I’m a very unlikely homeschooler.
For one, I grew up and currently live in one of the very few European countries where it is simply illegal. On top of that, I don’t even have any school-aged children yet. Nevertheless, I am passionate about homeschooling, soaked up my training as a homeschool consultant, and continue to learn a lot about the vast world of home education.
So if you’re interested in some favorite homeschooling tools from an unlikely homeschooler, keep reading!
1. Maestro Classics
Want your kids begging you to listen to classical music? Try Maestro Classics. They take classical pieces like “Peter and the Wolf,” “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker,” and many more, and add narration so that children are introduced to the beauty and the stories of the pieces. I stumbled across it through a podcast and bought “Peter and the Wolf” to try it out. Result: the boys fell in love with the story, recognize the music of the different characters, often go around humming different musical themes of the piece, find particular joy in re-enacting the story line, and, yes, beg me to listen to classical music. Great for those of us overseas: All pieces are available as downloads and printables. Check it out here.
2. Kids Books Without Borders
This made my library-loving heart jump with joy when I first heard about it. Here’s what they do: “The purpose of Kid’s Books Without Borders is to send books to families living overseas who have little or no access to bookstores or libraries with children’s books in English.” Books! For free! Shipped to anywhere overseas! So cool. All you do is send in a book request, choose books from a book list, pay for shipping, and wait for the box. Check it out here.
I’ve turned into a total audio book fan. They can read to the boys in those in-between times… in the car, during breakfast, during quiet play time. The need to listen well helps our kids develop the habit of attention and their exposure to good literature (if the book is chosen well) has grown exponentially with the help of audio books. Audible is wonderful because it can be accessed anywhere in the world and in different languages. Another bonus: you don’t have to become a member to buy the books (kids books are often cheaper than a monthly membership) AND you can return audio books that you don’t like (but only if you’re a member). Judah especially has developed a love for audio books and is often found huddling in front of the computer or laying on the couch with my phone next to him, enraptured by a story. Check it out here.
4. Morning Time
It’s a buzz word in the homeschooling circles. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Morning time, in short, is a time to read and remember things that are beautiful and true. For us, with the boys really not being in school yet, it looks something like this (when we do have time to do it): We light a candle, pray for a missionary, look for a country or two on the world map, sing a hymn, read a Bible story, recite some poems and learn something new, and read a chapter in our current read-aloud book. It’s definitely not always as peaceful as it may sound, but we’ve really enjoyed our time together learning and thinking on beauty, goodness, and Truth. If you’re interested, check out this podcast or read this blog post.
5. Book Lists
If you’re like me, you want to read good quality children’s books. Ones that are worth your time. But where to start? There are literally thousands of kids’ books for all ages and most of them are just “twaddle” (as British educator Charlotte Mason would call it). Book lists are my best friends when it comes to choosing what to read with my boys. Books with beautiful words, worthwhile values, and rich characters. The non-twaddle. My favorite book-list is available here (Read Aloud Revival Booklist), and this one has been a go-to specifically for chapter books for preschoolers.