This is part three in my series on Planning for Homeschool.
Here is a list of some of my favorite “go to” sites when I’m looking for new curriculum or new ideas. Just so you know, these are all based on my own unbiased opinion and I received no compensation for these recommendations.
- Heart of Dakota – is written by Carrie Austin and the company is family owned and operated by her and her husband. I believe her sister, Julie, also has an active role in the company and possibly in the writting also. This curriculum is Christ-centered and would serve as your core curriculum. There are recommendations and lesson plans in Carrie’s guides for math, reading, language arts, and writing (when your students get to that stage, as well as spelling but you are free to choose your own resources for those subject areas. This curriculum lends itself to the Charlotte Mason methodology by using real books and not textbooks for learning. You can easily combine multiple age levels using one of her guides with adjustments to grade level being made for spelling, math, and language arts. Carrie also has a wonderful literature program – “Drawn Into the Heart of Reading”. I am excited about beginning this in the fall with my boys!
- Sonlight – is a Christian based company but their philosophy maybe a little bit different than yours concerning religion. They believe that children of all ages should be introduced to world religions and evolution and that may come at a younger age than you are ready for your students to experience. From day one, I introduced my boys to the theory of evolution and it never made sense to them. However, each family has their own way of dealing with such topics so you need to be aware of Sonlight’s philosophy.
- My Father’s World – For those who prefer a classical style but appreciate the living books of the Charlotte Mason method this just maybe the curriculum for you! MFW is also offers a Christ-centered education which lends itself to a one room schoolhouse approach. Which means the entire family can be learning together! Some adjustments maybe needed once you reach those middle school and high school years but MFW offers suggestions on just how to do that!
- The Curriculum Choice – is a wealth of information! Here you will find reviews, tips, and tricks on using all sorts of different books, games, apps, pretty much you name it!
- Cathy Duffy’s – Here is a site packed full of reviews! From full set curricula to individual books, etc. She also has a book titled, “101 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum”.
- Homeschool Reviews – here is a site where you may leave a review for a particular homeschool product or read reviews. Most times, the reviews are written by a homeschool mom or dad or tutor and sometimes even a homeschool student that has nothing to gain by giving you their honest opinion. There is also a forum where parents can discuss different homeschool topics.
- Christian Book Distributors – have a large selection of homeschool materials ranging from curriculum to books to games to classroom supplies. They offer a free printed homeschool catalog that you may request from their web site.
- Home Science Tools – for all your science needs! Microscopes, telescopes and more oh my! They typically run a fantastic sale on microscopes during Black Friday and around Christmas time. This site even offers free science lessons!
- Institute For Excellence In Writing – IEW is one of my favorite resources!!! I have watched Teaching Writing with Structure and Style at least 3 times all the way through and will be watching all of them this summer and throughout the school year. Andrew Pudewa makes writing easy and fun. He has wonderful mp3 downloads on helping parents teach writing to their own children, a wonderful talk on “Spelling and the Brain”, and my personal favorites, “Teaching Boys Who Would Rather Build Forts”. IEW offers not only on writing but also on spelling, grammar, and speech and debate. Wonderful, wonderful company!!! I have visited with them at homeschool conventions and they are always eager to help and once when I bought and downloaded three ebooks that I had previously purchased, I chatted with them and they promptly without hesitation refunded my money.
- All About Spelling – well the name says it all! We are currently using this in our classroom for remediation for a struggling speller. It is incredible how quickly he is picking up spelling and we are only half way through the first book! Suddenly, things are just clicking for him. The author also has a reading program but I have no first hand knowledge of it but if I needed a reading program this is one I would seriously consider.
- Reading Horizons – We used this product for reading remediation for our oldest son. He is now close to grade level reading where he was barely at 3rd grade before beginning this curriculum, he is in the 7th grade. I strictly used the DVD based method. It is tedious. He did not always enjoy it but he did it anyway because HE SAW the results for HIMSELF.
- Home Life Academy – HLA is what they call an “umbrella school. Our family has been registered with HLA for several years and highly recommend them to anyone! They serve families in the U.S. and those living abroad as missionaries. Here is a quote from their web site “HomeLife Academy is an official private school serving thousands of home educators. Our homeschool diplomas have been accepted by colleges and universities all over the nation, from the University of Central Florida to the Air Force Academy. Our goal is simple: provide support, record keeping, and counseling, coming along side of you — the parent — in order to help Light the Fires of education in your children. As a ministry first and a school second, consider the value of registering with HLA…”
For planners I have used The Well Planned Day and Donna Young’s site. Donna Young has so much to offer homeschool moms! From lesson ideas to planning forms, household forms to schedules and calendars! There is more than what you will ever need there! The Well Planned Day has been my planner for the past several years. I just love the bright colors and appreciate the beauty that it is! It makes me smile when I see it. There are also great articles throughout the planner to help encourage you on your journey.
Bible curriculum can become tricky! When it comes to teaching our beliefs to our children we find it best to do this as things come up in the day. When a bad attitude arises or being selfish plays a role or greed rears its ugly head, we go to the Word and share with the boys what God has to say about that. This is done in a matter where the child does not feel condemn but loved. God sent His Word (His Son) to save us as an act of love not to point out to us everything we have done wrong. But when we do things His way there is blessing. We issue grace and mercy in our home because we have received much freely so we give freely! But for teaching the Bible there are two resources that I have used at some point in on our journey. Now that the boys are middle school age, we mostly just read the Bible together as a family and discuss.
Calvary Curriculum – offers FREE! Bible curriculum for all ages. It is easy to use and to add in your own personal doctrine.
Grapevine Studies – this is a fairly new resource to me to use in our homeschool. Here you “stick figure” your way through the Bible. The author offers several different studies for different ages. It is teacher led and as the teacher is teaching, she is drawing a stick figure on a white board or chalk board or whatever and her students are doing the same. It offers daily lesson plans that include a timeline and map work. Grapevine Studies are simple but thorough and can easily be fit into any schedule since it takes about 15-20 minutes on average to complete one day’s lesson.