents’ attention. But when they get into trouble, they can’t just blame their imaginary friends. In Only Child, ...
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.
Life in America
Life in America was designed by home schooling parents to meet the needs of families. Features unit studies in a box, with all resource material supplied.
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 ...
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 ...