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
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.
Testing and Assesments FAQ
Find answers to your questions about homeschool evaluation and testing in the state of Virginia.
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...
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.
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.
Charlotte Mason in VA
This is a group for families living in Virginia who are using the Charlotte Mason Method and homeschooling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Central VA Unschoolers
This group is for Unschoolers in Central Virginia to receive support, share ideas, and chat.
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...
CharlotteMasonNOVA
A place for the members of the Charlotte Mason Study Group of Northern Virginia to keep in contact.
Resources
English from the Roots Up
English from the Roots Up explores the Latin and Greek roots of words. Many people haven't realized how valuable the Latin and Greek vocabulary is in the formulation of the finely structured English vocabulary of today. Even learning a few Latin and Greek root words gets you hooked and you want to learn more. Why? Because you can move from "what words mean" to "why words mean"&mdashin short, a thinking vocabulary. You'll find product information here.
Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling
The classic work on teaching children at home, updated for today's new laws, new lifestyles, and a new generation of homeschooling parents. Today more than one and a half million children are being taught at home by their own parents. In this expanded edition of the book that helped launch the whole movement, Pat Farenga has distilled John Holt's timeless understanding of the ways children come to understand the world and added up-to-the-moment practical advice. Rather than proposing that parents turn their homes into miniature schools, Holt and Farenga demonstrate how ordinary parents can help children grow as social, active learners. Chapters on living with children, "serious play," children and work, and learning difficulties will be of interest to all parents, whether homeschooling or not, as well as to teachers. This new edition is supplemented with legal advice as well as a guide to cooperating with schools and facing the common objections to homeschooling. Teach Your Own not only has all the vital information necessary to be the definitive reference for parents teaching their own children, it also conveys John Holt's wise and passionate belief in every child's ability to learn from the world that has made his wonderful books into enduring classics.
For the Learners' Sake: Brain-Based Instruction for the 21st Century
This proposal for a platform of education reform needed to prepare students for a 21st-century workplace and society draws on information and ideas from two current areas in neuroscience: brain research (physiology and applications to learning) and systems thinking (mental models). Analyzing the history of education methodology over the past two centuries, this book shows how the 19th-century factory model prevalent in schools today fail to produce the kinds of flexible thinkers and problem solvers needed in the 21st century. A comprehensive tour of the brain and details of the most recent neuroscience findings inform a plan to arm today's students with an education lacking in traditional classrooms. Also included are dozens of ideas for brain-compatible activities that can be adapted for use in the classroom.
The Mystery of History
The Mystery of History series is another alternative to traditional textbooks. The five volume set covers history from creation to present day, with a biblical worldview. This series is intended for grades K-8. Note that at this time, this series is not completed.
A Reason For® Handwriting
A Reason For® Handwriting provides a fun, meaningful approach to developing effective handwriting skills. Each lesson is built around a Scripture verse chosen not only for proper letter combinations, but also inspirational content. “Border Sheets” encourage students to share God's Word with others. You'll find product information about A Reason For® Handwriting here.
Cuisenaire Rods Multi-Pack
Grades Pre K & up. An economical way to bring rods into the classroom. Pack contains six sets of 74 rods, six trays with, and Teacher's Guide. For use with 12-18 students.
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!
Veritas Press
Veritas Press offers a history based classical curriculum for kindergarten through twelfth grades.
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
Fun and Effective Home Learning Activities for Every Subject
As a homeschooling parent, you're always looking for new and creative ways to teach your child the basics. Look no longer! Inside this innovative helper, you'll find kid-tested and parent-approved techniques for learning math, science, writing, history, manners, and more that you can easily adapt to your family's homeschooling needs. And even if you don't homeschool, you'll find this book a great teaching tool outside the classroom. You'll discover fun and educational activities for kids ages 3 to 12, including how to:
·Create maps based on favorite stories, such as Treasure Island or The Wizard of Oz
·Make letters out of French fries as an alphabet learning aid
·Explore architecture by building igloos, castles, and bridges with sugar cubes and icing
·Review spelling words by writing them on the sidewalk with chalk
·And many more!
This comprehensive collection of tried-and-true—and generally inexpensive—ideas provides the best-of-the-best homeschooling activities that can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.
Montessori Life

Designed to provoke thought, professional growth and provide a forum for discussion of major issues & ideas in education.
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Intermediate Level
Grades 2-5. Idea Book designed for use with Cuisenaire Rods.
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.
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.
Rhythms of Learning : What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Vista Series, V. 4) (Vista Series, V. 4)
In numerous lectures and through teaching teachers for the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner described and suggested methods of education based on the rhythmic unfolding of spirit, soul, and physiology in children as they grow. In each section of "Rhythms of Learning," Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli introduces the reader to lectures on specific aspects of children's rhythms of development and how Waldorf education responds. We are shown how Waldorf teachers must, through their own inner capacities and awareness, learn to recognize and meet each new stage of development in children as they unfold new capacities on every level of their being.

This collection is the clearest introduction to the ideas of Waldorf education currently available. "Rhythms of Learning" contains Steiner's most important lectures on teaching and child development. It is an excellent resource for everyone interested in taking education successfully into the 21st century.

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.
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.
Montessori Method
This book is Montessori's own exposition of the theory behind her innovative educational techniques. She shows parents, teachers and administrators how to "free a child to learn through his own efforts".
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
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.
Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child
Based on the key Montessori principle that children learn best through active experience, Teach Me to Do It Myself presents simple activities through which children explore and develop their skills. These skill areas include sensory perceptions, body coordination, language, understanding of numbers, and movement. This practical, color-illustrated parenting book is filled with activities and instructions for overseeing children as they carry out a variety of learning activities. Most activities will seem simple to parents, because once mastered, adults perform them automatically. However, toddlers experience a sense of accomplishment and self-worth when they learn to perform them independently. The many activities start with dressing and personal hygiene, then go on to include . . .
  • Pouring activities
  • Threading and sewing activities
  • Peg activities
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Sorting activities by touch
  • A color matching game
  • Making musical scales with bottles and water
  • Using alphabet tiles to make words
  • Growing things in a window box
  • Making finger puppetsActivities are described in detail and include checklists of needed items, as well as variations and related activities for children to try.
  • Shurley English
    Shurley English maintains that effective instruction in English must be founded upon an understanding of how the parts of speech work together in a sentence. A good grammar foundation gives students the skills to improve writing. Grammar is the structure of sentence composition. Through grammar, students learn how to write, improve, and expand sentences. After they have an understanding of sentence structure, students are then able to combine sentences successfully into paragraphs, essays, and reports. For product information on Phonics Pathways, click here or visit their website.
    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.
    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.
    Homeschooling: The Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8- Year-Old Child
    Nothing beats seeking the voice of experience if you want to join the estimated 1 to 3 million parents who teach their children at home. Here's a guide that comes direct from the experts: a mother of two homeschooled, now-grown children and 83 homeschooling families she surveyed. Their stories make reading this starter kit on teaching ages 3 to 7 worthwhile. For those ready to take on what author Linda Dobson calls "a natural extension of being a good parent," the manual provides at-a-glance boxes of insightful anecdotes called "How We Did It," as well as lists at the end of each chapter of helpful books, magazines, Web sites, software, and computer message boards that connect homeschooling households. The straightforward writing covers the basics on reading, writing, and math; different teaching approaches; organizing a curriculum; even how to deal with skeptical relatives and spouses. There are no specifics on each states' homeschooling requirements, which vary widely. But as a primer for parents starting out, the book serves as a confidence builder and an inspiring how-to guide. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
    The Absorbent Mind
    In response to the crisis in American education, more than five thousand public and private schools across the nation have adopted the timeless Montessori Method of teaching, of which this book is the cornerstone. Written by the women whose name is synonymous worldwide with child development theory, The Absorbent Mind takes its title from the phrase that the inspired Italian doctor coined to characterize the child's most crucial developmental stage: the first six years.

    A new foreword by John Chattin-McNichols, Ph.D., President of the American Montessori Society, places this classic book in a contemporary context, offering an intelligent discussion of current thinking in child education.
    Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work
    Maria Montessori is important background reading for parents considering Montessori education for their children, as well as for those training to become Montessori teachers. The first woman to win a degree as a Doctor of Medicine in Italy in 1896, Maria Montessori's mission to improve children's education began in the slums of Rome in 1907, and continued throughout her lifetime. Her insights into the minds of children led her to develop prepared environments and other tools and devices that have come to characterize Montessori education today. Her influence in other countries has been profound and many of her teaching methods have been adopted by educators generally. Part biography and part exposition of her ideas, this engaging book reveals through her letters and personal diaries Maria Montessori's humility and delight in the success of her educational experiments and is an ideal introduction to the principals and practices of the greatest educational pioneer of the 20th century.
    The new introduction to Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work by Lee Havis, executive director of the International Montessori Society, discusses the changes that have taken place in Montessori education within recent years.
    An updated appendix of Montessori periodicals, courses, societies, films, and teaching materials.
    A revised bibliography of books by and about Maria Montessori.
    Free to Learn: Introducing Steiner Waldorf Earkt Childhood Education
    Free to Learn is a unique guide to the principles and methods of Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood education. The author draws on kindergarten experience from around the world, with stories, helpful insights, lively observations and pictures. This inspiring book will interest parents, educators, and early years education students. It is up to date, comprehensive, and contains many illustrations, including a 16-page color section. Lynne Oldfield invites you to explore Steiner Waldorf kindergartens. Here, teachers and parents believe that children's early learning is profound, that childhood matters and that the early years should be enjoyed, not rushed through.

    Topics include:
    · How kindergarten enables healthy child development
    · What is movement based learning
    · Why creative play is so crucial
    · How children learn through imitation and rhythm
    · When children are ready for school
    · How to get support for parenting and daycare

    Free to Learn is a unique guide to the principles and methods of Waldorf early education, drawing on kindergarten experience from around the world, with stories, helpful insights, lively observations, and pictures.

    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 pages of photographs.
    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.
    Diana Waring--History Alive!
    Diana Waring--History Alive! produces books, tapes, videos, and history curriculum for the homeschool market.
    Featured Resources

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    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 b...
    A History of Science
    A History of Science is not a textbook, but is a guide to help parents and children study science through literature. It is intended for children in elementary grades.
    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...
    The Case for Classical Christian Education
    Douglas Wilson looks at the state of America's school system and offers a remedy for those who are committed to their children's best interests in education. Wilson details the history of the classical education movement and discusses what is needed ...
    Reading Made Easy
    Reading Made Easy is a phonics-based program, featuring 108 easy lessons, designed to be taught in less than 30 minutes per day. It is fully scripted and has original Christian content and stories. Includes hands-on writing and drawing activities. Re...