Last week I introduced you to my friend, and new guest poster Jen (and her delightful cookies)! This week she has graciously put together a full list of her homeschool curriculum. When we decided to homeschool, one of the most daunting aspects was wading through the massive amounts of material available. She has compiled a tried-and-true list of essentials to make that process much easier for anyone considering homeschooling. While our kids are back in a traditional brick-and-mortar school (adding 2 babies in a year and working full time was too much with homeschooling for me), you can still check out the video tour of our homeschool classroom last year. Also check out these outstanding apps for homeschoolers (fantastic general learning tools here!)
Take it away Jen:
It’s that time of year again! If you homeschool, and are anything like me, your head is swirling with finishing up schoolwork, making plans for summer, evaluating the year, and thinking about curriculum choices for the new school year. In an effort to put some of those thoughts on paper, I have compiled a list of my top curriculum picks. These are things that we have used and enjoyed. I hope you find them helpful!
Math: 1. Math U See: We have not tried any other curriculum, but so far we have really enjoyed this program. The manipulative blocks are wonderful and the DVD lessons are invaluable. My son generally watches the lesson on his own and does the lesson practice, but my daughter prefers that I watch the lesson and then relay the information to her. You can also purchase a CD of math facts set to Bible songs that you probably already know. My girls love that!
2. Calculadder: This is an awesome program for drilling math facts. You can download the software to your computer, which allows you to print out sheets for different levels and time your students directly from your computer. I thought my kids would balk at the idea of having to drill math facts daily, but they really enjoy trying to beat their own time!
Grammar: 1. First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind: We started this curriculum this year with my first-grader in Level One. So far, I have been pleased. It is completely scripted which means little to no prep for me. I’m sure fellow homeschoolers can appreciate that! There is a lot of repetition, which helps to ensure mastery of the subject by the end of the year.
2. Easy Grammar Grades 5&6: The name says it all! This is a very thorough, yet logical approach to learning grammar. It does require one-on-one instruction and a good degree of memorization, but students can complete the practice sheets on their own once the concept is taught.
2. Explode the Code Series: Although my daughter started off well with the above book, she needed some additional practice with letter sounds. We started Get Ready for the Code about midway through the year and she loved it. She flew through the book and it really helped solidify those sounds in her mind.
3. Spelling Workout: I have good spellers in my house so this program is perfect for them. They seem to really enjoy it and my son is spelling words that most adults have difficulty with. There may not be quite enough phonics explanation for some people.
4. Handwriting Without Tears: This is a wonderful, stress-free approach to handwriting. There’s even a song to remind children to start their letters at the top!
History: 1. Story of the World: My kids love this curriculum! We did ancient history volume I this year. I strongly recommend getting the Activity Book to go along with it. Although we weren’t able to do many of the projects there are a lot of fun things to do along with coloring pages, maps, review cards, and review questions. We used this curriculum as our spine and checked out many wonderful books from the library.
2. History packs from Veritas Press: This is a new discovery for me and we all love it. The packs come with a memory song on CD to help remember major events of whatever time period you are studying along with numbered, corresponding history cards. I hold the cards up while we play the song and it has been extremely helpful in putting everything we’ve learned together.
Science: 1. Apologia Science Series: We love this series. This year, we did Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. This curriculum is so understandable for young children and very well-written. I recommend getting the notebooking journal for each child to go along with it.
Religion: 1. The Golden Children’s Bible: has great illustrations and is very thorough for a Bible geared toward kids.
2.The Faith and Life Series: * I love the artwork in these books and find the text both thorough and understandable.
3. St. Joseph’s First Communion Catechism: * A very solid and easy to understand introduction to the Catholic faith and good preparation for a child’s First Communion.
Art: Mommy It’s a Renoir: This is a Montessori style art appreciation program. There are varying degrees of difficulty, as demonstrated by the different steps. You will want to get the teacher’s guide as well.
Music: Music Masters Series: This is a wonderful series of CDs featuring the stories and music of classical composers. The end of the CD features a selection of that particular composer’s music to enjoy without dialogue, although music is also sprinkled throughout the story.
I hope that you have found some of these recommendations helpful. I would love to hear your recommendations as well!
Click here to print out a “Prayer for Homeschoolers.”