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
Avoiding Fiction
Many parents have objections to using fiction in their homeschooling: it isn't a good use of time, it offers opposing worldviews, it isn't useful. But it can stimulate the imagination and allows a child to put himself in another's place. Douglas Jones discusses why fiction is good for children.
Northside Unschoolers of Chicago
The Northside Unschoolers is a support group for homeschooling families that practice child-led learning.
EDSITEment
EDSITEment is published by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is a very well designed and easy to use source for online lesson plans and ideas. They have partnered with some of the world's great museums, libraries, cultural institutions, and universities to bring resources covering art and culture, literature, language arts, foreign language, history, and social studies. Their webiste includes links to over 100 of the top humanities sites and online lesson plans which integrate these ...
CM for One
CM for One (CMfor1) is a message board for families home educating an only child and using the Charlotte Mason Method.
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.
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.
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.
Alpha Omega
Alpha Omega offers complete curriculum packages from a Christian perspective. Products include Switched-On Schoolhouse®, their computer-based curriculum. For the student who enjoys a more traditional approach, they offer a worktext curriculum, LIFEPAC®. The Horizons curriculum is most effective for students who master concepts more quickly and enjoy learning at a faster pace. If your students learn best in a group where they can build upon each other's accomplishments, The Weaver Curriculum® i...
The Moore Formula
How to teach with low stress, low cost, high success and behavior. This is the Moore Formula. You'll find a complete outline of this educational approach here. Raymond and Dorothy Moore explain the Formula, which entails studying daily depending on the child's maturity, an equal amount of manual work, and home or community service an hour or so a day.
Unschooling in the Midwest
This group is for unschoolers in the midwest to offer support to other life learning families and to organize activities.
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.
Alpha Omega Academy
Alpha Omega Academy (AOA) is an accredited online academy for grades K-12, with thousands of students enrolled worldwide.
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.
A Charlotte Mason Home
This website is dedicated to the educational philosophies of Charlotte Mason, a British educator from the last century. Her methods and philosophies have experienced a resurgence, especially among American homeschooling families. Mason’s emphasis on children developing a lifetime love of learning was in stark contrast to the nearly anti-child climate of her time period. The mission of the Charlotte Mason & Home Education website is to bring Charlotte Mason’s ideals and methods to modern familie...
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
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.
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.
Montessori Play And Learn : A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six
We all want the best possible starts in life for our children, and one of the best possible starts in life, educationally, is the "method" pioneered by Maria Montessori and taught successfully today throughout the world.

Now, Lesley Britton, the leading Montessori practitioner in England for more than twenty years, will show parents how to bring Montessori home. If you would like to facilitate the development of your child's unique personality, make it possible for him to develop to his full intellectual capacity, and help him become socially and emotionally well adjusted, then this is the book for you.

Montessori Play and Learn is packed with ideas, activities, and games that can fit into your normal routine and help supplement preschool learning for your child. For planning your home, introducing your child to the supermarket or the neighborhood, and helping him discover other people and cultures, this book provides valuable tips and insights that help parents and children grow and learn together.
-- Create hundreds of learning opportunities from everyday life
-- Learn dozens of games and activities to help prepare children for mathematics, reading, science, and writing
-- Make your home environment as stimulating for your child as the best Montessori preschool.
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.
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.
H. A. Guerber's Histories
Helene A. Guerber wrote histories for grammar school children in the 19th century. Published in 1896 by the American Book Company, ‘Guerber’s Historical Readers in the Eclectic Readings Series’ were used to introduce children to the histories of the ancient and classical world. These engaging narratives are richly detailed accounts of the lives and times of the most important people of the period, arranged chronologically. The people are placed within the context of their times, and their history is presented with interesting background information so that the entire narrative flows as a single, unbroken story. Dates are given in the narrative where they are known; the pronunciation of place and personal names is carefully marked at its first encounter in the text; and illustrations abound. The text includes maps, a comprehensive timeline of all the persons and events encountered in the history, a comprehensive Recommended Reading list of wonderful historical fiction and non-fiction keyed to the chapters; and a complete bibliography and index round out the book. These books are intended as a child’s first introduction to history in grades 2-6 (the grammer stage). They make wonderful read alouds, and the Recommended Reading suggestions keyed to the chapters provide additional detail and fascinating excursions into topics introduced in the narrative, often with books children can look at or read on their own.
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!
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.

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.
A History of Science
A History of Science is not a textbook, but is a guide to help parents and children study science through literature. It is intended for children in elementary grades.
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.
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
Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child
Based on the key Montessori principle that children learn best through active experience, Teach Me to Do It Myself presents simple activities through which children explore and develop their skills. These skill areas include sensory perceptions, body coordination, language, understanding of numbers, and movement. This practical, color-illustrated parenting book is filled with activities and instructions for overseeing children as they carry out a variety of learning activities. Most activities will seem simple to parents, because once mastered, adults perform them automatically. However, toddlers experience a sense of accomplishment and self-worth when they learn to perform them independently. The many activities start with dressing and personal hygiene, then go on to include . . .
  • Pouring activities
  • Threading and sewing activities
  • Peg activities
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Sorting activities by touch
  • A color matching game
  • Making musical scales with bottles and water
  • Using alphabet tiles to make words
  • Growing things in a window box
  • Making finger puppetsActivities are described in detail and include checklists of needed items, as well as variations and related activities for children to try.
  • 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.
    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.
    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. 
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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

    Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
    John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
    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 important ideas on learning that you can apply today.

    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):
    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.
    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.
    Learning Adventures
    Each book in the Learning Adventures series covers skills and concepts for grades 4-8, with a history-based approach. Each contains a year's worth of lesson plans in a daily format. All subjects except math are covered.
    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.

    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 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.
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    Featured Resources

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    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.
    America's Spectacular National Parks
    The concept of the national park is an American contribution to world civilization, and it remains a defining characteristic of our country. From the rocky shore of Maine's Acadia to the barren crater and lush rain forest of Hawaii's Haleakala, Ameri...
    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 struc...
    The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook
    If you are thinking about homeschooling, or are struggling with a educational homeschooling curriculum that is difficult to use, let Dr. Ray and Dorothy Moore show you how to make homeschooling an easy-to-live-with family adventure in learning. This ...
    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. Bob Books First! Level A, Set 1 Bob Books First! Level A, Set 2 B...