There are many different philosophies of education that homeschoolers adopt. Each philosophy has its merits, but not every philosophy works well with every child.
Two homeschool authors, Debra Bell and Dr. Ruth Beechick, seem to explain my favorite philosophy of education the best. This philosophy of education — which some call 'wholehearted' — is by far my favorite, and the one that I try to follow most closely.
Regardless of your homeschooling philosophy, I'd highly recommend that any new homeschooler read the following books. Your local library may have the books on their shelves.
These books offer invaluable advice for homeschoolers, whether new or experienced, and they can easily serve as your guidebook for homeschooling for years to come.
The Three R's (for K-3rd grade), by Dr. Ruth Beechick. Learn how to take the mystery out of teaching the early grades with this practical, down-to-earth guidebook. The reading section explains how and when to begin phonics, and how to develop comprehension skills. The language section shows how to develop written language skills naturally, in the same way children learn oral language. The arithmetic section explains how to teach understanding of math concepts, and not just memorization of facts.
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling (for all grades), by Debra Bell. More than 500 pages of parent-tested ideas, solutions, homeschool suppliers, and curriculum recommendations. Topics covered include six ingredients of a successful homeschool, keys to unlocking your child's learning potential, ten ways to motivate the reluctant learner, and creative solutions for burnout, budgeting, and managing your time. Also included is a guide to using the Internet and new technology in your home school, tips on multilevel teaching and engaging toddlers, and a resource guide with up-to-date contact information.
You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully (for 4th-8th grade), by Dr. Ruth Beechick. This classic gives nitty-gritty help for each subject in each grade. Become an informed, confident teacher, free from rigid textbooks. Learn how to individualize spelling; how to use "real books" in history, reading, and other studies; how to make arithmetic meaningful; how to avoid the grammar treadmill; how to develop advanced reading skills; and much more. (This was the first homeschooling book I ever read cover-to-cover, and it has more impact on how we run our homeschool than any other book.)
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens (for middle school and high school), by Debra Bell. This book includes tools for developing critical and creative thinking skills, study-smart strategies for maximized learning, what to do if your child is behind or ahead, how to help your teen discern his gifts and calling, and how to prepare your child for high school during grades 6 through 8. Also included are all the forms and charts you will need to teach your child through high school, as well as a guide to taking advantage of new media and the best online learning opportunities. Learn what college admissions officers say they look for in a prospective student and how you can help your teen apply for and receive merit-based scholarships and maximum financial aid. Read my review The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens.