Friday, July 22, 2016

Do You Play Favorites?

Let's face it, playing favorites in any part of life is not always fair, but it usually happens.  We are just naturally drawn to some things over others.  It is a reality of life.

That same reality holds true when it comes to homeschool curriculum.  Try as I might to be as unbiased as possible, I do end up with favorites on our shelves and in our storage.  As we age out of younger grades, those favorites get safely tucked away in storage boxes that I pray one day will school my grandchildren.  Each year as the boys move into older grades we also get to pull out some old favorites that I used with the girls.  It is something I actually look forward to each year.

Those favorites are also the ones I tend to point friends to who ask the question- "What did you use for...?"  We have used a lot and because I work as a curriculum reviewer, each year I find at least a few new favorites to add to the bunch.

If I have reviewed a subject, the name is linked to the review for your convenience.  Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post in any way.  I am telling you we love these things only because we do. Since it is easier to break it into stages, here you go!

Math- Saxon Math. I know, I know, you either love it or hate it, but for hands-on kids (and what Kindergartner doesn't like manipulatives) I still think it is the best for this age!  Learning should be fun, not drudgery!  When it comes time to learn multiplication facts, I cannot more highly recommend a program called Times Tales.  That little gem helped Colby learn math facts in two weeks!

Science- Although it is not from a creationist point of view, so I advise caution in certain areas of study, we really do still love Nancy Larson Science.  Everything you need is sold in the kit, the materials are well laid out, the pictures included are just beautiful, and Colby had a lot of fun with these courses.  It makes me think of the science I learned back in elementary school with fun activities and just a lot of joy!

History- Veritas Self Paced History- There are 5 levels in this program, all online.  Colby LOVES this program and we are excited to start our third cycle this year.  For auditory and visual learners, you will be blessed by the content.  As a Christian educator, you will love how the Bible and History are seamlessly woven together!

Grammar- All About Spelling is our favorite spelling program by far, and I would guess All About Reading is just as good.  Logic of English is another program that is all inclusive with spelling and grammar too and is taking the homeschool community by storm.

Writing- I am going against the grain a bit here, but the first thing I would say to you is just relax!  Do a journal together, write about your day, or make up fun stories.  Relax!  If you absolutely need something a bit more formal but still fun, the Write Shop series is cute and less regimented.

Literature- Read!  Just read!  And then read some more.  Take turns reading each page read aloud, and require alone reading, but whatever you do, read!  I have to say that the two programs we used that I am convinced taught Colby to read are PAL from IEW and ABeCeDarian.

Bible-  We have enjoyed Grapevine Studies and Bible Study Guide for All Ages immensely,

Foreign Language- Spanish- You cannot go wrong with Song School Spanish and Flip Flop Spanish, in that order.  Start early and have fun. you will be amazed at how much they will pick up!

Art- Homeschool Art Studio has a video for all grade levels and is fun and easy to use.

Music- This is still the age where you should have more time for fun!  A new program we have just been introduced to is from Zeezok Publishing and is called Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades.  I would not start it until 3rd or even 4th grade because there is a lot there, but man, is it amazing!!

Middle School-
Math- CTC Math and Teaching Textbooks are both good programs. I would recommend you find which one your child does best with and stick to it.

Science-  Science Shepherd- We have really enjoyed these video based lessons and hope that they will add additional levels in the future.

History- Notgrass History- There are now three levels for this age group I believe.  We have used two in the past and are excited to begin this once we are done with Veritas Press.  They are beautiful books with great information, and you can tie literature into your lessons as well.

Grammar- I do not like this subject at this age, just heads up.  It is just hard to find and most I find to be either way too deep for this age, or just plain busy work!  That being said, we fall back to ABeka workbooks for just the basics and I love using a program called Grammar Ace in 4th grade.  It uses the Schoolhouse Rock songs and is just fun to use.  We use Spelling Power to keep spelling up because I do not have time for more worksheets and busy work.

Writing- We just found Here to Help Learning and I love it!  The video teaching is excellent and Colby has to actually be told to stop writing at times.  He has surprised me with how creative he is and how much he enjoys Ms. Mora.

Literature- This the the age that I go a little crazy with reading.  My older girls did Sonlight all the way, and there are just so many books that they loved that I simply cannot fathom the boys not reading.  Unfortunately for them I also adore the Memoria Press Literature series and the corresponding workbooks they have, and so now we do those as well.

Bible- We have enjoyed all the books in the What We Believe Series from Apologia.

Foreign Language-  Spanish- Spanish for You and Classical Academic Press' Spanish for Children are the two we like the most, although if you need online learning, check out Middlebury for many languages!

Art- If you have not seen ArtAchieve before, you are in for a treat.  Again, online video instruction, but fun and easy to follow and each year focuses on a different theme.

High School

Math- Teaching Textbooks is still my top choice, but we also use Math U See's Stewardship program for a consumer math credit because I love the godly approach and practical lessons like budgeting, buying a car, and more.

Science- Apologia and Science Shephard are both strong programs and include labs for kiddos headed to college.

History- We have always used Sonlight curriculum for this level of work, as we feel it is a good lead in to college level classes.  Notgrass also has choices for high school, we just have not used them.

Grammar- We switch over to mostly vocabulary at this point, and use Wordly Wise and Vocabulary from the Classical Roots.  If your child needs refreshers on basic Grammar concepts, Daily Grams work well for us.

Writing- IEW, of course.  If you haven't used it, do!  Especially for college bound students, you just cannot go wrong.  Mr. Pudewa is a favorite at our house.

 Literature- Again, we use Sonlight for most of our literature at this level, but also LOVE Sharon Watson's curriculum which often combine Literature and writing.

Bible- Sonlight again! But I also add in a program from Apologia called I Don't have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

Foreign Language- UGH, another hard one for me.  I guess the easiest to use is Rosetta Stone, but I still don't love it.  It is just hard to find anything else that I feel is worthy of a high school foreign language credit.

Art- Ha!  Not so much at this level, but I do have all my kids complete a semester of Art Appreciation and a semester of Music Appreciation that I create.

Are there more?  Oh my, yes!  As I have said in the past, there are just not enough kiddos to school in our house or enough time to cover everything I want to cover.  Maybe I will have to just school my grandchildren some day.


Favorite Homeschool Product
Click on the button below to see what other curriculum rates among the Crew's favorites!

Favorite Curriculum 2016


  1. Thank you. I like the quick ideas. Have you tried Easy Grammar? My kids like that; we start using it in 4th grade.

  2. I share many of your favorites! We like Fix It! Grammar for upper elementary-high school.


Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from you!