Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christine’s Favorite Websites for Homeschooling Information, Support and/or Encouragement

Christine’s Favorite Websites for Homeschooling Information, Support and/or Encouragement and Information about Teaching Children

1. A to Z Home's Cool is a big website loaded with information and links to learn more about just about any topic related to home education.

2. Carnival of Homeschooling Archives contains over three years of weekly blog carnivals. A blog carnival is similar to a table of contents in a magazine. It is a list of many links to read blog articles, with a short description of the entry. This homeschooling blog carnival is inclusive, allowing entries from families using different homeschooling methods that have different religious beliefs.

3. Design a Study is the site of former school teacher and homeschooling mother Kathryn Stout. She produces books and materials to help home educating parents design their own home education curriculum using real children’s books and other materials. She is Christian and speaks at homeschooling conferences, often at Christian homeschooling conferences. However religion is sometimes not even mentioned in her lectures or in her books. She sells audio recordings of her lectures. I highly recommend her products. A main goal is to use quality materials such as living books and literature (not textbooks) with the intention of teaching children to think critically and to analyze. I can’t recommend her lectures and guidebooks highly enough.

4. Don Potter's Site Great Teaching Reading Info, Phonics Free Downloads

5. Free Printables from Donna Young is a large website with lots of free stuff. From her site: “This web site is built by Donna Young and is an on-going project since 1998. offers free homeschool planners, school calendars, household planners, printables in various subjects, and homeschool planning tips.”

6. Guilt-Free Homeschooling is a great website that has helped me and encouraged me over the years. I like the freshness and honesty of Carolyn Morrison’s writing. Here is her description of her site:

“Guilt-Free Homeschooling is comfortable, it's relaxed, and it fits your family's lifestyle.

GFHS is run by Carolyn Morrison, an 11 year veteran of homeschooling her two children, from leaving public school in the elementary grades through high school graduation and into college.

Whether you have a specific question, want some general advice, or just need a dose of encouragement, Guilt-Free Homeschooling is the place to be! GFHS offers help, comfort, and advice to new or struggling homeschool moms, assuring them that homeschooling can be manageable, successful, guilt-free, and glorifying to God.”

One thing she is quite honest about is homeschooling burnout and she discusses the realities of the up’s and down’s of dealing with others when participating or running a homeschool co-op.

7. Home Education Magazine is an ‘inclusive’ magazine meaning it is open to submissions and articles from people from all walks of life and from all religions. Usually religion is never mentioned. There are regular columns on certain topics written by their columnists, and the rest of the articles are essays with personal narrative from homeschooling families themselves. This is my favorite homeschooling magazine because it has a good balance of general support and encouragement with real life stories of homeschoolers who are homeschooling right here and now.

Other than the serious legal articles written by Larry and Susan Kaseman, which are excellent articles, the magazine leaves me feeling refreshed and encouraged. The magazine does not push curriculum and I have never felt after reading it, that I was homeschooling ‘the wrong way’ or that I needed to go out and buy product X. I have been subscribing to this print magazine since my first child was a baby! I hope it never goes out of print. Please consider subscribing to keep them in business. Many articles are timeless and back issues are helpful and encouraging.

The HEM website has free articles online for viewing and discussion forums as well as current homeschooling news reports.

8. Homeschooling Conference Listing for USA. This site attempts to list all the conferences in America.

If you know of a better site that lists all homeschooling conferences, let me know. This seems to be one information sharing area that remains undeveloped and inferior. Sadly, conferences are usually heard about by word of mouth. Sometimes to get to the right conference for your family, you may have to go out of state, and if you are not a member of the organizations in other states you may miss out on hearing about them (which is a shame). You can also ask homeschooling families that live near you what conferences are held in your area and try to research them through the websites of the organizations who run the conferences.

9. Lexile: Children's Book Reading Level System

10. Life Learning magazine was what I’d call a radical unschooling magazine based out of Canada. It is no longer publishing magazines in print form. Back issues are available to read free online in PDF format.

Back issues are avaialabe, free, to read free online.

Life Learning’s editor Wendy Priesnitz maintains a blog.

Life Learning Home Page

11. Living Books Information at Valerie's Living Books. A great site about living books and to learn about living books, with some descriptions and reviews of some out of print treasures and some antique books. A description of the site written by Valerie is:

"You've found the HEART of our work for children and homeschooling families! Like a healthy body, a healthy mind needs good food! A child needs books that engage his mind, inspire his imagination, and thrill his heart, The best books are written by authors who love their subjects and love their readers. "Oh, well, at least she's reading," isn't spoken here.

(If that's the best we can say, maybe she should be climbing a tree instead.
Or dressing her doll. Or building a village from blocks. Or helping a neighbor. This site is ALL FREE TO YOU with over 100 lists of great books for children.

I'm Valerie Jacobsen. I'm a mom of eleven children (8 girls and 3 boys) and a lifelong book lover. I review the books. I've been selling books to homeschoolers online since May, 1995. In March 2006, my husband Paul came home to work with me. We now work together with our oldest four children as full-time booksellers. Our best books for children and families are at Our full inventory (including rare books and specialty non-fiction) is at"

12. Living Math. Exploring the use of non-traditional materials to teach math. Uses living books to teach math also. I can’t improve upon this explanation of what this site is, a quote from the home page:

"Beauty in mathematics is seeing the truth without effort." -George Polya

Insisting a child must be taught traditional, scope-and-sequence arithmetic to learn mathematics is like saying one must learn classical notes and scales before one can learn music. You might get there, but you miss out on the inspiration of beautiful music created by the masters along the way. We need not master all the "basics" before being able to experience the appreciation that carries us through the hard work of learning. Think of applying living math principles as developing a "mathematical ear" while working toward the mastery of basic theory.
This site is dedicated to sharing resources for learning, exploring and enjoying math in a dynamic and holistic manner, for all ages.

I want to build a bridge. I'd like to close the gap between math and history, science, literature and humanity created by the isolated way we traditionally approach math education.

In teaching my own children, tutoring and furthering my own self education, I've seen the results of early exposure to real mathematics in natural settings, without requiring mastery of arithmetic on a set timetable - this has been a key to the ease with which my kids attain mastery when the time is right for them. I've also found that math literature and history humanizes math, makes it come alive, and provides a context to enjoy and retain learning. Patricia Kenschaft of Math Power refers to a goal of preserving the "rage for learning" that every child has inside of them. I believe that the way we isolate mathematics learning with the contrived, unrealistically applied arithmetic our children are traditionally taught, without real context and the human drama that created it, has caused much of the math phobias and illiteracy ("innumeracy" to use John Paulos' term) our generation of educators, whether in home or classroom, experienced and pass on, as they know nothing else.

13. Math Mojo. A different approach to learning math. From the site: “Math Mojo is here for you to learn math in new ways. It was created by a professional magician (me, Professor Homunculus) who believes that anything can be done differently, and usually better, than it is normally done.
The basic component of Math Mojo is speedmath. Although there are lots of basic lessons on things you will find interesting here, the main thrust will be on interactive lessons and instructional booklets which teach you speedmath methods.
There are different types of speedmath, and I have explored many of them and distilled some of them into Math Mojo, and other methods I have created myself. All of them will be explained in plain English, and you will need no prior knowledge of anything beyond the most basic addition and subtractions skills to begin learning Math Mojo.“

14. Pat Farenga's Site, he is the former editor of Growing Without Schooling magazine. Pat writes: “For over 25 years I have enjoyed helping people succeed at learning outside of school by applying John Holt's ideas, often referred to as unschooling, to their situations. A goal of this site is to show you ways to overcome obstacles to learning besides more intensive conventional schooling. The received wisdom of our time is that school is the best place for children to be for social, academic, and political reasons. I question this conventional wisdom by offering other ways and means for children and adults to learn and grow in our society.”

15. The Link homeschooling magazine was for years, a print publication with high quality articles. It is still in print today.

The articles range across all different homeschooling methods and regular columnists include some big names in education such as John Taylor Gatto and Catherine Levison who uses the Charlotte Mason method. There is a column about Christian Unschooling (a rare topic). Some articles explain the use of curriculum or are written by book authors or curriculum developers who are explaining their product and teaching philosophy. To sum it up, this publication has a wide variety of topics for all different kinds of homeschoolers.

All the back issues of The Link are online for free reading.

Back Issues Index

The Link home page

16. Secular Homeschooling magazine. A print magazine by subscription. Limited free articles on the site. Description from the website:
"Secular Homeschooling is a non-religious quarterly magazine that reflects the diversity of the homeschooling community. Its readers and writers are committed to the idea that religious belief is a personal matter rather than a prerequisite of homeschooling.

This magazine is for any homeschooler, religious or not, who is interested in good solid writing about homeschooling and homeschoolers."

17. The Well Trained Mind site (otherwise known as TWTM): Classical Homeschooling including “Afterschooling” (parents teaching their children at home with the classical method when the child attends regular school during the day).

From the site:

“The Well-Trained Mind (published 1999 by W.W. Norton) serves as a resource for parents wanting to educate their children according to the classical model of education. This site complements the information in the book, providing updated resources, articles, links, and other information useful to parents who are actively involved in their family's education.”

The site contains free message boards for online discussion and networking with other classical home educators.

There is a swap and sale board for reselling and buying used books and curriculum. Current rules state you may only post items to sell if you have posted 50 posts in the past.

TWTM Sale and Swap Board

TWTM home page

(List is in alphabetical order.)


wendy said...

Life Learning's editorial is now being published in Natural Life magazine, which my husband and I launched in 1976 so we could stay at home and unschool our daughters. We've also just published a book of 30 essays that were published in Life Learning magazine. It's called Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier. Info is at

Wendy Priesnitz, Editor
Life Media

Helen Hegener said...

I just stumbled across this wonderful post and the kind words you wrote about Home Education Magazine. Thank you for the lovely description, Christine!

I'd like to let your readers know that we'll send a free sample of the current issue from our website, and you can subscribe there are the best rate anywhere:

I love your blogs - can't believe I'd missed this post, but what a treasure trove of great resources!

Kristin said...

Very informative! Thank you. Just FYI the url for Valerie's Living Books is incorrect. Your link takes us to when it should be Thanks.

Loving learning at Home said...

What a great post with a wealth of information. Thanks for putting this together. We homeschooling our 2 children and need all the help we can get saving money!. Thanks again.

Wendy Priesnitz said...

Thought you should know that things have changed a lot here at Life Learning Magazine in the past year. We have been excited and fortunate to have a large number of people willing to buy subscriptions to a digital version. The March/April issue is just now available online - it looks and reads just like it used to, except we didn't kill any trees to produce it. ;-) Thanks for your great resource.

Christine said...

Dear Christine,

I understand this is the best way to contact you.
I would like to introduce you and your readers to an exciting approach to legal services for homeschoolers and to extend an invitation.
Homeschool Legal Advantage is a ministry of the Christian Law Association. For over 40 years, CLA has worked tirelessly to protect and preserve the rights of believers. A few years ago we experienced an increasing number of calls from homeschool families and concluded that what was needed was to offer families a CHOICE of where to go when/if they encountered legal snags. Homeschool Legal Advantage was born as a ministry wing of the Christian Law Association and we have grown by leaps and bounds.
To help us celebrate our anniversary, as we approach 15,000 members, we would like to offer you and your readers a GIFT – a free year membership In Homeschool Legal Advantage.
We offer families several distinct differences: (1) We are non-profit and offer the first year free with subsequent years on a suggested donation basis instead of a hefty yearly fee; (2) We are devoted to homeschool legal matters; and (3) We believe parents have the right to choose their own methods of teaching their children. I would encourage you to visit our website and read our story and our FAQs.
This first year membership comes with some impressive benefits, including a free last will and testament for homeschooling parents. To date, thousands of young families are experiencing legal peace of mind, for today with their homeschool and for tomorrow with an estate plan for their families.
Please note we do not inquire as to homeschooling methods, neither do we require a statement of faith.
I hope you will take a good look at us. You may call or email me if you have any questions, please mention us to your readers. It is a privilege and a blessing to be of service!

Very truly yours,
Christine Field
Attorney at Law
727-399-8300, Ext. 1003

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