The following section briefly explains some of the more popular homeschooling methods. Beneath each there are links to books, websites and curriculum which align with each method. I am not recommending any particular curriculum or homeschooling style, but rather providing a source to find additional information for methods which look appealing.
Traditional ApproachIn this textbook/workbook approach to education, kids have well defined lessons, assignments, quizzes, tests and grades. This method looks very much like the public school. Many companies offer complete curriculum which can be implemented at home.
- A Beka - Textbook based, Christian Curriculum, PreK-12
- BJU Press - Full Biblical Worldview Curriculum with on-call consultants books, on-line, DVD or Computer Disks
- Global Village School - Online Secular Curriculum, K-8
- Evolution Homeschool - K-6
- Calvert Curriculum - combo textbook/on-line secular curriculum, K-8 (High School in Development Phase)
- Horizons - Workbook based, Christian Curriculum, Pre-K-12
Independent LearningThe older students are the more easily they can follow an independent learning curriculum. Although they can align with any method, many follow the traditional approach.
- Robinson Curriculum - Textbook/Workbook based Christian curriculum designed for independent study, grades 1-12
- Ron Paul Curriculum - Curriculum built on foundations of liberty, mostly self-directed, free for K-5, 6-12 involves fees for video based courses
Computer Based Learning (Traditional Approach)With the popularity of computer-based learning and the internet providing information at the fingertips, many independent learning curriculum are implemented via computers.
Subject Specific Products
- Math-U-See - Complete math curriculum, uses manipulatives, DVD based, and highly visual, K-12
- Saxon Math - Traditional Christian math program, PreK-12
- Singapore - Traditional math program, K-12
- Teaching Textbooks - CD-Rom, video based, animated, full math curriculum, 3-11
- Math Mammoth - Workbook/Textbook full math curriculum, K-12
- Institute for Excellence in Writing - Complete writing curriculum, DVD based, K-12
- Shurley English - Spelling, Handwriting, Grammar Curriculum, K-12
In this method of education children are encouraged to follow their interests. Parents provide a rich educational environment by continually introducing new materials and ideas. Parents may give their children books, introduce them to knitting, or buy them an electronics kit. Usually the child sets the educational path while the parents are role models, cheerleaders, and become specialists at finding resources. Sometimes referred to as Unschooling, there is no set curriculum and learning is an extension of life. Throughout the educational years, parents expose children to a variety of activities and encourage them to continue with activities the kids find interesting.
- Joyfully Rejoicing - A Website explaining this approach with many examples
- Khan Academy - A free educational resource with videos and text on an overwhelming number of topics. - Those using other educational methods also find this site very useful.
- Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling
- Learning All The Time
- The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom
Subject Specific Resources
- Living Math Forum - Yahoo group which focuses on creative ways to teach math
Unit StudiesIn this method all subjects are covered with one topic. Often times topics are based on periods of history, but single books, science based topics such as animals, or the human body also can be selected as focus topics. If the topic was candy the child may read books about candy, write about candy, count M&M's, try making their own chocolate bars, or do a survey of friends to find out their favorite types of candy.
- Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett - Christian based, one week and four week unit studies, K-12
- Moving Beyond the Page - comprehensive curriculum which incorporates aspects of unit studies as well as other philosophies of education, PreK-9
- My Father's World - Biblical unit study and literature based curriculum, PreK-12
- Five in a Row - Book based unit studies, PreK-4
LapbookingLapbooking is a unique type of unit study which involves reading, writing, cutting and pasting to create a type of scrapbook on the topic.
ClassicalClassical education is based on written and spoken language. The three stages of learning correspond with maturity of the child and build upon each other. An emphasis is placed on memorization and absorbing facts, especially through song, at the young ages. The middle grades are characterized by logic. Children ask why and learn to seek answers to their questions. The final stage of classical education involves learning to express information through eloquent language.
- Veritas Press - Christian based Classical curriculum, K-12
- Memoria Press - Supplier of Christian based Classical Educational Materials, K-12
- Peace Hill Press - Supplier of Classical Educational Materials, 1-4
- Classical Conversations - nationwide co-op group which teaches using the Classical Style
- The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Third Edition)
- Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
- Writing with Ease - Explains Classical approach to teaching writing
MontessoriThis method of education puts the child in charge of his/her time by placing him/her in a prepared environment. An emphasis is placed on life skills such as learning to pour from a pitcher, and polishing silver. The Montessori classroom contains age appropriate activities, constructed from natural materials, such as geography puzzles, sewing cards, books, counting manipulatives, and seashells.
- North American Montessori Teacher's Association (NAMTA) - Includes more detailed explanation of Montessori Method
- North American Montessori Center - Supplier of complete Montessori curriculum
- Albanesi - Supplier of Montessori educational materials
- Montessori Services - Supplier of Montessori educational materials
- Montessori Research and Development - Supplier and developer of Montessori educational
- Montessori Outlet - Supplier of Montessori educational materials including furniture materials
- For Small Hands - Supplier of Montessori educational materials
- ETC Montessori - Supplier of Montessori educational materials and consulting services for schools
- Montessori On-Line - Yahoo Group for Teachers and Homeschoolers using Montessori education
- Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius
- Montessori Play And Learn: A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six
- The Absorbent Mind
- Right Start Math - Montessori based complete math curriculum, uses games and abacus, PreK-4
- Art of Problem Solving - Creative math approach, full curriculum, video based 6-12
- Hoffman Academy - Music: Free Piano Lessons for Kids
WaldorfThis method centers around a daily rhythm and educates the childs head, heart and hands. A Waldorf education may involve circle time and movement activities, fairy tales, beautiful works of art, learning mathematics through art, and learning to knit. A Waldorf student might make a drawing of a cat with a curved tail in the shape of the letter C to learn about that letter. They may create geometric works of art as well as three dimensional and wire frame drawings to learn about geometry.
- Oak Meadow Curriculum - Waldorf Curriculum, PreK-12
- Enki Curriculum - Global Cultures Curriculum, 1-8
- Christopherus Homeschool - Waldorf Educational Materials, PreK-12
- What Is Waldorf Education?: Three Lectures
- Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out
Charlotte MasonThe Charlotte Mason method involves reading "Living Books". Living books teach through story rather than through fact as in historical fiction. Lessons are under 30 minutes in length and incorporate nature study, copywork, narration, music appreciation, and art appreciation. Children explore the outdoors and create their own nature notebooks based on observations. Music is studied by listening to works of great classical composers and folk tunes. Passages are selected for literary content and copied into notebooks to learn spelling, grammar, punctuation as well as techniques of great writing.
- Ambleside On-Line - Free Charlotte Mason Christian Curriculum, PreK-12
- Charlotte Mason Help - Free Charlotte Mason Christian Curriculum, PreK-6
- Queen's Homeschool - Supplier of Charlotte Mason educational materials
- Simply Charlotte Mason - Charlotte Mason Booklist, Blog, Overview and How-to Guide
- Sonlight Christian Curriculum - Complete Literature Based Christian Curriculum, PreK-12
- Winter Promise Curriculum - Complete Charlotte Mason Christian Curriculum and materials, PreK-12
- Heart of Dakota - Christian supplier of Charlotte Mason educational materials
- My Huge Book List - Large Living Book List
- Life of Fred - Literary based complete math curriculum, shows application behind math, PreK-College
- Murderous Maths - Literary based math chapter books target around grades 5-8
- Brave Writer - Supplier of reading and writing educational materials, also offers classes, K-12
- Spelling Power - Complete spelling curriculum, PreK-12
- Great Musician Series - Series of composer biographies; books by Opal Wheeler
- Classical Kids: Collection - Music CD's/fictional stories focused on classical composers
EclecticRather than selecting a single educational style, many homeschoolers prefer to select specific materials thereby tailoring the educational materials to the child. Materials from various methods are combined to create a curriculum which works for the family. This is known as the Eclectic method of homeschooling. In addition, many companies produce homeschooling materials to support one subject such as, math or science only. This method enables parents to piece together materials as interest and need demands.
Still Undecided?Cathy Duffy's book Cathy Duffy's book 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum does a much better job of explaining curriculum options. In it there is an easy self administered quiz. The results of the quiz will tell you which method or methods of homeschooling you tend to lean towards. When I took the quiz my results came out overwhelmingly Charlotte Mason. I had never heard of Charlotte Mason at that point in my life so I went onto researching her and her method. Guess what? I really like Charlotte Mason. Cathy Duffy also has a website with curriculum reviews.
The right-hand side of this blog and on the pages contain links and many creative educational ideas, and for even more information check-out this book list.
More Homeschooling Books
- The Homeschooling Option: How to Decide When It's Right for Your Family
- So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Second Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It (Focus on the Family)
- The Heart of Homeschooling: Teaching & Living What Really Matters
- Home Schooling: The Right Choice: An Academic, Historical, Practical, and Legal Perspective
- Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition
- Deschooling Our Lives
- A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century
- Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
- Educating the WholeHearted Child -- Third Edition
- Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do about It - Teaching Reading with Phonics
* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.