Welcome to my musings...

After a 3 year hiatus from blogging (too busy parenting teens to have time to write about it!), I have decided to revive my blog. I look forward to sharing my perspective on mothering as I am at the tail end of my child-raising journey. Nothing could be more beautiful, more full of joy and pain and anguish, than the divine calling of motherhood. I pray my musings will bless you on your own journey, and that you will feel encouraged and equipped!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Homeschool Hints - Part III

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year once again…time to choose teaching materials for next year. In this installment, I thought I would share some of my favorite resources for purchasing curricula, as well as some of the resources we have personally used and enjoyed. Being the Type-A person that I am, I have spent hours each year researching the various options, so if you have questions, please feel free to email me and I will be glad to help you.

Homeschool Resource Companies:

1. Rainbow Resource Center – Started as a family business, they now have over 40,000 products in all subject areas (and great toys and books, too!). They have great customer service, and you can’t beat their prices. This is probably my favorite resource company of all. Visit them online at: http://www.rainbowresource.com/

2. Christian Book Distributors – This is probably my second most-used company. While they are known for great prices on Christian books and music, they also have a great homeschool department. Again, great service and great prices and a huge variety of resources for all budgets. Address: http://www.christianbook.com/

3. Library and Educational Services - This is a great place to purchase books, audiotapes and audiodramas (such as Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family) for amazing prices. Check out “The Truth Chronicles” by Adventures in Odyssey—our family favorite for teaching worldview to children. Address: http://www.libraryanded.com/

4. Apologia Educational Ministries - An excellent resource for Creation-based science programs. More about them below… http://www.apologia.com/

Specific Subject Recommendations:

1. Math – Our favorite Math program has been Math-U-See. This is a great hands-on program that stresses mastery and understanding over just memorizing facts. The videos are helpful and funny, and compared to some other programs it is relatively affordable. Website: http://www.mathusee.com/

2. World HistoryThe Mystery of History (Volumes 1-3) is one of my all-time favorite resources. Linda Hobar takes you through History starting with Creation. This is from a Biblical worldview, and teaches Bible history right alongside world history, teaching our children that the “stories” in the Bible are NOT stories, but historical fact. There are activities for young, middle and older students, making this a great resource for multi-level teaching. http://www.themysteryofhistory.com/

3. American HistoryTruth Quest History is a “living books” curriculum, involving reading many books, both fiction and non-fiction. They have an elementary and an older-level course. It is really a glorified reading list, which I have supplemented with other resources, but it makes finding the books much easier. http://www.truthquesthistory.com/

4. Science – I have a couple of recommendations here. Overall, we have thoroughly enjoyed anything from Apologia (see above for website). Their middle school and high school courses can’t be beat if you are looking for a college-prep, Christian-worldview science course. They also offer elementary level courses, which are wonderful. My kids love their science courses. We also recently discovered an elementary curriculum by Richard and Debbie Lawrence (a local couple), which are now marketed by Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/). We tried the chemistry course this year, and my son especially loved this one. It is called God’s Design for Science.

5. Language Arts – I confess this is the area I have most struggled with in finding teaching materials. While there are many available, there haven’t been many that I have liked! We have found good materials for grammar (Easy Grammar – available at most of the resources above) and spelling (Reason For Spelling), and have tried many different writing courses, finally settling on The Institute for Excellence in Writing (http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/). While this course is truly excellent, I have also found it somewhat difficult to use (and expensive), requiring many hours of preparation time that I don’t have! If you have any suggestions for me in this category, please feel free to leave me a comment and share your wisdom…I would welcome your suggestions. I feel as though we have tried just about everything out there in the course of teaching three children, without finding just the right fit for Language Arts.

I hope you find this information helpful. There is such a plethora of materials available, it can be difficult to wade through them all and find the right fit for your family. Just remember, what works for one person may not be right for another. Keep your children’s learning styles, interests, and temperaments in mind when selecting materials, as well as your own. If you dislike certain material, that will definitely be communicated to your children, and none of you will enjoy the learning process. And that is what is important…teaching your children to love learning, no matter what the subject.

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