Homeschool Books & Curriculum

This is a Summary of My Favorite Homeschool Resources*

I love books and love to share the ones that have encouraged me over the 10+ years that we homeschooled. My children and I have used or tried many different resources.

I’ve also read dozens (maybe even hundreds-no kidding) of books about homeschooling, parenting, child development, learning, finances, faith and many other topics which are relevant when you spend so much time at home (typically on one salary) with your children. I’ll add to this list as more titles come to mind. Hover over any book image to read a more detailed description or purchase the title.

Of course, this first one was not available when I started homeschooling but I wrote it because I wish it had been. Although the ebook contains much of the same information that’s available for free on this website, the format lends itself to a step-by-step progression minimizing some of the confusion and clicking in circles.

Homeschooling in Pennsylvania Revised and Updated Act 196 of 2014 cover

Click here to buy the book on Amazon for Kindle

Books About Learning and Development

I read these books as parenting resources but they also make a great case for homeschooling. I read these around the time that my children were approaching school age.

                                     

I read this book even before I was considering homeschooling when I saw the author on Oprah. Again, the author doesn’t advocate for homeschooling but education reform. I’m pretty sure this was published before “No Child Left Behind”.

 

Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore are pioneers in home education and child development. They started the National Home Education Research Institute and have written a series of books advocating home education.

                                                          

General Homeschooling Books

I read anything I could get my hands on that described how different people homeschooled.

                          

 

Debra Bell lives in Pennsylvania. She’s a frequent speaker at local homeschooling workshops and an innovative thinker. She has a wonderful perspective having successfully homeschooled two children in the infancy of legal home education in Pennsylvania. She also has a website through which she offers homeschool support, both free and paid.

  

The following books were written by a New York State Teacher of the Year based on his observations of the compulsory education model after 30 years of teaching. I found these books both fascinating and encouraging when I began to doubt my decision and ability to educate my children at home. These might be particularly helpful if you find yourself defending your choice to homeschool to well-meaning family and friends.

                                                   

Home Education Methods or Philosophies

Charlotte Mason Method– Charlotte Mason was a British educator at the turn of the 20th century. Her method was based on the leading brain research at the time and implemented “living books” (books written by one person who was passionate and knowledgeable about a subject rather than the dry, dull information presented in textbooks), narration, formation of good habits, short lessons in the early years and afternoons outdoors as much as possible, among other things. The following books not only describe the Charlotte Mason philosophy but demonstrate how the author has implemented them in the home and are among my favorite and the most-referenced books in my personal library.

             
      

Classical Method-It’s difficult to describe the classical education method in a few short sentences but it is based on basic stages of learning (Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric), a study of classic literature and studying history in chronological order.

Admittedly, I was intimidated by the classical approach since my public education was mediocre at best. In my opinion, the best resource on this method is “The Well Trained Mind-A guide to Classical Education in the Home” by Susan Wise Bauer and Jesse Wise. Although I didn’t implement a purely classical method in my home, I did add elements of it and the book provides an excellent framework and resources for a basic plan or schedule regardless of the educational method that you choose.

Bauer has a unique perspective since she was homeschooled herself, homeschools her own children and is a professor of writing at William & Mary College. She’s a frequent speaker and excellent writer. Even if you don’t plan to design a classical education, you’ll learn a lot from this book.

The books below can be used separately or together. “Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum” describes the classical method and offers an outline and appropriate books for each subject and grade level. “The Harp and Laurel Wreath“, also by Laura Berquist provides source copy work and passages for narration and dictation. The first is written specifically for a Catholic home education program (some books suggestions are Catholic), the “Harp and Laurel Wreath” is more general, though it is published by a Catholic publisher. Either can be used by non-Catholics.

                                                                            

All Time Favorite

I can’t say enough about the brilliant simplicity of the “Five in A Row” series of literature based unit study manuals. Jane Claire Lambert, designed lessons to go along with excellent children’s literature. It’s engaging, efficient, enjoyable and effective. I feel so fortunate that I discovered these manuals at the beginning of our home education journey and am confident that it gave my children a great foundation. The children’s books on which the lessons are based can be checked out of the library or purchased to make planning easier.

                                              

 

Curriculum

Math

Math U See was a good fit for our family. It’s both manipulative based and can be self-directed since all the lessons are presented on DVD by the author, Steve Demme. A math teacher who also homeschooled his children. Placement tests are available on the website. There’s plenty of review and practice for each concept.

Learning to Read

 

History

Story of the World” presents history in story form in chronological order. It’s engaging and entertaining and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn. Although activity guides are available to go along with each volume, I don’t think they’re necessary. I did purchase the audio versions, which we have enjoyed and used a lot over the years.

   

Science

    

General Reference Books

    

Organizing Your Home School

I discovered this manual a few years into our home education program. The “workbox system” was designed by a homeschooling parent to organize her child with special needs but it’s a great method to organize any homeschool. My children especially appreciated knowing what to expect, the accountability, the independence it facilitated and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of each school day. Preparing for the day or week ahead usually takes about 15-20 minutes once the system is set up. I didn’t implement every element, just the ones that worked for me.

Although Sue Patrick’s ‘s method suggests using a wire shelf and 12 plastic shoe boxes to contain the child’s assignments and an empty rubbermaid bin to hold completed work each day, if space is an issue, like it was for me, you can use other methods to hold the child’s assignments like the rolling craft cart or a portable file box.

 

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