Sunday, September 2, 2012

Favorite Homeschool Resources

I have published a lot of posts about different resources that we have used and loved.  I figured it would be helpful to have a page where all of those resources were listed.  I will ONLY include resources we really LOVE--I won't be including things we use and think are just okay.

You will be able to quickly access this post via the button in my sidebar and I will update this as we find new resources we really love.


World History


The HistoryTeachers are two teachers from Hawaii who put history lessons to 80s music, then engage their class in video production.  The result is high quality videos with catchy lyrics that you can't stop the lessons stick in your brain like an earworm!


Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer

We have used this as our primary history curriculum and I have recommended it to many people.  Everyone has always been impressed with how well-written it is, how it is written in a way that is both easy to understand and engaging enough that you want to keep reading.  Story of the World Volume 1 covers Ancient Times; Story of the World Volume 2 covers Medieval Times; Story of the World Volume 3 covers Early Modern Times and Story of the World Volume 4 covers The Modern Age.

Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
USBourne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History


Additional Resources

American History


Liberty's Kids 

Since we have been focused on World History for two years, I look for fun ways to include American History such as field trips, vacations, fun books, documentaries and videos.  This PBS television series entertains while teaching history.  This series won multiple awards and my girls ASK to watch it.  Stars such as Sylvester Stallone, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and Annette Benning provide voices for the animated characters.


The Declaration of Independence in Translation by Amie Leavitt
The Bill of Rights in Translation by Amie Leavitt
The Pledge of Allegiance in Translation by Elizabeth Raum
The Gettysburg Address in Translation by Kay Olson
The Star Spangled Banner in Translation by Elizabeth Raum

These books provide line-by-line original text, a translation that kids can understand and how it is applied in our daily lives.  The books also contain historic impacts, changes and laws that have affected the documents or our interpretation of the documents.

We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow

This book is a fun translation with a really cute illustration of what the preamble to the Constitution of the United States means.




Janice Van Cleave's Astronomy for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Janice VanCleave's The Human Body for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Janice Van Cleave's Biology for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Janice VanCleave's Chemistry for Every Kid by Janice VanCleave

We love how these books provide a one or two page text about a concept, followed by several pages of experiments or activities that SHOW you the concept.  These are great books for scientifically-impaired homeschool moms, like me!

Totally Irresponsible Science by Sean Connolly

I bought this book on a whim because of the title and the cover claiming you can encase your sibling in a giant bubble.  We have had a blast trying some of the experiments in this book!  Each experiment is accompanied by an explanation of why or how it worked.



Reading Detective from the Critical Thinking Company (We have only used Beginning & A1 so far)

My girls love to read and I seldom use workbooks to measure their comprehension, relying more on discussion and interaction with the material.  But, every now and then, on days when I work, I pull out these books and ask the girls to pick a page to do.  I love that these books cover drawing inferences, making conclusions, determining cause-and-effect and using context clues AND they require the student to not only answer the question but to note which sentence helped them best answer each question.


Writing Strands

My girls practice their writing in a variety of ways, from notebooking in history and science to writing paragraphs about their favorite books to assigned essays.  We have tried a lot of writing programs and we always go back to this one.  I love the gentle, relaxed approach.  I adore the way these books are written and how they encourage young writers to take leaps and try things.  I love this program.  


Last year for Christmas, the girls each got a gift certificate to TikaTok.  They had an absolute blast writing their stories.  I thought they would write picture books, but they wrote chapter books.  We learned grammar by editing them together.  We were extremely pleased with the quality of the bound books and the ease of the process.



I LOVE this program.  It may be my favorite homeschool curriculum.  There are so many facets to this program that I love.  Each week we learn several new roots.  We are given a list of words the roots are used in, we are also given page numbers to find other roots in the words.  Using the new root and the page numbers for the roots not yet learned, children create their own definitions of the words.  They are usually so spot on.  We write the root and the words and their definitions on flash cards.  We try to master three roots a week.  There are also a variety of fun games to play with the flash cards.  Sometimes I have the girls draw what the root means.  My girls' retention of this program is ASTOUNDING.



Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia

We love these books, they are funny and interesting and provide insight into the lives of great artists.  Each week we read one of these books (I create a notebooking page with the artists' picture and an image of one of their works as well as lines to notebook ahead of time), the girls notebook about the artist and their works and then I try to find a website that shows us how to replicate their technique or make our own version of one of their works.


Art Projects for Kids

Kathy Barbaro's website provides wonderful projects and how-to tips for parents.  I often find our art projects and ideas on how to engage more in the work of an artist on this site.

Nature Study

Homeschool Resources - for parents

How Children Learn by John Holt

You know how you just get a gut feeling that something is awry, things are not working well?  That was how I felt when my girls were in school.  Reading this book was like having a lightbulb go on and show me exactly WHY I felt that way.  This books was mind-opening.  I cried in parts mostly because I was happy that I had found this book and partly because I was sad that what the American public education system does is FAR removed from this.

Teach Your Own by John Holt

While How Children Learn substantiated my feelings that things had gone terribly wrong in my girls' education, Teach Your Own showed me how to change things.  Teach Your Own gave me the courage to think differently about my daughters' education and the confidence to teach them myself.