Beyond the Basics: Real Life Homeschooling
The homeschooling adventure is filled with joys and challenges, successes and failures. We've filled our pages with support and information for parents facing special challenges: homeschooling a large family, caring for babies or toddlers while homeschooling, single and working parents who choose to homeschool, military homeschooling families, special needs homeschooling, home educating teenagers, and educating the gifted child. We also take a look at the practical side of homeschooling--how to make it fun, how to get organized, how to save money, how to prepare for college, and much, much more!
Real Life HSing
Homeschoolers sometimes face unique situations. It is helpful to connect with others who have the same life experiences as you do. And there is no denying that challenging situations arise in the best of circumstances. Sometimes the best support you can receive when dealing with a challenging situation is knowing that others have dealt with it too. Homeschooling in general can be challenging--homeschooling in special circumstances can feel overwhelming. But there is help and information for almost every situation. We've compiled the best resources for homeschoolers who face unique situations: working and single parenting, homeschooling with little ones in the family, military homeschooling, home educating a gifted child or a child with special needs, and homeschoolers who are incorporating religious or ethnic ideals in their homeschools.
Making It Fun
If workbooks are getting boring, and cabin fever is setting in, it might just be the right time for you to add some fun to your homeschool. Games, contests, and more can break up any monotony you are facing. You'll find ideas for field trips and extracurricular activities. And you may find that your kids think "doing school" is funner than anything else they can imagine!
Practical HSing
Any homeschooling family knows that the process of learning takes up most of your time. Getting things organized may the key to success for some families. We've compiled tips and ideas to make your homeschooling practical and a good fit into the rest of your life. As a bonus, we take a look at some of the ways you can save money while learning together as a family.
High School
Homeschooling through the teenage/high school years offers several different challenges. You may need to meet specific requirements and you may find that you are teaching subjects with which you are not familiar. In addition, many parents don't begin homeschooling until their child reaches high school age. To help navigate this sometimes new territory, we've put together helpful resources to help both parent and student successfully homeschool during the high school years.
Colleges & Careers
More and more universities and colleges welcome and encourage applications from homeschoolers. We'll help you understand the process of applying for college and the special needs of homeschoolers, including preparing transcripts, entering college early, and working with institutions that may not be used to unconventional learning models.
What's Popular
Southwest Alabama Home Educators (SAHE)
Southwest Alabama Home Educators (SAHE) is a volunteer Christian support group uniting families who home educate their children in the Mobile and Baldwin County areas. Offers email support group, information on state laws, information, support, and more.
Education: 12 Benefits of Home-Schooling
Toni J. Spearman, a Black mom, shares her reasons for homeschooling her children and details the benefits she has seen. These include quality time, choice in curriculum, control over your schedule, family unity, and greater freedom. 
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is a cultural and educational research center that promotes a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the significance of civil rights developments in Birmingham with an increasing emphasis on the international struggle for universal human rights. BCRI documents the struggle of African-American citizens in Birmingham to become full participants in the city's government and business community.
Robinson Iron Factory Tour
Robinson Iron is located in Alexander City. Offers a free tour of the facilities that produce cast iron, aluminum and bronze historic reproductions, furniture, lamps, fountains, urns, and more. During the tour you will see the projects that are currently being working on.
Mann Wildlife Learning Museum
Located at the Montgomery Zoo, the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum offers one of the nation's finest collections of professionally presented North American wildlife. All are shown in realistically created environments including painted mural backdrops depicting the natural habitat of the animal, with sounds of animals and several 'touch and feel' exhibits.
Electrified Learning Tour
The best way to learn about electricity is to come see for yourself by touring a power plant. You'll learn how power plants change energy into electricity. Come see each process at work: a hydroelectric dam, a fossil fuel generator, or a nuclear reactor. The tour is free.
Warren Museum, Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind
Located in Talladega, the Warren Museum preserves AIDB's history and legacy for the future by tracing the development and progression of AIDB's education, rehabilitation and employment programs. It provides meaningful insight into the unique lifestyle and education issues and give appropriate recognition to the accomplishments and contributions of deaf and blind individuals.
Golden Flake Factory Tour
Golden Flake produces a variety of snack foods including pork skins, cheese puffs and potato chips. Tour their factory and watch how each product is manufactured. The tour is free.
Montgomery Zoo
The Montgomery Zoo features 500 animals representing over 150 species - all in a barrier free, natural environment and divided into continents featuring Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms. Take a rail tour through each realm on McMounty 102, the Zoo's train, and stop by our Gift Shop to find that perfect souvenir.
Christian Home Education Fellowship of Alabama (CHEF)
CHEF of Alabama was founded to serve all home educators in Alabama by providing information, services, and resources from a Christian perspective to anyone who needs help in the area of home schooling.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyl...
Sloss Furnaces
On April 18, 1882, Sloss Furnaces began producing iron and did not stop until ninety years later. Over the decades, Sloss Furnaces gave rise to the city of Birmingham and served as a battleground for economic, employment and social reform. Now recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Sloss Furnaces is open to the public as a museum of industry which speaks to the contributions of the working men who labored there. With its massive furnaces, web of pipes, and tall smokestacks, it offers us a g...
Mote Marine Aquarium
From its humble beginnings in tiny shed in a small Florida town, Mote Marine Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations and public exhibits in Key West and field stations in Summerland Key and Charlotte Harbor. The Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota offers large displays of marine life, mammals, turtles, and aquaculture.
Black History Museum
The Museum officially opened in December 1986, during the Christmas on the Coosa Celebration. It displays artifacts, documents, memorabilia and art works relative to the lives of African-Americans from both individuals and families in the area, including a mirror and dresser used by Joe Louis in Chambers County. Also on permanent display, are paintings donated by local artists -Columbus Cook and Steve Mitchell, which depicts scenes from life in Wetumpka.
Georgia Governor's Honors Program
The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors during the program. The program offers instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom and that is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.
Resources
Homeschool Open House
Personal insights from 55 families worldwide about a real day of homeschooling. Includes homeschool illusions, family culture, learning and family style, parenting strategies, chores and organization, family management, personal empowerment, decision making, change flexibility, resources, and questions to consider before deciding to homeschool. A private tour of homeschooling homes and reflective thoughts from families. Also includes five year follow-ups from families in HOMESCHOOLING: A PATCHWORK OF DAYS.
Home Schooling from Scratch : Simple Living, Super Learning
Parents learn what they really need, how to find or create materials and opportunities for less money, and how to organize their household for economical, happy learning.
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It
Confused and intimidated by the complexities of homeschooling, many sincere parents never get past the "thinking about it" stage. Now Lisa Whelchel - herself a homeschooling mother of three - introduces fifteen real families and shows how they overcome the challenges of their unique homeschooling situations. This nuts-and-bolts approach deals with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses, and outside responsibilities, as well as children's age variations, social and sports involvement, learning disabilities, and boredom. Seeing a wide variety of successfully homeschooling families in action will give parents the confidence to make their own dream of home-based education a reality.
Visual Brainstorms
Children who love word games, logic puzzles, secret codes, mazes, and math mysteries will stretch their mental muscles with Visual Brain Storms. This set of 100 cards, each of which includes a humorous, full-color drawing, promises "the world's best brainteaser questions." The characters in the questions often have funny names (Professor Pith Bugby pops up often) or faces or dilemmas to solve. The answers and explanations are on the back of each card, along with a related bonus question. Many of the puzzles involve math concepts, spatial reasoning, logic, or sequential thinking, but some can be solved with plain common sense. Here's a sample: "Frank and Helen's annual singles elimination tennis tournament has drawn 18 players this year. How many matches must be played before there is a winner for the year?" Answer: "Every match will produce one loser, and every person other than the winner will lose once and only once. Eighteen players makes 17 losers; therefore it will take 17 matches to have a tournament winner." Visual Brain Storms is a humorous, painless way to improve those higher-order thinking skills. Visual Brain Storms: The Smart Thinking Game is for one or more players. --Marcie Bovetz
Organizing Plain and Simple: A Ready Reference Guide With Hundreds Of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges
Desk drowning in papers? No room for the car in the garage? Santa still sitting on the roof in May? A less-is-more philosophy is great, but we all still have way too much stuff. The home office swallows up whole rooms, as does the family computer station. Then there's the home gym, the TV room, and the playroom, not to mention our collections - books, CDs, toys. Time management experts agree that when the minor things that take up space in the mind are eliminated, there is room to think about the big things. The same goes for the home. The visual clarity that comes from de-cluttering rooms, finances, and time promotes mental clarity, peacefulness, and contemplation. When everything is organized, it is easier to enjoy the meaningful things in life.

Organizing Plain & Simple is like a course from an expert teacher, grounded in the fundamentals and enriched with philosophy, tips, anecdotes, illustrations - everything necessary to make home and life run more smoothly. Donna Smallin takes a personalized, nonjudgemental approach to explaining how to assess each individual's situation and suggesting where to start organizing - room by room - and then covers how to stay organized. Then she offers advice on organizing time and finances, as well as organizing for the seasons and for special events - the birth of a baby, combining households, a move, kids going off to college, successful downsizing. Smallin presents a broad range of innovative solutions in the running feature "One Challenge, Three Solutions" that includes tips for solving classic organizational issues from a wide range of professional organizers.

Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families
From a bedroom community in Nebraska to a farm in Vermont, from families who rely on workbooks to those who have sworn them off, this in-depth examination of the lives of homeschoolers covers a wide range of people and methods. When author Nancy Lande started homeschooling more than 10 years ago, this is the book she wanted that didn't exist. What better way to create your homeschool than reading about others and picking and choosing the styles that appeal to you? Lande has corralled a variety of homeschoolers and, with some deft editing, allowed them to speak for themselves. Every chapter features a different household on any given day. Many of the writers are mothers, but a stay-at-home dad and several children tell their tales as well. Their detailed descriptions start in the waking hours of morning and get down to the nitty-gritty information of everyday life in a homeschool: how moms fit in showers, how chores are divvied up, how reading and research are gently initiated, how parents set aside time for themselves.

These writers invite the reader into their homes and advise, "Don't mind the mess." Their passages are often funny and unflinchingly honest. They aren't embarrassed to tell you they whipped out SpaghettiOs for a hurried lunch or stole a peek at CNN while ignoring the chaos in the playroom. Some of the families have created highly structured school environments within their homes, with desks and sharpened pencils. Others promote freestyle learning, with their children sprawled across the house working on projects or reading in between walking the dog, playing games, and riding bikes. The majority of families here live in Pennsylvania, the author's home state, but one writes from as far away as Scotland, another lives on a mountain in Alaska, and yet another checks in from a college town in Texas. Their learning logs, reading lists, and journal entries, along with family photos, help illustrate the book. The quilt they piece together is a great service to those wondering how to approach homeschooling. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

Catholic Home Schooling: A Handbook for Parents
Mary Kay Clark, the director of the accredited and successful Seton Home Study School shows parents why and how to teach their children at home, giving scores of practical examples and setting forth the spiritual, moral and academic advantages. The book includes chapters by several experts and covers Catholic curriculum, textbooks, Catholic family life, legal aspects, discipline, socialization, home management, using computers, children with learning disabilities, single-parent home schooling, the father's role, Catholic home schooling support groups, and much more. Perfect for mothers who are considering home schooling, or who want to convince their husbands or relatives that home schooling is a good idea. Parents already know the problems in the schools (both public and Catholic). This book gives the solution! A tremendously encouraging, uplifting and practical handbook. 
The Well-Ordered Home: Organizing Techniques for Inviting Serenity into Your Life
Organizing the home is one of those desirable and beneficial activities that remain elusive for many. This practical guide explains the many benefits - physical, emotional, and spiritual - of an organized home and shows how to attain them. Breaking down the process into 50 steps, the author uses her own experiences as a psychologist and professional home organizer to help readers clear away not only the physical clutter but the psychological blocks that encourage it and hinder organization. She tells where to start, encourages small steps, and explores the psychology of organizing. Next she addresses fundamental principles, including keeping tools where they will be used and making the most of active storage space. Finally, she shows how to get rid of excess stuff, including how to attack those never-ending piles and junk drawers, and stem the inflow of junk into the home. These easy exercises, tips, and stories will truly help readers organize their homes for efficiency, peacefulness, and well-being.
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Travel around the board in this fast-paced, head-to-head game as you hit your buzzer before your friend can steal your question! Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 3rd-5th grade skills in math, language and fine arts, science, history, and geography!
LeapPad Game - Mind Wars Jr. Interactive Game
Bring a friend and try this brand new way to play with your LeapPad! Race around the board in this fast-paced, wonderfully wacky game. Be the first to close all five windows and you will become the Mind Wars master and learn important 1st and 2nd grade skills in math, language arts, life science, physical science, and social studies!
Unclutter Your Home: 7 Simple Steps, 700 Tips & Ideas (Simplicity Series)
Hundreds of practical ideas for sorting, evaluating, and getting rid of all those material items that get in the way of a simplified lifestyle.
One Thing at a Time : 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day
Simple, effective ways to put things in their place

Those piles of papers, clothes, and other things you thought you'd successfully de-cluttered have returned, and this time they brought friends. What's the use of trying to fight the clutter? Is there a better way?

This powerful and useful guide delivers solutions that work, no matter how overwhelmed you feel. The answer isn't an elaborate new system, or a solemn vow to start tomorrow. Instead, psychotherapist and organizer Cindy Glovinsky shares 100 simple strategies for tackling the problem the way it grows--one thing at a time. Here's a sampling of the tips explained in the book:

*Declare a fix-it day
*Purge deep storage areas first
*Label it so you can read it
*Get a great letter opener
*Practice toy population planning
*Leave it neater than you found it
Written in short takes and with a supportive tone, this is an essential, refreshing book that helps turn a hopeless struggle into a manageable part of life, one thing at a time.
Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy
Save Thousands of Dollars a Year

Jonni McCoy and her family are proof that you live on one income. The McCoys made a successful transition from two incomes to one while living in one of the most expensive parts of America: the San Francisco Bay Area.

Her Miserly Guidelines will help you save thousands of dollars a year on everything from groceries to electricity to insurance and household cleaners—as well as reveal the hidden costs of holding a job and common money wasters. Her practical, proven cost-saving techniques, strategies, tips, and recipes will help you live frugally without feeling deprived.

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook
If you are thinking about homeschooling, or are struggling with a educational homeschooling curriculum that is difficult to use, let Dr. Ray and Dorothy Moore show you how to make homeschooling an easy-to-live-with family adventure in learning. This low-stress, low-cost program shows you how to build a curriculum around your child's needs and interests - and around a realistic family schedule. Instead of a cut-and-dried approach, you'll discover the freedom of a flexible program that encourages creativity and initiative.
Homeschooling on a Shoestring : A Jam-packed Guide
So you want to homeschool but don't think you can afford it. This book is a compendium of ideas for the family that wants to start or continue homeschooling on a tight budget. Includes ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom, sources for inexpensive curriculum, affordable teaching tools, and ideas for low-cost field trips. Also discusses ways to run your household more efficiently and with less cost.
Happy Phonics
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
The Letter Factory Game
Teaches Phonics! The race is on! With two games in one, children play together and learn letter names and sounds with actions and music. Wacky Professor Quigley guides players every step of the way so no reading is required! Games automatically adjust to skill level, to keep children learning at just the right pace! 2 Games in 1: Counting Colors & Letters: Learn letter names and sounds by matching color cards to move around the board. Leaping Letters: Listen to the name or sound and then find the card that matches it! Includes: interactive card reader, game board, 26 letter cards and 4 playing pieces.
Black Books Galore's Guide to Great African American Children's Books
"This is a great resource that fills a tremendous need. It should be on parents' shelves at home as well as in every school." —Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. Harvard Medical School

These are exciting times for African American children's literature. Never before have there been so many titles available. Now the three mothers who founded Black Books Galore! —the nation's leading organizer of festivals of African American children's books —share their expert advice on how to find and choose the best. This fully annotated guide opens the door to a wonderful world of reading for the children in your life. Here are the most positive, the best-written, and the most acclaimed books in every category, including board books, story and picture books, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, biography, fables, and more.

Invaluable for parents, teachers, and librarians, this easy-to-use, illustrated reference guide features:

  • Quick, lively descriptions of 500 books, plus 200 additional recommendations
  • Helpful guidelines for encouraging young readers
  • Easy-to-find listings organized by age level and indexed by title, topic, author, and illustrator
  • Portraits of selected authors and illustrators
  • Listings of award winners and Reading Rainbow Books.
Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home
Educational Travel on a Shoestring shows parents how they can help their children learn–and have a blast–while traveling. From researching destinations to sharing activities that both teach and entertain, this priceless guide offers practical information for parents who want to have more fun with their kids, build closer family ties, and enjoy richer educational experiences–all without spending a fortune.
Home Organizing Workbook: Clearing Your Clutter, Step-By-Step
Failing the Mary Poppins' snap-the-fingers approach to cleaning, here's the next best thing: an utterly practical handbook that offers lasting results for anyone looking to banish clutter from every room in the house. Home organizer par excellence Meryl Starr offers up her hardworking organizing solutions in The Home Organizing Workbook, a straightforward guide to getting organized. The room chapters begin with targeted questionnaires that help the reader identify specific organizational problems, followed by hundreds of hardworking solutions and strategic maintenance tips. Those itching to get started can dive right in with step-by-step organizing projects ranging from quick-and-easy weeknight jobs, like overhauling the spice cabinet, to more intensive endeavors such as reorganizing the bedroom closet. Accessory lists at the end of each chapter feature dozens of the best products available, from lazy susans to shelf dividers, and explain exactly how they can be used to optimum effect in each room, while the extensive resource list shows where to get them. It's a package as tidy as its solutions: concealed Wire-O lay-flat binding, tabbed chapters to take readers straight to their problem area du jour, and full-color, solution-oriented photographs sure to inspire action. Ready to clear that clutter and keep it that way? The Home Organizing Workbook is the ultimate guide to preserving open spaces.
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