Homeschooling Resources – Not Just for Homeschoolers

Are you trying to find creative ways to supplement your child’s education in the summer and after school? Or do you just need some tips on how to teach your child certain subjects at home? The answers to these questions and many more can be found easily in a variety of homeschooling resources currently available at bookstores, online and in local libraries.

Over the years, the  homeschooling movement in this country has produced many books that address teaching your child at home. Yet these valuable resources are often overlooked by parents who are not homeschooling full-time but want to supplement their child’s education.

Homeschooling Resources

  • Home Learning Books
  • Online Home Learning Resources
  • Field Trip Ideas
  • Ann Lahrson-Fisher, author of Fundamentals of Homeschooling: Notes on Successful Family Living and Homeschooling in Oregon: The 1998 Handbook, homeschooled both of her children. “Every parent is fundamentally in charge of their child’s education, but how they execute that responsibility varies – homeschooling, private or public school,” says Lahrson-Fisher. “And parents really are their children’s first and most important teachers. So in one broad sense, we all really do homeschool.”

    In Fundamentals of Homeschooling, Lahrson-Fisher covers everything from creative ways to teach your child certain subjects to suggested home teaching materials. Each chapter that explores teaching a specific subject includes a related list of resources, books, games and magazines.

    When the time comes to supplement your child’s education in a subject area, it is tempting to go out and look for packaged curriculum materials similar to those the child is using at school. As Lahrson-Fisher points out in Homeschooling in Oregon, you may want to evaluate whether purchasing packaged curriculum sets are the best use of your family’s education dollars.

    Instead, she suggests that supplemental education money may sometimes be better used on items such as musical instruments, lessons, art supplies, encyclopedias, classes, field trips, museum memberships, books, magazine subscriptions, woodshop tools and computer equipment.

    Lahrson-Fisher also recommends learning clubs as one option for parents in search of creative ways to supplement their child’s education. A learning club is a group of kids coming together to acquire knowledge, usually in one specific subject. These informal classes can be taught by several parents, friends or a hired specialist. Homeschoolers have been using this group approach for years and Lahrson-Fisher dedicates an entire chapter of her book, Fundamentals of Homeschooling, to helping parents set up successful learning clubs.

    “Offering a learning club to the neighborhood or school attendance area will improve learning opportunities for all of the children in the community,” says Lahrson-Fisher. “I would be inclined to offer science, art, drama, children’s chorus, field trips, game club, book groups, Latin – whatever tweaks the child’s interests that you are willing to take on.”

    Although some homeschooling books just discuss how to teach your child at home, most include lengthy resource lists that are broken down into suggested books, curriculum, magazines, online resources, educational materials, organizations and specific subject-related material.

    There are some homeschooling books that focus more on educational resources than teaching tips. Rebecca Rupp’s book, The Complete Home Learning Source Book: The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology, offers over 800 pages of educational resources arranged by subject including books, videos, Web sites, computer software, kits, activities, magazines and catalogs.

    A few homeschooling resources offer very specific and creative suggestions for supplementing your child’s education. Diane Flynn Keith’s book, Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games and Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time, breaks suggested educational car activities down by age group and subject area.

    And as many homeschoolers have learned, the library is a parent’s best friend when it comes to finding educational resources to supplement their child’s education. In addition to books and events, many libraries have compiled lists of resources for homeschooling families.

    The Multnomah County library has a homeschooling page on their Web site ( that includes homeschooling services, booklists, organizations, library programs and Web site links.

    And you don’t have to be a full-time homeschooler to join a homeschooling book group.

    With so much to learn in so little time, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to supplementing your child’s education. Homeschooling families have already put together many valuable books and resources that can help make teaching your own child easy, interesting and fun.  

    Home Learning Books

    Fundamentals of Homeschooling: Notes on Successful Family Life by Ann Lahrson-Fisher (Nettlepatch Press, 2003).

    Homeschooling in Oregon: The 1998 Handbook by Ann Lahrson-Fisher (Nettlepatch Press, 1998).

    The Complete Home Learning Source Book: The Essential Resource Guide for Homeschoolers, Parents, and Educators Covering Every Subject from Arithmetic to Zoology by Rebecca Rupp (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

    Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool through High School by Rebecca Rupp (Three Rivers Press, 2000).

    The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500 Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3 – 12 by Linda Dobson (Prima Publishing, 2002).

    Homeschool Your Child For Free: More Than 1,200 Smart, Effective, and Practical Resources for Home Education on the Internet and Beyond by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski (Prima Publishing, 2002).

    Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games and Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time by Diane Flynn Keith (Prima Publishing, 2002). 

    The Internet for Educators and Homeschoolers by Steve Jones (ETC Publications, 2000).

    The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book by Guy Bailey (Educators Press, 2003). 

    Creative Home Schooling for Gifted Children by Lisa Rivero (Great Potential Press, Inc., 2002).

    The Everything Homeschooling Book: Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Sherri Linsenbach (Adams Media Corporation, 2003). 

    The McGraw-Hill Homeschooling Companion by Laura Saba and Julie Gattis (McGraw-Hill, 2002).

    A Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling by Tamra B. Orr (Mars Publishing, 2002).

    Homeschooling Step-by-Step by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski (Prima Publishing, 2002). 

    Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School by Grace Llewellyn (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001).

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    Online Home Learning Resources 

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Multnomah County Library Homeschooling site

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling Web site

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Oregon Home Education Network

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Ann Lahrson-Fisher’s Web site

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">National Home Education Network

    Home Education Magazine

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">Scholastic Books and Teaching Resources

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">PBS

    style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana">National Geographic Society

    National Wildlife Federation for Kids

    Weekly Reader Corporation

    Broderbund Software

    Lark in the Morning – World of Music

    Youth Service America

    Oregon Blue Book


    Field Trip Ideas 

    Educational field trips in the Portland area abound. Here are a few possibilities: Audubon Society of Portland, Classical Chinese Garden, CM2/Children’s Museum 2nd Generation, Ladybug Theater, End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Japanese Garden, Multnomah County Central Library, Northwest Children’s Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Oregon Symphony, Oregon Zoo, Portland Art Museum, Portland Farmers Market, Portland Opera’s Broadway Series, Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre, Tryon Creek State Park, World Forestry Center. 

    A short drive will unearth many more great field trip destinations: A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, Salem; Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson, Wash.; Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria; Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville; Fort Clatsop National Memorial, south of Astoria; Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, Wash.; High Desert Museum, Bend; Lelooska Foundation, Ariel, Wash.; Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport; Maryhill Museum of Art, Goldendale, Wash.; Mount Hood Railroad, Hood River; Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport; Oregon Garden, Silverton; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland; Oregon State Capitol, Salem.

     -Cynthia Johnson