Homeschool Resources


Your local library
Of course. But which books to choose? Read on.

This is a mail order catalog that provides a very high hit rate of good recommendations. Sure, you can turn around and order the books a little cheaper from (and we do order books from there too), but we encourage people to support Chinaberry because of the great filtering service they provide. Chinaberry Book Service, Inc., 2780 Via Orange Way, Suite B, Spring Valley, CA 91978; Order (now 24 hours) and Customer Service: 1-800-776-2242 Mon-Sat, 6am-8pm Pacific Time.


Miquon Math
Forget Saxon! Miquon Math is a thorough treatment of basic mathematical concepts focussing on understanding, with plenty of repetition but not mindless drilling. They provide intelligent, sensible variations-on-a-theme without insulting the child's intelligence. Cuisenaire Rods (included) help to provide a physical understanding to facilitate the transition to mental abstraction.

There's also a follow-up series (Key to Fractions, Key to Decimals, . . .) that's quite good.

Saxon Math
9 Jan. 1999: Ok, I'll eat crow on the previous paragraph. Miquon was fine for awhile but in order for our daughter to start getting good at math, we had to force her to work through the Saxon material at least every other day. Missing math for even a few days seemed to result in a significant regression of basic arithmetic skills. I can't imagine what would happen if she were in school and missed an entire summer of doing math. Unschoolers are cringing, I know. Erin wasn't self-motivated to do math, and we were afraid that if we waited until she was, a crucial window would be lost--a sort of 'math wiring' in her brain as she grows up. This is hypothetical, to our knowledge, so chalk it up to parenting instinct and not scientific fact. She does quite well now.

Dec. 2000: We are hearing rumors about the Singapore curriculum being even better, but have yet to substantiate that. Singapore children score #1 in the world in math. Stay tuned.

March 2002: Key Curriculum Press has released Discovering Algebra--a text that looks like it can compete with Saxon now. The problem with Saxon is that the explanations are sometimes incomplete, or they introduce a concept briefly at the end of one book and then start back into that concept much later, in the middle of the next book, at an advanced level. The Key series has always had superior explanations but has not had the depth and repetition of Saxon until now.

General Science

American Institute of Physics
This website is something special! Very rich in accurate scientific content and wonderful graphics. It contains both current information on cutting edge developments in physics as well as graphically rich historical content. Enjoy!
Bill Nye
Children and adults who watch this show regularly will be well on their way towards a solid foundation in science. They will also find themselves smiling a lot more in the process. Classic sight gags and puns are combined with a crisp, rapid-fire editing style to make the show so outrageously funny you can't help but learn. The science itself is clear, accurate, and obviously reflective of Nye's affection for the subject. He covers a wide range of topics, with occasional pleas for environmental responsibility. I love this show, and credit Erin's blisteringly high test scores in science primarily to the information she picks up here. Sadly, he moved on to other things and stopped producing new episodes. Won't you come home, Bill?

Kid's Discover Magazine
Kid's Discover is a slick glossy magazine with lots of photos and interesting topics. Highly recommended. Ages ~6 to 14. They don't have a web site, so we point to one of several descriptions of the magazine on the internet.

Reading Rainbow
This public television show defies the traditional categorizations shown on this page. For the 3-8 year olds, scientific subjects are a small fraction of the themes deftly handled by Lavar Burton. He speaks clearly and carefully, and stays focussed on his topic.

Other important sources
Science News


History Channel
This website, while supplementing the TV channel, has lots of good multimedia content in its own right. It is updated daily with topical history information.
Will not necessarily come up with these using an Alta Vista search.
We tend to use historical fiction to teach history.
Examples include the American Girl and Dear America series of books.
Colonial Williamsburg
Living history abounds. Colonial Williamsburg is very friendly to homeschoolers, though don't expect any major discounts if you're in this category. Go during the first few weeks of September and you'll find plenty of other homeschoolers. If your girls take the Felicity Tour, ask for Menzie Overton—he's the best guide.


Hyper Physics, Rod Nave, Georgia State University
This is a perfect supplement to any aspect of physics you may want to teach. It's also a gold standard for presenting a scientific curriculum on the internet. Bravo, Prof. Nave.


There are many misconceptions about the evolution of life on earth—e.g., 'The earth is much younger because radioactive dating is wrong, Evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, There are no transitional fossils.' The Talk.Origins website addresses topics of creationist misinformation point by point, backed with scientific data. More importantly, the contributors show exactly where in the process creationists have selectively ignored scientific findings (i.e., lied) to make their own arguments work. Very thorough and objective—well done! Nice FAQ also.
On the human footprint with dinosaur tracks controversy.
Some friends of ours have asked about this. This is the explanation.
Kratt's Creatures
I have to admit, I don't always like the presentation—but my daughter does, and she learns a lot from this show. It's all about animals, if you haven't guessed from the title. Two brothers (who look like they are in their late 20s) go to goofy extremes to learn more about animals, while a teenage girl ad-libs from a safe distance back in the library. The information is scientifically accurate (including a much-needed emphasis on the evolutionary roots of various species) and the videophotography passable. This show has grown on me to some extent, but Bill Nye is still the best.

Civics and Government

U. S. Constitution

Homeschool sites

Home Schooling Organizations
Home School Support Groups
Home Educational Resources
High School Homeschool Page

First posted 1 December 1997
Last updated 10 March 2002.
The opinions in these reviews are solely those of the author and may not be reproduced in any form without expressed written permission, other than fair use. Please write to David Forrest with any such requests, or you may point to this page on the web. I will endeavor to leave this URL intact, although my comments may be revised over time. If I do in the future change my Internet Service Provider (and therefore this URL), I will do my best to perform a reverse search and alert anyone pointing to this web page of the revised URL.
© copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000