Tuesday, June 8, 2010

After 14 Years of Homeschooling, My Favorite Curriculums, Unit Studies, and Resources

Here are the homeschooling resources that have been tried and found true for our family. I highly recommend these as part of your child's education as well! You'll notice that we typically use a more structured curriculum for the basics (English, math, and science), and we tend to go with a unit study approach when it comes to Bible, history, geography, and lit. I have the sweetest memories of our unit studies that we all did together, our daily read-alouds and field trips. So much fun! This was a choice that became a lifestyle. To read the story of my homeschooling journey, go HERE to begin.

Reading: I used Phonics for Reading and Spelling and paired this with the very first books in the Hooked on Phonics program. We also used Alpha Phonics and loved the ease and simplicity of it. My friend Sandy used the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Language Arts: We used the Rod and Staff curriculum, beginning in 2nd grade and going all the way through 10th grade. Excellent.

Spelling: Again, my favorite is Rod and Staff. We also used Spelling Power. This is a great approach for kinesthetic learners.

Math: I use Saxon math and believe it to be a great curriculum. It has worked well for my kids. When they were in elementary grades, I also used Math It! This is so great for learning all the math facts and great little strategic shortcuts! As my kids enter high school, they attend a weekly tutorial program for the more advanced math classes like Algebra 2, etc. I have never been a big fan of math (unless you are applying it to couponing, LOL) so it was important to me for my kids to learn math from people who really love it.

Science: Apologia, all the way. And the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. My kids learned a lot from Steve Irwin, too. RIP.

Unit Study Curriculum Choices
Learning at Home by Ann Ward – This is really hard to find, but it is available on Amazon. This has a unit study feel coupled with a semi-Charlotte Mason approach. I used the Learning at Home books for Preschool through 2nd grade. Love these. We had so much FUN in those early years! Ann Ward was like a mentor/hero to me. I wrote her a letter once and she wrote me back. Amazing.

The Prairie Primer. Danya really enjoyed this unit study by Margie Gray, and the boys were young enough when we did this to like it too. There is so much great stuff online to go along with this study, including being able to hear all of those songs that Pa plays on the fiddle. Very cool. The only book that I did not enjoy was The Long Winter. It truly lives up to its name. LOL. It snows and snows and snows. I was sick of snow and I was just reading it to the kids. I truly cannot imagine living through it. :)

Tennessee History—Notgrass Company. What can I say? I love the Notgrasses! I cried when we got to the end of this study both times: when my older two did it, and then when Derek went through it.

Learning Adventures. These unit studies are just the best for grades 4 - 8. Well-written and organized, loaded with great information and extra helps, author Dorian Holt takes you and your student on an incredible ride through history. My kids loved these. We first met Dorian at the CSTHEA fair and we just went crazy. It was a rock star moment for her! I even called Sandy from the booth and had Dorian talk to her. Dorian said, “Hello, Sandy? This is Dorian Holt.” And Sandy just started to gush. It was a fan moment. We’re complete nuts! :)

For High School unit studies, I’m back to Notgrass. Check out their website. And, the Cornerstone Curriculum by David Quine. Danya did this one when she was a freshman. Life-changing.

Of course, along with these, there were lots of odds ‘n’ ends that I used to supplement, and book choices that did not work out as well. We have a great library system here in Nashville, and the Internet has been invaluable as well. One of my favorite sites for maps and flags is Enchanted Learning. I pay for that one yearly; it’s just $20, and it is worth it!

Motivational/Encouragement books I have loved coming up tomorrow!


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