Families who homeschool their children use a variety of homeschool books according to their philosophy of homeschooling and the needs of their children. Some families rely on standard classroom textbooks such as those used in either public or private schools. Others use self-study homeschool books designed to help students or their parents learn material on their own. Other families may choose to not use books specifically designed for formal education, but may simply use books on various subjects that meet the needs of their children's curriculum.
Homeschoolers are a diverse group of people who often utilize highly individualized approaches in teaching their children. Some families feel most comfortable with a prepackaged curriculum in which homeschool books are used along with educational materials and teaching guides provided for parents. In other cases, homeschool books are actually self-paced workbooks in which students work fairly independently under the supervision of their parents. Some families may not use special homeschool books at all but may use ordinary books and textbooks for teaching their children. For example, one theory of homeschooling, also known as unschooling, eschews most trappings of formal education and thus encourages children to read books of their own choosing rather than those specifically authored for the purpose of education.
Families who practice home-based education may do so for several reasons. Some families homeschool because their religious faith requires them to keep their children separate from mainstream educational systems. As a result, there are several publishers of homeschool books that reflect a specific religious orientation. Many homeschoolers are not religious or do not homeschool for religious reasons. These homeschoolers may instead choose curriculum and books of a secular nature. If the homeschoolers work in partnership with their local school district, their children may use the same textbooks as public school students in their area.
Homeschool books for parents may include reviews of curriculum, theories of homeschooling, and practical suggestions. Parents may also be involved in homeschooling or alternative education networks in their community for support and as a way of providing additional educational experiences for their children. In addition to homeschool books, suppliers to the homeschool community offer a variety of teaching resources. Some families are more inclined to rely on the Internet and personal computers for instruction instead of books and workbooks. Some traditional homeschool publishers now offer online and software-based instruction that may include PDF files of books or simply interactive teaching modules.