- Resources & Study Materials
- There are many public and private organizations who are more
than willing to help educate children. The key is, don't be afraid
to ask. The worst someone can say is no. So consider calling
your local businesses and ask them for tours to educate your
child on the ways and wonders of the world.
- Public Library:
- Your library is a wonderful resource, too. I have gotten
many homeschooling books there. They often have books which you
can preview before purchasing as well.
- The catalog of Elijah Company is not only a source for homeschooling
materials but also a primer on homeschooling. It identifies the
various methods (above) and points out ways to follow that approach
and the materials that you can use to support you in that approach.
- One of the best, in my opinion, for an older child is the
Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewynn. It helps the teenager
see what learning can be like and encourages them to go for it
instead of being spoon-fed.
- Web sites:
- Web sources can be reached by searching for homeschooling.
More and more are added every day so it's hard to keep a good
up to date list.
- Visual Media:
- Don't underestimate the use you can make of movies. Each
one can help you develop questions for your child so they can
learn from the movie.
- For example, Tuskeegee Airmen is about black aviators in
WWII. Here are a few sample questions and discussions you can
- 1. How were African Americans treated during the war?
- 2. How is that different from how they are treated now?
- 3. What were the Tuskeegee airmen famous for?
- 4. What was the symbol for their squadron?
- (This symbol is mentioned in another movie: October Skies
which is about kids learning rocket science.)
- 5. Do you think their treatment was fair? Why or why not?
- Another recent program was Cherokee Kid. It is about African
Americans in the West.
- 1. How many blacks were cowboys or pioneers in the West?
- 2. How were they treated?
- 3. How were women treated?
- 4. Do you think this is a fair representation of history
at that time?
- Here are a few examples you can include in your learning
- TV can be a good resource when used well. Discovery, The
Learning Channel, The History Channel, NOVA and PBS have wonderful
documentaries. We've studied the American Revolution, weather,
dinosaurs, home building, Atlantis, inventions, volcanoes, and
the universe through TV. Biographies, Biology through National
Geographic specials are invaluable in education. Check their
schedules on their web pages.
- For example: The Learning Channel had a wonderful series
called Great Books. They discussed Machiavelli, and several other
books. But don't discount shows like "Cash Cab", "How
It's Made" and even "Dirtiest Jobs". All of these
are fun shows, but they are also extremely educational.
- If your child loves building or working with Dad on the car,
let them watch "Overhaulin'", "American HotRod",
"This Old House" and even "The New Yankee Workshop".
Each of these can show the importance of planning, working as
a team, geometry and mathematics.
- Even the movies can be educational. Use movies to increase
your children's understanding of what they have seen and it's
relativeness to history or actual events. Use the subject list
below as a jump off point for education.
- Most of Shakespeare's plays are on video. See Romeo &
Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing; Pride & Prejudice.
Even movies that don't have a literature tie-in can be useful:
Renaissance Man (Hamlet and English grammar (similes & metaphors),
You've got Mail introduces Pride & Prejudice and discusses
it. (My daughters and I analyzed the movie and then compared
it to the themes of Pride & Prejudice.), Camelot, Death be
not Proud, Our Town, Dead Poet's Society, To Kill a Mockingbird,
Clueless (adaptation of Emma), The Caine Mutiny
- 18th Century: 1776 (the musical about the Continental Congress
which wrote the Declaration of Independence), George Washington:
Forging a Nation (Patty Duke & Barry Bostwick), Roots, The
- 19th Century: John Wayne in any western (life style and attitudes
[watch out for differences in 20th century attitudes (about women
for example) and 19th century attitudes]) especially The Alamo;
The Buccaneer (last battle of the War of 1812 in New Orleans),
Gone with the Wind (Civil War), Glory (Civil War), Unforgiven,
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane, Gettysburg,
- 20th Century: Bonnie & Clyde (1930 gangsters), Apollo
13, Titantic, lots of World War I & II movies such as Bridge
on the River Kwai, The Sound of Music, , M*A*S*H*, Driving Miss
- (Civil Rights), Tuskagee Airmen (Black airmen in WWII), The
Dirty Dozen (WWII)
- Science: Jurassic Park (genetics, science in general, business
ethics), Contact (how & why scientists look for life in the
universe, astronomy), A Brief History of Time, Twister (tornadoes),
The China Syndrome (Nuclear Energy), Dante's Peak and Volcano
(Scientists investigate volcanoes), Deep Impact and Armageddon
(space & meteors)
- Executive Branch:
- The President: The American President (with Michael Douglas),
Dave, Don't forget the Harrison Ford movies like Air Force One.
Great government class, that one, including succession of power
- The Military: An Officer and a Gentleman, Hunt for Red October
(probably any Tom Clancy book turned into a movie), Taps, Top
Gun, A Few Good Men, Iron Eagle, Crimson Tide (military &
Cold War), Executive Decision
- The Cabinet and Departments: Patriot Games
- Legislative Branch: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Congress)
- Judicial Branch: 12 Angry Men, Eyewitness, The Pelican Brief
- Survival tactics:
- The Black Stallion, The Water Horse, Finding Nemo
- Rainman (Dustin Hoffman), Tribute
- Mighty Machines, there are many DVDs in this series. Apollo
13 (with Tom Hanks), The Right Stuff (with Ed Harris)
- Additional Considerations:
- Don't forget field trips and vacations. Take your children
to local museums and historical sites around your area. Include
interesting places during your vacations. Even a Sunday drive
in the country can provide good learning experiences. When you
see a farm, try to stop and talk to the cows, or if possible
make arrangements to visit area farms. If you go to the beach,
look for local Aquariums. Always look for local historical sites.
- Computer games can be good teachers. Spell It 3, ProOne's
Algebra, Algeblaster, SimCity (for thinking skills), Oregon Trail
(history), Rescue the Scientists, Microsoft's Ocean.
- If your child is in pre-school, kindergarten or early elementary
school, take some time to check out the products offered by LeapFrog.
My nephew loves his own "game boy" as he calls it.
He has a leapfrog and several games that promote learning numbers
and letters, writing and reading. Several 'games' include read
a long stories that help children learn to read and recognize
words and numbers. The games are available in different age groups
and school levels.
- Living Books puts out great CDs for younger kids to use to
learn to read: Little Monster at School, Harry and the Haunted
House, Grandma and Me and, in fact, can be used to learn foreign
languages. Monster and Harry are in English and Spanish.
- Include your child in cooking efforts as well. This promotes
reading comprehension, learning numbers as well as weights and
measures. As well as create some fun for you both.
- Children are never too young to clean. Cleaning their room
together helps promote team work. You can divide a task between
you both and create a race. Who ever picks up the fastest wins.
Letting them vacuum helps to promote paying attention to details.
But don't get frustrated if you have to go back and finish the
- Create a nature park in your own back yard. This promotes
learning about the world around them as well as biology. Watching
birds on a bird feeder, or a hummingbird zip back and forth is
not only fun to watch, but gives you an opportunity to talk about
nature and how different animals are impacted by humans and how
the animals impact us. As well as, how the evolution of animals
have progressed since the dinosaurs.
- For older children, try taking them grocery shopping. This
can promote organization skills, budgeting and managing money.
It's a great way to reinforce math and practical experience at
- Another idea for both you and your teenager, start a search
of your family tree. This will promote skills in research, visiting
and using the library, documenting research, and learning about
history. It can be more exciting when you're learning about history
that directly affects you. Did you have relatives who fought
during the Civil War, or perhaps at Gettysburg? Did your ancestors
fight in the revolutionary war? Or perhaps you can track them
down to a particular tribe in Africa, or a clan in Ireland. The
more you learn about your own family, the more you learn about
the history of the world as well.