So, you wanna' homeschool...

It must be that time of year. Homeschooling is in the air. I notice this especially during our weekly library visit. I can't manage to visit the library these days without fielding requests from complete strangers. The conversations go something like this.

Mom - with a couple kids in tow: "Excuse me but I couldn't help but 1) overhearing you talk to your kids about all the books they're reading , 2) noticing how excited your kids are about learning, or 3) noticing that you're here during school hours with school-aged kids. You must homeschool."

Me - sitting at the library computer, madly copying down call numbers of books the kids want to get: "Um yes I do." I know... very eloquent of me.

Mom: "I'm interested in homeschooling because 1) I can't imagine sending my 4 year old off into the big, bad world next year for kindergarten 2) my 8 year old's needs are not being met by the school system (or some variation thereof). Can I homeschool my kids? Is it hard? Are there homeschoolers in this area?"

Me: At this point I launch into my homeschooling is awesome schpiel. Yes, you can do it and it's fun. It's legal, fairly straightforward and there are lots of us around. All while trying to scour the stacks for JUV HV 3486. 787 P78 1993 (I made it up, though I wonder if that call number exists in our library).

Maybe this time of year is when families re-evalute if school is working for their children or start to think about sending little Ryder off to kindergarten next year and can't fathom the thought.

I know my mind is on education these days. I recently got together for coffee with my friend Spring (who also homeschools) and we mostly shared stories of our children's learning adventures. She's so proud of her kiddos and I'm so proud of mine - we must of been quite a pair to overhear in conversation!

Maybe you're considering homeschooling. Or maybe you've been doing this for awhile. Either way I have a few resources I'd like to recommend:

  • FIMBY's own homeschooling video. I put together this presentation to specifically answer the questions I receive during our library visits. Geared towards the early years with special consideration for Maine's homeschooling laws. Most of this is applicable though no matter where you live.
  • Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, I have seven words for this book. Where have you been all these years? This book is revolutionizing the way I look at our children's education. It is the confirmation of many things I have done so far and the promise of all the goodness that is yet to come. My friend Jamie of Steady Mom put this book in my hands and I am forever grateful.
  • Fundamentals of Home-Schooling: Notes on Successful Family Living is one of the few homeschool resource books I own. I often return to it for inspiration and practical ideas to help my kids learn their x, y, z's in our relaxed, interest led learning family environment.
  • I have one last homeschooling resource I want to share with you... but I'm keeping it a surprise for right now. It's something I'm very excited about but it is still in the works so you'll have to wait. But only for a couple more weeks. If you are new to homeschooling or even have been at it for awhile this resource is sure to be helpful.

What are your favorite homeschooling resources these days?


Bookmark and Share

Filed Under

« Pottery ~ take two
Our mostly plant based diet »
  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Jan. 18, 2010, 9:22 p.m.

    FIMBY is one of my favorite homeschool resources!. i don't homeschool, but i am open to the idea of it now in a way i couldn't imagine before having kids and before i had a kid in the public school system. we are pleased with our school and education (so far), but know that 1) we are imformed, involved parents who supplement at home (is there such a thing as a quasi-homeschooler?) and 2) we will make changes and adjustments along the way if our childrens' needs are not being met. the idea of homeschooling does overwhelm me. i have had education on my mind for well over a year now. i don't know about maine, but around here, families just filed all the paperwork for the 2010-2011 school year, so it is a hot topic. nicola


  • Hillary

    Hillary on Jan. 19, 2010, 1:24 a.m.

    I am always so impressed with your resources and I'm so very impressed you knew how to spell "schpiel". I love that word, but never write it! lol.

    We are really young right now so our resources are mainly creative play, story books, the Eyewitness Science books for young kids, and lots of real child sized tools! Oh, and we've been watching our way through "The Life of Mammals" on Netflix watch instantly and the whole family loves it!


  • Dee

    Dee on Jan. 19, 2010, 1:31 a.m.

    Thanks for these links. You're right, there must be something about the start of a new year that causes people to re-evaluate school. I am pretty sure I'll be pulling my 9 year old out of public school in the next week or so, depending on how long it takes me to get my ducks in a row.


  • kate

    kate on Jan. 19, 2010, 2:42 a.m.

    I love you for posting this, because I just got the version a) note in my email this weekend from a person who knows a person who knows I homeschool....and I always get flustered when trying to expound all the benefits/resources of homeschooling:) I don't know either of those books, but will check them out, and plan to link your video in a return email tonight:)

    We love the Susan Wise Bauer classical education stuff too-- it is way more rigid than we are, but I think her history books are amazing for kids that are into that (my oldest is) and I love the corresponding literature suggestions.

    We've used the Christopherus Homeschooling resources for younger ages--Waldorf inspired and include nice ideas for routines, etc.

    Locally, we tap into a lot of retired teachers who still love to teach...Noah is doing a woodworking apprenticeship this year which is so amazing:)

    And can't wait for that resource you hinted at Renee....Have a feeling it is going to be amazing:)


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 20, 2010, 6:26 p.m.

      would love to tap into some retired teachers who love teaching. Right now we do most everything with our kids but would be nice for some variety. But I guess they haven't expressed interest in learning other things we aren't capable of teaching them yet but when they do we will be looking for tutors and mentors.

      I bought the History of the World first 3 books but my kiddos don't like them very much, not enough "story". So they sit on the shelf... but I'm sure we'll read through them at some point in our homeschooling journey so I'm holding on to them.


  • Granola Girl

    Granola Girl on Jan. 19, 2010, 2:53 a.m.

    The Teenage Liberation Handbook saved me as a teenager. It is an unschooling resource which is geared toward the child learner. It gives lists of places to go learn, ideas of things which might be interesting to look into, ways to negotiate the world which is adult centered and have people listen to you. It would work from about 8 to adult I'd say. The book saved me from feeling crazy.


  • Spring

    Spring on Jan. 19, 2010, 3 a.m.

    I LOVE Sonlight's history unit study and literature, although I don't really use it in the traditional way... because if my son wants to read the whole book, I am not going to say "no, you have to stop at page 52." :) Also, when he goes off on a tangent, like the battle of Gettysburg while studying the civil war, and wants to read a pile of reference books on the topic, we do! But I do love their book choices, and the guide- we just don't use their day-to-day plan. I.E. it took me two years to finish one curriculum! :) (Of course, you know all that, but I thought I'd join the conversation! Esp. since my blog is down!) :)

    I am new HUGE fan of teaching textbooks for math. I could rave all night about it.

    Can't wait to read that Leadership Education book!


  • Earth Mama

    Earth Mama on Jan. 19, 2010, 4:49 a.m.

    We are so very lucky to have a homeschooling resource center near us. It's kinda like a really alternative "school", but not really, where your kids can go one to three days per week. My oldest two go 1x/week and it has led us to so many like minded homeschoolers in the area. It's called Open Connections ( than that...I'd say my favorite resource right now are the woods. We have been reading a lot about different wilderness books and about how to boil water in a leaf and what plants to eat, etc. It's nice, becuase I'm really interested in those things too, which is always a bonus.



  • Denise

    Denise on Jan. 19, 2010, 2:16 p.m.

    Cool post Renee. My daughter who is 8 has just started asking about homeschooling. We have a few families in our neighborhood who homeschool, and while we don't I think it's a great thing. Kind of funny timing that you've posted this info just as she has started to inquire. :)


  • Kika

    Kika on Jan. 19, 2010, 6:40 p.m.

    Over the years I've hunted and gathered from a multitude of resources including those describing Charlotte Mason, Classical Ed., Thomas Jefferson Ed., etc. All of it inspired and encouraged me to determine what I wanted for my home. I have also loved books that challenge assumptions like those from Grace Llewellyn, John Taylor Gatto, and others. None of these met all my needs or answered all of my questions. I think that part of the reason is that as homeschoolers we reject fitting into any particular "box". Part of the joy is in the searching, the gleaning, the questioning itself. And boy do I spend alot of time in this process! I am incredibly grateful for inter-library loan, inspiring local music teachers (both of them previously homeschooled), art supplies, access to sports programs, etc. I don't know how my mom and her generation of forerunners (in the home-ed arena) managed without all the tools we currently have at our disposal. But they did it well and paved the way for those of us who, today, can choose between a variety of educational choices: online, homeschool, private, public, Catholic.


    • Kika

      Kika on Jan. 21, 2010, 7:13 p.m.

      Actually there is another resource I've found particularly helpful for the stage I'm at (in addition to your wonderful blog!) and that is the BraveWriter blog. She homeschooled through the teenage years and I really love her emphasis on nurturing relationships with our kids. She is currently writing posts on "keeping the home in homeschooling" which some of your other readers may also find helpful.


      • renee

        renee on Jan. 22, 2010, 11:47 a.m.

        Thank you Kika for recommending this. I went there and loved what she had to say. Good heads up for the young adult years.


  • Karen

    Karen on Jan. 19, 2010, 11:10 p.m.

    I love your enthusiasm in answering mom's questions. We have five kids and are asked on a regular basis if we homeschool. Then the questions begin! We love sharing our passion with others, especially young families just starting out.


  • exhale. return to center.

    exhale. return to center. on Jan. 20, 2010, 12:17 p.m.

    we are not homeschoolers (though we have very sersiously considered it) but the whole vibe of homeschooling/unschooling really resonates with me so i hang out with a lot of relaxed homeschoolers and unschoolers in the blog-sphere.

    your site is by far one of my favorite resouces. i also love reading hillary (infinite learners) and sara (farmama) and nicole (gardenmama).

    we also went to an amazing homeschooling camp this past fall in vermont (at common ground center). that was a very enriching exprience.


  • Karen

    Karen on Jan. 20, 2010, 7:38 p.m.

    I admire all you home-schooler Moms and am proud of you, Renee, for the incredible effort and enthusiasm you put into your kids education. I think they are brilliant children by virtue of who they are :) but in reality I know they're the beneficiaries of the best education available to them. I am presently reading a book that isn't particularly a how-to but would be an enjoyable read for any home-school teacher. Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott - the story of her African (Botswana) childhood, home-schooled by both parents but mostly by her Mom. I'm half-way through (the author is now 10) so not sure how it ends, but the back of the book says Robyn began her formal education at age 14, ending up at Cambridge University to get a M. Phil. in bioscience enterprise. She has a website the same as the title - I will check it out after I finish the book. Renee, you can read my copy as this book I actually purchased! Keep up the good work, everyone.


  • Rachel

    Rachel on Jan. 25, 2010, 4:08 a.m.

    I'm definitely bookmarking this post for your book recommendations. I like to know what others like, but Leadership Education is one of the few books that makes me think I need to read it now with urgency!


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 25, 2010, 12:06 p.m.

      Definitely. I think this book came into my hands at a good time but I could of benefited from it earlier in my homeschooling career.


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.