Beyond the Basics: Real Life Homeschooling
The homeschooling adventure is filled with joys and challenges, successes and failures. We've filled our pages with support and information for parents facing special challenges: homeschooling a large family, caring for babies or toddlers while homeschooling, single and working parents who choose to homeschool, military homeschooling families, special needs homeschooling, home educating teenagers, and educating the gifted child. We also take a look at the practical side of homeschooling--how to make it fun, how to get organized, how to save money, how to prepare for college, and much, much more!
Real Life HSing
Homeschoolers sometimes face unique situations. It is helpful to connect with others who have the same life experiences as you do. And there is no denying that challenging situations arise in the best of circumstances. Sometimes the best support you can receive when dealing with a challenging situation is knowing that others have dealt with it too. Homeschooling in general can be challenging--homeschooling in special circumstances can feel overwhelming. But there is help and information for almost every situation. We've compiled the best resources for homeschoolers who face unique situations: working and single parenting, homeschooling with little ones in the family, military homeschooling, home educating a gifted child or a child with special needs, and homeschoolers who are incorporating religious or ethnic ideals in their homeschools.
Making It Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Practical HSing
Any homeschooling family knows that the process of learning takes up most of your time. Getting things organized may the key to success for some families. We've compiled tips and ideas to make your homeschooling practical and a good fit into the rest of your life. As a bonus, we take a look at some of the ways you can save money while learning together as a family.
High School
Homeschooling through the teenage/high school years offers several different challenges. You may need to meet specific requirements and you may find that you are teaching subjects with which you are not familiar. In addition, many parents don't begin homeschooling until their child reaches high school age. To help navigate this sometimes new territory, we've put together helpful resources to help both parent and student successfully homeschool during the high school years.
Colleges & Careers
More and more universities and colleges welcome and encourage applications from homeschoolers. We'll help you understand the process of applying for college and the special needs of homeschoolers, including preparing transcripts, entering college early, and working with institutions that may not be used to unconventional learning models.
What's Popular
OLVS Curriculum Support Group
This email support group is a place to discuss homeschooling with OLVS curriculum.
Adding Up the Cost of Home Schooling
Home schooling may not be as expensive as private school, but it's not free either. Costs can quickly mount when you make sure that your children have state-of-the-art resources to ensure that they can compete academically with their more formally schooled peers.
Hachai Publishing
Hachai Publishing is dedicated to producing high quality children's literature with Jewish themes. Their books promote universal values such as sharing, kindness and charity, and teach Jewish history and tradition. They feature the work of exciting new authors and artists to create books that you and your child can enjoy over and over again.
Mater Amabilis Teacher Training Forum
Mater Amabilis is a free online homeschool curriculum, which takes the methods of Charlotte Mason and applies them for the 21st century Catholic family. Offering a detailed and flexible syllabus for each age level, Mater Amabilis can be used as a complete curriculum or simply as a springboard for learning. This online teacher training forum provides support in implementing the methods of Charlotte Mason and tips for adapting these methods to today's family.
The Art of Organizing Your Space
The furniture in your room is situated just right, yet it's cluttered with lots of paper, items taken from other parts of the house, too many knick-knacks, and trash particles that didn't quite make it to the trashcan. Shouldn't we be asking ourselves, "What's wrong with this picture?" Maybe you already know the answer. But then, why hasn't anything been done about it yet? Don't try to answer that. There's an art to approaching the task of getting organized.
Homeschooling as a Mother's Right
Margaret is a homeschool veteran who explains why traditional schooling was never an option for her children. Margaret’s narrative documents the complexity of being a single Black mother and choosing to live in a low-income housing community, and not working full-time in order to fulfill her rights as a mother to do what she determined would be best for her children. Her account also demonstrates the role of faith, spirituality, and the complexity of building a curriculum to meet her childr...
African-American Home Schooling - Why Black Children Benefit From Home Schooling
With the educational landscape becoming more diverse in America, black parents are looking for better ways in which to teach their children. One of the new educational alternatives and the only one thus far exhibiting parity between the races is home schooling. Though many blacks are embarking on home schooling as a new educational choice, many don't fully know why home education tends to work for black children. This article will piece together clues that account for black children's affinity f...
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a Bear and Wolf Preserve, located in West Yellowstone, Montana just a block away from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The Center offers an up close view of live grizzly bears and a pack of gray wolves.
Homeschooling on a Shoestring
Website full of ideas to cut costs while homeschooling without sacrificing a high quality of education. Includes information on saving money, home educator discounts, ideas for funding college, and more. They also sponsor a forum to discuss your frugal ideas.
Our Busy Homeschool: Large Family Learning at Home
Tristan is mom to eight children whom they homeschool.
Smokejumper Visitor Center
The Smokejumper Visitor Center is the largest active smokejumper base in the nation. The Smokejumper Visitor Center is a unique opportunity to learn about this unusual, demanding and dramatic occupation. A tour of the facility is also available. As you walk through the center you will visit the National Smokejumper Memorial, go inside a replica of a 1930's lookout tower, and a tour of the smokejumper loft, where the smokejumpers work when they are not fighting fires. Also tour the ready room and...
HS-4-LessNewsletter: The Best of Homeschooling On A Budget
This newsletter aims to help you provide your children with a high quality homeschooling education at the lowest possible cost.
ZooMontana
ZooMontana, located in Billings, offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
Homeschooling Grows in the Black Community
The best research on homeschooling indicates the total number of children who are homeschooled is 1.5 to 2 million, and that number is growing by 10 to 15 percent per year. But not everyone recognizes the academic and social success of homeschoolers and some criticize the movement as being white and elitist. While it's true that the large majority of homeschool children are white, the number of black homeschoolers is growing rapidly. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research I...
Jewish Sonlight Users
For Jews (or those becoming Jewish) who are using Sonlight (or any other literature based method) and adding in Jewish resources. This group welcomes all Jewish people of faith, (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc.) This group is open for discussion of anything relating to Jewish homeschooling, raising nice Jewish children, adapting Sonlight to a Jewish perspective, etc.
Resources
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
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.
Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home
Educational Travel on a Shoestring shows parents how they can help their children learn–and have a blast–while traveling. From researching destinations to sharing activities that both teach and entertain, this priceless guide offers practical information for parents who want to have more fun with their kids, build closer family ties, and enjoy richer educational experiences–all without spending a fortune.
Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home

The book that shows homeschooling in action!

What does it really mean when parents say they homeschool their child or children? For Rhonda Barfield -- a homeschooler for the past 10 years -- the definition is as diverse as the 21 families she studies in this eye-opening book.

Real-Life Homeschooling

From the city to the country, apartments to split-levels, you'll enter each household and see education in action. Discover the challenges and rewards of tailoring instruction to each child's needs while catering to his or her inquisitiveness and curiosity. See why the number of children being taught by their parents is growing nationwide -- at home, there are no overcrowded classrooms, no unknown dangers lurking in the halls, and no doubts as to the quality of the education.

Whether you are just contemplating homeschooling or are a veteran seeking fresh ideas and help in overcoming obstacles -- look no further: Real-life Homeschooling shows just how practical and rewarding it is to educate children and provide them with what they need most -- you!

Homeschooling on a Shoestring : A Jam-packed Guide
So you want to homeschool but don't think you can afford it. This book is a compendium of ideas for the family that wants to start or continue homeschooling on a tight budget. Includes ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom, sources for inexpensive curriculum, affordable teaching tools, and ideas for low-cost field trips. Also discusses ways to run your household more efficiently and with less cost.
Black Books Galore's Guide to Great African American Children's Books
"This is a great resource that fills a tremendous need. It should be on parents' shelves at home as well as in every school." —Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. Harvard Medical School

These are exciting times for African American children's literature. Never before have there been so many titles available. Now the three mothers who founded Black Books Galore! —the nation's leading organizer of festivals of African American children's books —share their expert advice on how to find and choose the best. This fully annotated guide opens the door to a wonderful world of reading for the children in your life. Here are the most positive, the best-written, and the most acclaimed books in every category, including board books, story and picture books, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, biography, fables, and more.

Invaluable for parents, teachers, and librarians, this easy-to-use, illustrated reference guide features:

  • Quick, lively descriptions of 500 books, plus 200 additional recommendations
  • Helpful guidelines for encouraging young readers
  • Easy-to-find listings organized by age level and indexed by title, topic, author, and illustrator
  • Portraits of selected authors and illustrators
  • Listings of award winners and Reading Rainbow Books.
Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Help for the Harried Homeschooler : A Practical Guide to Balancing Your Child's Education with the Rest of Your Life
Homeschooling moms and dads can be overwhelmed by the demands on their time. Between their children’s educational needs; their roles as spouse, parent, and more; and their own individual desires and goals, these mothers and fathers struggle to accomplish all that must be done. In Help for the Harried Homeschooler, experienced homeschooler, author, and mother of four Christine Field offers sound advice for parents who want not only to achieve homeschooling success but also to reach a balance in their lives.
Unclutter Your Home: 7 Simple Steps, 700 Tips & Ideas (Simplicity Series)
Hundreds of practical ideas for sorting, evaluating, and getting rid of all those material items that get in the way of a simplified lifestyle.
Black Children : Social, Educational, and Parental Environments

Black Children, Second Edition collects current empirical research unique to the experiences and situations of black children and their parents. As the editor emphasizes, "African American children develop a duality for their existence. To be fully functional, they must develop the skills to do well simultaneously in two different cultures, both black and non-black." This volume explores the meaning of this duality in four distinct environments: socioeconomic, parental, internal, and educational. The complex picture that emerges discredits many of the myths that surround black childhood development and initiates in-depth exploration into the diversities of the African American experience.

Taken together, the entries in this volume provide a valuable collection (suitable as both a core or supplemental textbook) for scholars, advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and professionals in the fields of education, counseling and clinical psychology, social work, family services, and related social services who are concerned about the optimal growth and development of black children.

Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy
Save Thousands of Dollars a Year

Jonni McCoy and her family are proof that you live on one income. The McCoys made a successful transition from two incomes to one while living in one of the most expensive parts of America: the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her Miserly Guidelines will help you save thousands of dollars a year on everything from groceries to electricity to insurance and household cleaners—as well as reveal the hidden costs of holding a job and common money wasters. Her practical, proven cost-saving techniques, strategies, tips, and recipes will help you live frugally without feeling deprived.

One Thing at a Time : 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day
Simple, effective ways to put things in their place

Those piles of papers, clothes, and other things you thought you'd successfully de-cluttered have returned, and this time they brought friends. What's the use of trying to fight the clutter? Is there a better way?

This powerful and useful guide delivers solutions that work, no matter how overwhelmed you feel. The answer isn't an elaborate new system, or a solemn vow to start tomorrow. Instead, psychotherapist and organizer Cindy Glovinsky shares 100 simple strategies for tackling the problem the way it grows--one thing at a time. Here's a sampling of the tips explained in the book:

*Declare a fix-it day
*Purge deep storage areas first
*Label it so you can read it
*Get a great letter opener
*Practice toy population planning
*Leave it neater than you found it
Written in short takes and with a supportive tone, this is an essential, refreshing book that helps turn a hopeless struggle into a manageable part of life, one thing at a time.
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.

So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step-By-Step
Failing the Mary Poppins' snap-the-fingers approach to cleaning, here's the next best thing: an utterly practical handbook that offers lasting results for anyone looking to banish clutter from every room in the house. Home organizer par excellence Meryl Starr offers up her hardworking organizing solutions in The Home Organizing Workbook, a straightforward guide to getting organized. The room chapters begin with targeted questionnaires that help the reader identify specific organizational problems, followed by hundreds of hardworking solutions and strategic maintenance tips. Those itching to get started can dive right in with step-by-step organizing projects ranging from quick-and-easy weeknight jobs, like overhauling the spice cabinet, to more intensive endeavors such as reorganizing the bedroom closet. Accessory lists at the end of each chapter feature dozens of the best products available, from lazy susans to shelf dividers, and explain exactly how they can be used to optimum effect in each room, while the extensive resource list shows where to get them. It's a package as tidy as its solutions: concealed Wire-O lay-flat binding, tabbed chapters to take readers straight to their problem area du jour, and full-color, solution-oriented photographs sure to inspire action. Ready to clear that clutter and keep it that way? The Home Organizing Workbook is the ultimate guide to preserving open spaces.
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!
Home Schooling from Scratch : Simple Living, Super Learning
Parents learn what they really need, how to find or create materials and opportunities for less money, and how to organize their household for economical, happy learning.
Morning by Morning : How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League
Home schooling has long been regarded as a last resort, particularly by African-American families. But in this inspirational and practical memoir, Paula Penn-Nabrit shares her intimate experiences of home-schooling her three sons, Charles, Damon, and Evan. Paula and her husband, C. Madison, decided to home-school their children after racial incidents at public and private schools led them to the conclusion that the traditional educational system would be damaging to their sons’ self-esteem. This decision was especially poignant for the Nabrit family because C. Madison’s uncle was the famed civil rights attorney James Nabrit, who, with Thurgood Marshall, had argued Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court; to other members of their family, it seemed as if Paula and C. Madison were turning their backs on a rich educational legacy.

But ultimately, Paula and C. Madison felt that they knew what was best for their sons. So in 1991—when Evan was nine and twins Charles and Damon were eleven—the children were withdrawn from the exclusive country day school they’d been attending.

In Morning by Morning, Paula Penn-Nabrit discusses her family’s emotional transition to home schooling and shares the nuts and bolts of the boys’ educational experience. She explains how she and her husband developed a curriculum, provided adequate exposure to the arts as well as quiet time for reflection and meditation, initiated quality opportunities for volunteerism, and sought out athletic activities for their sons. At the end of each chapter, she offers advice on how readers can incorporate some of the steps her family took—even if they aren’t able to home-school; plus, there’s a website resource guide at the end of the book.

Charles and Damon were eventually admitted to Princeton, and Evan attended Amherst College. But Morning by Morning is frank about the challenges the boys faced in their transition from home schooling to the college experience, and Penn-Nabrit reflects on some things she might have done differently.

With great warmth and perception, Paula Penn-Nabrit discusses her personal experience and the amazing outcome of her home-schooling experience: three spiritually and intellectually well balanced sons who attended some of the top educational institutions in this country.

What we learned from home schooling:

-Use your time wisely.
-Education is more than academics.
-The idea of parent as teacher doesn’t have to end at kindergarten.
-The family is our introduction to community.
-Extended family is a safety net.
-Yes, kids really do better in environments designed for them.
-Travel is an education.
-Athletics is more than competitive sports.
-Get used to diversity.
-It’s okay if your kids get angry at you—they’ll get over it!

-from Morning by Morning
Featured Resources

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So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overc...
Learn and Do Unit Studies
Hands on unit studies on a variety of subjects, including science, life skills, arts and crafts, and animals and insects. Also offers free mini units available for download.
Kids' Poems (Grades 1)
Regie Routman shares her delightful selection of free verse poems written by first graders that will inspire your second graders to think, I can write poems like this too! Regie provides strategies for using kids' poems as models to guide children to...
Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families
For a comprehensive guide to home-based education, that does not promote any particular curriculum or religious view, this is one book parents should buy! Parents will appreciate practical advice on getting started, adjusting to new roles, designing...
Flip Over Math Manipulatives
Grades 1-5. Tub of over 500 manipulatives includes Pattern Blocks, Connecting People, Cuisenaire Rods, Coins, and Bean Counters and can be used with the Flip Over Math Books. This 49 page book (others sold separately) is written to NCTM Standards and...