How To Homeschool
Homeschooling offers parents the flexibility to choose the best educational method for their children. The spectrum of homeschooling models runs from unschooling, also called self-learning or child-led learning, to a structured "school at home" type of environment. In addition, there are many schools of thought, fostered by educators such as Raymond and Dorothy Moore, John Holt, Maria Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and many other. Explore the different methods and styles of homeschooling. You'll be inspired, intrigued, and equipped with the tools to make the best educational choices for your own family.
Methods
Homeschoolers cover an entire spectrum of different educational methods. On the one end, you have unschoolers, families that believe in self- or child-led learning. Relying on real world experiences, they learn by living. On the other end of the spectrum, you find parents who have "school at home." They may set up a classroom environment, use structured curriculums, and rely on schedules to keep things moving smoothly. And of course, there is everything in between. There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers. Explore the different methods, ideas, and approaches that make the homeschooling experience so rich.
Homeschool Curriculum
There is a smorgasbord of choices when deciding on curricula for your family. It is often trial and error until you find what works best for you and your child. We offer you a complete look at the curriculum choices available.
Teaching Aids
Past the basics, teaching aids, manipulaties, games, and toys can make learning more fun. There are many innovative learning tools and educational games to choose from. We've compiled many of the best here.
Testing
Testing is a requirement in many states. We make it easy to comply with testing requirements by gathering information and resources for testing services all in one place.
Online Resources
Are you looking for free worksheets? Want to find online educational games? Do you need a unit study? Here is the place to find them all. From online lesson plans to reading lists to academic and content standards, you'll find tools that will help you successfully homeschool.
What's Popular
Appalachian Regional Cooperative
Appalachian Regional Cooperative is an inclusive group of homeschoolers in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Northern Virginia Catholic Charlotte Mason - NoVaCCM
A group for families in the Northern Virgina area interested in Catholic Charlotte Mason home education. The group will share ideas online and hopefully plan monthly get togethers.
Central VA Unschoolers
This group is for Unschoolers in Central Virginia to receive support, share ideas, and chat.
Nova Unschoolers
NovaUnschoolers is an inclusive list for homeschoolers in the northern Virginia area to chat, find support and meet others, and those who are looking for information about homeschooling.
Woodbridge-Springfield Homeschool Group
Woodbridge/Springfield Homeschool Group is an inclusive list for homeschoolers in the northern Virginia area to chat, find support and meet others, and those who are looking for information about homeschooling. This is an inclusive list and is made up of unschoolers, eclectic, and relaxed homeschoolers. This is a regional offshoot of the NovaUnschoolers Group.
Pros & Cons of Standardized Testing and Portfolio Evaluations
These are some pros and cons of meeting Virginia's August 1 requirement with standardized testing or a portfolio evaluation, the two most common methods. In considering the choices, keep in mind that the home instruction statute does not specify credentials for a test administrator or other evaluator and this is resigned to "the judgement of the division superintendent." Those new to homeschooling are apprehensive about this issue; those new to homeschooling in Virginia are also apprehensive abo...
TriCities Family Unschooling Network
TriCities Family Unschooling Network welcomes unschoolers, unschool-learning, and unschool-curious in the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
Charlotte Mason in VA
This is a group for families living in Virginia who are using the Charlotte Mason Method and homeschooling.
Standards of Learning: Instruction, Training, and Assessment Resources
SOL Teacher Resource Guides for the following subjects: History and Social Science, Mathematics, English, Science, Foreign Language, Art & Music, and Health/PE/Driver Education.
CM Families of the South
The purpose of this loop is to encourage homeschooling families living in the Southern states who are trying to incorporate the philosophy of Charlotte Mason in their homes in their efforts to raise their children with an enthusiasm for learning.
Evaluating Our Homeschooled Children
We've seen the various ways in which the state determines "achievement" and "progress" in a child's education both in the public school setting and the homeschooling requirements. Those options seem to be only snapshot glimpses into a child, without providing a full and true representation of any given child's scope of knowledge and learning. Tests are especially flawed in this area, yet provide one of the easiest and cheapest means of fulfilling the state requirement for "showing progress" in h...
Blue Ridge Family Unschoolers Network (FUN)
Blue Ridge FUN is an inclusive support group of homeschooling families. All homeschoolers are welcome, without bias to style of homeschooling, choice of curriculum, or personal beliefs. Blue Ridge FUN members live and learn in a large geographical area of Virginia including the following cities and counties: Amherst, Bedford, Botetourt, Lynchburg, Campbell, Floyd, Franklin, Henry, Patrick, Roanoke, Rockbridge, and Salem.
Testing and Assesments FAQ
Find answers to your questions about homeschool evaluation and testing in the state of Virginia.
Ashburn-Sterling Homeschoolers
Ashburn-Sterling Homeschoolers is an inclusive, relaxed homeschooling support group for those living and hsing in or near Ashburn or Sterling. They have a monthly support group meeting and a weekly park day. This group is affiliated with NovaUnschoolers.
Homeschool Testing & Assessment Information
An overview of the testing and assessment requirements for homeschoolers in Virginia.
Resources
Bob Books
Bob Books are organized into sets that progress in level as your child learns. They have cute stories and darling illustrations. These books are perfect for children ages 4 to 8.
Kinder Dolls: A Waldorf Doll-Making Handbook
This comprehensive guide for beginners and experienced doll makers shows how to create many different kinds of handcrafted dolls from natural materials. Handmade dolls with their simplicity of expression and design leave children’s imaginations free, rather than being confined by perfectly finished dolls made of artificial materials. Instead, these dolls encourage the magic of creative play and bring children the gift of imagination in which they see themselves as “makers.”

Included are:
· Ten designs, including soft, baggy, angel, pouch, sack, and limbed dolls
· Twelve basic clothes patterns and ethnic variations
· Tools, techniques, and materials
· Safety guidelines and sewing methods
· Recycling tips and where to get materials

Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature
Progeny Press study guides include vocabulary exercises, comprehension, analysis, and application questions, introduction of literary terms, background information, discussion of related Biblical themes, suggestions for activities related to the reading, a complete answer key, and more. These are some of the titles available (grade range is in parentheses):
Freedom and Beyond (Innovators in Education)
John Holt looks at the role that schooling in society plays in education.
Montessori Life

Designed to provoke thought, professional growth and provide a forum for discussion of major issues & ideas in education.
The Story of the World
This book series by Susan Wise Bauer is another that is best enjoyed as a read aloud rather than seen as a history textbook. It is full of engaging stories, mixing facts and historical legends. The companion study guides offer questions, narration exercises, activities, crafts, and reproducible pages. There are also lists for each chapter of supplemental books that are easily found at your local library.

Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 1: Ancient Times (From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages (From the From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times (From Elizabeth the First to the Forty-Niners)
Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age (From Victoria's Empire to the End of the USSR)
Secret of Childhood
Maria Montessori describes the child with warmth and the exactness of a scientist. She also discusses the array of materials and techniques needed to release his learning potential.
H. A. Guerber's Histories
Helene A. Guerber wrote histories for grammar school children in the 19th century. Published in 1896 by the American Book Company, ‘Guerber’s Historical Readers in the Eclectic Readings Series’ were used to introduce children to the histories of the ancient and classical world. These engaging narratives are richly detailed accounts of the lives and times of the most important people of the period, arranged chronologically. The people are placed within the context of their times, and their history is presented with interesting background information so that the entire narrative flows as a single, unbroken story. Dates are given in the narrative where they are known; the pronunciation of place and personal names is carefully marked at its first encounter in the text; and illustrations abound. The text includes maps, a comprehensive timeline of all the persons and events encountered in the history, a comprehensive Recommended Reading list of wonderful historical fiction and non-fiction keyed to the chapters; and a complete bibliography and index round out the book. These books are intended as a child’s first introduction to history in grades 2-6 (the grammer stage). They make wonderful read alouds, and the Recommended Reading suggestions keyed to the chapters provide additional detail and fascinating excursions into topics introduced in the narrative, often with books children can look at or read on their own.
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Primary Level
Grades K-4. Each 120 page book contains worksheets and has selected activities that cover the major math standards. Each page outlines the grade level, materials needed, settings, learning experiences, and are based on NCTM Standards.
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.
Easy Grammar Systems
Easy Grammar Systems publishes the Easy Grammar and Daily Grams teaching texts for use through high school. Students use a “hands on” approach (deleting/marking) and learn correct usage and why that usage is appropriate. Review and using information previously learned to teach new concepts help to insure mastery learning. This method is both easy to teach and easy to learn.
The Complete Home Learning Source Book : The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology
This ambitious reference guide lives up to its name. Practically three inches thick--and we're not talking large print here--it's packed with titles, ordering information, and Web site addresses. From where to send away for a kit to make your own Chilean rain stick to how to order a set of Elizabethan costume paper dolls, the book connects families to a world of learning possibilities. Book titles, short synopses, authors' names, publishers, and years of print make up the bulk of the guide. Classics such as The Cat in the Hat and Curious George share billing with lesser-known titles like Stone Fox, the story of a legendary Indian dog-sled racer. Every entry appears with recommended ages and an icon that shows whether the item is a book, computer disc, or video; an outstretched palm denotes hands-on materials. Most of the resources seem to have been test-driven by the author and her three homeschooled sons. Rebecca Rupp, a former scientist who has been teaching her kids at home for more than 10 years, peppers the guide with anecdotes about her children's experiences in various subject areas, much of it drawn from the family's extensive journals. Along with books, magazines, and kits for reading, math, writing, science, and history, a considerable amount of space is given to computer and television resources, as well as "life skills," a broad category that includes everything from etiquette and carpentry to sewing and sex education. Like a Yellow Pages guide to knowledge, The Complete Home Learning Sourcebook belongs on the shelf of anyone looking for new ways to spark a child's imagination. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
Tomorrows Child
Tomorrow's Child magazine offers insights and information that helps parents to feel confident that Montessori will prepare their children for the real world. It will help you understand and appreciate Montessori and apply it in your home.
Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives
For the first time, Basic Montessori opens the celebrated philosophy and method to a more general public. David Gettman has devised a clear and modern explanation of Montessori's revolutionary ideas about early intellectual development, and provides a step-by-step guide to the Montessori learning activities most commonly used with under-fives. These include activities for introducing reading and writing, counting and decimal concepts, science, and geography, as well as activities that help develop the child's practical and sensorial skills.
Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
A short, illustrated guide to the use of Montessori classroom materials. Describes how to set up a "children's house" - an environment for learning where children can be their own masters.
Alpha-Phonics
Alpha Phonics is a primer for beginning readers. It features 128 self-explanatory lessons, printed in large, clear calligraphy suitable for beginning readers. You'll find product information about Alpha-Phonics here.
Understanding Waldorf Education : Teaching from the Inside Out

Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf schools with their philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Through learning experiences that involve all of the senses, children use a variety of intelligences to develop thought, feeling, and intentional, purposeful activity. Whether you_re a Waldorf parent or teacher, or you just want to learn more about these innovative educational concepts, this book contains important ideas on learning that you can apply today.

Noah Webster's Reading Handbook
This is the historic text (originally called the Blue-Backed Speller) that has been updated to teach phonics/beginning reading. The blends and words in this reader are arranged to correlate with the sequence in which the special phonics sounds are taught. This reader is an invaluable teaching tool for children who need extra practice in the application of phonics rules. Find out more here.
Total Language Plus
Total Language Plus is an innovative curriculum focused on teaching thinking and communication skills using literature as a base. The authors believe an integrated system is more efficient than a fragmented approach, discovery style learning is the most effective and learning should be enjoyable. The "discover, do, drill" method is employed throughout the TLP program with activities focusing on thinking skills. These comprehensive novel studies cover spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, analytical and critical thinking, comprehension, writing, listening, and field trips and projects.
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Intermediate Level
Grades 2-5. Idea Book designed for use with Cuisenaire Rods.
Spell to Write & Read
This teacher's manual, written by a homeschool educator with experience as a professional school teacher and private tutor, shows how to teach reading the "write" way. By phonetically teaching spelling from the start as the backbone for reading, all children can be taught, regardless of learning styles, to read and spell. If your student knows how to read already, this program can improve his or her spelling. Find out more about this product here.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
Bead Sequencing Set
Stack the durable, brightly colored wooden beads on 5 hardwood dowels in sequence to match the design on one of the pattern cards. Builds complex reasoning skills as well as sorting and coordination. Includes over 45 brilliantly colored beads, 5 dowels, and 10 patterns that increase in difficulty.
Catholic Home Schooling: A Handbook for Parents
Mary Kay Clark, the director of the accredited and successful Seton Home Study School shows parents why and how to teach their children at home, giving scores of practical examples and setting forth the spiritual, moral and academic advantages. The book includes chapters by several experts and covers Catholic curriculum, textbooks, Catholic family life, legal aspects, discipline, socialization, home management, using computers, children with learning disabilities, single-parent home schooling, the father's role, Catholic home schooling support groups, and much more. Perfect for mothers who are considering home schooling, or who want to convince their husbands or relatives that home schooling is a good idea. Parents already know the problems in the schools (both public and Catholic). This book gives the solution! A tremendously encouraging, uplifting and practical handbook. 
Pecci Reading Method: At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child
At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child offers a balanced approach with intensive phonics and literature-based reading instruction. This is a simple method of teaching reading, with lots of supplemental materials. Get product information here.
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.
TruthQuest History
The TruthQuest History series consists of ten volumes that serve as guides for parent wishing to use real books in their approach to history education. They are full of book recommendations, along with information on the topics of study. There are also writing exercises included in these texts.
Phonics Pathways
Phonics Pathways begins with short-vowel sounds, slowly progressing to whole words, phrases, and sentences of gradually increasing complexity. Special teaching tips, extensive examples, and 100% decodable practice readings reinforce each lesson. Contains all spelling rules with a spelling index, spelling charts, spelling short-cuts, diacritical markings, and a wealth of inspirational proverbs. The new 9th edition of Phonics Pathways features many new enhancements including a wealth of reproducible games, a step-by-step spelling guide, teacher/student record sheets, a Dewey-the-Bookworm Bookmark and a new carefully-researched appendix detailing how Phonics Pathways aligns with most State Standards. Supplements to this program include The Train Game (to teach letter sounds), WordWorks (a set of cards used to reinforce phonics reading skills), and Blendit! (a set of eleven board games that reinforces knowledge of specific begining spelling patterns). For product information on Phonics Pathways, click here or visit their website.
Sing, Spell, Read & Write
Sing, Spell, Read & Write is a phonics-based program that uses a 36-step program of carefully sequenced steps to teach reading, writing, and spelling. More product information can be found here.
Featured Resources

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America's National Parks: The Spectacular Forces That Shaped Our Treasured Lands
From stunning mountain ranges to arid expanses of desert, America has been blessed with an incredibly diverse land -- and the vision to protect it for our and future generations to enjoy. These lands are ours to view, wander, learn from, and revel in...
America's Spectacular National Parks
The concept of the national park is an American contribution to world civilization, and it remains a defining characteristic of our country. From the rocky shore of Maine's Acadia to the barren crater and lush rain forest of Hawaii's Haleakala, Ameri...
Elementary Geography
Elementary Geography is a reprint of the original work by Charlotte Mason. It includes her ideas about teaching children about their world, with poetry selections throughout the book. Explores ideas of place from space to our earth, seasons, map...
Discovery of the Child
Maria Montessori went beyond the conventions of the day to seek a new way of knowing and loving a child. In THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD, she describes the nature of the child and her method of working more fully with the child's urge to learn. With 16...
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 adjus...