Friday, September 17, 2010
Over the years my teaching methods and curriculum picks have changed based on our kids' ages and other factors. We have definitely acquired some favorites that have helped us enjoy homeschooling and I love sharing and reading about others' favorites. If you enjoy finding what people love and why check out this week's cruise topic (all the links should be posted on Tuesday, September 21) that covers favorite resources.
Sources we loved for a season:
Konos -- One of my all time favorites, but it seemed to become unrealistic when I had more than a couple kids. Konos is a unit study approach and has lots of great book recommendations. It also overflows with hands-on ideas great for the kinesthetic learner, or even just the ordinary kid. I will never forget all we learned constructing our own beaver dam, unforgettable experiences!
Sonlight -- I love the organization of Sonlight. Great books, corresponding questions and background info. Works with an age spread of a few years. Again, once we started having more than a four year age spread I would have needed to add another core, and I barely found time in my day to do one core, so I knew that was not realistic. I love Sonlight, but it doesn't fit our family right now. I do still purchase sporadic things from them, but not the complete cores any more.
Ambleside Online --A free "curriculum." Ambleside Online follows a Charlotte Mason philosophy (short lessons, living books, lots of discussion and time out of doors). I love her approach, and this website that bears the name of Mason's hometown is a wonderful resource. We used it almost exclusively for a couple years, and then, again, I found it a struggle with so many different levels going at once. And, I found that I really like to do things together as a family, so having them all reading all over the place had us more separated than I liked. However, we have AO to thank for introducing us to dozens of amazing books that I might not have read otherwise. Also, a great resource for those on a very tight budget. Much of what they use can be found online for free.
Loving in this season:
All About Spelling -- We met last year, and I wondered immediately where this had been all my homeschooling life. While it is all about spelling, it is also about phonics, hands-on learning, and a great foundation for reading. This is one of those review products that still gets used on a daily basis around here.
Rod and Staff -- Although they offer a complete line of products, we have most appreciated their English curriculum. I tried it one year and the next year I bought the rest. This is the only subject that we use the same company's materials from start (2nd grade) to finish (8th grade). High standards, clear concepts, traditional teaching. No fluff. Love the foundation this has given each of my kids in proper grammar.
Mystery of History -- As much as I love volume 3, I am equally excited to finish it to get another volume to try out. We go through a week every two weeks so we can really spend time on the material and all the great activities, websites, and other resources that this book has to offer. We do this together as a whole school, infant through 8th grade.
Apologia's Exploring Creation -- a new one for us this year and I wish I had not balked at the price for so long. My K-4 students love this book and I also bought the complementing notebook and it is so well put together I am glad I did. It makes teaching the book even more effortless. More than I usually spend on something, but I'm glad I did.
Before Five in a Row -- another new one this year for my little ones. We just finished one book so far, Caps for Sale, and really enjoyed the addition of the activities and conversation starters in BFIAR. We also enjoyed the accompanying lapbooks we found at . . .
Homeschool Share -- While we have enjoyed the lapbooks here the most, Homeschool Share is a wealth of knowledge not to be ignored by any conscientious homeschooler. Especially in the early years, we often pull ideas and activities from this bottomless website.
I have even more to share that we are using and enjoying right now, but those are the big ones, and the rest will have to wait for another post. Until I get that together, be sure to check out what others are saying about their favorite homeschool resources.