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Homeschool Resources, Curriculum, And Lessons!

Updated on October 5, 2014
Hands-On Science
Hands-On Science | Source

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!

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Preschool and Elementary

Curriculum and Resources:

* 5 In A Row

* Lapbooks

* 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

The Story about Ping
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

Lentil

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?

Summer 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.

Summer Lapbooks



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.

Developing 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

What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know: Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning (Core Knowledge Series)
What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know: Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning (Core Knowledge Series)

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

What Your Second Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education Revised (Core Knowledge Series)
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Second-Grade Education Revised (Core Knowledge Series)

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!

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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

This is one of the butterflies that my son and I raised from a tiny caterpillar to a butterfly.
This is one of the butterflies that my son and I raised from a tiny caterpillar to a butterfly. | Source

Learning About Animals

Raising Painted Lady Butterflies

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?

Tadpoles to Frogs

This page provides info about the life cycle of frogs, as well as tips on raising tadpoles and frogs.

Adorable Meerkats

This page contains information and many colorful photos about meerkats.

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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.

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Nature Studies and Art

Nature Studies

Exploring a sandy beach and noticing all the crabs and their holes
Exploring a sandy beach and noticing all the crabs and their holes | Source

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.

Natural Journal

A nature study on birds led to this nature journal entry.
A nature study on birds led to this nature journal entry. | Source

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

Drawing and Sketching Pencil Set In Zippered Carrying Case
Drawing and Sketching Pencil Set In Zippered Carrying Case

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.

Crayola 24 Ct Erasable Colored Pencil
Crayola 24 Ct Erasable Colored Pencil

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.

 

Art

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!

Art of Basic Drawing: Discover simple step-by-step techniques for drawing a wide variety of subjects in pencil (Collector's Series)
Art of Basic Drawing: Discover simple step-by-step techniques for drawing a wide variety of subjects in pencil (Collector's Series)

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.

 
Lifelike Drawing with Lee Hammond
Lifelike Drawing with Lee Hammond

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.

 
Illustrating Nature: Right-Brain Art in a Left-Brain World
Illustrating Nature: Right-Brain Art in a Left-Brain World

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!

 
Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes
Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes

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!)

 

Language Arts:

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.

Writing

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

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.

The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills, Form C
The Least You Should Know About English: Writing Skills, Form C

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!

 

Math

Math

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

Science

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.

Geography

Geography

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


My son acting out the story of King Narner of Egypt.
My son acting out the story of King Narner of Egypt. | Source

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!

Hope you found something that was of use to you!

Comments? Questions?

Do you have any advice for other homeschoolers?

Or maybe you have some homeschooling questions you'd like to ask?

There's a guestbook at the bottom of this page for your questions and comments.

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    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 4 years ago

      This is really impressive. I was homeschooled. I know my mom would have loved this back then!

    • Mami Design profile image

      Mami Design 4 years ago

      That is an amazing lens! Blessed all the way!

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      How did I miss this one along the way?? I must link this up with my Homeschool lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Wonderful resource page for Homeschoolers

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to bless your commitment to excellence in learning!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      very detailed resource center - a lot of people will find this useful!

    • Hedremp profile image

      Sandra Wilson 5 years ago from Wilson Education Resource Centre

      You provide some wonderful resources here - wish I had this when I was still homeschooling. I will share it with my friends! Thanks.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great resource, I'm also a homeschooling, vegetarian mom :)

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      Wow. Great list of resources all in one place. I'll have to bookmark this one! Stopping by on the Back to School squid angel bus w/ a blessing for you!

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 6 years ago from USA

      Now you've made my day a lot longer. So many great resources... so little time. Thanks all the same :)

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      Wow! The most comprehensive source of good information for homeschooling parents. Such a fantastic resource.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      You have some great links for homeschooling materials. Well done.

    • LilliputStation profile image

      LilliputStation 6 years ago

      Nice resource. Thanks for including my lenses.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      This is a wonderful resource for homeschoolers. Thanks for including my Acrylic Painting Techniques lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I totally agree with aj, this is an amazing resource lens, thank you for putting it together that others will be blessed!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

      I too felt funny answering only one child. My oldest has also graduated and my middle one is now in high school but homeschooled his first years.

      Here is a suggested link for middle school math: https://hubpages.com/education/Pre-Algebra

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      My advice: RELAX! :-)

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This lens is going to be one of the best homeschooling resources on Squidoo. Congratulations "homeschooling" neighborhood Squid Angel...great job so far! :)

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Woohoo! You're off to a flying start. It felt funny to say that I only have one child homeschooling. My oldest son has just graduated.