Saturday, 20 January 2018

Top Home Educating Resources

Welcome to week three of the Virtual Homeschool Fair run by Susan of Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This week the topic is How do we cover it all? This is about the programmes and resources that we use.
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We have been home educating for almost nine years. This post is about some of our favourite resources.  Some of these items we no longer use but they are ones that have left happy memories. Two of these are free!


My children are now too old for Five in a Row but this was a happy curriculum. Five in a Row is a gentle curriculum aimed at 4-8 year olds around picture books. Each week a different book is selected and read each day. The handbooks then have activities around the book which cover science, maths, art, English, craft and cooking. 

Plus points
-the children and I loved Five in a Row.
-excellent selection of picture books
-manuals have a high resale value
-enormous range of activities so those which fit your family can be selected.
-designed for home educating families

Bear in mind
-Five in a Row is probably better for the lower end of this age range.
-many of the books are American and some are out of print. We decided only to buy the books which were inexpensive and easily obtainable and were able to find the vast majority. 
-It isn't necessary or desirable to do every activity in the manual.
-Branch Out World is written by a UK home educator. This is a similar sort of programme based around picture books but these are based in the UK. For example, Mousehole Cat or Katie Moray.
Veritas self paced history is an on-line history course which is used daily. It has an accompanying list of literature which we used and found enhanced the course. We used it for two years covering New Testament, Greeks and Romans and for the second year, the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation.  A typical day would include teaching, maps, a history song, a game and a revision game and more.
Plus points
-generated a love for history.
-requires little parental time and virtually no preparation.
-attractively designed.
-literature bundle enhances the on-line programme

Bear in mind
-after the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation year, the course starts to cover mainly US history. We stopped using the course at this point.
-not cheap but there seem to be sales about twice a year with major reductions (about 50%).
  • Exploring Nature with children
This is a weekly nature curriculum written by UK home educator, Lyn Seddon. 
Exploring Nature with Children is based around a weekly nature walk to the same venue. This can be the back garden, a local park or some countryside. Each week has a theme, for example, seeds, lichen or birds and the weeks are grouped into seasons. Each week includes a poem, book recommendations, an art suggestion and activity suggestions. This may be art or craft, science, writing or music. Children and parents are encouraged to keep a nature journal but there is a separate, more structured journal which can be purchased either with print copy or cursive copywork.

Plus points
- a major encouragement to get outside and to look at nature.
-plenty of activities for a range of ages.
-ideal for UK seasons.

Bear in mind
-this book is written for UK weather and seasons. It may need some modifying if your seasons are very different.
-it isn't necessary to do every activity.
-these are ebooks. The main title can be used on a tablet but the journals obviously need to be printed.

  • Poetry Teatime
Poetry Teatime is a brainchild of Julie Brogart who designed Bravewriter. We have used Partnership writing and certainly use some of the ideas around teaching writing. However, the part of the Bravewriter programme which has impacted us most is the concept of a Poetry Teatime. This is a time set apart for reading poetry, and sometimes other books, over a drink and a snack. Sometimes, we have a carefully laid table and a special snack and other times, the poetry reading is less formal. I have complaints when we miss Poetry Teatime.

Plus points
-poetry in a relaxed environment. 
-reading aloud practice
-sometimes, we write. Covering the table with brown paper and providing pens helps this.
-sometimes, we invite friends to this sociable occasion.
-poetry tea can take place outside the home. We have had poetry in cafes while waiting for an older child taking exams or at Bateman's,  Rudyard Kipling's home, because this seemed the place to read Kipling .

Bear in mind
-you might not want to introduce an extra snack! We are trying to have healthier snacks although this doesn't always work.
-funny poems work well, particularly, with children who aren't used to poetry.

  • Morning Time
Morning time is another free resource. This is a time to gather all your home educated children and spend time together. Morning time can make a definite start to the day and helps put first the items that you want to be first in importance. We start with prayer, a Christian book, memory work and a hymn. 
We then put in either extras that we don't want to miss or a special book/topic. Our current items are
-a double spread of  the Usborne Introduction to the First World War
-a chapter from one of the children's current book club choices: a Long walk to water and the Astounding Broccoli Boy.
-a weekly podcast from Classics for Kids or music from the First World War.

Resources for Morning Time include
-Pam Barnhill's podcasts Your Morning Basket
-Kendra Fletcher's book Circle Time: the best part of your day
-the Farmhouse Schoolhouse posts about Morning Time.

What are your favourite home education resources? 

Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers! 

Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources - An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace
Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Choices, choices - how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
Our Curriculum Needs - grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time
The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
What I Use with 7th and 9th Grader - Virtual Homeschool Fair -Week 3 by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses

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