We as humans have been learning and teaching things for a very long time. Why has the modern classroom changed so little over the part 100 years? Gone are the days when you needed to go to a certain school in order to have access to a good teacher and to good books. Gone are the days when knowledge is expensive. So many wonderful and classic works are free online if you know what to look for. The problem today is not good resources. The problem today is figuring out which resources to use. Here is a list of some sites and resources that you may find helpful in no particular order:
— Memoria Press is another organization that has some really great resources. I really like how you can click on each year and see what they recommend for the year. You can buy curriculum for the whole year for different grade levels or just for different things like their geography book or the Logic courses. They recommend a classical approach to learning which includes Latin, Logic and Rhetoric. And their resources are really great. Their newsletter is excellent also.
2- Diane Hopkins – Lovetolearn.net —
is another great place to find good info and curriculum. I always loved getting their catalog. she has a lot of great articles and how to homeschool and what to teach when. She homeschooled her kids in the 80s, so she has been in the game awhile. She also has some curriculum kits and lots of excellent books and curriculum with detailed reviews so you can know what to expect. Happy Phonics was super helpful in teaching my active little boy to read. He didn’t like sitting and sounding out word with me in a book, but he loved playing all those little phonics games where he had to read the card before moving forward in the game– it was genius!
3- Curriculum from Singapore.
Singapore teaches English in their schools and you can buy the same workbooks they have used in their classrooms that resulted in some of the highest test scores in the world from their students. Singapore Math levels Pre-K through level 6B are the staple of our math curriculum. We supplement it with extra practice when needed, but the program is complete and really helps the kids solidify their thinking and understanding in math– it’s not just rote memorization, they really learn the underlying concepts of what they are doing. The pictures make it more fun and easier to learn and understand. I am also a fan of the language arts curriculum– Grammar Practice, Word Study and Sentences to Paragraphs to make sure the kids understand the rules of punctuation and English grammar. (Sadly in looking for links, it looks like these books are hard to find- I’ll keep looking). Their science curriculum, My Pals are Here, is also great for laying a solid foundation of understanding science.
4- Yesterday’s Classics —
this is a website that has made many many old popular children’s books in history, literature, science, Greece, Rome, legends and more available for free online. You can also order print copies for most of the books. You will never run out of interesting stories to read to you kids about various subjects with this resource at your fingertips.
5- Well-Trained Mind –
Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise Susan was homeschooled by her mother Jessie Wise and she has outlined a very thorough curriculum and way to homeschool in her book. It is very heavy on literature, history, reading, and writing — but not so strong in math and science. Hers is the only modern history book written for kids in story format on the market at the moment. Reading the Story of the World series to my kids was an excellent introduction for me in learning the history I should have been taught in school. I don’t recommend following all her recommendations, there just isn’t enough time unless the literature aspect is your main focus and reason for homeschooling. But she has a lot of great points, good articles and suggestions on her site, and if you ever have the chance to hear her speak and relay her story, it will be quite worth your while. I got to hear her twice, and I was surprised at how many of my good ideas in running my homeschool originated with her!
6- Rainbow Resources —
If you are ever unhappy with any curriculum you are using, or you need some inspiration or your child suddenly has a new interest in some new subject– Rainbow Resources is there to save the day. Their catalog is the size of the old phone book, they have so many great resources to browse. You can also browse their website and ordering is easy. They have just about everything you could possibly need or want in just about every subject with in depth reviews also. It is awesome. I usually have a fairly good order come in every year from them– their prices are excellent too.
7- Beautiful Feet Books –
They have an extensive listing of many awesome books so you and your kids can learn history through reading in addition to great literature. They have many books along with study guides to go with the books to help you in your discussions. The books are also divided up by grade level and the site is super helpful in finding some really great books your child will love. It looks like they have just recently come out with a modern history story book also– so there is another option other than the Story of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer- I’ll have to check it out!
8- What Your Child Need To Know Series by ED Hirsch Jr.
— These are a series of books that not only list what a child should be learning at each grade level, but also includes the information such as the actual stories, math concepts with explanations, art with prints, science experiments, historical events, grammar and other things your child should know. So it is easy to sit down with your child and read and talk about the book together. It makes the child feel good too that they are learning what they need to–they aren’t missing out on anything by not going to public school.
These have been my go to sites and books for homeschooling and education for the past 15 years. I’m sure there are lots more– there are comprehensive online schools like K-12 and Calvert School. Ambleside Online is another great resource with a lot of information on implementing Charlotte Mason’s approach to education. There are probably as many favorite curriculums as there are homeschoolers, since many of us tend to like doing our own thing anyway. Just remember, it’s the final result and outcome you want to focus on– not finishing a certain curriculum series. If you are dying, you don’t like the series, then drop it. You start reading a book to your kids, and nobody likes it– pick a different one!! No big deal. Your kids are learning everything right now, there is no specific order that it needs to happen in. Give them time to explore, learn, build and discover on their own. When you need something different, go do some research and try something else. Make sure you cover the basics, however you think is most interesting or fun or effective for your situation, and the rest will come. You can do this!!