Curriculum Choices and Resources
There is an endless supply of materials available for home school use. Many Christian textbook publishers are very helpful to home educators. Local home educating families use a wide variety of materials and are usually eager to share what they like about what they are using.
The costs of curriculum materials vary greatly according to your preferences and needs. Different teaching methods require different materials. For example, many curricula come with teachers’ manuals, but you may feel comfortable enough with the material to do without them. Some curricula lend themselves to the use of library materials as well as purchased textbooks. It is also possible to purchase or rent used materials and save some expense.
There are three main teaching methods which we will describe here (summarized from Elijah Company Catalog):
TEXTBOOKS AND WORK TEXTS
You may want to use the same types of books and workbooks that are used in classrooms across the country. Textbooks are available from both Christian and secular publishers. Some of the most widely used Christian textbook publishers are Bob Jones University Press, A Beka Books, Christian Liberty Press, Classic Curriculum from Mott Media, and Rod and Staff. Some publishers also provide work texts or workbooks which require students to read material and then answer a series of questions about it. The three most common work text suppliers are Alpha-Omega Publications, School of Tomorrow (Accelerated Christian Education), and Christian Light Education.
In the correspondence school method, correspondence schools provide the curriculum and the parent oversees the student’s work. The work is submitted to the correspondence school, which grades the work and records the grades. Parents who use this method do not need to choose subjects and materials themselves. However, some families find this method stressful because of the amount of work involved. Correspondence school is also the most costly way to home school, but some companies allow you the option of keeping your own records, thereby saving some expense. Some sources of correspondence school materials are Calvert School, Christian Liberty Academy, A Beka Video School, Seton Home Study School (Catholic), Bob Jones HomeSat, and Bob Jones University Academy of Home Education for High School. All listed here are Christian schools except Calvert.
Many home education methods are based on the idea that students recieve a more complete education if they are not limited to predetermined subjects and specific textbooks. Following is a list of seven alternative teaching approaches with a brief explanation and resources available.
- The Classical Approach – The modern proponent was Dorothy Sayers, who felt that the key to education is to teach children how to think for themselves, not just to teach them specific subjects. She proposed that we should return to the form of education that once produced the world’s greatest scholars. This approach is based on the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric; it emphasizes observation, memorization, and skill with language. Books: Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson, The Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom. Magazine: Teaching the Trivium.
- The Principle Approach – This approach is based on seven Biblical principles on which our country was founded and by which many of the founding fathers lived. The seven principles are individuality, self government, Christian character, conscience, Christian form of government, planting the seed of local self government, and the principle of American political union. The student learns to assume responsibility for teaching himself and applying knowledge to his life through the use of notebooks to record the 4 Rs (Researching, Reasoning, Relating and Recording). Books: A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School: The Principle Approach by James B. Rose. Tape: “How To” audio seminar: The Principle Approach by Stephen McDowell.
- Living Books and Life Experiences Approach – Based on the writings of turn-of-the-century educator Charlotte Mason. She believed in respecting children as persons, in involving them in real-life situations, and in allowing them to read really good books instead of what she called “twaddle” (inferior teaching material like textbooks). Her approach was to teach basic reading, writing and math skills, then expose students to the best sources of knowledge for all other subjects. Books: The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason; For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay; A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola; Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner; Books Children Love by Edith Wilson; Teaching Children by Diane Lopez; You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick. Curriculum: Sonlight Curriculum puts together a complete year’s work for each grade level using living books for everything except learning the basics. Teachers’ manuals and lesson plans are included.
- Unit Study Approach – Unit Studies take a theme or topic and delve into it deeply over a period of time, integrating language arts, science, social studies, math and fine arts as they apply. One advantage is that all ages can learn together, each at his own level. Some already prepared unit study curriculum: Alta Vista, KONOS: The Classics, The Weaver. Books: How to Create Your Own Unit Study by Valerie Bendt; Design-A-Study Guides by Kathryn Stout. Magazine: Home Schooling Today.
- Unschooling – An approach supported by John Holt. It is non-structured learning that allows children to pursue their own interests with parental support and guidance, and lets children learn by being included in the life of adults. Formal academics are introduced only as the need arises for the child to learn a particular thing. John Holt’s books and the following resources are NOT Christian based. Books: any by John Holt; Homeschooling for Excellence and Hard times in Paradise by David and Micki Colfax. Magazine: Growing Without Schooling. Tape: Audio workshop: Unschooling by Patrick Farenga.
- Delayed Academics. Based on the research of Raymond and Dorothy Moore. This approach delays formal education until the child is mentally, physically and emotionally ready (usually sometime between the ages of 8 and 12). It emphasizes development of good habits in the child through help with household work and family service projects, limiting time spent with peers, and balancing academics with work and service. Books: any by the Moores. They also have tapes and videos available. Magazine: The Moore Report International.
- Learning Styles. This approach originated from research showing that everyone has a specific way in which he learns best (i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.). The parent figures out the learning style of each child and then develops a curriculum that is best suited to each. Books: In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong; Learning Styles and Tools by Robin Scarlata; Brain Powering Your Child by Sharon Smisek; and The Christian Home Educator’s Curriculum Manual by Cathy Duffy.
Following is a list of local resources and a list of curriculum publishers. Following that, you will find a list of other catalog resources which contain a large variety of home-school friendly curricula and educational resources.
There is also a reading list. We highly recommend that you do a lot of reading to help develop your own philosophy of education and style of teaching, as well as to get encouragement and practical ideas and tips. These books may be found in public libraries, the GRHE library, the homes of other home educators, or in catalogs on our list. Find some of them and READ!
Here are some suggestions to get you started. Some excellent books on home education and philosophy of education are The Wholehearted Child (Clarkson), Home Grown Kids (Moore), Home Educating with Confidence (Boyer), The Charlotte Mason Companion (Andreola), The Right Choice – Home Schooling (Klicka), and The Homeschool Manual (Wade). We also suggest that you visit websites and order a collection of catalogs to see the available variety of resources and get a feel for what will work best for your family. It is of great concern to us when new home schoolers just want someone to tell them “what to order” and have no apparent interest in reading anything about home schooling nor in searching out curriculum options that will work best for their family. If you are going to home school, you are an educator, and you need to act like one!
There are some locally available resources, but we recommend that you order the catalogs of non-local companies to round out your information and to have available to you the resources you may need at any given time.
- GRHE New Home Schooler Meetings (held periodically) are a great introduction to the Virginia law, choosing curriculum, and getting answers to your questions. Watch this website for dates and times.
- GRHE library has lots of how-to info and other helps.
- Roanoke Valley Public Library Systems
- Barnes and Noble Booksellers (540-776-2960) offers home schooler discounts on educational materials and no shipping charges.
- The Learning Source (540-342-9864) is a teacher supply/supplement store which offers discounts one Saturday a month.
We recommend you vist the websites or request catalogs for each of these companies:
- A Beka Publications (Christian Textbook Publisher), (800)874-3592
- Alpha-Omega Publications (Christian Worktext Publisher & Computer Programs), (800)622-3070
- Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. Science Curriculum designed for the home school
- Bob Jones University Press (Christian Textbook Publisher), (800)845-5731
- Calvert School (non-Christian, traditional correspondence school featuring classical education), (301)243-6030,
- Christian Liberty Press (Christian Textbook Publisher), (800)832-2741
- Christian Light Education (Christian Worktext Publisher), (800)776-0478
- Hewitt Research Foundation (Christian; Evaluation & Personalized Curriculum; Good for delayed or handicapped learners as well as gifted students) P.O. Box 9, Washougal, WA 98671
- KONOS (Christian Unit Study Curriculum), (214)669-7922
- Mott Media (Publisher of Classic Textbooks), (313)685-4348
- Moore Foundation (Christian Curriculum), (360)835-2736
- Rod and Staff Publishers (Christian Textbook Publisher), (606)522-4348, Box 3, Crockett, KY 41413-0003
- School of Tomorrow (Christian Worktext Publisher), (800)925-7777
- Seton Home Study School (Catholic Curriculum & Correspondence School), (703)636-9990
- Sonlight Curriculum (Living Books Approach – Complete Curriculum), (303)730-6292
- The Weaver (Christian Unit Study Curriculum), (714)688-3126
ADDITIONAL CURRICULUM RESOURCES
We also recommend you order catalogs from these resources:
- Bluestocking Press (Non-Christian, but many good history and economics resources from a conservative point of view), (800)959-8586
- The Book Peddler (Christian, variety), (800)928-1760
- Cornerstone Curriculum Project (Christian Math, Science, Music, Art and World Views), (972)235-5149
- Doorposts (Christian; specializes in resources that develop strong Christian character), (503)357-4749,
- Educators Publishing Service (Non-Christian; Language Arts, Math and Special Needs; affordable materials created by public school teachers), (800)225-5750, w
- The Elijah Company (Much more than a great catalog; lots of home school information), (888)235-4524
- Family Learning Center (Christian Language Arts Programs)
- Farm Country General Store (Christian; discount prices), (309)367-2844,
- God’s World Book Club (Christian; homeschool resources; weekly student news magazines), (800)951-2665
- Greenleaf Press (Christian; specializes in history resources), (615)449-1617
- Landmark Distributors (Christian; Principle Approach resources)
- LaCelle Family Ministries A family based ministry that offers a good selection of quality material, often at discounted prices
- Masterbooks (Creation Science Resources)
- Mountain View Books (Unit Study Resources)
- Rainbow Resource Center (Christian; discount prices), (888)841-3456
- Timberdoodle (Christian; discount prices; some distinctive items not found other places),(360)426-0672
- Tobin’s Lab (Christian; Science resources), (800)522-4776
- Vision Forum (Christian resources for character building; reprints of old books), (800)440-0022
- ACTS AND FACTS (Free periodical dealing with issues from a creation science perspective)
Institute for Creation Research
10946 Woodside Ave. N.
Santee, CA 92071
- GOD’S WORLD PUBLICATIONS (Weekly newspapers for students K- 1 2 and adults; Christian perspective on news; also a book club and resource catalog for students and teachers.)
P.O. Box 2330
Asheville, NC 28802
- HOMESCHOOLING TODAY (Bimonthly; includes a unit study, literature studies, removable art feature, science projects, preschool activities, and teen articles. Christian.)
P.O. Box 1425
Melrose, FL 32666
- MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL (Raymond & Dorothy Moore Publication; Bimonthly)
The Moore Foundation
Camas, WA 98607
- NATURE FRIEND MAGAZINE (Christian nature magazine for children that emphasizes creation, creation, high family standards & stewardship of God’s world. Monthly.)
P.O. Box 73
Goshen, IN 26526
- THE TEACHING HOME (Christian home education magazine; Focus on major topic each issue; also much from readers & support groups around the country. Bimonthly.)
Portland, OR 97220
- THE HOME SCHOOL DIGEST (Quarterly magazine featuring some of the most respected names in the home education movement. Its purpose is to expose home schoolers to the wide range of issues affecting them. Also publish An Encouraging Word for homeschooling moms.)
P.O. Box 125Q
Sawyer, M 49125
- PRACTICAL HOMESCHOOLING (Quarterly magazine published by Mary & Bill Pride. Features regular articles by the Andreolas, Sam Blumenfeld, Cathy Duffy, Jessica Hulcy, the Shearers & more! Also reviews 50+ resources each issue.)
P.O. Box 1250
Fenton, MO 63026-1850
- NATHHAN (National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network. A Christian support network for families home schooling children with mild to severe learning difficulties. Phone support, newsletter, resource guide, library.)
5383 Alpine Rd. SE
Olalla, WA 98359
- THE WALLBUILDER REPORT (Free quarterly publication with Biblical insight and encouragement surrounding current events. Lots of GREAT information on our Founding Fathers. Published by David Barton’s organization.)
P.O. Box 397
Aledo, TX 76008-0397
SUGGESTED READING LIST
Home education resources can be located in the Public Library in the nonfiction sections under the numbers 372 and 649. They have more books than are listed in this section. Please be aware as you read that some of these may come from a non-Christian philosophy of education. There may still be ideas and information you can glean from them, though, so feel free to read everything you can get your hands on!
Books marked with * indicates they can be found in Roanoke Valley libraries and books marked with # indicates they can be found in the GRHE Library.
PHILOSOPHY OF HOME EDUCATION
The Charlotte Mason Companion (#), Karen Andreola
The How and Why of Home Schooling (*), Ray Ballman
The Socialization Trap (#), Rick Boyer
Home Educating with Confidence (#), Rick Boyer
Going Home to School, Llewellyn Davis
The Homeschooling Father (#), Michael Farris
The Christian Home School (#), Greg Harris
How Children Learn (*), John Holt (not from a Christian view)
How Children Fail (*), John Holt (not from a Christian view)
Teach Your Own (*), John Holt (not from a Christian view)
The Right Choice: Home Schooling, Chris Klicka
For the Children’s Sake (#), Susan Schaeffer MacCaulay
The Original Homeschooling Series (#), Charlotte Mason
School Can Wait (*), (#), Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home Spun Schools (*), Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home Style Teaching (#), Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home Grown Kids (*), (#), Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Better Late Than Early, Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home Built Discipline, Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home School Burnout (#), Raymond & Dorothy Moore
Home Education: Rights and Reasons (*), John Whitehead
Christian Home Educator’s Manual, by Cathy Duffy, Volume 1 for K-6, Volume 11 for 7-12
Home-Schooling Resource Guide & Directory of Organizations (*), by Mary Hood
Teaching Children (1st – 6th), by Diane Lopez
The Big Book of Home Learning (*), (#), by Mary Pride
“HOW TO” BOOKS
Ruth Beechick: 3 R’s Manuals (K-3) (#), Reading, Arithmetic & Language (#), You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully (4th-8th), (*), (#)
Valerie Bendt: How to Create Your Own Unit Study (#), The Unit Study Idea Book (#)
Samuel Blumenfeld: Alpha-Phonics (*), (#), How to Tutor (*), (#), The New Illiterates – and How You Can Keep Your Child From Becoming One (*)
Rick Boyer: Home Fducating With Confidence (#), Yes, They’re All Ours (#), Hands-On Character Building (#)
Bill Butterworth: The Peanut Butter Family Home School(*)
Ronald & Inge Cannon: Apprenticeship Plus (#), (High School)
Clay & Sally Clarkson: 7he Wholehearted Child (#)
David & Micki Colfax: Home Schooling for Excellence (*), (not a Christian perspective)
Gayle Graham: How to Home School: A Practical Approach (#)
Borg Hendrickson: How to Create A Low Cost/No Cost Curriculum (*), Home School: Taking the First Step (*)
Joyce Herzog: Learning In Spite of Labels (#), Choosing & Using Curriculum for Your Special Needs Child (#)
Mary Hood: The Relaxed Home School (*), (#)
Marilyn Howshall: Wisdom’s Way of Learning
Gladys Hunt: Honey for a Child’s Heart (#), Read for Your Life (#)
McAlister & Oneschak: Homeschooling the High Schooler (#) (Vols I & II)
May Pride: The Big Book of Home Learning (*), (#), Schoolproof (*)
Barb Shelton: Senior High: A Home Designed Form-U-La (#)
Kathy Salars: NA THHAN Resource Guide (#) Resources for Special Needs)
Theodore Wade: The Home School Manual (*), (#)
Shackelford & White: A Survivor’s Guide to Homeschooling (*), (#)
Elizabeth Wilson: Books Children Love (#)
HEAV: The Virginia Home-School Manual (*), (#)