A few days ago, stuartdelony asked about homeschooling curriculum. After writing a very long post that probably didn’t answer his question :), I thought I’d attempt to give him some information on specific curriculum or sources of curriculum.
If you are homeschooling and have a curriculum you love, I hope you’ll speak up. (Martha, I expect you to comment about Sonlight. hint . . . hint)
If you are just beginning the homeschool adventure, or if you are considering homeschooling, I recommend The Elijah Company’s website. This family has a lot of valuable information. I remember requesting one of their print catalogs and poring over the articles. At the time, it was free and was more beneficial than most books about homeschooling that I purchased.
I have found Timberdoodle to be an excellent source of materials. This family only sells what they would purchase, and they write helpful reviews of the things they do sell. I think every homeschooling family needs to bookmark Timberdoodle’s website.
We have bought some things from A Beka. I have some of their phonics flashcards and their beginning phonics charts, which we have found helpful. We used to do A Beka math, but we chose not to do their math this year. Actually, I have several used A Beka books on my shelf, which I occasionally use to supplement what we’re doing or for interesting read-aloud times. I don’t prefer to use this entire curriculum because it doesn’t suit my style and goals. However, I do know plenty of people who just love A Beka. A lot of people who have never taught before and who don’t have great confidence in their ability to homeschool love A Beka because it lays it all out for you — even tells you what to say as you’re teaching a concept. If you’re considering A Beka, I do recommend going to one of their hotel display days so you can actually flip through the books. Oh, and I will say I like their math drills and game ideas. If you can get your hands on a teacher’s curriculum guide, I highly recommend looking over the games and drills and all the review they recommend at the beginning of each day’s subject. Even if you’re not using any A Beka books, you can incorporate their drill and review ideas.
Speaking of math, a lot of people I know absolutely love Saxon Math. We haven’t used it, but I hear the review is excellent. And I think if you buy Saxon and use the textbook in a non-consummable way and then they revise it, you can send your old books in and get the revised version either free or really cheap. My friend who uses Saxon math for all 7 of her children has passed the books down with each child and has sent in for the revised book a time or two.
For history, we use The Story of the World. I love that I can use the same history for several different grade levels.
I also really like Pathway Readers. These are simple books and workbooks published by an Amish farming community. My girls really liked these, and I need to order some more workbooks for my boys.
I have heard wonderful things about Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, though I have never had that much money to spend a reading curriculum.
I have also heard great things about Explode the Code. (You’ll have to Google it.) 🙂
Several of my friends absolutely love Sonlight.
Oh, and also for beginning reading, many of my friends raved about Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons and Alphaphonics. My girls thought both of those were boring, but those reading lessons have worked for many other families.
This year, I bought a membership at edhelper.com. I have been able to generate worksheets with my girls’ spelling words or vocabulary words. I’ve also been able to create math worksheets for extra practice. I can also do specific worksheets or word-wall printouts for my son’s phonics words. And my children enjoy some of the special units, particularly holiday units. I will say, though, this site is not Christian and you may find an occasional reference to another religion’s holidays or to a millions-years old world.
This year, my goal has been to do school for as little money as possible. I bought some workbooks at Books-A-Million and I’m supplementing with some other things I’ve picked up here and there and with worksheets I print out from the internet. We are using these cheap workbooks for math, language, reading, and phonics. I’m creating spelling lists and vocabulary lists. We’re using The Story of the World for history. And we’re using a little of this and that for science — some internet stuff, some books I’ve been given, a book I bought from eBay. We’re also doing some journaling this year, which is fun and can incorporate several subjects. And for reading, we’re using several different types of readers and novels and read-aloud books and some comprehension things I’ve printed out from edhelper, along with the A Beka charts and materials for my kindergartener.
Oh, I know there is more, but I need to stop my boys from throwing toys into our now-naked Christmas tree and my laptop battery is about to die.
I hope this helps. 🙂