I just picked up a load of curriculum yesterday and I'm spending tonight prepping for the girl's new school year. Just when you thought you're over homeschooling, you get some fresh materials in the mail and it's like YEOWWW! I'm excited. Jenna did this post about curriculum and Dwija blogged about charts and Kate wrote about her favorite picture books and I thought to myself HEY! I like when people tell me what they like! So because my favorite pastime is projecting my feelings on to all of you (healthy healthy!), I thought I would provide you with a quick, off the top of my head, run-down of school-ish materials that I like (I promise I won't ramble!). IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.
The Harp and Laurel Wreath
I do really love the *idea* of a classical education. Now, whether or not I implement it is a different story. But I do make my kids memorize poetry. And I do really like it. The Harp and Laurel Wreath is basically all you'll need forever for all the simple and sweet and serious and classic and wonderful things your child to might need memorize and know. From Happy Thought by Robert Louis Stevenson to Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray (I don't even know what this is but it's five pages long, so.... major!) well, it's all there one medium sized book.
I love learning through stories. D'Aulaires has the greatest set of biographical tales of historical figures that I've ever seen. And hear you me because I have seen like 2 or 3 other ones!! But seriously, these are so great. Fantastic storytelling and illustration and historical accuracy, even!
The Burgess Bird Book for Children
More on stories. We didn't get far into this last year but I hope to get back in it in the next few months. A whimsical little tale of a bird couple returning to their nest after winter migration (so, spring migration?). All you have to do is read a story about cute talking birds and suddenly you are learning. It's like magic! Flight patterns, weather, geography, seasons, nest construction, vocabulary! (a lot of things!)
This. Book. It's the tale of a little wooden canoe traveling from Canadian wilderness in late winter through the great lakes on an adventure to the Atlantic Ocean. And, like Burgess, you read this book and suddenly find yourself discovering how a lumber mill works or what weather patterns are like on Lake Michigan. It is packed with Science and Geography and History and Geology and if you only read this book for all those subjects I think you'd be doing just fine. I even cried at the end, so, bonus points! I think this book is worth reading every year, over and over. But I should probably get to all the other books the author has written first or at least simultaneously.
Handwriting Without Tears
These are just the sweetest little workbooks for beginning letter writing and beyond. All my kids have worked through them and I love them. Plus, could the name be any cuter??? That's really my most favorite part. I plan on starting the cursive book with Hero this year and I expect it to be quite tear free.
I have also really loved Explode the Code . In fact, I'm suddenly wondering why I didn't order them for this year and am now considering dumping the workbooks we were going to do and getting my Amazon on right now. Wow, maybe this post wasn't a good idea! I'm questioning everything!
National Audubon Society Field Guides
These are so great. We keep them around to use for quick references for things we want to know! Did your son just find a frog in an irrigation hole instead of playing soccer like he was supposed to? Did you just find that little frog swimming in your water bottle? Look it up in your field guide! Science, bb. (And after that, die at the realization that you almost drank frog water)
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind
This has really got to be the best way to teach your kids about nouns and verbs and capitalization and vocabulary and grammar. This book is done in such a way that each lesson breezes by like a very casual, natural conversation about such things (AS ONE WOULD HAVE. Common nouns! My fav topic over a bag of Doritos!) There is also tons of variation in this book which I love. The kids never realize how much information they are repeating because the lessons vary from day to day so creatively.
Aaaaand that's all I got! Every year I sort of hodge-podge some new things together and I'm still not sold on everything we do (hence the hodge-podging). What do you love and adore and recommend? Should I go order Explode the Code instead of the Core Skillswhatever books that I already ordered?? Do I??
Other specific ?'s
* What are your fave early, early readers? We have Bob Books which are fine but it's not like I want to marry them or anything.
* What about things you didn't finish last year but you like?? Do you feel moderate amounts of stress because of this? As if these workbooks are actually real, alive things that will punish you if you don't finish them? Do you feel contractually obligated to finish them even though you are not? Do you feel like a super big dummy/failure because you didn't finish? (asking for a total loser friend, obviously)
* What do you do when your children are massively creative on their own time but when you ask them to illustrate a poem or something they suddenly revert to lamest, most unmotivated scribbler in the world-status? WHAT THEN?
Whew I AM PUMPED! Come at me, Monday.