If you read last week’s post, Christmas Gift Ideas, I promised a list of homeschooling curriculum that could easily pass as gifts under your Christmas tree. Mary and I talked again on Friday and came up with some ideas. These are the nice-to-haves, the supplemental things, the stuff I often pass on in July when I am ordering all of the core subjects. (A few disclaimers – Most of the links go to Amazon. My advice would be to shop around for the best prices. Secondly, I only gave one example from the series in the interest of space and time. If you have a specific item you are looking for from something I mentioned, drop me a comment and I will do my best to get you a link.)
Dover has a very nice set of Stained Glass Coloring Books. Some options are: the Old Testament, the New Testament, Nativity, Angels, and the Saints (this one is out of print, but you might get lucky). Once they are colored, these look amazing hung against a window. We recommend Crayola’s twistable colored pencils to go along with them.
A must have prayer book for your middle school or high school student. It includes all of the basic Catholic prayers as well as the Liturgy of the Hours, Various Devotions, and Latin Translations.
A beautiful first prayer book for your little ones. The Father Lovasik books also make great gifts!
Curriculum for the Little Ones
My kids have all loved the Kumon Workbooks. There are so many different ones to choose from, but our favorites are Cutting, Pasting, and Mazes.
This is a fantastic product offered by Handwriting without Tears to help little ones learn to write their letters. It comes with magnetic wooden pieces to build the letter on the screen and then trace it over it. My youngest daughter loved to swipe the screen clean and try again.
Another great hands-on product from Handwriting Without Tears to help little ones learn how to form their letters. These two products are sold separately but are worth the investment. All of my children enjoyed building the letters and then turning the card over for additional learning.
Janice Van Cleave provides a perfect introduction to science for little ones. Using simple materials found around the house, this book brings science to life in a way that young children can relate to and more importantly, learn from.
This is one of our favorite series of how-to-draw books. There is a short copywork paragraph with each lesson and then step by step instructions on how to draw a certain picture. The series contains 8 different workbooks. Most are centered around animals but some are history themed.
Very Similar to Draw Write Now, Draw and Write Through History is the next step in the world of how-to-draw. The drawings are more complicated, and the copywork is presented in cursive.
This is a great book to expose children to fine art. They study the picture for a few minutes and then see if they can spot the difference between the original and an impostor.
We used this book as part of Art Appreciation one year. I would find an image of the famous painting on the internet. Then my kids could either color their picture similar to the original or use their own color scheme. They would write the name of the artist on the back of the paper producing a great set of “flash cards” to learn famous works of art.
This book has the student study a famous painting, looking for specific details. Facts about the artist or painting are also presented.
This deck of cards contains pictures of the composers, facts about their lives, and several of their most famous pieces. They can be used to play any card game.
This 18 CD collection weaves a story about a composer’s life using their most famous works. The complete collection is difficult to find, but the CDs can be purchased individually.
An interesting book plus CD that includes the various musical eras, composers, instruments, and orchestral terms. As you read the book, it directs you to certain tracks on the CD to listen to a certain piece of music or instrument.
When I was in high school, my geometry teacher introduced these to me. I love them! I actually do them for fun.
My husband thinks I am nuts. They serve as an introduction to logic and help develop critical thinking skills. There are several different books in this series, and I have found them used on Better World Books.
This is a fun series of 9 books that uses “Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table” to explain various math concepts. The books are very entertaining!
This is a wonderful series to make history come alive. Covering all time periods of history, these books are packed with hands-on activities including maps, stick figures, and historical scenes. There are two different levels: Grades 1-3 and 4-6.
Another great series to help History come alive! These books contain templates to color, cut out and assemble moveable figures. There are 5 books representing various time periods in history: Ancient Times, Medieval, American Revolution, American Civil War, and the Renaissance.
Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire have done an excellent job with both the content and illustrations in these children’s historical biographies.
Last year we switched to the Apologia science series for my 5th grader. I can’t tell you how much I recommend this series. The Capitalist learned so much and was so excited about science! I downloaded pictures from the internet for him to cut out and paste in his journal. Then he wrote various facts about the different images. In the coming months look for a post on my images and lesson plans. This series has 6 different books that work well for the 4th-8th grade student: Flying Animals, Ocean Animals, Land Animals, Astronomy, Anatomy & Physiology, and Botany.
A really fun science series filled with “puzzles” to solve about different habits. Loaded of activities and experiments using only simple equipment, these books offer a unique approach to science.
A fantastic reference book for those junior scientists who like to identify various plants and animals.
Hopefully we have given you some ideas to help fill out your Christmas shopping lists. Do you have any curriculum that you can recommend to show up under our trees?