Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Five Favorites: Homeschooling Programs

Five Favorites, hosted at MoxieWife.com


I'm going to list some of my favorite homeschooling materials for your reading enjoyment :)  This is our last week of school, so it's nice to reflect on some of the products that have made life easier for me this year!  This our 5th year of homeschooling, not counting preschool.  And in my prior life before becoming a Mommy, I taught preschool, kindergarten, and first grade in public and private schools.  So I have used quite a few different programs and textbooks over the years.  Here are my current favorites:


~~1~~
The All About Spelling Program 
This program is a dream-come-true for me.  I wanted to follow an intensive phonics and spelling program but was bored out of my mind with the materials I'd tried previously.  Every year I'd try something new, only to be disappointed.  This program is great, great, great.  My kids are not gifted in spelling, so this is helping us with a systematic, colorful, and multi-sensory teaching method and materials (magnets, flashcards, etc).  The teacher manual is very easy to follow.  I can't recommend this enough.

I'm also happy with All About Reading so far.  I've been working on the Pre-Reading program with Steven Joseph as he approaches Kindergarten this fall.  I'm hoping these programs will be our go-to for reading, phonics, and spelling in the years to come!


~~2~~
Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
My kids really like science, and this year we've been using Apologia's Anatomy and Physiology materials.  The elementary-level science books we've used in the past each seemed to cover a snippet of different subjects, without really delving into any of them.  Apologia offers a very detailed textbook coming from a Biblical worldview (there are a few paragraphs here and there that Catholic parents may need to adjust), always pointing to the Creator who made our bodies so amazing!

They also offer some wonderful journaling notebooks and lab kits that pull everything together.  It's nice to have everything we need for each science experiment ready to go in a plastic baggie!  We read a few pages about 2-3 days a week, but we will not finish the book this school year.  We'll continue into the fall and then possibly start Botany a few months into the school year.  I'm very happy with this thorough textbook, the fun journaling notebooks, and the great lab kits.


~~3~~
Beta: Addition and subtraction for multiple-digit and other topics.

The one program we've used from the beginning is Math-U-See.  I love their interactive materials and the instructional videos.  My girls have done well in Math using this program, so I've stuck with it even though I was tempted to follow the many curricula that recommend moving to the Saxon program in the 4th grade.  I recently noticed that they have re-vamped their books to add some additional enrichment pages with topics like measurement, patterns, and graphs that were left out of earlier editions.  And they'll be aligning with the Common Core Standards, in case Big Brother requires homeschoolers to follow these in the future ;)  We are very happy with Math-U-See!


~~4~~

When a mom needs some straightforward, traditional workbooks that are 100% Catholic and include beautiful artwork and solid instruction in the faith, Seton is the way to go!  You can purchase a "school in a box" and be all set with a challenging curriculum for your child.  I know lots of moms who love Seton and many who criticize it's "boring" approach with workbooks and maybe a lack of more fun, interactive teaching methods.

I like to pick and choose a few Seton workbooks that nicely compliment our other homeschooling materials.  I bought our first Seton workbooks in January 2012 during a kind of mid-year breakdown.  I'd always told myself I'd try Seton before abandoning homeschooling!  They gave me some freedom in allowing the girls to work on certain subjects independently.  So far we've loved their Handwriting, and I'm happy with the Phonics, English Grammar, and Religion workbooks.  We tried their spelling, but it didn't work well for what my girls needed.  I also bought an Art book but didn't care for it.  Overall, though, Seton provides some great materials for Catholic homeschooling families.


~~5~~
Alpha Year Student Text Cover

We haven't used CCM this school year, because it is hard for our family to do memory work without a co-op atmosphere.  But this is a wonderful program for any Catholic homeschooling family to help children memorize vital information for a solid classical education.  The kids do this memory work in Catechism, Latin prayers, Historical events, Timeline facts, science concepts, Math tables, World Geography, and famous poems and speeches.  You can do it at home with your own children or in a co-op.

A memory work co-op makes this fun by putting the information to songs or hand-motions, using interactive learning, and allowing the children to have a fun experience in a classroom.  We participated in a group near Houston before our move, and then used a similar non-Catholic program called Classical Conversations last spring with some friends, just doing the memory work with this one other family in our homes.  I'm currently in discernment about joining or starting a classical co-op this fall.  Please say a prayer for me!

~~~

Have you used any of these materials?  What is your favorite program you've used so far?  I'm researching curricula for next year in History (I think we'll do US), Geography, and Art.  Any ideas?

Thanks for hosting, Hallie!  See more Five Favorites over at Moxie Wife!



2 comments:

onecatholicmama said...

We use and love all those (except the Seton workbooks), but we've used AAS, and Math U See for years. This year, our coop did CCM, and my kids loved it. I also really like Apologia...we did it through another coop and my kids really enjoyed it.

Susan H. said...

I am so excited to try your suggestions for phonics/spelling. I have one son who really struggles with this, no matter how I try to present the concepts to him. Also, our family LOVES history, and I have used the Sonlight curriculum timeline books for each of the boys, and they love it!

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