My Homeschool Top Ten
My Top Ten Homeschool Tools and Curriculum
When I made the decision to homeschool, I was confidant that I would be successful finding my way. However, I never anticipated how much 'stuff' there was out there marketed to homeschooling families. It was actually a little overwhelming! Though we've only just begun, I have a number of favorites that I know we'll continue to use even if we change paths in the future.
1. Story of the World
I absolutely love the Story of the World series. It is available in 4 volumes and activities books. It reads more like a book than a textbook, but it is very thorough for the younger grade school age child. I think it keeps their interest much better than a textbook does. Volume 1 - Ancient Times / Volume 2 - Medieval Times / Volume 3 - Early Modern Times / Volume 4 - Modern times
2. History Through the Ages
The artist, Amy Pak, has created a gorgeous time line collection. This product can be used for so many things. The pictures come with and without a description, so you can choose which format is best suited for your needs. They are also resizable so the pictures can be used for small timeline books or for full sheet coloring pages. We use them in our "Book of Centuries" or "Record of Time" notebooks.
3. The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia is huge!! It is almost 500 pages long. It has a lot of great pictures and is easy for an older elementary student to read. It gives the information in bite size chunks. It provides a lot of information about the time period and the pictures help it to stick in the students mind. This book is used in a lot of history programs because of its so thorough.
4. The Children's World Atlas
"Homeschooling is a very old way of doing things. If you look at any of the bills in your wallet or the coins in your pocket, they all have a picture of a homeschooler on them." ~ William Lloyd
5. Science Logic
As a former science specialist, I have created my own science curriculum, Science Logic. My goal in writing this curriculum is to provide a hands-on science curriculum that will challenge middle-level students and instill a love of science. I have included hands-on activities every week, readings, as well as long-term projects. All of the activities described have been field tested in the public school setting with students in 4th-6th grade. The lessons are written with homeschooling families in mind but can also be adapted to a co-op or classroom setting.
The first volume of lessons, Earth Logic: Our Dynamic Earth, is a 10 week unit study on the geology of our Earth incorporating scientific inquiry and language arts applications. It is available now - see the right side-bar. You may choose from an E-book (PDF) or a print version (comb or spiral binding).
My intent is to create three comprehensive collections: Life Logic (biology, botany, zoology, marine science and ecology), Earth Logic (oceanography, geology, meteorology, astronomy), and Physics Logic (physics and chemistry).
6. A Quality Microscope
"Educating a child is a natural process. Homeschooling is nothing more than an extension of parenting." ~ Sue Maakestad
7. Singapore Math
Singapore Math was originally developed in the country of Singapore.
It has a strong mental math component (unlike many U.S. programs) that is one of its primary strengths. Logical, unique strategies are taught that help students truly understand mathematical concepts. Students are then able to solve problems mentally without always relying on paper and pencil. Singapore's Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition includes additional information to teach math relative to American culture (U.S. currency, pounds, ounces, etc.).
The core curriculum for grades 1-6 is called Primary Mathematics. There are two books that are used together, a textbook and a workbook. The year is divided up into two parts, so there is a textbook and workbook A and a textbook and workbook B for each year. The B books are not different versions or harder than the A books; they simply follow the A books. There are also a variety of optional supplementary books which are not a formal part of the core curriculum which provide additional practice (we don't use these components, however).
8. Themes to Remember
With Themes to Remember, your child will learn about the orchestra, opera, history of the composers, their individual styles and influences, musical terms and really come to understand the music. On each CD that accompanies the book, there is the composition and a track that plays the composition with the lyrics. It is pleasant and fun.
It sounds simple but you'd be amazed at how much your child will learn effortlessly with this program by just reading the biography, learning the music terms and singing the lyrics which is just the beginning!
"I still say the only education worth anything is self-education." ~ Robert Frost
9. Internet Access
There is a wealth of activity ideas and resources available to homeschoolers on the internet. Freebies include lesson plans, printables (worksheets, coloring pages, mini-books for lapbooking, etc.), and audio/visual language lessons. Many homeschooling families now also share their endeavors through blogs - a great way to see what others are doing. Forums are also a popular place to ask questions and seek out suggestions for projects and curriculum from experienced homeschoolers.
10. Your Public Library
You local library is perhaps the BEST resource for homeschoolers. Many libraries today provide access to the internet as well as videos and audiobooks. If you can't find a title you are looking for, don't hesitate to suggest that the library order it and put it on hold for you when it arrives.
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