The world of homeschooling can be a daunting place, but it doesn’t have to be. There are dozens of curriculums, and boundless philosophies of education, each with their own merits and flaws. For parents just beginning their homeschooling journey, or just looking to see what it’s all about it can be difficult to find good resources that paint an accurate picture of the homeschooling process. This article consists of a list of resources and descriptions of those resources that can help educate parents on the possibilities that exist in the world of homeschooling. Many people will tell you that their particular method or philosophy is the best for everybody, but those that truly understand education realize that children learn at different paces, and in different ways. The most important two things to consider when thinking about beginning the journey of homeschooling is the way in which your child learns best, and what sort of process will be best suited to your strengths as homeschooling isn’t just about the child, but the parent also, and the relationship it cultivates.
Homeschool.com: Homeschool.com is one of the most comprehensive homeschooling resources available. The site provides information on curriculums, networking and more and the information isn’t just focused on educating children, there is also an adult learning section that provides adults with resources to make sure they’re able to better educate their children.
Homeschool Buyers Co-op: This is a buying co-op that focuses on combining the buying power of homeschoolers to get materials at a significantly reduced cost. One of the largest obstacles facing homeschoolers today is the cost of home education, this co-op can help solve that problem and make homeschooling a more affordable option for many.
Midnight Beach Homeschooling Section: This is a personal page built by a homeschooling father intended to be resource neutral and non-commercial. The site provides introductory information about the many varied methodologies, curriculums, and more. One thing that sets this site apart is that the owner recognizes that homeschooling is not just a Christian thing, he includes resources for parents from multiple backgrounds. The website has been around for a long time and some of the resources are outdated and some of the links are broken, but the content of the site is the main draw for many parents new to homeschooling, or rethinking their educational methods.
The Home School Legal Defense Association: The Home School Legal Defense Association is an association of lawyers and legal professionals devoted to advocating for the rights of homeschoolers. Feelings about the HSLDA among the incredibly diverse homeschooling community are mixed. Some appreciate the legal aid the association makes available, some regard the HSLDA as presumptuous for claiming to speak for homeschoolers as a whole. The legal services offered by the HSLDA tend to be particularly useful for homeschoolers living in states hostile to the practice such as New York or California and can also be useful for parents of students applying to college in states that are hostile toward homeschooling.
The National Home Education Research Institute: The National Home Education Research Institute collects and conducts research relating to or impacting homeschooling. NHERI publishes a journal called “The Home School Researcher” which keeps subscribers up to date on the most current research regarding homeschooling. NHERI also provides media, legislators, and national organizations with information and studies of the home education movement.
Curriculum Advisor: This website helps prospective or current home schoolers navigate the wealth of curriculum options in their search for the best curriculum or methodology for their child and themselves. This site gets parents asking the right questions and provides them with strong options for many different styles of homeschooling.
Sonlight: Sonlight is a literature based Christian home school curriculum program. The focus is on ingraining in children the life long love of learning through providing an interesting and comprehensive look at subjects based around literature. There is a strong emphasis on primary sources, textbooks are de-emphasized and when they are used, they are used as supplements to original sources.
Oak Meadow: Oak Meadow prides itself on having created a curriculum that combines adherence to rigorous state standards with a program that encourages creativity and imagination as well as customizability. The focus is on providing a high quality educational experience tailored to the needs of individual children. The program seeks to involve the whole child in its education and allow for the natural development of the child while creating a caring and supportive parent-child relationship.
Calvert School: Calvert School provides home schoolers with a program that has its roots in traditional education but seeks to enhance this with innovation and techology incorporation. The program is comprehensive and designed to emulate traditional school in the home environment while allowing parents to take into account the individual learning styles of their children. Calvert’s history is fundamentally tied to the rise of formal homeschooling and their curriculum remains one of the premier products in the realm of formal homeschooling today.
Custom Homeschool Curriculum: The Custom Homeschool Curriculum is based around the eclectic style and focused on the integration of the best aspects of each methodology into one curriculum. The idea is for parents to fully customize the educational experience of each child to fit individual needs. This means that the educaiton of your child is as powerful as you make it.
Ablaze Academy: Ablaze Academy is an online distance learning curriculum. Students can work at their own pace and receive personal mentoring and tutoring throughout their education. Students can begin the Ablaze curriculum at any point in their educational career. The program is accredited as distance education provider by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on International and Trans-regional Accreditation, and the Georgia Accrediting Commission.
Bringham Young University Independent Study: The Bringham Young University independent study program is offered in a paper/online hybrid, a new online only program, or an Instructor Guided program. With over 500 programs offered the level of customization is exceptionally high. Registration is open to students Middle School and up, any time of the year. BYU is a regionally accredited university and its independent study high school classes are accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission.
Classical Conversations: This Christian curriculum is based on the classical model of education. The curriculum programs emphasize the three stages classical education; grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The curriculum focuses on learning facts in the early years and then developing the skills to communicate about and analyze those facts in the later years. There are a large number of Classical Conversations groups around the country that focus on coming together to discuss the subjects and experiment, learn music, and other things in a group setting, leveraging diversity of the individual experience of multiple parents to enhance the education of all the children.
A Beka Book: A Beka Book’s curriculum has been refined in the classrooms of Pensacola Christian Academy for 50 years. The focus of this curriculum is the instruction of children in the accumulated wisdom of the past from a biblical perspective. The model is a traditional educational model that is rooted in sensibility and practicality.
Alpha and Omega: A leader in the Christian homeschool education movement since 1977 Alpha Omega Publishing remains committed to providing an education strongly rooted in Christian principles to families seeking to home school their children. Alpha Omega states that they do what they do because Christian homeschooling families depend on them, and most importantly because they wish to make a difference for Christ in the world.
Unschooling: This is an unschooling resource site that has explanations of the unschooling movement and is devoted to furthering research into alternative styles of education in an attempt to remedy the many institutionalized problems presented in a conventional school setting. The site also provides access for interested parents to articles Written by John Holt, one of the driving forces behind the genesis of the unschooling movement.
The Waldorf Method: This website explains why the waldorf program is so beneficial to many leaners. The focus of a waldorf education is on an ascending spiral of knowledge, laying a firm basis of knowledge and mechanical skills while teaching analytical skills as the students progress in order to educate the whole person, body and mind. The program also focuses on beginning instruction in foreign language as early as first grade.
The Montessori Method: This website covers the basics of the Montessori style of education for homeschoolers. It works through what the goals of Montessori education are, how to achieve them, and what sorts of materials and studies are beneficial for each age group.
Classical Homeschooling: This website focuses on the benefits of classical vs. modern education. Arguing that the classical style of education is superior when it comes to developing a whole person, which the classical educator sees as the primary goal of early (k-12) education. The site acts as a guide to the classical style of education and also provides some resources on how to get started with classical education in your home.
The Charlotte Mason Method: The Charlotte Mason Method was developed at the turn of the 19th century and was a response to the increasingly industrial approach to education. Charlotte Mason believed that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. This philosophy revolves around creating a positive atmosphere in which a child can grow, instilling in them the discipline to lead a fruitful life, and that thoughts and ideas are the best basis of a strong education, as opposed to try, contextless facts. One of the focuses of the philosophy is on living books. In other words, books that make a subject come alive, often written by people passionate about the subject as opposed to dry, passionless textbooks.
Eclictic Method: The Eclectic approach to homeschooling involves taking the strongest aspects from each style that best fit your child and creating a fully customized educational experience. This website is devoted to providing parents with the resources and information they need to make judgements about how to build their child’s education from the ground up.
Traditional Style: This philosophy embraces the “school at home” philosophy and is the style embraced by parents that want to utilize the strengths of established traditional curriculums while still teaching their child in the home.