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SchoolhouseTeachers.com Flash Sale information – ends tomorrow 2/16/18. I would hate for you to miss it!
SchoolhouseTeachers.com Flash Sale information – ends tomorrow 2/16/18. I would hate for you to miss it!
There are so many options, so many curriculums, so many good things! How do you decide?
It can be tricky to decide what to cover and with what company and with what add-ons. But I would like to suggest to you a way to start your decisions on tricky subjects. It is not the process, not even close, but it is a start and it will reap great benefits in your home and your children’s lives. I promise.
So what is the key?
Yep, that simple. Have a conversation. Start it simply – What do you want to learn about? What is of interest to you? Do you have any ideas about what you want to do?
No time frame, no curriculum boundaries, just simply finding out what each student is interested in.
When we began these discussion with each of our girls, it was somewhat eye opening. Miss J wanted to learn more about birds. She also enjoyed cutting things out and gluing them into notebooks, simple lapbook style. She also talked about wanting to read the American Girl books. So guess what? This directed us to think about how we could accommodate her interests and we came up with a few wonderful ideas.
Miss J’s personalized curriculum?
What did we find out in the discussion with Miss L? That she was really interested in civilizations that vanished. She was enjoying a couple of books that we had to review. She wanted to not be focused on writing all the time and she didn’t like her math. Well, the math was one we are not changing because we are seeing the need to just push forward with what we have been using (Horizons). The others, though? That we could accommodate.
And for Miss E? Well, she pretty well had most of her subjects as a continuation of the previous year when we had this conversation (one of the year-round home school benefits and disadvantages – you have to adapt your time frame to what is needed!). But she gave good input on things and we knew what to change and what to continue, as well as allowing her to determine her own science.
So, as we move forward, we have these conversations. Over and over. These discussions allow us to make decisions for the girls that not only get their basics covered but do it in a way that they find interesting. One of the reasons we are continuing geography with a 3rd grader is that she loves it. It is the first program she wants to do each day. So, Let’s Go Geography is on her schedule and she is thrilled. These are the things that make education fit the child, rather than fitting the child to the education.
I encourage you to do what you can to tailor your child’s education based on their interests. This doesn’t mean you skip the important stuff. There is plenty that is dictated to them because they don’t have a preference so they do what we require. But, when we can choose something that is of particular interest? We do. Because the girls really respond to the options.
This post is part of the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair, hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will update this part of the post with the listing of all the others who are posting on the topic of their method of homeschooling.
Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.
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 We Have Loved Using – 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
How We Homeschool Together (Our Curriculum Choices for Preschool, First, and Tenth Grade) by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Today, the Homeschool Review Crew is announcing the winners of the Blue Ribbon Awards. The Blue Ribbon Awards are voted on by the blogging members of the Crew and then majority rules on the winners. There are lots of categories, some of which we did not vote in, such as PK and Kinder products and vendors. We did, however, keep track of our personal favorites so we could share our family’s winners with you. So, here they are:
Reading Curriculum – The Magic Stories by Allsaid & Dunn, LLC
Writing Curriculum – Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis from Writing with Sharon Watson
Literature Curriculum or Supplement – Captain Bayley’s Heir from Heirloom Audio (though Illuminating Literature was a close second)
History/Social Studies Curriculum – Drive Thru History: The Gospels (though Make-A-State from Home School In The Woods was a close second)
History/Social Studies Supplement – Carole P. Roman books
Science Curriculum or Supplement – The Greatest Inventors from A Journey Through Learning (with Innovators Tribe a close second)
Math Curriculum – UnLock Math
Foreign Language – First Form Latin from Memoria Press
Art Curriculum or Product – ArtAchieve (with Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc. a very close second)
Favorite Elective Curriculum – Doctor Aviation
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum – Drive Thru History: The Gospels
Favorite Christian Education Supplement – Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Elementary product – Susan K. Marlow books from Kregel Publications
Favorite Middle School product – Make-A-State from Home School In The Woods
Favorite High School product – Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert
Favorite Parent product – How To Homeschool from Apologia
Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed – Innovators Tribe
Favorite Planning Product – How To Homeschool from Apologia
Best Online Resource – Let’s Go Geography
Best e-product – Home School In The Woods Project Passport: Ancient Greece
Favorite Book or Author – Shepherd, Potter, Spy – and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver
Favorite Audiobook or Audio Drama – Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Just For Fun Product – Drive Thru History (with both of the Heirloom Audios close behind)
Miss J’s Favorite – Thin Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.
Miss L’s Favorite – Brinkman Adventures
Miss E’s Favorite – In The Reign of Terror from Heirloom Audio
What a year this has been with tons of wonderful product and our first steps into the high school products. The vendors have been amazing and we have been so blessed to be a part of this wonderful group of reviewers, bloggers, and more importantly, friends.
Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew 2017 Blue Ribbon Awards to see which vendors and products won the overall honors from the Crew.
We hope that you have found some good things through the Homeschool Review Crew and our family’s input with them. May 2017 end with lots of joy and 2018 be a year full of joy, hope, and wonderful times with your family and friends.
Geography is a subject that is always fascinating because there are so many facets to it. Whether you are looking for the language, culture, geographical features, landmarks, or other information on a country, Let’s Go Geography has a fantastic program. This has been a fun review that we are planning on continuing long past the end of the review period.
Designed for K-4th grade, this is an online homeschool geography curriculum. Because it is online, you will need access to a computer, the internet, and a printer. From home, you will probably want a binder to keep the travel journal in and you will need basic school supplies for the activities. This would include crayons, pencils, map colors, scissors, glue, and few other supplies for specific crafts activities.
Let’s Go Geography was created by Carol Henderson. Mrs. Henderson has taught geography in a co-op setting for a while but decided to adapt her lessons to an online format for more homeschoolers to access. (I am so glad she did!!!) The program is a planned 3-year cycle taking the students from continent to continent and country to country. Each year of the cycle takes the students through at least one country per continent (well, Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand are the anomalies for this).
The lessons follow a similar pattern for each country studied in the program:
Watch the video of the lessons on the website.
This is a lot of information but it is simple and easy to follow this curriculum. Each country study opens in a PDF and all of the links you need for printing or videos are embedded in the PDF. You can even check off your progress on the website.
HOW WE USED IT
Miss J is 8 and in 3rd grade. She has been working, somewhat inconsistently (my fault), on a continent study for the past year or so. This program was a perfect fit for her. We have enjoyed doing a country or two per week. She enjoys it and wants to complete a country each time we open the program.
Let’s Go Geography is written in such a way that you can do one country each time you use the program or you can break it up into several small sections and take several days to study the country. Either way would work well. This means it is an easy addition to your schedule and it takes almost no preparation.
Miss J enjoys studying the countries and we have found several things that have been rabbit trails in this study. What a wonderful things to experience.
That is what we are looking for in programs – connections! Let’s Go Geography definitely has that kind of connection for her.
Back to how we used it each time, though. I would go through the PDF ahead of time and print off the pages we would need. I did not print the entire PDF for any of the countries since some of it is a cover page or instructions. She 3-hole punched the pages and placed them in her travel journal in the appropriate section (sections are by continent). We then would work through each of the pages – coloring maps and flags, pasting the flags where they go, answering questions, watching videos, and doing the craft or coloring page. She did either the craft or the coloring page for each country. If she had questions or interests that cropped up in the middle of the study, we followed them. If that meant we didn’t get through the whole country that day, it was fine. We just picked up where we left off.
We often took this with us to her sister’s dance class and worked on it there, since we have plenty of time to sit and wait. It made a perfect project to take with us on the go if I printed it ahead of time. Except for one thing – when I transferred the PDF to my Kindle the links don’t work (we did still have internet access). The PDF reads fine but the links are no longer embedded. This is a fault of the Kindle, not the program. Easy to fix, though. I just planned ahead, opened the links, copied them, and emailed them to myself. We were then able to watch the videos.
While we have not yet reached a review lesson (lesson 12 is the first), the review lessons are really good! They review all of the countries studied thus far for the continents being looked at. There is extensive map work for the older students and plenty of good map work for the younger ones, as well, learning more about maps than has been discussed so far and encouraging as much work as possible to be done from memory. With matching activities and writing activities, the review lessons are packed full.
We really like this program. It is simple enough to follow and do the planning for. But, best of all, Miss J enjoys learning and is making connections with the countries we are studying.
Miss J says:
It is very fun. I have no idea why they did not call it “Let’s Go Geography Fun!” I like that it has fun activities and that you can mostly do them all if you have a printer. I think my friends would like this.
Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Let’s Go Geography.
As is common, we have rethought seriously the plans for this coming school year. While we are keeping our focus the same (faith, family, fun – with lots of books thrown in), we are trying to simplify and hone down.
This is mainly my problem – not the kids. It is so easy to look at programs, say “it only takes five minutes” and then end up with so many things that you feel burdened. Even though most of them only take a few minutes a day – thinking spelling and poetry specifically. So, I kicked those to the curb (holding onto the right to retrieve them in the future).
We are focusing on core this year: Bible, math, literature/writing, history, and science. There will be some music, languages, and dance in there as well. These lessons are four days a week, Monday to Thursday. So, what exactly are we doing with each?
Oh, and for reference, these are for:
Bible – I and II Corinthians will be our focus this year. We will be using our Bible bowl materials, Bible Road Trip, and various other videos, worksheets, and games to go with it. The girls are expected to read some each day and we will have Bible bowl meetings once or twice a month. We use Quizlet to do online drills, as well.
Math – This is broken down by grade. Miss E, in 8th, will be using UnLock Math‘s pre-algebra program. We reviewed it a while back and she still likes it! She actually got upset when she heard me comment that I needed to go buy math workbooks and she thought I was taking her off UnLock Math! Win-win! I did go buy Horizons workbooks, though. Miss J is starting level 3 and Miss L is finishing up level 4.
Literature/writing – You may have seen my post about Story Spiels. This is our literature curriculum for the year. Each girl has a book list to choose from and must make measurable progress in her book from week to week. (Not that I expect this to be a problem – two of them may fly through the entire book list this year and we will have to find more.) On Fridays, we will have a time where the girls will take turns presenting what was read that week and hosting a discussion about the topics and ideas of the book. They will also either do a notebooking page or a project about their book. If a project is chosen, we may relax the reading requirement for one week while the project is completed. Miss E may also be adding a fairy tales based literature program if it comes through but it is still in the works, so I am not counting on it at this point.
History – Miss J is going to be doing Let’s Go Geography. This is a new product and we will have a review of it up in about 6 weeks. I am really excited about this simple curriculum to take us around the world. Miss L is going to be combining her history and science as she is studying some books about women in various fields. Right now she is working on women in meteorology. Next she will be doing women in architecture. These are books from Nomad Press and are in a series. I think we will probably purchase some more following these two if her interest holds. Miss E is working on finishing up her study on Ancient Greece. We had some things come up late in the spring and she didn’t get to finish it so she is tackling it again this fall since she enjoys it so much.
Science – Miss J is going to start with a study of birds. Her fascination has remained so we will study them using the Memoria Press program What’s That Bird? Our library has most of the literature books from it and I have the teacher’s guide. It is technically for an older student but we are going to adapt. After that we will tackle the Apologia Young Explorer’s program on Flying Creatures. Miss L is working with the books I mentioned above, completing notebooking pages to show what she is learning. The books do a great job of combining some history and science together. Miss E is going to do Friendly Chemistry from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. She is interested in the chemical structure of things, as best we can decide after much discussion. Nothing is clear cut in what interests her but she was able to state some things she did not want. So, we’ll give these lessons a try and see what she can do with them. After that, I am hoping she will feel like taking the geology course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
Fun Fridays – I am hoping to schedule some fun things for Fridays, such as art lessons and STEM building projects. Perhaps an inventors workshop or a DEAR day (Drop Everything And Read). We will still do a family devotional and our Story Spiels will fall on Fridays.
All in all, I am shooting for less stress, fewer structured programs, and more time for rabbit trails and interest led activities. Any suggestions and encouragement is appreciated, as I am really struggling to not include more (and more and more).
This is the first day of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop with the Homeschool Review Crew. Be sure to visit the other bloggers, too. Here are a few for you to start with.
Annette – A Net in Time
Ashley – Gift of Chaos
Betty – Let’s Get Real
Chareen – Every Bed of Roses
Christy – Unexpected Homeschool
Crystal – Living Abundantly
Desiree – Our Homeschool Notebook
There are about 30 more so don’t stop here! Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to find the rest. 🙂
The youngest giggly girl, Miss J, has just turned 8 and while she likes books, she does not have the huge enjoyment of books that the other two giggly girls have. So, when I heard that In the Hands of a Child was looking for families to try out some of their project packs, I sent them a message and told them I was definitely willing and would love something for Miss J. After a short email discussion to decide on a title, they gave us their A Little House on the Prairie curriculum download to try.
Miss J saw me downloading it and printing it off, just before bedtime, and came over to see what I was doing. When she realized it was a “Laura book” study, she got kind of excited. When I showed her what it was, she got really excited and wanted to start right away, regardless of the fact that it was bedtime. So, when you are homeschooling and you find something that excites the learning in your child, what do you do? You start right away.
We began reading the first chapter that night and doing the corresponding activities. We marked a map and wrote some of the biographical highlights of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. After the first night of excitement, I kind of expected there to be a tapering off of the joy of reading the book and working on the corresponding lapbook parts. But there has not been. Miss J has enjoyed working on this every time and it is the first school work she wants to do each day.
Well, except for the chapter summaries. She is getting tired of those but I don’t really blame her. She was doing a summary per chapter but we have moved to a summary for every couple of chapters or just a sentence about the chapter. Twenty-six summaries is quite a few. 🙂
The variety of activities included in this lapbook keeps the interest level high. From learning vocabulary words (which Miss J begged to do as often as possible, including writing the definitions) to summarizing a how-to from the story to thinking about all the daily chores required for a pioneer family, the activities have been interesting and exciting for Miss J. She has learned a lot and enjoyed it.
The activities included by In The Hands of a Child do a great job of extending the learning to parts of a story, character and setting, writing, history, geography, and other skills. We have been very pleased with the activities and learning, especially for our child that doesn’t just jump for joy every time we mention reading time. Now, she asks to do her literature study more often than almost any other part of her school work. That is a great move forward for her.
There is a suggested schedule but we found that, in addition to our other schoolwork, this schedule was just too rigorous. So, we pulled it back to reading one chapter a day and completing one or two activities a day. This made the Project Pack much more manageable for our 2nd grader. I also found that if Miss J dictated and I wrote some for her, she got much more informative in her narratives and summaries. So, we did quite a bit of that, as well.
We definitely can recommend checking out In The Hands of a Child and their lapbooks. The digital download via CurrClick was simple and gives me easy access to the instructions without having to print them out. I can print out the parts we need to create the lapbook and leave the others stored electronically. We actually moved the download onto the Kindle to make it easier to access while the other giggly girls needed the computer.
Lots of fun is to be found in the use of a lapbook and In The Hands of a Child has done a nice job of including a variety of activities. Please visit their site to learn more and see their many, many options.
This week on the Virtual Curriculum Fair, we are talking about Exploring Our World: Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences. Be sure to visit the Homeschooling Hearts and Minds to catch all of the posts related to this, and all, themes of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair.
Social studies, history, geography – these are all favorite topics of mine both for teaching and learning. There is so much to be gain from any contact with these. Whether it be reading a difficult text and getting through it or just having fun with a simple game, I enjoy just about every aspect of learning about the world. One of my favorite ways is to watch a video about it.
We keep our Netflix handy and have recently added Amazon Prime. We have shelves stocked with documentary videos and a library system that we pull videos from often.
Nothing can bring you more information about a place than seeing it. But what do you do when you cannot visit in person? Watch a video on it.
Other than the previously mentioned resources, we have a couple of other that have proved to have a lot of fantastic videos for learning about our world, geography, and cultures. SmartKidz Media Library has been one of those. We reviewed it a couple of years ago and we still find things on there that complement what we are reading and learning about. Recently it involved castles. I am currently browsing for things on Greece. They have a couple that we will check out soon. Another fantastic resource for video based classes is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We are so blessed with this resource. They include Drive Thru History as part of their course options and these are going to be fantastic! A third resource that we have access to (through SchoolhouseTeachers) is Right Now Media. There is a large variety of religious resourced at this site, some of it highly applicable to a middle school or high school level history. Missionary stories make a wonderful cultural resource, as well.
Delving a bit into the science end of the topic (which really isn’t where this week goes but fits with the theme of visiting the world through videos), we have a number of interest DVDs that we enjoy pulling out. Titles of some of our favorites are:
Each of the previous resources also have a number of options for science titles.
I just think there is no substitute for seeing something. And when you can do so in person, it is a great option to pull out a video that will show it to them. So, don’t be afaid to pull out those videos and spend some time exploring that place you just read about in literature or a history text. My girls always remember more when it is tied to something else.
Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.
Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time
Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres
What A World by Jennifer King @ A “Peace” of Mind