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
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.
Making your Own Homeschool Preschool Curriculum
Need a homeschool preschool curriculum? Have you thought about homeschooling your child – but aren’t sure you have what it takes to persevere? Homeschooling during the preschool ages is a great way to try everything out and see if it’s going to work for your family. Homeschooling preschool children also has many side benefits. It gives you something constructive to do during those long daytime hours while your husband is at work. And it will help you bond with your children in a way that noth...
Montessori Materials
The Montessori Materials Group offers many Montessori materials to download including classified cards, templates, word lists, puzzle cards, art cards, leaf nomenclature, maps, music and more. You may alter the contents of these files to suit your educational needs. The website also offers a discussion group at Yahoo Groups.
Calvert School
Calvert School is an independent lower and middle school with a curriculum that is designed to challenge capable boys and girls. Children are prepared for secondary school and for a lifetime of learning by mastering the academic basics. Through its financial aid and recruitment efforts, Calvert strives to offer an educational opportunity to students of all socio-economic backgrounds.
Classical Education & The Home School
Classical education is an idea whose time has come again. When parents see the failures of modern education, they look for better solutions and classical education is one that has been tested in the past and found to be good. For the Christian home educator, the classical education model is a path to joy and success. 
Christian Montessori Homeschoolers
This group is for those who use the Montessori method for part or all of their homeschooling efforts for all age groups. This is primarily a Christian group, though others are welcome to join.
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.
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.
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. 
Piedmont Education Services
Piedmont Education Services offers the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III), along with test prep 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.
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.
An Unschooling Experiment
What does unschooling look like? Why do people unschool? This seasoned unschooler offers the encouragement to simply give unschooling a try, especially if your homeschooling attempts have proven to be unsuccessful or stressful. 
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.
Resources
Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
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.
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.
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.
Waldorf Education: A Family Guide
Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade.

What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" offers a "first look" for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education - the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.

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.

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!
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
The Mystery of History
The Mystery of History series is another alternative to traditional textbooks. The five volume set covers history from creation to present day, with a biblical worldview. This series is intended for grades K-8. Note that at this time, this series is not completed.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
KONOS
KONOS offers unit studies for homeschoolers, with a focus on character building and the study of history.
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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

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