Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Homeschool Resources

I just want to share some resources that have been helpful to me. I'll update this page when I find new things, so check back from time to time.

First, where to buy materials. For me, cheaper is better. Free is best, but if you need to buy books and such and can't find them at the used curriculum sales, I check these places.
Homeschool Classifieds is like a newspaper listing of used curriculum with great deals.
Christian Book Distributors has loads of homeschool products. I buy from them occasionally, but what I really like about this site is that you can preview many of the books. When I was trying to choose a math program, I clicked on "Homeschool" under"Browse", then "Math", then narrowed the search by grade level. Then for each math book that looked like it had potential, I viewed the table of contents and sample pages. This takes some time but can give you a good idea of what's out there and what you want to watch for at the used sales. Otherwise, going to the big sales can be somewhat overwhelming and not as fruitful.
Rainbow Resource Center is another big distributor of homeschool products.
Timberdoodle is a fun site with lots of unique products, specializing in hands-on and special needs.
Queen Homeschool Supplies materials and real books for those using the Charlotte Mason style of learning.

Now for the FREE stuff!
First-School has a lot of preschool pages and activities. We use their free printable handwriting paper for copywork.
Homeschool Share has an abundance of free unit studies and printable lapbooks.
The Crafty Crow is a compilation of crafts and art projects for kids.
Despite the name, Kinder Art is not just for little kids, although there is plenty for them too. Art projects at this site range from simple to difficult, preschool age to high school, creating to writing, and everything in between.
Adrian Bruce has printable and online games and puzzles for an assortment of subjects.
If you're looking to create your own social studies lessons, Earth Calendar is the place to start. It's a calendar of holidays, searchable by date, country or religion. We used this a while ago to begin a fun international study. I started by choosing a holiday/country for a given week. We would read library books about that country, color the country's flag, and make a corresponding notebook page. We celebrated the holiday with an ethnic meal and dressing up. Here are some photos from Egypt and China studies.

Also, please check out the specific categories on the right sidebar. You'll find many helpful blogs and links to aid you in your homeschooling.

Books and so forth:

Singapore Math

For each grade, you will first go through the A books and then the B books. There is a textbook, a workbook, and a home instructor's guide. Thankfully, each book isn't that expensive. The home instructor's guide is essential. According to this program, children learn first by doing the math with their hands. No specific manipulatives are required; we mostly used legos and popsicle sticks for first grade. The guide explains what material to present and how to present it. After there is understanding with the manipulatives, you open the textbook and present the lesson in pictures. It's basically the same thing you just did with the legos except not hands-on. In the workbook, problems are first presented in pictures with the symbolic equation (3 +2 = ). After a few of those, only the equations are given. The guide gives suggestions for more practice and reinforcement, and you can do that if needed. The Singapore Math website has a placement guide and test so you can determine on which level to start your child.
For more math we've done, click here.

If you and your kids want to enjoy math, visit Living Math! Find out how to keep math (with any curriculum) from becoming dull. Be sure to check out the book list and game list.

Christian Perspective tells you how math brings glory to God.

More living math books.

Montessori is a good hands-on approach to math. It can stand alone or you can incorporate it into your curriculum. Here is an excellent compilation of Montessori links. Go explore!


Homeschool in the Woods has these timeline figures by Amy Pak. There are four sets: Creation to Christ, Resurrection to Revolution, Napoleon to Now, and America's History. We are currently working on the Creation to Christ timeline and have been for the past year. When I was looking for a history curriculum, what I really wanted was a guide, not a textbook. I'm not a history buff and dates and numbers go in one ear and out the other for me, but I wanted to use real books. I blame the dry, lifeless history textbooks I had to use for my lack of history-love and knowledge, so I definitely didn't want to put my kids through that drudgery. These timeline figures were a perfect solution. All the important dates, people, and events (as well as some obscure ones) are there, so I won't leave anything out. Each figure has a drawing and brief description. We made our own timeline out of free newsprint and hung it on the wall. You can also do a timeline notebook if you choose. Make your own or use their notebook. There are a couple pages included in the packets to help you figure out the best way to lay out your timeline. A good thing about doing history this way is that you can really do it your own way. If a particular event really interests your child, check out all the library books you can find and embellish the study as much as you like. Or if something isn't really all that intriguing, just stick it up on the timeline and move on. The best thing about these figures is the way they stick to the biblical truth. The first figure is for creation with a date given for a young earth. People and history from the Bible is right in there with the ancient Egyptians and Chinese philosophers.

I haven't used this yet, but I've started collecting the books for the future. This is a guide with lists of real books, "ThinkWrite" suggestions, and commentary to give you the big picture of how God is working through history. There is American history for grades 1-5 and world, European, and US history for the upper grades. This works especially well for teaching kids of different ages at the same time. Each book suggestion has a range of grades it would be appropriate for and books are listed for a wide range so you can include all your kids in the lesson.


Apologia Elementary
Currently, we are using the astronomy book and loving it. It is a Charlotte Mason-style textbook, meaning that narration, copywork, a conversative tone, and short lessons are all utilized. I use this as our spine and add library books and whatever else I can think of to make the lessons child-friendly and encourage active involvement.
Also available for elementary: Botany and Zoology I, II, and III.

JFeliciano has a free lapbook to accompany the Apologia Astronomy book, and Squidoo has a wonderful Space Lapbook page.

Find creation-based science children's books at Answers in Genesis. (Be sure to click on your child's age on the children's book page and explore the whole site to educate yourself too.)

Science games
SomeBody - human anatomy
Into the Forest - food chain

Nature art
Robert Bateman
Terrance James Bond
Carl Brenders

Nature books
Sunflower Houses
Nature Printing

And don't miss the nature blogs and links in the right sidebar. They are full of splendid ideas.



  1. Thanks for the great links!

  2. Great links!

    My favorite link for handwriting paper is Donna Young. You can choose the sizes and make blank top handwriting paper for projects: