Homeschool Resources, Curriculum, And Lessons!
This is a collection of some top notch homeschooling resources, lesson ideas, info, and units!
Homeschooling! There are so many ways to go about it. Some homeschoolers use primarily public school textbooks as their curriculum. Others purchase or borrow curriculums designed specificially for homeschoolers. Some use library books and focus their lessons on units revolving around a particular topic. Others rely heavily on life experiences or hands-on learning. Many homeschooling families follow a particular philosophy, such as Charlotte Mason, Classical, unschooling, and others.
On this page, you'll find some excellent educational resources for homeschoolers!
Are you currently homeschooling?
Are you a homeschooling teacher or student?
Preschool and Elementary
Curriculum and Resources:
* 5 In A Row
* Gross Motor Skills
* Core Knowledge Series
The Curriculum Guide For The 5 In A Row Program
Five In A Row: A Literature Based Curriculum
Five in a Row is a literature based curriculum for young children. In essence, you read the same picture book to your child 5 days in a row, and do various related learning activities along with it. My son and I used Five in a Row when he was in elementary school, and we both thoroughly loved it! We still cherish some of those Five In A Row books we read over 7 years ago! I highly recommend Five in A Row for young children!
Shown here is the curriculum guide. It provides suggestions of activities to go along with each book. The activities pertain to different subject areas. For example, in one activity, you may be doing a geography lesson related to the book you are currently working on. In another lesson, you may do something related to science or math.
Some of our favorite "5 In A Row" Books
My son and I really enjoyed the 5 In A Row curriculum back when he was in 1st and 2nd grade! Here are some of our favorite books!
It's about a cat and some kittens who live in Venice
Papa Piccolo - our favorite!
This was our absolute favorite of the 5 in a Row books we read! We read this one over and over for years to come! While reading the book, we had no idea we were learning all about Venice, but when we took a trip to Venice in 2008, we discovered just how much we'd learned about it from Papa Piccolo.
Piccolo is a cat who accidentally "adopts" two young kittens. The kittens learn all kinds of things from Piccolo. One day when they get lost (on a gondola), Piccolo realizes just how much he's grown to love them. A very dear and heart warming story, full of adventure and real facts about Venice!
The Story About Ping
Ping, a duck, lives on a boat in the Yangtze River...until the day the boat leaves without him. Ping has a series of interesting adventures as he goes in search of his family!
What life was like in the 1940's
This book is great for teaching kids what life was like during the 1940s! Lentil, a boy, learns to play the harmonica, and it's likely your child will want to play one too after reading this book, so you might want to have one on hand!
Lapbooks For Preschoolers and Elementary Aged Kids
Lapbooks - What Are They?
Free Homeschool Lapbooks
The Summer Lapbooks page includes a short video on how to make a lapbook, as well as tips on making lapbooks about bees, plants, weather, space, trees, and oceans.
Gross Motor Skills
Developing Gross Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills are movements like running, jumping, and skipping.
There's more to homeschool than just reading, writing, and arithmetic! This article provides some tips on strengthening your child's gross motor skills.
Core Knowledge Series
What Your Preschooler Needs To Know
This delightful book is full of poems, stories, songs, fun science activities, an introduction to American History, and reproductions of art. Please remember to include lots of hands-on counting, patterning, and sorting activities too, so that your child will develop necessary math skills as well (even though they aren't included in the book).
What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know
This book is similar to the one for preschoolers (described above), but includes things at a higher level, and also includes some math. There's a section on reading and writing, poems, stories, sayings (such as, "April Showers Bring May Flowers), geography, history, art, music, math, science,
What Your First Grader Needs To Know
In the First Grade level book, children are exposed to world history (including Ancient Egypt, the Ice Age, The Lost Colony, Pocohontas, the Pilgrims, Slavery, Paul Revere, George Washington, and more), reading and writing, poems and stories, art, music, math (including telling time, money, addition and subtraction, 2 digit addition and subtraction, shapes, measurement, and more), and science (various habitats, human body, the ocean, matter, electricity, astronomy, etc.)
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know
The book for Second Graders includes reading and writing, poems, stories, myths, parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.), sayings, history (including Ancient Greece, our Constitution, the War of 1812, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, Rosa Parks, etc.), art, music, math (number lines, place value, money, word problems, geometry, multiplication, etc.), and science (the Water Cycle, insects, the human body, simple machines, etc.)
What Your Third Grader Needs To Know
The book for third graders includes poems, literature (including Native American stories, Greek Mythology, African Folktales, and more), parts of speech, sentence structure, how to write a letter or report, geography, history, art, music, math, and science!
How long have you been homeschooling?
Upper Elementary School or Middle School
Learning About Animals
Resources for Upper Elementary and Middle Schoolers
(Additional resources can be found in the subject level, and unit level, categories.)
Painted Lady Butterflies and Tadpoles To Frogs are detailed sites about how to raise and care for animals from caterpillars to butterflies, and frog eggs to frogs! They both include many photographs illustrating the various stages of the life cycles of these animals. Both include a variety of tips as well! These are excellent as part of a hands-on science curriculum! What a fabulous way to learn science!
Painted Lady Butterflies
Learning About Animals
This page provides valuable information on raising Painted Lady Butterflies, as well as the Butterfly Life Cycle, the difference between moths and butterflies, butterfly eye spots, butterfly proboscis, etc. Did you know that butterflies need the sun in order to fly?
This page provides info about the life cycle of frogs, as well as tips on raising tadpoles and frogs.
This page contains information and many colorful photos about meerkats.
How many children are you currently homeschooling?
Middle School or High School
Resources For the Middle School & High School Level - Looking for ideas for teaching Biology, World Geography, Photography, Critical Thinking or Philosophy?
Middle School and High School Curriculum
Are you looking for curriculum ideas for Biology, World Geography, Photography, Critical Thinking, or Philosophy on a middle school or high school level? You'll find some at Curriculum For Middle School And High School Co-op Classes Or Individuals.
High School Biology- There are several web pages in this biology curriculum. Although this is not meant to be a high school student's only source for biology, it enhances other curriculums with the many photos, videos, hands-on lab suggestions, and information. It works well with the "Holt Biology" textbook, but can be used with other biology curriculums as well.
Homeschool Curriculum- High School is mostly a list of links to various places where you can find homeschooling resources. For example, if you click on the Animal Farm link, you are taken to a thorough study guide on that novel.
Do your teens enjoy taking photographs or movies as much as my homeschooled son does? If so, perhaps they'd really enjoy a class in videography! In Videography for High School, HarmonyArtMom explains how her boys are learning about making videos as part of their homeschooling experience.
An Excellent Book For Parents Who Homeschool Teens!
Do you have questions about graduation, high school diplomas, standardized tests, preparing for college, or apprenticeships? This book covers those topics, along with ideas for group activities, suggestions on curriculum for various subjects, and other concerns parents may have.
What homeschooling style do you use?
Nature Studies and Art
Learning About The World Around You
The photo above was taking of my son as he explored the beach at Tybee Island. We'd taken a walk and discovered tons of crabs and other life. We enjoyed watching the crabs as they scurried here and there! What better way is there to learn about the natural world than to observe it first hand?!
Are you wondering why I put Nature Studies in the same category as Art? That's because nature studies often involve art too. Many youth and adults who do nature studies keep nature journals, and a nature journal often includes art.
Nature Studies and Art Can Go Hand-In-Hand
During a unit study on birds, my son and I went outside and sat quietly observing the birds all around us. My son took photos of quite a few of the birds, and then we came inside and made an entrée in our nature journals, using one of the photographs as a reference. The colored pencil drawing above is of a cardinal sitting on our fence.
This article, Nature Journals-Ideas and Tips, is what got me interested in keeping a nature journal. Each week, my son and I went outside for a nature activity, often following up with an entry in our nature journals. I looked forward to our nature experiences all week!
Here's another resource on nature study. Nature Study With Children
Keeping A Nature Journal Doesn't Require A Lot of Supplies - Here are a few you might find useful
My son gave me one of these sets for Christmas last year. It's perfect for taking drawing pencils on nature hikes!
A Sketch Pad For Your Nature Journal
Although I have more than one Sketch pad, this is the one I put my nature drawings in. It's small enough to throw into a day pack or a grocery bag and take with me on our nature outings. I like that it's spiral bound, because that allows me to easily fold the book backwards.
Erasable colored pencils are great for adding color to art in your nature journal! That's what we used to create our bird drawings (see photo above), for example.
As a child, although I loved doing 3 dimensional arts and crafts, I never really liked drawing. That's because I felt I wasn't any good at it. I could never get what I was drawing to look like the way I wanted! Showing my drawings to others was embarrassing! Perhaps what I was lacking was some basic instruction.
Now, as an adult, I LOVE drawing! I started off, with my son, doing some of Mark Kistler's drawing activities. What I found was that, with some tips and instruction, I really could make my drawings look the way I wanted! Suddenly drawing became fun!
I've moved on now to using various drawing books and participating in an art class at our homeschool co-op. Instead of associating drawing with stress as I did as a child, I now find that drawing is a great way to relax and release my stress!
For more information about Mark Kistler's drawing instruction, along with information about watercolor painting, visit: Drawing and Painting With Children
Using Drawing With Children is an article about one family's drawing experiences using the book, "Drawing With Children." The article includes way more than just information about this one book though! Also included are links to a variety of other resources, including some free printables. Some of the free printables include exercises on symmetry, where you are given half of a drawing and you complete the other half. This idea really attracted me. I've printed off one half of a wolf face, and am about to attempt to draw the other side....
Well, I just had to complete the wolf's face before I could go on with writing this article!
Here's my wolf drawing. I drew the right side. It's not perfect, but I had fun doing it!
Photo © by Janiece.
I've always been intrigued with Asian art and Asian gardens. I haven't yet tried Chinese Brush Painting, but I'd really like to do so! If you or your child are interested in Chinese art, you might find this article helpful. Be sure and check out the youtube video and links to other websites for more info on Chinese art! Chinese Art and Brush Painting
Here's another art technique that I can't wait to try! The artist used cut outs from cards and tissue paper to provide some texture to his art. Then he painted over the whole picture, including on top of the collage items. Painting Over Collaged Elements
I created this drawing of a peach and a pear in 2011.
I used, "The Art of Basic Drawing" by Walter Foster, to create both the peach and the pear.
Photo © by Janiece.
My Favorite Art Books
As you can see by the drawings above, I'm not an artist...but i DO have fun doing art! I own and enjoy many art books. Below you'll find some of my favorites!
This is the book I was using when I created the peach and pear (shown above). I like the step by step illustrations in this book! They help you know how to get started with each exercise. Included are exercises for drawing quite a few types of dogs, cats (including cats in different poses, such as cleaning their fur or rubbing against a door), horses, and zoo animals. You'll also find exercises on landscape elements, such as clouds, rocks, trees, mountains, deserts, and structures. Another section covers drawing people.
This book is a little similar to "Art of Basic Drawing" (above) in that the author gives us step by step instructions on how to draw a number of things. In this book are exercises for drawing round and cylindrical objects, transparent objects, metallic surfaces, fabric, nature, water, animals, people, and more. Various techniques are also discussed.
Although you can skip around some, this book is meant to be worked through in the order the exercises are presented. The exercises are designed to help you learn to create art by tapping into your right brain so that you can create art the way you actually see it. The exercises were originally created for a class on "scientific illustration" which included students at all levels of art proficiency - those with little prior experience in art, to university art majors!
Both my son and I really enjoy doing watercolors. We started off using watercolor DVDs that showed us some of the techniques specifically for watercolors. (This book, by the way, includes a DVD too!)
Reading, Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary, and Writing
Language Arts - Resources for Reading, Spelling, Writing, Vocabulary, Grammar
Photo © by Janiece.
Reading and Spelling
Playful Ways To Help Children With Reading and Spelling is a website I created to show some of the many fun activities I use to help children with their reading and spelling. You will find my recommendations on various commercial and homemade reading and spelling games I've used with children. For most of the games, I tell what the game is like, where you can get it, and what the games strengths are. Also included are some games you can print and play, for no more than the cost of the ink and cardstock. Information on dyslexia is included as well.
In Teaching Writing Without A Writing Curriculum, Jimmy gives us some tips on how to teach our children to write well. She goes over the writing process with us, from prewriting, to drafting, to editing, to publishing.
Poetry For Kids is an excellent resource on poetry - both writing it and reading it!
Vocabulary Games and Curriculum discusses effective vocabulary learning strategies, and lists various games, curriculums, and activities for helping your children improve their vocabularies.
Grammar - The Least You Should Know! - highly recommended
Last year, a friend who used to teach English in the public schools and now homeschoolers her daughter recommended this book to me. We started using it ourselves and really like it. It includes lessons on words which are commonly confused (complement and compliment, for example), the 8 parts of speech, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, misplaced modifiers, rules for using commas and other punctuation, writing skills, and a lot more. Lessons include instruction as well as exercises. Answers are included in the back of the book.
Not too long ago, I purchased a Princeton ACT book to help my son study for the ACT, and realized this "Least You Should Know About English" book is already excellent practice for one of the sections on the ACT!
Photo © by Janiece.
10 Fun Math Games and Activities contains ideas for 10 math games and activities. Activities are included for a variety of ages, from preschool on up through high school level math. Some involve a purchased game, while others can be done with things you already have at home! Also included are some free printable games.
If your child is learning how to tell time, you'll find some great resources at Games For Telling Time. Most of these activities are online games or games for the ipad.
Pre-Algebra Games helps make pre-algebra easier to understand and fun to learn!
Science is one of my favorite subjects. I've always enjoyed nature and being outdoors and found a variety of science topics fascinating! I'm one of the teachers at our homeschool co-op.
When my son was in 7th grade, I co-taught the Real Science For Kids program to the youth in our co-op. We used the level 1 texts for biology, physics, and chemistry, completing a hands-on lab that corresponded to the chapter each week at our co-op. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, & Astronomy: The Real Science 4 Kids Curriculum
When he was in 9th grade, I taught physical science. The class was full of hands-on experiments! We made all kinds of projects and then used them in various experiments. The students and I really had a ball with physical science! In the following article, I've included lots of information and photos of the physical science program we used, as well as several other physical science curriculums you may be interested in. Physical Science Curriculums and Programs - Reviews
In his 10th grade year, I co-taught biology. We used the Holt Biology text, and did hands-on labs every week.
Unit Studies, 3D Maps, Post Cards, and More
A few years ago, the middle and high schoolers at our co-op participated in a world geography class. They watched movies, read books, and wrote reports on places around the world. They cooked international dishes together, made paper machie globes, did mapping activities, used an atlas to answer questions, made crafts from around the world, wrote their names in Chinese, and listened to guest speakers who told us - and showed us -all about their country. In addition to studying the physical geography, they learned about the religions and cultures of places around the world. Some of the youth collected postcards from places around the world and kept them in their geography notebooks, along with their maps, reports, atlas work, and other things. You can find a list of some of the books and curriculum materials we used at: Our Middle School And High School Classes
LilliputStation's Geography Unit Study includes information about a variety of ways of making the learning of geography be hands on and fun! My favorite of her ideas are called "Continent Boxes." Continent Boxes are decorated and labeled boxes (one per continent) where you child keeps all their hands-on geography projects! You can also keep books, maps, and other items pertaining to a particular continent in the boxes.
On her Salt Dough Maps site, Jimmie and her homeschooled daughter give us step by step directions on how to make a salt dough map! This site is nicely illustrated with photos showing Jimmie's daughter creating a salt dough map. What an excellent idea for a geography course!
Another option for creating a 3-d map is to use paper mache. Mapping The World shows us how.
I used some of the ideas at 50 States Notebook with my son one of the years we studied US history. Getting the postcards in the mail from places around the US (and around the world) were a highlight for both my son and me!
Other Homeschooling Resources
Additional Homeschooling Resources
Are you familiar with lapbooking and notebooking? In her site, Lapbooking Versus Notebooking, Jimmie provides us with information, as well as examples of both. My own understanding of the difference between the two is that while they both include text and images, lapbooks have more images than text, and notebooks have more text than images. If you are a homeschooler and you're not yet familiar with lapbooking and notebooking, her page is definitely worth checking out!
Author Eclecticeducation shows us samples of interactive notebooks in her article, Interactive Notebook.
Narration is where a student tells back in their own words what they've just read or heard. it's a way of making sure the student was paying attention to the material, and also help the student organize and remember it better! As Jimmie explains, narration can also take other forms, such as dioramas, acting the story out, salt dough maps, etc. Narration Helps
An Example of Narration!
One of my favorite homeschool memories took place several years ago right after a history lesson. I asked my son to relay back to me the history we'd just been reading about. He jumped up off the sofa, ran upstairs to gather a few props, and then returned to act out the story!
King Narner, who was the White Crown King, became King of all Egypt. He wore the crown of the Red Crown King on top of his own! This is an example of narration.
Would you like to make a yearbook for your children, or your co-op? You'll find some tips at: How To Make Your Own Inexpensive Yearbook.
Multisensory lessons are hands-on lessons which make use of our 5 senses. Examples of some multisensory lessons include making models, acting things out, cooking projects, science projects, using math manipulatives, and using letter tiles.
Thanks for visiting!
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