Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Resources for beginner homeschoolers.

There are few resources that I recommend to people thinking of homeschooling.  I like to only give a few because there is soooo much out there that it can be overwhelming.

If you aren't a new homeschooler and haven't heard of these, you may want to check them out too.

Here are the Big Three that I start with: 

1.     The Sonlight Catalog.  Not so you will necessarily buy anything from it, but it's a great resource.  IT'S FREE.  It has a section called something like "29 reasons Why Not to Use Sonlight".  That article gives the reader insight about what is important to him/her about homeschooling.  It helps direct your path.  Also, for subjects like math and handwriting it gives pros and cons for a few different curriculums so you can choose the right one for you/your student.  Further, the catalog has a synopsis of their reader, read-a-louds (books the teacher reads to the students), history books, science books- basically all of the books right there in one not-too-big-catalog  by age/grade level. I've used Sonlight products since I started homeschooling and I am confident that if they recommend a product, most likely, it is a great product. 

2.    The Sonlight Forums.  This is a great place to find out anything about everything from other homeschool moms (and occasionally dads).  Homeschool questions and questions about life can be asked and answered here.  I think that you may have to pay a nominal fee to use the entire forum unless you buy their "Core" (a year of curriculum).   I would say it is worth it.  But you can check out the free part of their forum first.  I have free access to the entire forum because I bought their requisite number of "Cores".  The people who post on here tend to be knowledgeable, sweet, honest, and flexible ("Charlotte Masony"- school is natural not totally structured and uses "real books" like historical fiction).

3.  Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.  This is my go-to book for choosing curriculum. For newbies there is a great place in the front that spells out the different types of curriculum, ie:  Charlotte Mason, Classical, Traditional, Un-schooling.  And, there is a great chart divided by subject with Cathy's top choice for curriculum.  Then, in the back of the book she discusses the pros and cons of each and what type of child/teacher would do well using each.   It's very easy reading.  Most public libraries have this book.  She also has a website with updated product reviews.

Once you've digested enough of those, there are a ton of other great resources.  Here are just a few:

1.  The Well Trained Mind book by Susan Wise Bauer. Again, most public libraries have this.  It is a rather big book but don't let that intimidate you.  You don't need to read it all.  Just look at the table of contents and look at the sections that apply to you.  For example if you just want to know about math for middle schoolers, then look at that section.  I highly recommend reading the very beginning where she talks about kindergarten. Caution:  This is classical education.  That's not bad, but it can be more structured than, say, Sonlight. 

2.   The Well Trained Mind (TWTM) Website. This is free.  Remember that this is a classical education site and I find the people on here to do more than people on the Sonlight forum.  I find more freedom on the Sonlight forum, but TWTM site certainly has experts who are helpful.

3.  Home School Legal Defense Association's Web Site.  Wow, an awesome site.  If you are thinking of homeschooling get their free DVD about homeschooling.  HSLDA Website

Once you've gotten your feet wet with homeschooling, I recommend the next book. 

*   When You Rise Up by R. C. Sproul, JR    I find this book to be encourages me to stay the course.  It debunks many myths about what your children "need".  I will warn you that R. C. proports that pretty much everyone should homeschool...and I don't personally feel that way.  However, I find more grace in this book than anything, so I love it.  

....For High School, I have two recommendations.

1.  Lee Binz, "The Home Schooler", online.  The Homescholar Website.

2.   Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens. by Deborah Bell.  Informative and non-intimidating.

I think that's good for now.  Let me know when you're ready for more!

1 comment:

  1. I really found Cathy Duffy's 100 picks book helpful for a general explanation of the different styles/types of homeschool really can be overwhelming to get a general handle on everything at the very beginning. Great post Sue. Thanks!