Saturday, September 18, 2010

A few of my favorite things!


I’ve been homeschooling for a long time, forever it seems, and one of my favorite things about homeschooling is picking curriculum and books and supplies to teach my children with.  It’s a long process for me each year, but I enjoy the research so much!

Now that we’ve been into this 2010/2011 school year for a several weeks, I’d like to share some of my favorite choices.  I’m going to start with the older kids and work my way down to the younger children, there’s so much more out there for the younger kids anyway.

10th Grade

bowling 030 By far, my most favorite things for this grade are Apologia Biology, Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 and Beautiful Feet Medieval History.

We’ve been using Apologia for a few years now and I can’t recommend them enough, well worth the price!

We’ve been using Teaching Textbooks for a few years as well, and though they are spendy, this curriculum has solved a lot of problems for me and having a big family is a bonus, I can just keep using it over and over and over again!

The most surprising thing to me is the Beautiful Feet Medieval History.  I’m actually using this same curriculum for all three older children-10th, 9th, & 8th.  The study guide is broken into 2 sections; one section for 7/8 and one section for 9/10.  Some of the books that the two groups read are the same and some are different.  I think what I really love about this is the books the children are getting to read.  It was a lot of work tracking down the books for the study and I spent too much money probably, but they LOVE history now!  They have been reading books that challenge them both intellectually and spiritually.  Two years ago we were in Washington D.C.  and saw the original Magna Charta—honestly  we didn’t know why that document was significant.  That was the first book they read in this study!  Now we know!  They will get to study William Tyndale, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, William Wallace and more!  I really toiled over whether this was the right History curriculum for us and I believe I can say with confidence that it is.  010

As an aside, the study guide suggests reading the books aloud to your children.  This hung me up just slightly, but I was able to manipulate the curriculum and plan their lessons in a way that they are doing it completely independently.  And I did not buy multiple books so they each had their own copy to read, instead, they have to manage their time in a way so they can share—real life! 


9th Grade

state fair 020

(Aren’t teen boys ALWAYS eating?)

His books are just like his older brothers.  They aren’t doing anything different to be honest.  But this guy loves his Pinnacle Studios for making Lego movies.  We call him our “binary” guy, he thinks like a computer and often gets called a “know-it-all.”  He’s the one who keeps me thoroughly informed on the content of the books he’s reading for History.  :o)

image I think the best curriculum choice I made for him this year is Easy Grammar Plus.  Both he and his 12 year old sister struggled in English last year.  Not the composition or comprehension portion, but the mechanics portion.  So I decide to try Easy Grammar Plus which claims to teach all those mechanics in a very quick and easy format.  Sure enough, the light bulb has been going on, for both of them! 

8th Gradestate fair 101 021

Including all of the aforementioned…probably the best thing I’m doing with this sweetie is scheduling time in her day each day to work on her own projects.  I call it “life-skills.”  And can include, but isn’t limited too:  knitting, sewing, cooking/baking & drying herbs.  She loves crafty/homemakey things and I want to encourage that in her. 

2nd Grade

040 026

Big drop there…you can look at my Taffy Academy page to see what exactly I am using with him, but probably our  favorites right now are Draw-Write-Now and Saxon Math 2.  He begs to do math!  I don’t go through every little thing the book suggests though,  he picks things up pretty quickly and would get bored if I was redundant the way Saxon likes.  He didn’t like Draw-Write-Now last year, so if you have a child who is resistant now, wait awhile and try again.  He enjoys the challenge of the drawings now and particularly likes showing his writings and drawing to his siblings—the older ones have all used the same books.  Last year we started using Galloping the Globe and we all absolutely loved it!  I haven’t gotten back into that yet, but I’m sure it will be another favorite once we do.



This is one of the best ages to teach!  I love this age!  It doesn’t take much time each day, and there are so many fun learning tools, not to mention all the wonderful free resources on-line now!

015 (3)

Her main “bookish” subjects are Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Explode the Code.  I’ve taught all my children to read with 100 Easy Lessons—great resource!  This is my first time using the Explode the Code series.  I found a workbook at a Used-Curriculum sale once, or maybe it was a thrift store…either way it was a cheap way to try it out, I remember she wasn’t quite ready to starting learning how to read so this was a gentle way to introduce phonics.  We started with the Before the Code series and are now on book 1.  We only do about 2 pages a day, that seems about right and it corresponds nicely with the Teach Your Child to Read book.  Most of the math we do is either through manipulatives or free File Folder Games.

I could probably write a little book about all the fun things I use with my Kindergartener, please don’t feel like you have to use a packaged curriculum, that would be such a waste of this fun age!  Learning is everywhere for a 5 year old!


004 (2)

I don’t have much to say about this…yeah right!  lol  My best advice:  give your Tot first priority in your homeschool day—that’s not a curriculum.  I spend 30-45 minutes working with him on colors, patterns, counting, etc.  In return he’s a little angel while I’m working with the other children.  Okay, maybe not a complete angel, but definitely better behaved than when I neglect to give him that time FIRST! 

electronics 006

Also, I would suggest visiting this blog and participating in TotSchool.  This other website is loaded with ideas for TotSchool too.  Participating in TotSchool has given me accountability to not neglect the youngest in our family.  And honestly, he probably appreciates the time more than anyone else!


Mrs. Taffy

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you shared! I always enjoy reading what works for others! :) I love teaching Kindergarten too!


Your comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!!