Welcome! This site is dedicated to children's education, and you will find all sorts of information, lesson plans and resources here. However this section is dedicated to helping parents and tutors learn how to home school.
There are many reasons that parents choose to home educate their children, or to place them in public education. Parents have a natural instinct when it comes to their own children, trust it. So for what ever reason you have made for your child's education, we support it, and strive to help. If you are considering home education, because you are not satisfied with the quality of public education, the following documentation will interest you: Why Home School.
One of the fears new home school parents express is they fear they will" miss something". As a result many start out clinging to something that is very similar to the public school approach (textbooks, worksheets, flashcards, sit down at a desk work. It is known as left brain teaching, and works for about 45% of the children. It is a disaster for some children, especially the hands on learners and analytical children. For the children who are not doing well with left brain teaching, we recommend Whole Brain Teaching.
Scientific studies show children, especially young children, learn best while at real life experiences and play because it engages body, brain and senses(Whole Brain Teaching)
which means much of your education can be free...learn more below (Eclectic Method).
We begin with a brief description of the various methods used by home school families, and then give you answers to more commonly asked questions (grade level requirements, testing resources, and more). However before you make these decisions, it is important to know Your State's Laws because a few mandate that certain types of curriculum be used. One can, however, always supplement with curriculum that is more suited to your child. Understanding your child's Learning Style is also most helpful.
The Conventional Method
This approach is basically a mirror image of the public school system, except that it is done at home. It is also referred to as "school in a box", or "school at home".
It usually requires the purchase of a complete curriculum (text books, workbooks, teachers manual, tests, schedules, and record keeping materials). Each child will most likely have their own set of textbooks and workbooks, and will study each subject separately according to grade level.
This method works well for about 45% of the children, and is more likely to appeal to the SJ parent , (guardian - 40 to 45 percent of the population). However to the SP (artisan or "hands On learner"), and to the Analytical child it does more harm than good. Some families relax this method somewhat, still following structured schedules and grade levels, but choosing their own curriculum and creating their own lesson plans. Others choose to abandon this method all together. (See Learning Lifestyle Method below for more information about how to do this)
Examples of "school in a box" curriculum can be purchased at:
Abeka, Alpha Omega Publications
, Bob Jones University Press, Christian Liberty Academy
and Sonelight. These school in a box programs are not to be confused with the state K12 programs
This method can save you money because even real life experiences can be used to teach. A trip to the grocery store can teach math, money, and weights. Having the children help you with the cooking can improve reading, comprehension, and can be used to teach measuring and sequencing.
This is my preferred method. and When I do use curriculum, I much prefer ones that are created by home school families because home educators understand that home school is not the classroom.
2. For language arts (K through 6) I prefer Ring Around The Phonics because it engages body, brain and senses which is effective with all the learning styles. It also allows me to teach up to four children at one time even if on different levels or even different subjects. Like the old one room school house, children learn from each other as well as from me.
Some parents, who use the Conventional method, tell me they supplement with Ring Around the Phonics when their children become bored with the school in a box curriculum. But Ring Around The Phonics is all I use to teach reading and phonics. It has everything you need to teach your child to read including 14 early reader books.
3. For math I use Math-You-See because the first series also engages body, brain and senses (Math-U-See Alpha DVD and Teacher's book). Note: as Math U See progresses, it is less hands on, and uses workbooks and videos to teach which does not work well with hands on learners. So I often supplement with real life experiences that require the use of math (TRP), or I also use ring around the phonics to turn math into a game.
4. Computers games teach to left and right brain. But a word of caution: the digital phonics games pronounce the phonic sounds incorrectly, which causes many children problems when they try to blend the sounds to form words. As a tutor, I have found this to be the case with nine out of ten of the children who are brought to me for help.
Eclectic is the method I use, so you will find my sites full of this approach, many of them free.
Unschooling focuses on the individual child's self initiative, needs and interests for education. Many think this method has no discipline or direction because the full fledged unschoolers often have no set bedtimes, no set lessons, and no set food rules. But the hard core unschooling parent points out they do make rules on the important things like safety.
They also say there is no such thing as a partial use of unschooling. Either you trust the child's natural tendency to learn or you don't. However others disagree, and I caution the reader not to be too quick to reject this method. It, in my opinion, can be incorporated in ones homeschool schedule, and be very beneficial to you and your child.
Unschooling (or at least a form of it) is particularly attractive to the NT parent, and beneficial to the Nt Child (ratrional personality). My little brother is what is referred to as the NT or "Rational Personality". He often ditched his elementary school classes. So one day the school principle followed him only to discover Billy was going to the local library to study subjects that interested him. You see the NT personality has an insensible appetite to learn, but is totally bored reviewing subjects that he has already grasped, or proving to others he has learned something he has already mastered. He considers it a total waste of time...one can be learning instead of wasting time in this manner. Note: Einstein was an NT. Allowing these children to direct their own learning (at least to some extent) helps to develop their unique gifts.
My little brother was also fascinated with the board game Monopoly from 5 years of age, and into his early teens ...obsessed is more like it. He learned from that game to read, strategy, counting money, adding, subtracting, and who knows what else. At a very young age he bought his first home in L.A. which is a difficult place to purchase homes unless one is very wealthy (he wasn't.). When he sold it, he made a $200,000.00. profit. So even games can become learning tools.
In this style of homeschooling, it is important to understand the child in depth, and to provide a variety of activities, and learning tools that interests him or her. Lagos or Barbie dolls can become learning tools. Just as my little brother chose his preferred method and subjects to learn, so does the unschooled child.
My Father was also an NT personality, and I learned more for him about analytical thinking than I did in any class room. So nurture the rational child, and allow him to contribute his unique gifts to your family.
The Unit Study Method (also known as Thematic Units or Integrated Studies)
This arina is great for teaching groups in which individuals are at different ages and levels of understanding. It consists of units of studies which link multiple subjects around a common theme or topic. For example a unit study on bears can help teach Language Arts, History, Science, art projects, and more.
This approach was developed by Dr. Raymond Moore and Dorothy Moore. They are known as the pioneers of the modern homeschool. It is based on a balance of work and service, and explains the importance of listening to the child's "natural time clock, rather than forcing round pegs into square holes.
An example: Koty had learned all of his phonic sounds, and could read all of his early reader books. He also enjoyed sounding out large words like "premium" as he and his mother traveled around town playing a word game. But he had no desire to pick up a book and read it. He preferred, instead, to have his mother read to him as she had from the time he was little.
Mother was becoming a bit worried, because other kids his age were able to read better than koty. But she had read the book "Better Late Than Early" (a book about Delayed Academics) , and, as a result, decided to patiently continue reading to him.
One day Koty again asked her to read a book for him. He was fascinated by the picture on the cover, and wanted to know what was inside. "Sorry Koty", she replied, "I just don't have the time right now". Koty, anxious to learn what was inside this interesting book, began reading it by himself. He did not put it down until he had finished. Mom even allowed him to read late in bed to nurture his enthusiasm.
What a miracle! Just as the Moores had indicated, Koty's enthusiasm was lit. From that day forward he became an avid reader, and advanced several grade levels in a short time...passing his peers.
Charlotte Mason was a nineteenth century teacher and educator who stressed the importance of self education over studying to pass a test or receive a grade. It is a literature based education founded on reading real books ("living books"), short lessons, narration, dictation and nature studies, rather than text books.
It is reflective in that it evaluates everything in God's universe to develop Christian values. It also cultivates self education using The "Notebook Approach" to research, reason, relate and record.
If this method interests you, you will also want to see our free online videos by David Barton (Wall Builders) on American History and the Constitution.
The Classical Education
This method mirrors the ancients approach to education, and taught such famous people as Archimedes, St. Paul, Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
The goal of most Classical homeschool families is to engage the child's learning into important things like God, life and its purpose. It is also based on the Trivium, which says the child will have three basic developmental stages. During the grade school ages, the curriculum stresses concrete thinking and memorization of facts.
During the middle years, abstract thinking develops. So, at this time, education involving analytical thinking is introduced.
In the high school years, students are taught abstract thinking, and articulation of their subjects.
Parents and teachers complain that today's public education and textbooks teach children what to think, but not how to think which leaves them ill equipped for today's world. So naturally many parents are attracted to the Classical Method. However many of the Classical Method Programs can be quite expensive, and some parents fear that logical thinking will destroy their belief in God. There is a study out to confirm their fears. However the following article gives educators inexpensive ideas about How To Teach Analytical Thinking, And Strengthen Intuition...the best of both worlds.
What Should My Child Know At Each Grade Level?
Parents often ask me what should their child be learning at various grade levels because they want to make sure they are teaching enough. We answer that question for you at this link: Grade Level Requirements.
If Your Child Needs To Be Tested
There are times you may want to test your child just to make sure they are not missing something important, or you may need to have them tested for (some) State requirements, high school transcripts or college enrollment. No need to worry; there are companies that provide this service as follows: Bayside School Services , Brewer Testing Services, Sarah Olbris.
Many parents who have children with RDI (Autism) are finding great results by using the method taught at RDI Connect.
Home School For High School Students
Currently 42 States offer Dual Enrollment for high school students which, in most cases, allows students to home school and attend college (for free until they turn 18). My Grandson is doing this, and loves it. His Mom is taking some classes at the same Community College, so they ride together...kind of neat. However some homeschoolers choose online college courses.
Following are some articles by the Home School Legal Defense Association On Dual Enrollment
As one can see there are several opportunities available in the home school venue which are no longer available in the public schools. Each has something to offer. So be sure to bookmark this page for future reference.