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My 10 Favorite Homeschool Products
With 7 kids and 12 years of homeschooling, I found some favorite homeschool curriculum resources!
Here are my favorite recommended homeschool curriculum resources. Explode the Code, the Mystery of History, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, the Story of the World, Math-U-See and more! I have been homeschooling my 7 children for the past ten years. I have used all kinds of different curriculum. I lean toward the eclectic approach--a little bit of this and a little bit of that. This year I taught ninth, seventh, fourth, and second grades as well as kindergarten and preschool. Plus we had a whirlwind toddler in the midst of everything. I found some great resources that work well for my large family. I have included my top ten favorite homeschool resources.
Homeschooling? - Or thinking about it?
Do you Homeschool?
My Top 10 Recommended Homeschool Products
1. Explode the Code Series - Teaches phonics, reading, comprehension, spelling and more!
I started using the Explode the Code Series with my third child. I absolutely LOVE these. The series starts with 3 books called "Get Ready," "Get Set," and "Go for the Code." These cover initial consonants and teach letters and sounds. Then the series has books 1 through 8 which correllate to about 1st through 3rd grade. These simple to use workbooks cover phonics and and spelling words, printing, reading and comprehension. They progressively add skills as the child moves through the books. If your child needs some extra practice, each book has a 1/2 step book in between to review the skills and sounds. (You don't need to use the 1/2 books.) There are teacher manuals for each set of books to explain how to use them, but they are also easy to use without the teacher manuals. Explode the Code also offers books called "Beyond the Code" which focus soley on reading comprehension. I found this series to be a economical, fun way to teach reading and phonics, printing and spelling. Even my kindergartener can do many of his pages independently after initial explanations. Your child will learn to print and read using this series!
2. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - Another approach to teach reading
I have used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with all my children so far. I even used it with my first who was already reading at age 4. I just wanted to make sure that I covered any gaps. (I didn't teach him to read at age 4, he just did it himself!) This book covers phonics, rhyming, comprehension and writing letters. I didn't use the writing portion of this book because most of my kids were not ready to write by the time they were capable of learning to read. The fine motor skills can come later!
3. The Mystery of History - Excellent History Program from a Biblical Worldview
Mystery of History is taught from a classical approach and includes activities you can adapt for younger, middle and older students. This history program was written by a homeschooling mom. My kids LOVE it. They learn so much and so do I. I do not do every activity nor do I follow every suggestion in the book, however It is very thorough and taught from a Biblical Perspective. I plan to work my way through time in all of the Mystery of History Volumes! Volume 1 covers Creation to the Resurrection, Volume 2 covers the Early Church to Middle Ages, and Volume 3 covers the Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations. There are also printable reproducible CD Roms and test books available. I highly recommend this program!
We made baklava when we studied Ancient Greece - Add fun to your homeschool history!
4. The Story of the World - Another excellent history program!
I used the Story of the World in conjunction with the Mystery of History. What I really loved was that the whole book is actually available on CDs. Jim Weiss narrates the Story of the World. My children beg to listen to them every time we are in the car. This program is also taught from a Classical perspective, but it is not overtly Christian. Volume 1 covers Ancient History from the earliest nomads to the Last Roman Empire, Volume 2 covers Middle Ages from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance, Volume 3 covers Early Modern Times, Volume 4 covers the Modern Age from Vicotria's Empire to the end of the USSR. Each volume also has an activity book that includes maps, coloring pages, and fun projects for each lesson. There is also a book of tests for each volume if you want to test your children. I highly recommend getting the activity guides with this program.
Make Math easy and fun!
I have used Math-U-See with all of my children. Math becomes meaningful and understandable! Each level includes a DVD in the teacher set that you can watch with your children (or have them watch by themselves as they get more into the program). The DVD and the teacher manual explains each new concept. Math is taught from a multi-sensory approach. The kids say it, they see it (using manipulatives) and they write it. The student kit includes the student book and test book. The teacher set includes the DVD and the teacher manual for each level. Manipulative are sold separately and used in most of the levels. You can find everything you need at the Math-U-See website (you can click in the right hand corner of the following page to choose your state or country):
Don't you wish every day was this peaceful? - Here are my oldest four on our first day of school
6. Draw to Learn Art and Bible Curriculum
A Wonderful way to combine art and the Bible in your homeschool program!
I love the Draw to Learn Series by the Notgrass Company. I started with the Draw to Learn the Book of Psalms and now we are on our third Draw to Learn book. Each book contains 150 lessons. I purchase a book for every student in first grade or older. All of my children are working through the same book at the same time. These books become beloved keepsakes of my children's art. Each lesson includes a portion of Scripture to read, something to think about, then a response to draw. We usually use these at the beginning of our homeschool day. I read the Scripture section aloud, then my children draw their lesson at their own pace. While they are all drawing, I have time to work with one individual child on another subject. Not only do I love these art books, but this series helps me manage my large brood! You can find all the books in this series here:
7. Wordly Wise 3000 - Teaches vocabulary and more and prepares your child for the SATs
LOVE the Wordly Wise Series. Each book increases my children's vocabulary. I usually start my kids on Wordly Wise in second grade. Each lesson has a week's worth of work. Day one they read the new vocab words and their meanings, then do a simple exercise to become familiar with the words. By day five, they are reading a passage using all the words and then writing sentences using their words to answer comprehension questions. Root words and prefixes and suffixes are also taught. As the students progress through each book, things such as analogies and Latin root words and meanings are taught. Your child will be ready for standardized tests and the SATs by the time he or she is in high school! (This series has changed several times--I always use the 2nd edition where each book matches the grade level.) Wordly Wise has a website where your students can review the words, hear them pronounced and defined, and play games for each level.
8. Handwriting without Tears - A slightly different approach to teaching handwriting
This is an excellent child-friendly handwriting program that teaches handwriting developmentally. You start with the preschool materials and work your way up through the cursive books. There are several print workbooks and several cursive workbooks. There are also chalkboards and letter pieces which will help your preschool and kindergarten students learn their letters. There is even a Review for Print and for Cursive (Can-Do Print and Can-Do Cursive) that includes Grammar lessons! My children's handwriting has improved vastly with this series! There is a teacher manual for each level which thoroughly explains how to use the program.
9. Exploring Science through Creation Series - Excellent, Biblical Science for elementary through 8th grade
The Exploring Creation Series by Jeanne Fulbright bases each area of study on a day of creation. These books are set up using the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. Read the text and then have your kids narrate (retell or write) what they learned in each lesson. There are also hands-on experiments and notebook activities for each lesson. There are currently 6 books in the series: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Exploring Creation with Botany, Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 (Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day), Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures of the Fiifth Day), Exploring Creation with Zoology 3 (Land animals of the Sixth Day), and Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. Each book also has a companion journal that includes notebook and lapbook pages. Apologia also has excellent science resources for the Middle School and High School students!
10. Apologia Exploring Creation with ... Middle School/High School Series - Excellent, college-prep academic Science
Apologia has excellent Middle School and HIgh School Science curriculum! The Middle School books include General Science and Physical Science. The High School books include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Biology, Marine Biology, Advanced Physics, and Advanced Chemistry. So far we have used the General and Physical Science books and the Biology and Chemistry books. These are excellent, academic, college-prep courses.
This is the book my ninth grader is using this year. It is perfect for eighth or ninth grade students and it provides an excellent foundation for high school biology and chemistry. All of the books include hands-on experiments.
I'm always game for trying something new. If you have a homeschool resource you love, let me know! Do you use any of my favorites? I'd love to hear your comments!