It’s spring! Time to start planning for the coming school year. In years past, I used to spend hours browsing home school curricula. This year, with our second teen heading to highschool in the fall, there isn’t that much browsing to do. We’re pretty much sticking to the stuff that we know has worked for us in the past. For those of you who are deciding on curricula, here is a list of our favorite books from this year:
Gr. 1-2 Books
Art Masterpieces – Rhyme Time
Catholic Heritage publishes this for their kindergarteners. I used it with my first grader, and she really enjoyed it. There are 15 beautiful art prints and a small teacher’s book. The TM points out various details to focus on and think about. There are also miniature art prints where you find matching and similar works of art.
Devotional Stories and Devotional Stories, Too
Once your child is a fluent reader, use these as a great introduction to easy chapter books. These are sweet stories about a home school family and their little misadventures. Each story teaches a moral lesson your kids can easily relate to. Comprehension and discussion questions are included at the end of each story.
Language of God A
Can you tell I’m partial to Catholic Heritage in the early years? Their materials are so age-appropriate. Best of all, their workbooks instill a love for God without being overly preachy. Language of God A is a gentle introduction to grammar.
Gr. 3 Books
Cursive Handwriting Workbook for Kids: Jokes and Riddles
Sparky appreciated the funny puns in this cursive handwriting book.
57 Stories of Saints
Each week, we read one saint story aloud. These stories give us a sense of each saint’s personality along with interesting details about their lives.
How Our Nation Began and workbook
This textbook is perfect for a third grader who needs to study history on his own (because Mom is so busy teaching a multitude of other subjects and kids!). Several years ago, I made the workbook specifically for Feisty (think: short attention span, doesn’t want to do a lot of writing, needs to develop reading comprehension skills, likes maps and pictures). This year it was Sparky’s turn, and he had no problem doing history independently. Yay! I have lesson plans and a booklist here.
Exploring God’s World
For science, here’s a program your third grader can use independently. This book is easy to read and understand, and it makes use of simple experiments. The quiz/test book provides good review. Lesson plans are here.
Gr. 6 Books
Little Latin Readers Levels 1-3
I wax eloquently (sort of) about the Little Latin Readers in this post.
Story of Civilization: The Middle Ages
Two years ago, we used Volume I of the Story of Civilization and really enjoyed it. I think Vol. II is even better. Here is a booklist and some other resources to help make Medieval history even more engaging.
Reading Thinking Skills 6
This workbook provides excellent reading comprehension practice and thinking skills exercises. The story of St. Francis Xavier is interesting and engaging.
Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons
If your student is studying the Middle Ages, using Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons is another way to help the material stick. It is also an effective way for students to improve on writing with style and structure. We’re big fans of Lori Verstegen’s History-Based Writing Lessons.
Gr. 8 Books
This was, hands down, my 8th grader’s favorite school book this year. It teaches your kids to think critically and analytically, to find any fallacies in arguments, and to recognize propaganda. With so many unreliable and biased news sources out there, it’s important for your teens to identify weak and illogical arguments. The lessons are short and very humorous.
Physical Science from Apologia
I am always impressed with the depth of learning that goes on with Apologia’s Exploring Creation series. Their Physical Science program is just as thorough as the others. The explanations and diagrams are very clear. The Student Notebook highly facilitates mastery of the material in the text.
My mother-in-law taught highschool math for twenty years at a private school in New York City. She swears by this book. Both of my two older children have been able to teach themselves Geometry with this text. One caveat: the answer key is just a small booklet; it is not a solutions manual. Be sure your kids have access to a mathy parent/grandparent/tutor if you use this text. You can buy the text-book used at a fraction of the price on Amazon.
So these are our favorite books from this year. As always, you can find all our favorite curricula by grade when you click on the curriculum tag at the top of the home page.
For your convenience, they are listed here:
Finally, if you’re in shopping mode (always so fun!), here’s our handy-dandy shopping check-list to help organize the books you need vs. the books you want. It also helps you keep track of prices and whether you have ordered and/or received books. Happy planning!