Category Archives: Reading

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

curriculum

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

There are way too many curriculum choices.  Some are excellent and a lot are not!  In creating this list, I didn’t want to add to all the noise and burden parents to just buy more stuff to put on their shelves. I wanted to keep my recommendations to only the books that are very, very special.  There are many more books, but most people don’t have very much time and their children don’t either.  So read and use the really good books first and then if time permits, read the rest.

Early Learners

 

Bible

  • Leading Little Ones to God/Marian Schooland (Best written beginning devotions)
  • Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers/Joey Allen Series of Books on Theology for Little Ones
  • Proverbs For Parenting/  (Must have book for training and disciplining children. Categories include: lying, fighting, honesty and many others)

Elementary

 

Georgia State History

  • This is Your Georgia by Bernice McCullar ISBN:0-932659-01-2

Middle/High School

 

Science and Geography

  • Exploring Our World by Tony Hare ISBN:0-7651-1027-x – This is an excellent book to use with all ages of children.  It can be used as a Geography or Environmental Science book from an ecological zone perspective.  Enhance study by using lapbooking techniques.  Its easy to use the unit study and Dina Zike’s dioramas to make the nine biomes come alive!
  • Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications for grades 8-12.  by Norman Herr ISBN: 0-87628-262-1 – Now this is the way to study Chemistry!  Your students will learn more about Chemistry by working through this book than any old textbook.  You may have to invest in a few things that you can get from Carolina Biological Supply or some other supply house, but you can do this book with the whole family.  Fun and educational! Start this book in 8th or 9th grade, go slow and do 3-5 pages at a time.  Leave enough time to do the Bob Jones Chemistry textbook and you will have a great science student!

History -

  • Quest of a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle published by Western Islands – Don’t miss this great history book! ” Written in an engaging narrative style, Quest of a Hemisphere is a factual American history written from documents, manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and rare books…  Illustrations feature the art of historical periods – reproductions of sketches and paintings, portraits of famous men by artists of their time, and copies of documents in the original style of printing.”  This is a great book for the Charlotte Mason approach or unit studies.

Government -

  • God and Government I and II by Gary DeMar – These books are great for read aloud and discussion.  Although there are many questions, the author follows up with the answers which are probably better for study than answering the questions for yourself.
  • Government by the People by David Magleby ISBN: 0-13-192159-2Generally used as a college textbook, this surprisingly well written government book is interesting and covers all the points that allows students to test out of their college government course.  Be sure to take the CLEP or SAT Subject Exam after completing this book!

Mathematics -

Don’t tell your child you were terrible at math!  The best way to teach math is to purchase a copy for yourself and a copy for your child and do the problems along with her.  I promise, it won’t be as hard as when you were in school. You will be so glad you did this!

  • College Outline Series – Pre Algebra ISBN , Introductory Algebra ISBN 0-15-601524-2, and Intermediate Algebra ISBN 0-15-601522-6Over and over this is my favorite set of Algebra books.  The subject Pre Algebra is essentially fractions, decimals, and percents which are usually taught in 7th and 8th grade.  Even with my public and private school kids, I have to pull out this book to help them learn concepts.  It is more systematically written and clearer than any other textbook I have used.  Once a person uses a well programmed textbook, they never go back!
  • Geometry – Notables Interactive Study Notebook ISBN 0-07-868213-4 – This is a consumable workbook that makes a very good Geometry textbook.  It doesn’t focus heavily on proofs, which is a good thing.
  • Videos – Chalk Dust – Chalk Dust might cost more than other videos but it does a better job and you can always resell it, so your net cost is not so great.
  • Prentice Hall Math Textbooks – Better than Glencoe and way better than McDougal Littel!  What does better mean?  Better formatting, better questions, better explanations.

Life Skills -

  • Just Do Something/Kevin DeYoung (Making Good Decisions)  Helps the reader understand that determining your career calling is not as important as establishing proactive behaviors to bloom where you are planted!

Special Needs

Textbooks for HI/LO – High interest for middle thru high school, low reading level 3-4 with larger than normal print, shorter chapters,  and clear questions. When your student has learned how to read and you want to transition him to a textbook.  These are good choices.  Interestingly, these are also good choices for the very young, academically gifted child.

AGS Globe, now part of Pearson has great textbooks for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ1Ai

Contests

The National Bible Bee for ages 8-18     www.BibleBee.org

Magazines

Homeschooling Today

Reading

reading homeschooler

Most homeschooling parents I know are book lovers!  We can’t imagine not reading and long for our children to enjoy the same.  Truthfully, in 13 years of home education, I don’t think any ‘lesson’ has brought me greater joy than watching the light-bulbs come on with reading.  One of my children picked it up so easily I couldn’t believe there were any illiterate folks in the world.  The other child struggled.  Years down the road, the one who struggled is a voracious reader and the other will read if there is no other option.  Interestingly, the child who learned to read the words found comprehension far more complicated.  This is just a brief little piece to encourage those of you in the throes of reading instruction.

When difficulties present themselves in reading, vision is the obvious first concern.  While there are some ‘eye tracking’ activities that can be done at home, a visit to the optometrist is a good idea.  With physical considerations out of the way, Phonics is the next building block.  Many excellent programs exist to teach the basics of decoding the English language.  There is no magic bullet or simple short-cut.  Time and practice – and continually seeking ways to make the learning fun are critical.  Involving different senses is always a good technique.  Cut letters out of play-dough, sand paper or even carve them with soap.  Use crayon soaps in the bath-tub, write words with blanks to fill in and draw little critters inside animal words.  Whatever will make your child smile and keep trying is a major aspect of reading instruction.

Sight-reading—basic memorization—is the next block to stack into your reading efforts.  Flash cards, more word pictures (i.e. draw eye-lashes on each of the e(s) in eye or ears on the c of cat).  Gradually the words will be recognized without the add-ons but the fun will help the time pass until that happens.  Offer little ideas to prompt the memory—point out that ‘h’ looks like a chair and when your student reaches ‘the’ and can’t remember say, “oh my I like THE chair.”   You may repeat your hints a few times but the message eventually gets through.  Stay patient, stay persistent and know that reading will come.

Finally, reading comprehension can be a hidden challenge.  Students, like my oldest, may be able to master all the basics and read most anything put before them—but never really ‘get it.’  Utilizing reading comprehension workbooks did not reveal it for us.  Diagramming sentences did not avoid it. High school level reading unveiled the challenge to us.  In hind-sight, using story-boards and webs would probably have helped us avert the difficulty.  Our remedial program included hard work with creating questions for text-books as the reading took place—rather than waiting until the end of articles.  Encouraging immediate access of the dictionary for unknown words (rather than just reading on) became standard.  Writing summaries of assigned readings, discussing passages orally and regular progress check-ups brought our son’s comprehension to the level he needs to function well in high school.  

Final suggestions are what you already know. Read all the time.  Read books to them, let them read to you or encourage reading to their pet (or favorite stuffed animal).  A number of reading incentive programs abound in most areas.  The local library will be a great ally in your efforts.  The Pizza Hut Book It program (free pizzas for goals met) was a favorite for our children.  A state-sponsored program in our home state provided great recreational opportunities in conjunction with reading.  Check out the options available to you and your students and ENJOY the worlds books open.

- Billie Jo

 

Learn about Lap Books

Popular Foldables to Make Learning Fun

Popular with Homeschoolers, Dinah Zike invented so many of the foldables used in lapbooking.  Make your homeschool learning come alive, enhance unit studies.

http://www.dinah.com Dinah Zike is noted for inventing and developing three-dimensional educational manipulatives, also called graphic organizers, that.

FREE Audio Books Great Classic Stories

Like to listen to books on tape or cd?  Find them FREE at this website.  Kids really love to listen to books.

http://www.audioowl.com/ Your source for free audio books. Download one in mp3, iPod and iTunes format today. … Today’s featured free audio book.