Although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, in some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... in which I have spoken of so many important things done by Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Homeschool Advice

The first thing you need to do is research the homeschooling laws in your state to see what is required. Fortunately, I live in a state where I don't have to do reports and portfolios and such and can just do what I want. From the laws, you can determine who you need to contact. Where I live, you can choose to sign up with your local school district and have your child tested periodically, or you can sign up with an umbrellas school for a modest fee and they will keep your records for you. I do the second option, personally.

Finally, seek out how to plug into your local homeschooling community through co-ops, church groups and your local state homeschool association.

After nine years of homeschooling, this is what I have learned when it comes to curriculum selection:

Math - I now use Singapore for my elementary kids up through the 6B book. After that, using Khan Academy has been a wonderful, free resource for the math that comes after basic arithmetic. Singapore gives them a rigorous foundation to forge ahead in more complex math. It doesn't hurt that their old mom is a math person!

History - I like the Mystery of History. We have done the first three volumes. I love that the read aloud style is more conversational that Story of the World and it is geared toward all ages. When history gets "rough" in Volume 3, she even gives you a heads up warning that the "following is not for young readers". I love not accidentally traumatizing your little kids while homeschooling, don't you?

I'm still wondering about a good US History curriculum. That may be a project of mine sometime in the future.

A must have for your middle to high schoolers are the Uncle Eric books. For those of you who enjoy Wall St. and the Bolshevik Revolution, you may enjoy these books as well. One of the most famous in this series is Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, which is a beginners book on Austrian Economics.

Language Arts- Michael Clay Thompson is hands down the grammar/language/writing program that ends all programs for me. I will preface my praise by saying that my kids did at least two years of Shurley English before we did MCT. Her method of teaching the parts of speech provided a firm foundation for us to be able to handle this rigorous curriculum. What I love about MCT, is that it works for my dyslexic without being stuck in remedial world. I hope you all can see my grammar improve from my teaching it! There are several components to each level, which does run you around $175 each. You start off in the Grammar book, which takes about 2-3 months. After getting started with that, you fold in the four level analysis practice sentences, which we do everyday. After finishing the Grammar book, you add in the Vocabulary and Writing books. After completing the Writing, you finish up the school year with the Poetry book. There are six levels of this program and we are currently on level two. Level one was as rigorous as all of my high school English classes put together, so buckle up! It is easy to customize it to your child's needs. This year, I'm modeling how to write paragraphs for them, as I think they need that stepping stone before striking out on their own. In my opinion, writing is the hardest thing to get kids to do at home. TI believe it teaches what John Taylor Gatto spoke of once in an interview about learning to write with an "inner jazz". This not only teaches form, but sounds, cadence, etc. his curriculum is enjoyable because there is no busywork!!!  Check out all the products at Royal Fireworks Press, a curriculum publisher that doesn't waste you or your child's time with busywork!

Spelling Power - The only book you'll ever need to do spelling - works all the way up to 12th grade for all of your kids. I found my used copy on ebay for $30. The booklets they sell to go with it are definitely worth it! They sell for around $6 on Christianbook and keep a handy record of progress.

Science - I use Apologia in the elementary ages. In high school, we have also used Apologia in conjunction with homeschool coop. However, note that if you plan to take the CLEP or Advanced Placement exams, the regular Apologia textbooks are not enough to fully prepare you. If you plan on making your high school science an AP level course, I would recommend getting a study of guide of the exam and a cheap, used college textbook to fill in the gaps.

Bible- One chapter of the KJV everyday keeps the Devil away! We read it out loud and discuss, verse by verse if necessary. I point out if its a famous verse, or point out all the connections I can think of. When I first began doing this, I had to go to online commentaries to figure out how to explain things. I can say I've grown a tremendous amount personally by simply explaining the Scriptures to my children.

Reading - A lot has changed in how I view teaching reading. Apparently, speech and language difficulties are an issue in my family, so I can't assume that my kids are perceiving sounds and language as I am. See my post on dyslexia here. If you have an easy reader - then get them an ereader  and load up on some free books!
The Robinson Curriculum is a simplified, inexpensive way to homeschool. You do a Saxon math lesson, write a one page composition a day, and read these books the rest of the day. The compositions are corrected periodically, and the child checks their own math.
From Homeschool Treasures, the complete Robinson Self-Teaching Reading Curriculum book list. Reading List (K-12), which includes history, philosophy, religion, and economics
You can buy extra ink and paper and print them out, put them on order from your library, or download them onto your e-reader. You may have noticed that I have most of them linked for your convenience.

McGuffey Primer
McGuffey First Reader
Nursery Rhymes
The Life of Washington by Josephine Pollard
McGuffey Second Reader
The Tale of Jolly Robin by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Tale of Solomon Owl by Arthur Scott Bailey
Our Hero General Grant by Josephine Pollard
The Tale of Paddy Muskrat by Arthur Scott Bailey
The Bobbsey Twins at School Laura Lee Hope
Childhood's Happy Hours
Columbus and the Discovery of the New World by Josephine Pollard
The Bible for Young People by Josephine Pollard
Fifty Famous Stories by James Baldwin
Four Naval Heroes by Mabel H. Beebe
The Rover Boys on the Great Lakes by Arthur M. Winfield
The Rover Boys on the River by Arthur M. Winfield
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
Five Little Peppers Midway by Margaret Sidney
The Rover Boys at College by Arthur M. Winfield
Tom Swift and His Airship by Victor Appleton
The Rover Boys on the Ocean by Arthur M. Winfield
Tom Swift and His Air Scout by Victor Appleton
The Adventures of Pinocchio by C. Collodi
The Rover Boys on Tour by Arthur M. Winfield
Ben Pepper by Margaret Sidney
Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris
The Rover Boys on Snowshoe Island by Arthur M. Winfield
Aesop's Fables by Aesop
The Rover Boys in Southern Waters by Arthur M. Winfield
Joel Pepper by Margaret Sidney
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The Rover Boys on Land and Sea by Arthur M. Winfield
Tom Swift and His Motor Boat by Victor Appleton
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggins
The Rover Boys Down East by Arthur M. Winfield
Do and Dare by Horatio Alger
Alice and Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Rover Boys on a Hunt by Arthur M. Winfield
Uncle Remus Returns by Joel Chandler Harris
Jack's Ward by Horatio Alger 
McGuffey Third Reader
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Maples Dodge
Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades by G.A. Henty
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Bob, Son of Battle by Alfred Ollivant
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
McGuffey Fourth Reader
The Pied Piper by Robert Browning
The Life of Lafayette by Henry C. Watson
Brave and Bold by Horatio Alger
Facing the World by Horatio Alger
David Crockett, Scout by Charles Fletcher Allen
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
Told by Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Uncle Remus and His Friends by Joel Chandler Harris
McGuffey Fifth Reader
Picturesque America  by William Cullen Bryant (will need to break into parts)
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Memoirs of U.S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper
Life of Washington Vol. 1 by Washington Irving
The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Life of Washington Vol. 2 by Washington Irving
Poems of Kipling by Rudyard Kipling
McGuffey Sixth Reader
Life of Washington Vol. 3 by Washington Irving
The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper
Diaries of George Washington Vol. 1 by George Washington
The Law by Frederic Bastiat
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
Poems of Oliver Wendell Holmes
Afloat and Ashore by James Fenimore Cooper
David Crockett's Autobiography
Not Yours to Give by David Crockett
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
Economic Sophisms by Frederic Bastiat
Life of Lincoln by L.P. Brockett
The Friendly Arctic by Vilhjalmar Stefansson
What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray Rothbard
The Song of Roland
Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
On That Day Began Lies by Leonard Read
The Holy War by John Bunyan
The Soldier in Our Civil War Vol. 1 by Frank Leslie
Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood by George MacDonald
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Heather and Snow by George MacDonald
The Life of Stonewall Jackson by R.L. Dabney
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle
Environmental Overkill by Dixie Lee Ray and Lou Guzzo
The Heart of the Antarctic Vol 1 by E. H. Shackleton
Tom Sawyer: Abroad, Detective by Mark Twain
The Soldier in Our Civil War vol. 2 by Frank Leslie
The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman
Don Quixote by Cervantes
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
Cicero's Orations
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton
Julius Caeser by William Shakespeare
Of the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals by William Harvey
United States Historical Documents
The Enterprising Americans by John Chamberlain
My African Journey by Winston Churchill
The War Between the States by Alexander Stephens
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear by Peter Beckman
Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis
Faraday's Lectures
Fiat Money Inflation in France by Andrew Dickson White
Caesar's Gallic War by Julius Caesar
Lincoln's Speeches and Letters
The World Crisis by Winston Churchill
Fifty Years in the Royal Navy by Admiral Sir Percy Scott
King Henry V by William Shakespeare
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana
Common Sense of the Exact Sciences by W.K. Clifford
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Paradise Regained by John Milton
Institutes of Christian Religion Vol. 1 by John Calvin
The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare
Institutes of Christian Religion Vol. 2 by John Calvin
The Ultimate Resource II by Julian Simon
Access to Energy by Arthur Robinson
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding  by John Locke
Observations on Daniel and St. John by Sir Isaac Newton
Bellum Civile by Julius Caesar
De Bello Gallico by Julius Caesar
The Mechanical Universe by Olenick, Apostol and Goodstein
Answers to the Mechanical Universe
Beyond the Mechanical Universe
Answers to Beyond the Mechanical Universe
Supplementary Physics Problems by Foster Strong
Statistical Mechanics by Norman Davidson
Chemical Principles by Gray, and Haight Dickerson
Thermodynamics by Lewis and Randall
Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearny

Supplemental Fiction List
Little Prudy's Dotty Dimple by Sophie May
Dotty Dimple at Play
Dotty Dimple at Home
Dotty Dimple Out West
Dotty Dimple's Flyaway
Dotty Dimple at her Grandmother's
Little Prudy's Sister Suzey
Ruth Fielding at The Red Hill by Alice B. Emerson
Ruth Fielding at Briarwood Hall
Ruth Fielding at Snow Camp
Ruth Fielding Silver Ranch
Ruth Fielding at Sunrise Farm
Ruth Fielding and the Gypsies
Ruth Fielding in Moving Pictures
Ruth Fielding at College
Ruth Fielding in the Red Cross
Ruth Fielding at the War Front
Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound
The Bobbsey Twins in the Country by Laura Lee Hope
The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore
The Bobbsey Twins at Snow Lodge
The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat
The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook
The Bobbsey Twins Home
The Bobbsey Twins in a Great City
The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island
The Bobbsey Twins on the Deep Blue Sea
The Bobbsey Twins in the Great West
Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle by Victor Appleton
Tom Swift and His Wireless Message
Tom Swift and His Wizard Camera
Young Salesman by Horatio Alger
Strive and Succeed
Slow and Sure
Phil, the Fiddler
Erie Train Boy
Young Acrobat
Making His Way
Only an Irish Boy
Sam's Chance
Andy Gordon
Paul, the Peddler
Charlie Codman's Cruise
Joe's Luck
Frank's Campaign
Andy Grant's Pluck
Hector's Inheritance
The Cash Boy
Luke Walton
Walter Sherwood's Probation
Bound to Rise
Jed, the Poor House Boy
Risen from the Ranks
The Tale of Reddy Woodpecker by A. S. Bailey
The Tale of Chirpy Cricket
The Tale of Old Dog Spot
Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley
Elsie's Girlhood
Mildred and Elsie
Elsie's Children
Border Boys in the Canadian Rockies by Fremont B. Deering
The Border Boys Across the Frontier
Dick Hamilton's Fortune by Howard R. Garis
Dick Hamilton's Cadet Days
From Office Boy to Reporter
Harry Watson's High School Days by Frank V. Webster
The Boy Pilot of the Lakes
The Pony Rider Boys in the Rockies by Frank Gee Patchin
The Pony Rider Boys in Montana
The Pony Rider Boys in the Alkali
The Pony Rider Boys in New Mexico
Camping Out Days at Putnam Hall by Arthur M. Winfield
The Rover Boys in Camp
The Rover Boys in the Air
The Haunted Mine by Harry Castlemon
The Wonder Island Boys  - The Castaways by Roger Finlay
The Wonder Island Boys - Capture and Pursuit

And for those more ambitious, check out the Jefferson Recommended Book List via John Ubersax:

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