Jump to content


Resources for getting started hs

Punks in Ontario

Recommended Posts

Well, there are a zillion books! When we started nearly 15 years ago, I went to the library and checked out every single book I could find. Then, I found a local homeschool group. I inquired about homeschool information and they invited me to a meeting. The next thing i did was to find out the names of all of the curriculum publishers that I could and request catalogs. The following spring I went to a local used curriculum sale to actually look at books, and I also went to a homeschool conference to listen to speakers and look at more curriculum.


I know things have changed since I started homeschooling, after all the Well Trained Mind wasn't even out then. I think the books that called to me the most were John Taylor Gatto's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) WTM


2) A book on Unschooling. I do not unschool, but I have friends who do. If one is thinking of homeschooling, one should at least have exposure to unschooling as a philosophy. I read a book on unschooling and determined that is was NOT the right choice for us at this time. However, many families unschool at least partially (everything except math and phonics, for example). By reading about Unschooling, one can make that judgment for their kids.


The book I read about unschooling is out-of-print, but there are others out there.


3) A book on Charlotte Mason. :blushing: I have not read anything about Charlotte Mason, but, again, this is a popular philosophy for homeschooling. It may be a really good fit for some families. Check a book out from the library to see if this is a good fit for you.


4) A catalog from Rainbow Resource. RR does not carry everything, but it is a good starting point. Read about the different math programs or spelling programs available, and just know that THERE ARE A LOT OF RESOURCES AVAILABLE OUT THERE! The nice thing about RR is that each product has a review.


I did not have any luck in getting a catalog from RR until after I started buying from them. Now they send me one every year. I'll bet that you can get an old copy from a friend.


5) A Word file. The file has a chart for each year/grade and what I would like to use for curriculum for each level. For example, when dd reaches 3rd grade, I would like to use MCT's system for Language Arts. We plan to do Saxon Math all the way. I plan to start History Odyssey in first grade. Because I have this mapped out, if I find something on sale or second-hand, I can pick it up at a better price.




The best part of having a random Word file is that I cut and paste things on this board that I find interesting for use in the future. Here is a sample of stuff I have pasted. Some of it is also books that I have found in the library that I would like to share with my dds, but are too old for them right now.



If you lived/If Your series


Getting to know the World’s great artists


Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnne F. Kohl and Kim Solga


From Cave Paintings to Picasso


Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media for Kids of All Ages by Susan Schwake


Math Storybooks:



Subject Storybooks:






First Step Spanish: http://www.knowitall....iesIDpassed=43

First Step Again: http://www.knowitall....iesIDpassed=57

Next Step Spanish: http://www.knowitall....iesIDpassed=52

Next Step Spanish Again: http://www.knowitall....iesIDpassed=87




Spanish videos:




Binding Books Beautifully


Learn the Elements/Periodic Table: http://www.johnpratt...mic/atomic.html



Peace Core Penpals:



Snap Circuits:

Get this book:Snap Circuits Complete Student Guide http://www.hometrain...e/p/BK-SCGUIDE/


Get the biggest kit you can afford:





Creek Edge Science Task Cards



Ellen McHenry’s Basement: Elements, Carbon Chemistry, The Brain, Botany in 8 Lessons, the Cell, etc.


Music Ace Deluxe ($79) http://www.harmonicv...om/madfact.htm


6) Another Word File. This one is labelled Homeschool Shopping. It is a list of all of the things I will need for older dd for first grade (next year). I add things to the list with a vendor location (item number, web address) and price, and it helps me to prioritize for the budget that I have. I will use it at the next homeschooling convention to avoid impulse buys, and if I am smart, I will purchase thoughout the year to spread out the cost.


7) A ticket to the local homeschooling convention. It is a good way to learn what is available out there for curriculum.


8) For parents of really young children, I would recommend:

a) Starfall.com

b ) Letter of the Week

c) Saxon Math K (there is no workbook; just a lot of manipulatives and some optional worksheets you can print off at the end of the year).


What age are you looking for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm developing a workshop for couples new to homeschooling. Here's where I'd start.




Analyzing Your Education


1. List/discuss the parts of your education that were useful and/or important to preparing your for life as an adult.



2. List/discuss the parts if your education that were not useful and/or important to preparing your for life as an adult.


3. List/discuss anything you think should have been included in your education to prepare you for life as an adult, but was not.


4. List/discuss the parts of your education that were detrimental to preparing your for life as an adult.


5. Summarize what you think an ideal education is that prepares a child for life as an adult.





Eight Different Approaches to Education in the Homeschool Community

Most homeschoolers use a combination of two or more of these approaches. Homeschooling is inherently flexible, so these approaches can be adapted and modified in any way the parent chooses. This is a bird's eye view making very broad generalizations. Popular curricula, websites, and authors detailing these approaches are listed. Let me know of others and I will gladly add them to the lists.


===Traditional School Approach ===

Typically uses prepackaged curriculum with a Scope and Sequence educational philosophy. Their daily and yearly schedules usually follow the 6 hour days of institutional settings and a 180 day school year with the summer off, but many allow their children to work at their own pace and finish early. Grading systems like those used in traditional school settings are the norm and aged grades mimic schools. Textbooks and workbooks are their primary texts. Fill in the blank and multiple choice answers are characteristic of this crowd. Children are generally taught the same information around the same age and proceed along the same path, although some may do so faster or slower.


Think institutional school.




Alpha Omega


Christian Liberty Press



=== Unschooling Approaches A and B===

This is a broad term that applies to two distinct groups.


Group A


Generally believes children are wired for learning, and their job as teachers is to avoid interfering with the learning process. Their job is also to provide access to learning (books, lab equipment, etc.) guided by the child’s interests. They do not necessarily think children need to be “taught†outside of answering a child's questions. Real life, hands-on projects and applied learning experiences are strongly preferred to other methods of instruction. Some will allow children to take classes of interest in an institutional setting-usually college.


Think Thomas Edison and John Holt.


Christian Unschooling (website)

Learning without Schooling Magazine

John Holt’s Books

Free Child Project (lots of links and resources)



Group B


These parents design every learning experience to answer the question, “When am I going to use this in real life?†by actually using almost exclusively real life, hands on, applied situations and projects. Only the real world here. They tend to be systematic and adult directed but are very careful to take additional time to follow a child’s interests some too.


No known packaged curriculum, websites, or magazines that address only this approach to homeschooling.



===Unit Study Approach ===

Typically these people integrate studies based on an era, historical event, person, character trait, technological development, or historical person. For example, if the Depression is the core of the unit study, Math (if possible), Literature, Science (if possible), History, Economics, and Writing will hinge on different elements of the Great Depression. This gives the student a multidimensional understanding. Each child in the family is given different assignments based on ability, but all study the same core theme.


Learning through History Magazine


Let the Author’s Speak

Timetables of History

All Through the Ages


===Living Books Approach ===

Only the best literature and writings on each subject are used. Think of it this way, instead of reading from a distilled over simplified textbook on the Civil War, these parents have their students read several of the books about the Civil War that an author of a textbook would read preparing to write the textbook. Now, think of doing that for Science, History, Economics, Literature, Art, etc. This crowd is also known for

nature studies, narration, and dictation.


Charlotte Mason

Karen Andreola

My Father’s World


Greenleaf Press

Let The Author’s Speak

Robinson’s Curriculum

All Through the Ages



===Classical Education===

Classical education has at least three distinct camps. They can be integrated as much as the parent prefers. They all have a strong preference for first source materials and use primarily Western Classics (Also called the Western Canon, or the Common Book of the Western World.) Some can include the study of "dead" languages (Hebrew, Classical or Biblical Greek, and Latin) although some are content with good English translations of Classic works while others opt for studies of Latin and Greek Roots in English.


Group A


Characterized by the Trivium. The 3 stages have many terms:

  1. Stage 1 Grammar (facts)
  2. Stage 2 Logic (cause and effect) All stages of formal Logic inductive, deductive, material, etc.
  3. Stage 3 Rhetoric (application and persuasion) Formal argumentation is studied.

Formal Logic and Rhetoric are studied specifically. History is usually studied chronologically. Logic is studied formally, and Science is studied with experimentation, biographies, and original writings of the greatest minds. Classic works from masters throughout Western Civilization in all eras are studied. Some integrate History, Geography, Science and Literature into a more unit study approach.


Think Dorothy Sayers.


Tapestry of Grace

Classical Conversations

Memoria Press

Veritas Press

Teaching the Trivium

The Well Trained Mind


Group B


Characterized by the Mentor Model and sometimes called a "Statesmen" education. Morals, virtue, and character are emphasized above all.

  1. In the early years children are allowed to follow their interests and learn good moral character while developing a strong work ethic.
  2. The middle years are when the parent begins inspiring students by reading classic works by the best minds on the subjects and entering into apprenticeship situations with masters of certain skills.
  3. The later years the students are mentored in apprenticeships in entrepreneurial situations for their future leadership roles and professional pursuits.

Think Thomas Jefferson.


A Thomas Jefferson education by DeMille

A Thomas Jefferson Companion


Group C


Also known as the Principle Approach. This is a method often attributed to how many of the Founders were educated.

  1. Research the topic by looking up ideas

a. first source materials (original writings, documents, autobiographies, first hand historical accounts, etc.)


b. look up terms in dictionary (keeping in mind dictionaries that are specific to the era)


c. look up terms in your sacred writings or other sources related to your beliefs (Christians-Bible)

  1. Reason through the material looking for the underlying principles.

  1. Relate the information you have found through research and reason and apply it to your life.

  1. Record your findings in a logical, systematic, and persuasive format.

Think James Madison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cathy Duffy's book, 101 Top Picks, and the Well Trained Mind.




The Duffy book is fantastic because it gives you lots of info on the options within homeschooling.


WTM is fantastic because it's got hands-on specific recommendations for what to do when and straight forward advice and lists of resources. I wish I had read it last year, and am glad I did this year.


Last thought- I don't think I would love hs'ing as much as I do without my Classical Conversations group. Having some kind of in-person group is essential to me, and serves to both keep me accountable and encourage me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ruth Beechick's The Three R's


So far all I had listed was the above resource, because getting STARTED is the topic and, that is so different than homeschooling AFTER you get your feet wet. Too much information too soon is...well...too much.


I agree with duckens ideas to get a Rainbow catalog, and to read unschooling books. Reading unschooling books produces confidence in the parent. Also, in many states, a parent is required to provide instruction for the same number of hours a child would be attending the brick and mortar establishment; learning unschooling vocabulary is essential to fill out paperwork in those states.


Some of the information in No Regrets by Alexandra Swann is outdated, but this is the best "school at home" book I have ever read; it's a good balance to an overly heavy diet of unschooling books.


This youtube video of

using nothing but a piece of large folded paper is excellent.


I guess next I would suggest some books on self-education, reading aloud, and EARLY childhood education. The children are still preschoolers? She should be reading more about pre-school education, and implementing those ideas, rather than predominantly about the years to come.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clarify WHY you are homeschooling. (What is your vision)

Clarify WHAT you hope to gain by homeschooling. (start with the end in mind).


Homeschooling won't fix everything, and it will, in fact, make some things more complicated. Having a clear starting and ending place (at least to start with) will direct you.

There are a plethora of resources available. My incomplete list of "Educational Influencers" might help you sort some of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would keep it as simple as possible for total newbs and cover what they need to get started. This is what I wish someone pointed me to:


Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks -

A great book to read overviews of the main homeschool philosophies and curricula out there to help decide which direction to go & what curriculum you're looking for.



HSLDA.org -

Look at your state's laws and make sure you are homeschooling within your state's laws and what to do to get started.


DonnaYoung.org -

To provide forms you might want to use like attendance forms, daily subject planners, etc.


A to Z Home's Cool -

Search for a local homeschooling support group and lots of helpful odds and ends.


ChristianBook.com, Amazon, Rainbow Resource -

These are great places to order your curriculum. I like CBD.com because prices are usually as good as amazon, they have a ton of homeschooling stuff, you can view samples, they ship fast, and shopping is simple once you save your credit card info.



I personally think that steering newbies toward the homeschooling philosophy books (classical versus charlotte mason versus unschoolign, etc) gets real overwhelming, real fast, when a lot of moms just want to know what to do to get started teaching their child. I think they will find out about this stuff as they move along and have time to look into it. Or it would be good for parents whose children aren't even of school-age yet to read up on philosophies ahead of time if it interests them. Otherwise, for moms who want to know "what do I do to get started?" it is a giant, daunting, distracting, heart-sinker to realize they have no clue what their philosophy is, let alone how to line it up with what they need their children to know this year. I think what they really want to know is - What subjects should I teach, what programs should I use, where do I get the books, how do I play my year, etc. Just my humble opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...