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
Charlotte Mason in VA
This is a group for families living in Virginia who are using the Charlotte Mason Method and homeschooling.
Homeschool Testing & Assessment Information
An overview of the testing and assessment requirements for homeschoolers in 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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Testing and Assesments FAQ
Find answers to your questions about homeschool evaluation and testing in the state of Virginia.
Central VA Unschoolers
This group is for Unschoolers in Central Virginia to receive support, share ideas, and chat.
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.
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.
CharlotteMasonNOVA
A place for the members of the Charlotte Mason Study Group of Northern Virginia to keep in contact.
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.
Resources
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.
Life in America
Life in America was designed by home schooling parents to meet the needs of families. Features unit studies in a box, with all resource material supplied.
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.

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.
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.
A Reason For® Reading
A Reason For® Reading offers a series of over 100 Leveled Readers that provide small increases in difficulty from level to level. These colorful books feature Scripture stories and Christian value themes. Story Guides include high-frequency words, teaching ideas, discussion questions, and much more.
KONOS
KONOS offers unit studies for homeschoolers, with a focus on character building and the study of history.
Beautiful Feet Books
Beautiful Feet Books publishes Rea Berg's "History Through Literature" study guides. They offer fine children's literature, including the D'Aulaire biographies and Genevieve Foster's "World" titles. This is a great resource for anyone wishing to utilize an approach that studies history through literature.
Montessori Reading
Montessori Reading is a beginning reading and writing program for elementary aged children. This series of books introduce phonetic letter sounds, phonogram combinations, reading simple sentences, and reading and writing words that name everyday objects, animals, etc. A teaching guide and a child's journal are included.
Greenleaf Press
Greenleaf Press is a small family-owned and operated publisher and supplier of quality books for children. They are committed to "twaddle-free", living books, and approach teaching history to children using biography and chronology. You will find sections in the catalog covering each major historical period in order, with a variety of biographies, reference books, and historical fiction. For Israel, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation there are Greenleaf Study Guides and Greenleaf Study Packages.
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.
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.
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!
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

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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Montessori Life

Designed to provoke thought, professional growth and provide a forum for discussion of major issues & ideas in education.
Pattern Blocks and Boards
This set of 10 simply designed colorful wooden blocks and pattern boards includes 100 blocks in six different shapes and colors. They help develop shape recognition and spatial relationship skills. The contents store neatly in a durable wooden case. This games was awarded the Scholastic Parent & Child's 2004 "Top 22 Toys that Make Kids Think" award.
Idea Book For Cuisenaire Rods At The Intermediate Level
Grades 2-5. Idea Book designed for use with Cuisenaire Rods.
MCP PLAID Phonics
MCP PLAID Phonics from Modern Curriculum Press incorporates best practices for teaching essential phonemic awareness and phonics skills with lots of flexibility. Find information on these products here.
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.
Montessori Play And Learn : A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six
We all want the best possible starts in life for our children, and one of the best possible starts in life, educationally, is the "method" pioneered by Maria Montessori and taught successfully today throughout the world.

Now, Lesley Britton, the leading Montessori practitioner in England for more than twenty years, will show parents how to bring Montessori home. If you would like to facilitate the development of your child's unique personality, make it possible for him to develop to his full intellectual capacity, and help him become socially and emotionally well adjusted, then this is the book for you.

Montessori Play and Learn is packed with ideas, activities, and games that can fit into your normal routine and help supplement preschool learning for your child. For planning your home, introducing your child to the supermarket or the neighborhood, and helping him discover other people and cultures, this book provides valuable tips and insights that help parents and children grow and learn together.
-- Create hundreds of learning opportunities from everyday life
-- Learn dozens of games and activities to help prepare children for mathematics, reading, science, and writing
-- Make your home environment as stimulating for your child as the best Montessori preschool.
Montessori: A Modern Approach
Montessori: A Modern Approach has been called the single best book for anyone -- educator, childcare professional, and especially parent -- seeking answers to the questions: What is the Montessori method? Are its revolutionary ideas about early childhood education relevant to today's world? And most important, especially for today's dual-career couples. Is a Montessori education right for my child?

Paula Polk Lillard writes both as a trained educators and as a concerned parent -- she has many years as a public school teacher, but it was her enthusiasm for the education her own child experienced in a Montessori school that led her to become a leading voice in the Montessori movement in this country.

Her book offers the clearest and most concise statement of the Montessori method of child development and education available today.
Featured Resources

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The Case for Classical Christian Education
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How to Drive: Real World Instruction and Advice from Hollywood's Top Driver
Want your child to be the best--and safest--driver possible? This book is for you! Ben Collins is a professional driver and is a former Top Gear Stig driver. He offers strategies for increasing control and safety and to encourage fun and efficie...
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.
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 ...
Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started
Homeschooling 101 gives you the steps to help you get started on your homeschool journey. This guide lays out how to get started, choose and gather curriculum, scheduling, organizing your home, and finding the joy in homeschooling. This book is perfe...