It is so easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed with back-to-school lists and sales this time of year. Maybe you have all your new goodies and are surrounded by the smell of new books and crayons. Maybe you have it all ordered and are second guessing your decisions. I've been there. I totally understand. Nearly every year I buy a few things I end up regretting as a waist of our very tight funds. Over my 20+ years of homeschooling there are several supplies, books & curriculum items that I feel have been well worth the investment. I thought after a long summer mostly offline, I'd like to get back into my blogging routine by sharing some of these treasures with you.
Bible - Yes, this is a school supply, even if public schooling. No, it is not against the law. It may be against your local superintendent's ideals, but never against the law in the USA. Besides, if the Word of GOD is hidden in your child's heart via memorization, no-one can ever take that away from them. When ours were younger (and they do still sometimes enjoy it) we started the day with a Nest Entertainment Bible video. They are wonderful. We've also enjoyed using Thy Word Creations audio CDs which can be played during breakfast. I'm so glad we did this! Our children are well grounded in basic scripture, understanding their place in the world, and having confidence in God's purpose and design. As a homeschool mom, I know I can't teach or train our children properly at all without HIS help. HIS Word sustains, uplifts, encourages, and when needed, admonishes me. HE is ever faithful.
History - Actually it is HIS-story. Yes, all of it. I hated history as a child because it seemed boring and irrelevant. Diana Waring makes history come to life in her audio series. These are wonderful for car trips. I will stop the tape (or CD, we still have the cassettes...) every so often and ask the children questions about what we've heard. I love getting their opinion. I'm always surprised at how critically they can think about historical people and events. When we stumble upon something of the slightest interest, we'll look it up. My favorite reference book is the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.
Science - The Wonders of Creation Series is wonderful, WONDERFUL! Nice, bright colored, hardback books with delightful information. Dr. David Menton's Body of Evidence DVD set is AWESOME! So is Dr. Kent Hovind's Creation Seminar DVDs. Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis has some spectacular stuff too. If you let your children online, check out the "Kids" section. Once they have a good foundation in Intelligent Design, then add references like the Handbook of Nature Study, Usborne's Science Encyclopedia, & the various DK Encyclopedias.
Math - I'm a die-hard Math-U-See mom. I LOVE their DVD lessons, work-texts & manipulatives. They work together SOOOOOO well. Children see and hear the lesson & examples, then work them out with the blocks or overlays, then do the 15-20 practice problems. It's not too much and includes a nice variety in each lesson. The word problems are also very relate-able, which is so important to helping the children know HOW to use the facts in real life. If you like things online with lots of additional perks, check out my review of their Digital Packs.
Reading - Bible. For grades 1-4 we have Rod & Staff Reading books. The children essentially read through the Bible several times with these. I teach phonics and Language Arts with Ruth Beechick books and Christ Centered Curriculum Phonics Drill Reader and Flashcards and basic Greek and Latin with English from the Roots Up. Then we move to Learning Language Arts Through Literature and then to biographies and classics. Most of our older "Reading" is Science and History related.
The really nice thing about homeschooling is the ability to combine subjects. I can teach most subjects at the same time with one basic resource. We pick a subject and I pull out every scientific & historical thing out of it I can, then we read and write about it. We find some music and art from the same time period, geographical location or subject. We usually watch a movie or documentary on the subject as well. This really helps bring things together and tie things in for the children where they remember a lot more than I ever did.
If your child attends a traditional school and struggles with homework or tests, you might try using some of these resources or ideas. I can't imagine trying to work through the homework kids have these days. The more fun you can help make things, the more it will help your child (and their teacher).
What are your biggest concerns about school this year? Leave me a comment. I LOVE hearing from you!