Three Easy Ways to Get Started With Literature-Based Homeschooling

How to Create a Homeschool Unit Study

Is literature-based homeschooling the right method for your family? 

I’ve always loved using great real books to teach. Even when I was a teacher in “real school” before homeschooling my own kids, I supplemented our curriculum with as many great living books as possible. When I began homeschooling, I started using a traditional textbook-based structured curriculum because that was all I knew, but I supplemented with many, many great books. It wasn’t until a few years into homeschooling that I realized that I could actually use literature-based homeschooling as our primary curricula.

If you’ve been using mainly textbooks or workbooks – more traditional school curricula – but you’d love to teach with real books, you can feel a little overwhelmed with how to make this transition. But getting started with literature-based homeschooling isn’t really that difficult, and there are so many resources available. If you want to use a homeschool curriculum that is based on real books, but you don’t know where to start, here are three simple ways you can begin using literature-based homeschooling.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that will benefit the author. All opinions are always my own.

1. Use a packaged literature-based curriculum

The easiest way to get started using literature-based homeschool curricula is to choose a packaged literature-based curricula. There are many of these available. Most come with a complete set of books, as well as a teaching guide and any kind of student books needed. Here are a few that I’ve tried and really enjoyed.

  • Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum with a Christian worldview. The topics for each grade level are history-based and complete packages cover history, Bible, and literature with the option to add other subjects.
  • My Father’s World is also history-based and from a Christian worldview. The packages for younger grade levels are all for multi-age and include history, Bible, and literature. The high school packages also include those subjects and the company recommends other resources for the additional subjects needed as well as electives.
  • BookShark is a program that’s very similar to the others listed above except that it is from a secular perspective. Lower-grade packages include all subjects. High school packages include history and literature, and math can be added.
  • Moving Beyond the Page offers complete curricula packages through middle school and one year of high school. The complete packages cover history, language arts, and science, and some include math. The program is secular. If you’d rather choose individual units instead of a complete grade level, they offer those as well.

2. Use booklists to choose your own books

If you’d rather not use a prepackaged curriculum, you can use great literature that you find for yourself. Living book lists for many, many subjects and age levels are available online. Find a booklist for any subject area or topic that you’re looking for.

You can easily search for these books on Google, Pinterest, or even on Amazon. You can also find living book lists from a variety of homeschool sites. I have a large living books catalog where you can search for books based on age level, academic subject, and historical time period. After you collect your list, you can find the books to purchase or at your local library.

3. Add fun learning activities

Although it’s great to just read great books, you can choose to do more after reading the books with your kids. You can extend the learning by adding activities. Unit studies allow you to take a great living book and add learning activities to create your own literature-based curricula.

Many sites have free unit study resources, including lapbooking and notebooking resources – based on great books. HomeschoolShare is one of my favorites. You can also find a wealth of free literature-based unit studies here. It’s also easy to make your own unit studies based on the books you’ve chosen. You can find a step-by-step method to do that as well as a free unit study planner here.

Getting started with literature-based homeschooling isn’t hard. Using great living books in your homeschool can have so many benefits- and can be so much more fun than using traditional textbooks and workbooks. Use these three simple suggestions to get started using literature-based learning in your homeschool.


About the author

Leah Courtney is a former school teacher turned homeschool mom. She has homeschooled her four children since birth and is now the mother of two homeschool graduates. She blogs at As We Walk Along the Road, posting literature-based homeschooling resources and encouragement for other homeschooling mamas. She’s also the author of several ebooks and unit study resources for homeschoolers.

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