Thanks to the coronavirus, millions of American parents have spent the last two months overseeing their children’s education from home. That experience, however, was a far cry from homeschooling, as governments merely co-opted mom and dad to execute public school curricula and schedules. True homeschooling boasts flexibility, creativity, and real education—not the social-engineering and feel-good assignments handed out in most public schools.
Now so-called experts, such as Michael Chertoff, who is advising D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser on school reopening, are floating the idea that schools should not reopen until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Whether Chertoff’s recommendation will come to pass is unknown, just as it is unknown whether schools may open in the fall only to close mid-year.
Rather than risk this uncertainty and another year of sub-par education for your children, this fall may be the time to move to real homeschooling. If you are among the parents considering a change, here are some resources that will help you make the decision.
1. Dorothy Sayers, ‘The Lost Tools of Learning’
A must-read for anyone considering homeschooling—or frankly any citizen concerned about the sad state of public education—is Dorothy Sayers’ “The Lost Tools of Learning.” Sayers, an Oxford-educated writer and poet probably best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, delivered this address to her alma mater in 1947. It is now readily available online.
You will likely nod along to much of what Sayers said in her address, recognizing that the flaws she pointed out some 70-plus years ago have only worsened. While it would be wonderful if the public education system could return to the roots of learning, that seems unlikely, making homeschooling an excellent option.
2. ‘102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum,’ by Cathy Duffy
What kind of homeschool? Cathy Duffy’s book, “102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum,” will help you decide. While Duffy’s go-to guide identifies the best homeschool resources by categories, such as math and science, or complete homeschool curricula and online learning, she begins by discussing the different approaches to education.
In addition to the classical model recommended by Sayers, Duffy discusses the Charlotte Mason and Montessori models of education, and others. Her book helps parents assess the pros and cons of each method in light of their children’s differing temperaments and strengths.
This introductory section of the book is itself worthwhile, but the added detail of top picks for subjects and programs make the entire book a must-have resource. Duffy’s webpage provides additional background and information.
3. ‘The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home,’ by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
“The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home” is a third indispensable resource. This hefty book by the mother-daughter duo provides an in-depth discussion of ideal education.
While the text could guide an entire K-12 curriculum, the book provides insights and encouragement that will benefit all homeschooling parents, even those who opt for pre-packaged and pre-designed curriculum. The authors also provide great lists of resources, including books, webpages, curriculum packages, and more.
4. Homeschool Publishers
Duffy’s “102 Top Picks” and “The Well-Trained Mind” both highlight different publishers of homeschool texts and other resources. The Well-Trained Mind also lists its recommended publishers and suppliers online.
These recommended publishers provide another great resource for parents considering the plunge. Request a catalogue from the publishers identified, or peruse their webpages. For instance, Memoria Press is a favorite among homeschooling parents using the classical approach to education. Order a variety of catalogues from different publishers to familiarize yourself with the options available and to further assess the ideal curriculum for your child.
5. Book Distributors
While several publishing houses also sell their books directly, many homeschooling parents use two large discount distributors: Rainbow Resource and Christian Books.
Both offer catalogues and online searching. Because they carry products by a variety of publishers, parents can easily review different curriculum and resources side-by-side. Christian Books offers many other books besides homeschool options, which are available here.
Rainbow Resource focuses mainly on homeschool resources and related books, but also offers some toys and other gift-type items. While available online, the Rainbow Resource catalogue is worth ordering and keeping because of its wonderful reviews for each of the books included. The organization of the catalogue also allows for an easy comparison of resources and will likely reveal some perfect products you had no idea existed.
6. Homeschool Legal Defense Association
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, also provides a plethora of information on homeschooling—most importantly the various state requirements to school your children at home. Visit and explore the easily navigable site to learn more about homeschooling, the law, and other resources.
Then once you’re ready for the plunge, you will know what you must do (if anything) to inform the school system of your homeschooling decision.
These resources will help parents further explore homeschooling. Just remember, though, that homeschooling does not mean social isolation—that’s purely the coronavirus. So don’t let cabin fever keep you from leaving the government monopoly and taking charge of your kids’ education.