The most frequently asked question of any homeschooling mother is "What curriculum do you use?" The answer is seldom as easy as the question. Our answer is The Well-Trained Mind by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer , modified to fit our family's needs. If your children are still very young, start with this comprehensive resource, as well as The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. Either book can be overwhelming if you are late in getting started (or organized), so read them with a grain of salt if your children are older. Use what fits and replace the rest with what works for you.
I order almost everything we need from Rainbow Resource Center. Their comprehensive catalog proves to a valuable resource throughout the year.
Publishers we use are Zaner-Bloser for penmanship; Alpha-Omega for science and history/geography; A Beka for grammar and spelling; and Saxon for math.
Each summer, I begin my list for the coming year by perusing the Rainbow Resource Center Catalog. Originally led to it by the author of The Well-Trained Mind, it's become a staple in our home. The owners offer dependable reviews for the items listed and free shipping for orders over $150. I can't find a less expensive place to order Saxon, Alpha Omega, or Spelling Workout. Their customer service is exceptional. Order a catalog online or shop their online store.
Zaner-Bloser offers student books and teacher resources in their online store. While you're ordering, stock up on handwriting paper, lined appropriately for each grade and available in reasonably-priced reams of 500 sheets.
I began using books by Alpha-Omega when I started to feel overwhelmed by the task of using "whole books" for science and history/geography. My children and I both enjoy the flexibility the AO "lifepacs" offer. The children especially enjoy "getting a new book" every three weeks or so. Easy to use pull-out tests keep us on track and the scope and sequence spans from Bible times to modern day. The facts are presented from a Biblical perspective and send the student to his or her Bible for confirmation. We LOVE these books!
I do recommend ordering the science tools at the beginning of the year. Having the supplies on hand to do the recommended experience makes it easy and enriches your child's learning. Home Science Tools is an excellent resource and coordinates with AO to recommend what you need to purchase at each grade level.
Once we complete English for the Thoughtful Child, we move on to A Beka grammar (usually in third grade). A Beka's books are colorful and detailed. They offer enough practice that my children can learn from their mistakes. Also, I find that there is enough overlap each year that we don't necessarily have to get to the end of one book before moving on to the next grade level.
To determine which level of Saxon Math is appropriate for your middle school child, go to Saxon's free online placement test. Your child should have pencil and paper ready when you click the placement test button.
When we moved to a smaller community, our family had to begin doing its own standardized testing. Bob Jones University Press offers testing and evaluation services and can assist you in becoming a certified tester (all you need is a bachelor's degree in any area of study) and get you on your way to organizing affordable standardized testing for your local homeschool group.
James Dobson's Focus on the Family website offers a valuable tool for monitoring
your family's entertainment. Plugged
In provides detailed, Godly reviews just a few hours after the release
of virtually any movie. Our family trusts this resource and use it every
time we are considering seeing a movie.
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