Gifts for Homeschoolers

Want to sneak in some learning with fun? Wondering what to tell relatives to get your kids as gifts? Here's a list of outstanding ideas! Also see our Amazon Store for many more suggestions.

Audio Books

Quality literature increases your child's vocabulary and familiarizes him with complex sentence structure. Listening to books that are far above reading level actually pulls the child's reading scores way up, and interest in history is greatly increased. The following are particularly good books that our family has enjoyed immensely. These range in price from $10 to $40.

For Later Elementary to Adult

Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle -- Adventure in Merry Old England.
The Men of Iron by Howard Pyle -- A young boy in medieval times comes of age and redeems his family name. This book will have you begging for more! Full of sword fights, jousts, lords, ladies, and chivalry.
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss -- The Robinson family is shipwrecked and must make do with whatever they can find on the island where they land.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson -- Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver follow a treasure map and find treasure, treachery, and adventure.
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson -- David Balfour tries to claim his inheritance but finds himself Kidnapped.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott -- Knights, ladies, battles, and chivalry are topics for this action-filled book set around Robin Hood's time.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne -- Jules Verne amazes us by describing technology that did not exist when the book was written! Captain Nemo, commander of the submarine Nautilus, takes a professor prisoner and then has many tense moments battling sea creatures, finding gold, and more.
The Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty -- A boy in ancient Egypt accidentally kills a sacred cat and must flee for his life.
The Young Carthaginian by G.A. Henty -- A boy travels with Hannibal and his elephants to Rome.
Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper -- Fabulous adventure tale set during the French and Indian War.

Suitable for Younger Members of the Family

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis -- Entire series in dramatized format. Highest recommendation for these! Adventure, good versus evil, magic -- it's all there.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. -- Alice spends time in the wacky world of the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, and the March Hare.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. -- An Englishman places it all on the line to circumnavigate the world while others try hard to keep him from succeeding.
Rascal by Sterling North. -- Motherless Sterling raises a baby raccoon as well as other critters and gets into mischief.
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli. -- A boy in medieval times is set to be a page for a knight, but he is struck by a crippling disease. His disappointment changes as he finds that he can still serve the king in a different way. An uplifting story. (Cassette only)
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth. -- Hilariously funny true story of a family of twelve children growing up in the early 1900's. The parents were both famous pioneers in production management.
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. Classic story of a cricket who moves from the country to New York city.
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Wilbur the pig has his life saved by Charlotte, an exceptional spider.

Brainy Games

Quiddler: The Short Word Game Fun card game! Because short words can lead to winning, even young readers eight and up can play and win. Up to 8 players. About $11.
UpWords -- Similar to Scrabble, but you can stack letters on top of other words to form new ones. About $16.
Boggle -- Shake up the letter blocks and let them land in their holder. Set the timer and find as many words as you can. About $14.
GeoSafari Talking Microscope Kids get an up-close view of 12 fascinating bugs as they hear cool facts or test their knowledge of each critter with fun games. Science facts and quizzes in this electronic toy for pre-K to 2nd graders. About $35.
Herd Your Horses Game Fun board game for young horse lovers. Age 8 and up.
Trailblazer: An Adventure in American Trivia Board game that covers pre-Colonial times to the present. Ages 7 and up. About $25.
Scientists Card Game and Composers Card Game. Standard deck of cards that has famous scientists or composers with their discoveries or compositions listed. About $5 each.
Mancala -- Fun and simple way to learn strategy. Ages 4 and up.
Sequence -- Combines cards with a board game to teach strategy to younger kids. Team play lets the whole family participate!

Arts and Crafts

Watercolor: A Complete Painting Kit for Beginners Tubes of paint and supplies, plus a project book. Best for 6th grade and up. About $17.
Cartooning: A Complete Drawing Kit for Beginners
Draw Write Now Boxed Set -- This fun set of 8 books will improve your child's handwriting while teaching drawing skills, history, and science. Great way to sneak in learning with fun!
Woodburning kit
Prismacolors or other high quality colored pencils

Science Items

North American Rock Collection (50 Pieces) About $40. Smaller collections also available.
Chemistry Kit Materials and instructions for experiments for 4th to 6th graders. About $48.
Chemistry Hardware Kit Equipment for older students. About $40.
Power Of Science: Simple Machines Kit Collection of simple machines and study guide for 4th to 6th graders. About $47.
Graduated Cylinders Measurement devices for all ages. About $27.


A new hobby can bring learning to life for children!

Backyard Bird Watching for Kids
Teach Yourself Photography by Lee Frost. About $12
Climbing Your Family Tree by Ira Wolfman. Genealogy for kids. About $11.
GeoSafari GeoStar Telescope About $70 and A Walk Through the Heavens: A Guide to Stars and Constellations. .About $10
Beginner's Stamp Collecting Kit -- Includes instructions, a magnifying glass, hinges, and 25 stamps. About $14.
Whitman Coin Collecting Starter Set -- Includes book, magnifying glass, and folders to collect nickels and pennies. About $13.
IlluStory Book Kit -- Children of all ages can write their own book and have it published using the kits. All materials and the cost of publishing are included. About $20.

Other Great Gifts for Education-Oriented Families

Odyssey III Electronic Globe -- This is the most awesome globe. We really enjoy ours! Touch anywhere on the globe, and facts about the country, music, and more are heard. Quizzes challenge the kids to learn their geography while having fun . It's pricey, but worth it!
GeoSafari Talking Globe Globe with electronic quiz and learning game. 10,000 questions and facts. About $70.
US Map/World Map, Laminated
World Atlas
Encyclopedia Britannica 2009 software
Electric pencil sharpener
Disposable camera
Book store gift certificates
Membership to the local zoo or museum
Gift certificate for lessons -- sports, music, art
Scanner or copy machine


Days Gone By by Ted Jacobs. Poems set to music! Includes many poems by Eugene Field, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and others.

A Child's Garden of Song, also by Ted Jacobs, has sixteen Robert Louis Stevenson poems to sing. Both of these CD's have pleasant music that you and your children will enjoy.

Music Masters CD's -- These EXCELLENT audios combine a biography of the composer with an overview of his music. The story format makes these suitable and enjoyable for all ages -- including homeschooling parents! About an hour in length, Music Masters CD's are also great for car-schooling, and they are tremendous bargain at about $3 each. Available composers are Berlioz, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Vivaldi and Corelli, Dvorak, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Grieg, Haydn, Foster and Sousa, Verdi, and Strauss.

For an introduction to the symphony and classical music, Leonard Bernstein's Children's Classics is very good. It includes Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, and the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, narrated by the master conductor, Leonard Bernstein.

Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on DVD will provide hours of entertainment (and education!) on music and the orchestra. Originally filmed in the 1960's before a live audience, these DVD's show Mr. Bernstein conducting the orchestra, playing the piano, and explaining many concepts. This set includes 9 DVD's with 25 shows.

If you have never enjoyed opera or just don't know much about it, Classical Child at the Opera will make you an opera lover. Fourteen songs from various operas are translated into English so that children and homeschooling parents can sing along. My children absolutely love this one!

The Classical Kids series CD's have fictional characters interacting with great composers of the past. Titles are Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mozart's Magnificent Voyage, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, Mozart's Magic Fantasy, and Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery.

Practical and Educational Stocking Stuffers

Post It Notes
Pocket knife
Paint tubes or small bottles
Bath paints
Hand puppet
Small puzzles
Flashlight or night light
Personalized license plate for bike/trike
Jump rope
Magnifying glass
Disposable camera or film
Card deck
Key chain
Magnetic picture frame
Soap or other toiletries
Thank you notes
Posters (rolled up)
Fruit -- oranges, apples, pears, or unusual ones like a kiwi or pomegranate
Unshelled Nuts