This Home School How-To will give you a great start to your homeschooling journey. I share links to legal sites, curriculum sites, and so much more including tip, tricks, and practical ideas.
*This post contains affiliate links. Compensation from these links help to support this blog. All opinions expressed are honest and mine alone.
Whether you’re just contemplating homeschooling in the future, are new to homeschooling, or are a homeschooling expert, I’ve got a lot of great homeschooling sites for you to check out. These are my favorites. I hope you find them helpful. I will likely be adding to this list from time to time as I find great new sites.
Home School How-To
Where to Start
If you are new to homeschooling, the best place to start is HSLDA. HSLDA stands for the Home School Legal Defense Association. If you decide to home school, I highly recommend joining. You can find great information on their site including all the legalities of homeschooling without joining. I have no affiliation with HSLDA aside from joining myself for most of my homeschooling years. I simply love their mission and feel more confident legally homeschooling with this group of dedicated lawyers on my side.
I have recently discovered this homeschooling guide with lots of helpful information as well.
Curriculum: Where to find the best home school books
Now that you have researched the homeschooling laws for your state through HSLDA, you are ready to start planning your homeschooling journey. While some parents/children find great homeschooling success through “unschooling” which is a form of homeschooling in which the curriculum is developed by the parent according to the needs and interests of the child. While I am in awe of those parents who are successfully unschooling their children into outstanding adults who are thriving in all the areas that matter to them, unschooling has never been for me. If unschooling is your ideal, this article really isn’t for you.
On the other hand, almost all homeschooling families frown upon “schooling at home”. With schooling at home, parents try to run their homeschool much like a traditional public/private school except from the comfort of home. You can think of “schooling at home” as public school in your pajamas. Schooling at home is a good place to start, but you and your children will quickly realize that you want and deserve more.
Field trips, projects, independent study sessions, labs, arts, music, journaling, home management lessons, “adulting” (everything you wished you were taught in school), enrichment, sports, and so much more can be added to a typical textbook/workbook/test curriculum to make homeschooling so much more than traditional schooling ever could be. It is the combination of unschooling along with traditional textbooks that bring the most life to homeschooling in my humble opinion.
What are my favorite textbooks?
I am intentionally NOT using any affiliate links in which I get paid commissions for these links in the textbook section EXCEPT for the obvious Amazon links to Rosetta Stone. I want you to feel confident that my opinions aren’t being paid for. My opinions are never for sale.
I use A Beka books for most of our subjects. I’ve talked to a lot of moms who find A Beka to be too challenging. I like that it is challenging. I also like the white space on the pages as well as pictures. Quite frankly, I find A Beka to be easier on the eyes. We are spending a full school year in that workbook, after all.
I have recently discovered and fallen in love with BJU Press for history. They are, by far, my favorite history text.
While I have not yet tried Sonlight. We do plan to use their Computer Skills curricula for my oldest son this year. I’ll be sure to tell you what I think after we do. *We liked it. It is a good curricula, but we found more success with my teen by just buying the study guide for the certifications that he hopes to get.*
We have also used Alpha Omega Publications for Accounting. We really liked it. By “we really liked it”, I mean that I really liked it. My kids are now quite aware that they will never become accountants. Ruling out the wrong career path can be just as important and finding the right one.
Apologia has exceptional science programs. We most recently used their Physics curriculum with the lab and loved it.
Another site I like to browse when I’m looking for good curricula is Christian Book. They don’t have every curricula, but they do have a lot there.
Rosetta Stone is our current curriculum for foreign language. I have had two children who study French. One child is studying Italian. Their software can be buggy at times, and their customer service is a nightmare. My affiliate links are below, but I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Rosetta Stone. When the software is working well, it is easily the best foreign language software/curricula available. However, if your plan is to use the same software for multiple children over multiple years, be advised that Rosetta Stone will likely try to sell you the updates to fix problems that crop up rather than just give you the help.
If you can manage to visit a home school convention, they are great sources of inspiration. You can get your hands on the curricula samples and compare. You may find some conventions in your area HERE.
Used curriculum sales are almost as beneficial, plus you can get great prices. Check out local home school sites for used sales near you.
The most important thing is to shop around. Many of these listed (and several not listed, I’m sure) have online programs and/or video programs. Shop with your little one’s strengths and weaknesses in mind. Don’t be afraid to scrap something that isn’t working. There isn’t any one curriculum that is best for every family. We are all different. It may take some time to find what works best for you and your family. That’s okay. Give yourself grace.
While it is not the only way to home school in Tennessee, the best way to home school (in my humble opinion) is through an umbrella school. Essentially, your home (and car, LOL) becomes a satellite classroom for a private school (the umbrella school). Many other states have umbrella schools as a legal option for homeschooling, as well. HSLDA‘s website can help you navigate through the legalities of homeschooling in your state. HomeLife Academy is my umbrella school, and I love them.
Local Info: Memphis and Mid-South Area
MHEA is the Memphis-Area Home Education Association. I have been a member for most of my homeschooling years. They have Spelling Bees, Geography Bees, Science Fairs, Field Days, Graduation, Banquet (similar to prom), Choir, and Sports Teams such as Bowling League, Archery, Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Track & Field, Swimming, Softball, Golf, Fencing, and Cheerleading. They also have a number of wonderful support groups.
My youngest son has been taking Guitar Lessons under Tom Nunnery at the YMCA in Olive Branch, Mississippi for several years now. We love Mr. Tom and highly recommend him if your little one is a future blues guitarist.