It’s a little hard to believe I’m typing 2019-2020. This is our 11th year homeschooling. And as I sat down to make this list, I realized I’m not even at my halfway point! This school year, we have one in high school, one in middle school, and one pre-preschool. HOW did that happen?!
Our Family’s 2019-2020 Resource List
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself in the last decade, it’s that I’m a resource enthusiast. I like to think I know what’s available out there so that I’m making the best choice for my kids. However, I also know that the homeschooling landscape is so broad and rapidly-changing that there comes a time when I have to quit researching and just start trying.
I have found curriculum lists and reviews from bloggers to be a big help when I am in research mode, and so I catalog here for you what my family is using this year (for now.) It’s a rather long list, so I won’t go into much detail. If I find something to be phenomenal, I’ll do a separate review and link it later.
If you want more information about what I chose any particular curriculum, book, or resource, don’t hesitate to comment or email me and ask! This list is a means of starting a discussion and expanding our knowledge of resources, learning from one another and our situations to continually make improvements on our homeschooling journey!
A little background
Since my teens are pretty close in age, we started early on in elementary school doing must subjects together, with the exception of math. We’re diverging on science now as well because they’re taking different classes at co-ops.
So, for the teens (8th and 10th grades), I’ll list resources by subject and note a grade-level where just one or the other is using a particular resource.
Note, too, that we have a pretty fluid and relaxed view of when our years/grades begin and end. Some subjects are flowing in from last year, and others aren’t on our weekly to-do lists just yet. I also pick up a lot of resources to just draw from. I keep them handy for when we need to change things up, or extra help in an area.
I felt like math was a little more of a struggle last year than it should have been. I had a great chat with a Demme Learning representative at a local conference and decided that it wouldn’t hurt to back up and give my kids some hands-on work with the basics before plowing ahead and, possibly, getting really frustrated. We’re working on reinforcing our foundations on a couple of topics, namely multiplication and fractions, by going through levels of Math-U-See at an accelerated pace.
Other resources for math:
- Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1
- Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers
This year’s language arts has a heavy writing focus. We’ll be doing a book club for literature, but otherwise, this is another subject area where we’re going back and shoring up the basics.
- Megawords 1 (for spelling)
- The Vocabulary Builder Workbook (Love this resource for word study! Even I’m learning new words! And it’s very affordable. I only have one book and we’re all – me included – making vocab notebooks.)
- WriteShop I (Writing, of course)
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor: for Kids (This is another affordable resource. We’re reading it together out loud, talking about the concepts, and relating them to books we’ve read in the past. I’m making notes on the chapters so we can continue to read like professors as the year goes on.)
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Revised Edition (I have this one, too! I told you I was a resource addict! I really expected to be using this version of the book, but the “for Kids” version was so much fun as I started flipping through it that I started reading quotes out loud to the kids, and then we were hooked. So maybe we’ll tackle this next, or next year.)
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (current read-aloud)
My middle child is taking a World Cultures class at co-op, so we’re following along at home as a family.
- All Ye Lands: Origins of World Cultures (from The Catholic Textbook Project)
- Crash Course: American Government and Politics (reviewing/continuing from last year)
- ModernStates.org American Government course (to prepare for CLEP test)
This is another co-op driven class for this year. The middle schooler is taking physical science, and the high schooler will be doing chemistry theory at home and doing labs at SMILE Camp.
- Exploring Creation with Physical Science (from Apologia, 8th grader)
- Crash Course: Chemistry or Khan Academy: Chemistry (Yes, even coming up to October, I’m still undecided. 10th grader)
We’re making time for art and music along with entrepreneurship and field trips this year!
- Take Time for Art: Ancient Egypt (Check this out! The kits have EVERYTHING you need to do the art projects and there are history lessons to go along with them. So excited to do these! If we finish this one, we’ll move on to another era.)
- 20th Century Music Appreciation for High School (I’m excited about this. Kids not so much. But they haven’t actually started it yet. I’ve gone through the first couple of lessons, and I guarantee it’s going to change their minds!)
- Micro-Businesses for Teens (I have an assortment of books by Carol Topp to work through with my big kids – and the entrepreneurship club we’re starting. They’re both very interested in business, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot right along with them.)
And now for the preschooler. This stuff has been so much fun so far! It’s really just an assortment of educational tools, toys, and activities that we do when he’s interested and when he needs to be kept occupied. He is doing a Bible class and a music class at our co-op, too.
- Shiller Learning Language Arts Kit A (This is a kit of manipulatives and scripts designed to introduce letters and sounds in a Montessori-like way. He loves it! Not sure how much is “sticking” but I love that he asks questions, and asks for the lessons, and it’s honestly just fun to do together.)
- Sandpaper Letters, Peg Number Boards, Drive the Letter Cards (We LOVE these from a website called ReallyGoodStuff. Use my Referral Link and get $20 off your first $50 order!)
- Before Five In A Row (I haven’t explored this too deeply yet, but it came so highly recommended that I snagged a used copy at a conference last spring.)
- Lots and lots of library books, and lots and lots of playing!
That’s our list of resources, friends!
But let me give you a tip from a mama who can be pretty hard on herself…
I recently read Zara Fagen’s Minimalist Homeschooling (it’s on my list of professional development books for homeschool parents), and, if you can, give yourself the gift of picking up that book. It’s a quick read, and it’s a breath of fresh air.
My absolute favorite tip in the book is to find something that makes you happy to fill in this blank: “Well, at least today, we _______.”
For me, it’s “read together.” Even with a 16-year-old boy, and a wiggly 3-year-old, we make time every day for me to read out loud. Whether it’s a text book, a novel, or a news article, we read. And, friends, there are many days that really is all we check off of the homeschool list. But I remind myself at the end of the day, that that one little thing is moving us toward our homeschool goals.
So if you have a big list of resources, and you feel like you just can’t get it all in or get it all done… find your one thing! And give yourself lots of grace. You won’t fail at homeschooling because you had one bad day, or week, or even year!