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
How do Unschoolers Turn Out?
As more and more families take up unschooling, self-directed education, researchers have pondered whether it is a successful learning model or not. Peter Gray and Gina Riley offer the results of a survey of 232 parents who unschooled their children. The results were overwhelmingly positive about the unschooling experience. In a follow-up survey, Gray asked children who had been unschooled for their feedback. They recounted their experiences and how it affected their lives as adults, with most sa...
ABC Books by Ann
This group consists of two things: 1) a bi-weekly newsletter with articles about living books, book collecting, taking care of and organizing your home school library, using living books in your homeschool, notebooking, book and author reviews, and more; and 2.) a bi-weekly catalog of living books for sale on eBay, plus and some unit studies.
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.
CM Curricula
This list is for the buying and selling of resources (biographies,poetry and art books, teacher resources, etc.) that are in conformity with the Charlotte Mason "twaddle-free" philosophy. This is strictly a buying and selling list.
Buying Used Curriculum
A look at some of the reason not to buy used curriculum. What and where you purchase your curriculum (and any other homeschool-related books) will have a much greater impact on the homeschool market than it would in any other only because of how small this market is.
Bead Sequencing Set
Stack the durable, brightly colored wooden beads on 5 hardwood dowels in sequence to match the design on one of the pattern cards. Builds complex reasoning skills as well as sorting and coordination. Includes over 45 brilliantly colored beads, 5 dowels, and 10 patterns that increase in difficulty.
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.
One Stop Shopping, or Eclectic Education?
The homeschool shopping season has begun. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you select materials.
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.
Unschooling in the Midwest
This group is for unschoolers in the midwest to offer support to other life learning families and to organize activities.
Northside Unschoolers of Chicago
The Northside Unschoolers is a support group for homeschooling families that practice child-led learning.
Determining Your Child's Learning Style
Most students use a combination of learning styles, drawing from the four main types: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Responding with the right approach to your child's learning style can make all the difference when it comes to your child learning, understanding, and remembering educational material. With understanding of your child's learning style, you can more effectively choose materials and methods to emphasize his or her strengths rather than work against them. 
SchoolExpress
SchoolExpress features over 17,000 free worksheets, weekly activity pages, online games, and eWorkbooks.
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
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.
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.
The Absorbent Mind
In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Italian doctor coined to characterize the child's most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.

A new foreword by John Chattin-McNichols, Ph.D., President of the American Montessori Society, places this classic book in a contemporary context, offering an intelligent discussion of current thinking in child education.
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.
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)
Tomorrows Child
Tomorrow's Child magazine offers insights and information that helps parents to feel confident that Montessori will prepare their children for the real world. It will help you understand and appreciate Montessori and apply it in your home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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. 
KONOS
KONOS offers unit studies for homeschoolers, with a focus on character building and the study of history.
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.
Diana Waring--History Alive!
Diana Waring--History Alive! produces books, tapes, videos, and history curriculum for the homeschool market.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
Montessori: A Modern Approach
Montessori: A Modern Approach has been called the single best book for anyone -- educator, childcare professional, and especially parent -- seeking answers to the questions: What is the Montessori method? Are its revolutionary ideas about early childhood education relevant to today's world? And most important, especially for today's dual-career couples. Is a Montessori education right for my child?

Paula Polk Lillard writes both as a trained educators and as a concerned parent -- she has many years as a public school teacher, but it was her enthusiasm for the education her own child experienced in a Montessori school that led her to become a leading voice in the Montessori movement in this country.

Her book offers the clearest and most concise statement of the Montessori method of child development and education available today.
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.
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.
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

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.

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.
Greenleaf Press
Greenleaf Press is a small family-owned and operated publisher and supplier of quality books for children. They are committed to "twaddle-free", living books, and approach teaching history to children using biography and chronology. You will find sections in the catalog covering each major historical period in order, with a variety of biographies, reference books, and historical fiction. For Israel, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation there are Greenleaf Study Guides and Greenleaf Study Packages.
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.

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Discover Your Children's Gifts
This comprehensive work on children's learning styles and creativity expression is a tremendous help to parents as they begin homeschooling. The authors discuss how God gifts children in different ways with different ways of learning and expression. ...
The Case for Classical Christian Education
Douglas Wilson looks at the state of America's school system and offers a remedy for those who are committed to their children's best interests in education. Wilson details the history of the classical education movement and discusses what is needed ...
The Organizing Sourcebook : Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life
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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 sta...
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 homesc...