Thursday, September 10

I am BACK and Homeschool REVIEWS!

We went to Galveston Island beach for a few nights every month this summer for our summer vacation. It was wonderful!!!

I can't believe I have been away from my blog for 2 months. There has been a lot going on and I will cover it in a later post, but in summary we are doing fine, haven't had Covid YET,  and getting back into the school groove. 

I know a lot more of you might be homeschooling, so I wanted to let you know what we are using this year. We have so many great resources!!! I don't get any affiliate payments for posting about these, I am just excited to talk about what has worked for us.

Writing: We are huge IEW fans. My kids have learned to write using their writing programs. You have to help teach and grade everything of course, but the videos are great and the kids learn so much! Just call or email them if you have any questions about where to start. This link will also help. They have recently updated their writing program and I hope to review it this year. The old one was great so I predict the updated one will be even better.

Spelling: We also use IEW's Phonics Zoo spelling program. This is self-teaching and really has worked for my boys who struggle to spell (just like their mom). I love that it works for both audio and visual learners. 

Literature: The boys are reading some of the classics and we plan on doing the Hillsdale free online class on Mark Twain.

Grammar: I am teaching old-school grammar with diagramming (which I LOVED as a kid) and think Analytical Grammar is the perfect method. I use it as a self-teaching program, but I do grade the tests and make sure there aren't any questions. It takes a few years to get through the program, but your child will be a grammar genius after they are finished. 

Math: We love the Life of Fred math books. They might sound a little crazy, but my boys have learned so much math using them. They are inexpensive, can be used by all of your children, and the kids school themselves!  Duke is working on Geometry after completing Algebra 1 and 2, and Imp just started Algebra 1. I picked up the Zillions of Problems books for both Algebra books for extra review, and for the later chapters it has been helpful. If your kids can work on their own and you want old-school math and not all of that horrible commoncore torture, check these math books out!

Science: Duke started Life of Fred Chemistry (which is pretty easy he says) over the summer and we are watching the Great Course Plus Chemistry and the Universe course. We pay $10/month and always have amazing classes to watch. This one comes with an online book and is really interesting. It is college-level so above our heads at times, but worth watching.

Last year Duke took the Thinkwell Biology course (which they sent me to review) and it was outstanding and very intense. One of the most difficult classes he has taken since it is a college-level science course. The instructor was great and there were plenty of tests to keep him honest and studying. There was also a midterm and end of school test, all automatically graded so your child can't cheat. But Duke studied hard and made an "A"! He is planning on taking the Chemistry course this year. It is also an online video class that you have one year to watch and I would suggest that you buy the optional textbook. I was thinking he could take the Thinkwell AP version Chemistry class and try to place out of chemistry this year. But we need to get on it. Next year he can take honors physics! They have a free trial for 2 weeks on most of their classes if you want to check them out. They are worth it!

American History: We are reading "America, the Last Best Hope". And we are watching a series of free online classes on Hillsdale College called "The Great American Story".  I am really trying to find inspiring American history classes so that my children will be proud to be living in this country. We used Khan Academy last year for World History and it was pretty boring, so we hope to do better this year. We are also watching Great Course Plus for history.

Music: They are self-teaching themselves to play the piano using this book. If you like Star Wars and are a beginner the kids love this music book. I didn't think they could self-teach themselves but it is working pretty well. I put Duke in piano lessons when he was 6 and he stayed 2 years, but he hated it and would cry if I asked him to practice. So I guess they just needed to be older to enjoy it. Now they are self-motivated and sit down to play for fun. Paul is teaching them electric guitar on the side too.

Electives: The boys are both in Civil Air Patrol (can't wait until they can meet for classes again, enough with this stupid online crud) and also will be doing the Cyber Patriots competition with them (cyber security). They also have Bible Study at a neighbors with a group of friends. 

So this is our planned year so far. Things will change and I will update the second term. But we are still loving homeschool and now have more friends doing it thanks to Covid. 

If you have any questions about homeschooling please leave a comment. I would love to chat with you!!!

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