What are other homeschoolers raving about? Check out this blog post and find out what the top picks were at Educents (a site where you'll save a TON of money on curriculum and educational products!) this past year! **Please note that any errors - typos or otherwise - are not those of my own.**
Can you believe 2015 is OVER?!? In just one more day, 2015 will be another year gone by as 2016 pushes its way into our lives. I'm thankful to have survived 2015 not only physically but as it pertains to homeschooling and educating children in general. What about you?
In our case, we spent most of 2015 unschooling or doing relaxed homeschooling, and it was FANTASTIC. We've been homeschooling for 12 years now...so we've "been around the block," so to speak. I know what to expect when we start something, I know how long it takes us to get into a groove, I know the types of projects my kids love/hate, etc.
We got a little more structured toward the end, but only because I saw a need for organization in one of my children and a need to focus on some specific topics. So, I whipped out a curriculum book (we use curriculum as resources - not as "be all, end all" tell-me-what-to-do books) and we got down to business. We spent about a month being organized and structured, and we were all just SPENT. Primarily, we live a life of learning that includes natural learning, child/interest-led learning, and relaxed homeschooling (we lean more toward Charlotte Mason, but we were doing a more traditional textbook style - which burnt us out).
In reflecting upon this past year, I'm amazed at two things:
1) Just how much children will learn if you just leave them alone and let them follow their interests, and
2) How much children come to LOVE subjects that many children "hate" when they're not forced into learning about things that don't interest them at THAT moment (week/month/year).
As 2016 approaches, I plan to ditch the traditional textbook style we had going for 4-1/2 weeks and go back to what works for our family. ♥ ♥ We also have some other plans I'll have to wait to talk about (i.e. wait until they come into fruition before blogging about it). Nonetheless, with our relaxed style of homeschooling, one of the things I absolutely love, love, LOVE are educational toys and products. I get most of them at Educents because they can get AH-ma-ZING deals for us. As usual, I'll continue buying products from Educents!
Over the past couple of years, some of the BEST products I've purchased through Educents have included the Magic School Bus Science kits, Wordly Wise, Life of Fred math, loads of books and countless other products (especially downloadable products - yes, they offer downloadable curriculum products, too! And for ). And if there is something you want, let the people at Educents know and they WILL get a good deal on it - trust me (how do you think I've managed to buy so many products from their site??)!
One of my absolute favorite products I've purchased from Educents has got to be the Life of Fred series of math books. You can download a free chapter at the publisher's website. OR, you can take the word of hundreds of thousands of other homeschoolers and trust that it's an amazing program. It's story-based, so there is review built into the stories. Rather than overloading kids with 35 math problems each day, there are only about 6-8 problems to do. But the next day, 2-3 of those problems will be a review of the problems from the day before. So, while review is built into the program, you could always download and print free math drill worksheets if you wanted more practice.
No matter what may be on your lesson plan for 2016, consider the resources below. Members within the Educents community put a list together of their favorite homeschool resources. If you'd like to learn more about the resource, just click the link! If you want to get more involved in the Educents community to learn more about homeschooling and the curriculum offered on Educents, join the Educents Facebook group!
Emily of Smith Squad recommends the Life of Fred books.
“As a child, I always hated math, even though I was good at it because it was so boring. When I heard about Fred, I knew he had to be a part of our homeschool. My kids absolutely LOVE when it’s math time, and they are learning a ton about how to apply math to everyday practical situations.”
Lisa Marie of The Canadian Homeschooler uses the Writecraft and Mathcraft Units."The writing portion of this resource was the first time EVER that my oldest son ever willing wrote anything! He was excited to write instead of hating it."
Allison of Just Add Coffee loves the Magic School Bus Science Experiments.
“I absolutely love Magic School Bus and all it has to offer. Each month you get a different science kit to take a Magic School Bus adventure. If you search really hard, online you can even find curriculum to go with each science kit and the episode from the television series.”
Lisa of Chickens and Bunnies Homeschool loves the Life of Fred Elementary Books.“My favorite resource at Educents at the moment is Life of Fred. There are so many to choose from I picked the Elementary Series. My kids love these books; we have them up to high school now. My most recent order was Life of Fred Chemistry. My kids will do these without arguing and love Fred and Kingie!”
Celena of The Traveling Sisterhood recommends the Times Tales Multiplication videos.
"I love Times Tales because it's made this year's math lessons so much easier! My kiddos quickly mastered their multiplication tables in one sitting with the movie. It's been such a blessing--instead of drills every day, we can take more time to learn the actual concepts behind the facts!"
Kelly of Raising Samuels loves the Magic School Bus Science Club.“The Magic School Bus Science Club is something your child gets in the mail each month, for a year! It includes numerous experiments per month, along with most of the materials required. (except household items such as scissors and tape). It is an incredible hands-on learning experience that helps children love science and have fun! My sons who are 4 and 6 absolutely love it!”
Amy of Busy Boys Brigade recommends the Life of Fred Beginning Readers.
“Life of Fred Early Readers series has been a game changer in our homeschool! Both my 6 & 4-year-old boys beg me to do their reading lessons now that we have added Life of Fred. I have noticed an increase in their fluency and comprehension.”
Jenn of Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling also loves Times Tales."All three of my girls, ages 8 down to 4 loved watching this DVD and learning the stories. In 1 hour, both of my older girls had memorized their upper times tables! And the real kicker is I was only trying to teach one!"
Amy of Teaching in Blue Jeans uses Learn to Mod Minecraft with her son.
"Learn to Mod Minecraft is an amazing program that teaches my son, a Minecraft lover, important computer programming skills through a game he loves to play. The lessons are easy to use, fun and engaging. I love that he is a learning a skill that I am not able to teach him."
Tabitha of Life Learning Homeschool uses the King Tut Mini Unit.“My son loves history (he gets it from me), and I love to throw in “extras” to feed the need for more than what our curriculum calls for. Mini-units are great for that, and this was one of our favorites because we both love Ancient Egypt!”
Amy from Not Your Average Homeschool Mom loves Minecraft Mod Design.“I love that you can be totally creative, and these are all hands-on. Helps to build critical
thinking skills too.
Kayla of The Arrowood Zoo loves using Magformers for lessons at home."I love that you can be totally creative and these are all hands-on. Helps to build critical thinking skills too."
Shelly of Free Homeschooling 101 recommends the Violin Starter Set."The violin starter set includes everything a budding violinist needs to begin their studies. The instrument is well made and economical. The lessons that are included are a huge money saver!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miJXCpi20DU
Rebecca of Hip Homeschooling likes Magformers.
“We LOVE Magformers in our homeschool! They are a high-quality toy that provide hours of creative play. They are a great way to bring the fun back into your homeschool; your kids won’t even realize they are learning all about structures and geometric shapes and architecture (bonus!).”
Teri of Mommy Wife Life recommends the Spectacular Space Unit Study.“A great resource for young astronomers is the Spectacular Space Unit Study. From writing, reading, math, and crafts, this complete unit, with its simple terms, will spark the interest of even your preschoolers!”
Jamie of Simple Homeschool loves Life of Fred too!“I love the way the math is naturally integrated into Fred’s life, showing the importance of it in day-to-day life. The chapters are laugh-out-loud funny, and I often get asked to read “just one more.” I’ve never been a huge fan of math workbooks and worksheets, so the combination of math and story is a major win in my books!”
Gabriella, Homeschooling Consultant, recommends the Number Formation Poems.
“We have these cards laminated because we know they’ll be used for years to come. My son, who learns best through rhyme and tactile input, is learning to write digits using these easy-to-remember number formation poems! I have reduced the size of the cards, added a ring binder, and now have a portable number set. We also use the cards for matching games and learning about quantity. Such a great price for all of the value provided by this set.” What homeschool resource did you use this year that you would recommend? Leave your recommendation in the comments!!