End of the school year wrap-up 2017/2018
I wanted to do a quick round-up of any new curriculum we used this year in our homeschooling. Since the school is ending there are summer camps available for kids, especially the Ravenscroft Summer Camps. The camp specializes in interaction and education for kids. A lot of our curriculum we have used for multiple years or with multiple kids, so you can read my thoughts on those from last years post. That post includes All About Reading, Math-U-See, Math Facts Pro, Sequential Spelling, Story of the World, First language Lessons and Primary Arts of Language. I still use and love all of those. Most of those are still my core curriculum, but I did add a few things this year that I wanted to share my experience with.
Institute for Excellence in Writing – Student Intensive A
Intensive A is the next level up from Primary Arts of Language that my younger kids still use. I chose the Student Intensive (which includes DVD lessons) because of I don’t feel like this is my strongest subject and I like that Eden is learning from someone who knows more than I do.
Overall, I am happy with this program and I will continue to use it next year since I already own it and I really saw Eden’s writing improve. Initially, I found it difficult to navigate and I really wish it was laid out in a more user-friendly way for the instructor. While the information is great, the videos themselves seem really dated and even the way the DVD is set up is not convenient.
Reading Eggs is an online reading program. I’m pretty sure I may have tried it years ago when Eden was in preschool or kindergarten and didn’t love it. I read about it again a few months ago on a blog and realized they had programs for older kids as well (it says it is for ages 2-13). We did the 4-week trial that they offer and I ended up loving it for my older 3 kids. The program for ages 7 and up covers reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. It is definitely a program we will subscribe to for next year. They do still offer a 4-week trial, which I think is a great length of time to get a feel for the program and decide if it is a good fit for your family.
Handwriting Without Tears
I decided shortly after Christmas that my 1st and 2nd grader needed more practice with their handwriting, so I ordered workbooks from Handwriting Without Tears. I did not get the teacher’s manuals and I really only use them for copy work, but it is exactly what I wanted. I’m sure I could have made my own copy work or found some online, but I wanted something already done for me that they could just pick up every day.
Typing Club is an online typing program that starts at the beginning with finger placement and progresses all the way to increasing words per minute. All of my kids that use this program really enjoy it and I love that they are learning to type without any help from me. We use the free school version so that we can have multiple students at differing levels. There is a paid version as well, but I have been really happy with the free one.
Hoffman Academy for piano
We have a piano and our older boys have taken piano lessons in the past, but right now we just don’t want to have that big of a commitment. Hoffman Acadamy offers online lessons and my kids really enjoy them. Right now we are just using the free lessons, but I would consider buying the music or paying for a subscription is one of the kids really wanted to learn more intensely.
Let’s Go Geography
We have been using Let’s Go Geography this year and I will most likely continue to use it again next year. Each week focuses on a new country, with maps and flags to color, along with YouTube clips of each country’s national anthem and a few other short clips about the country. I like that I can do as much or a little as I want each week, and my kids really do look forward to each lesson.
Raddish is a cooking club for kids, that we gifted Eden for Christmas. She loved it so much my parents bought her another 3 months for her birthday. Each month a themed box comes in the mail with a kitchen tool, 3 step-by-step recipes, a kitchen project and more. Every recipe she has made so far, we have all really liked. They also teach a wide variety of cooking skills. While I have not used them, each month also has homeschool lesson plans online to go along with the box. If you have kids that are interested in cooking, I definitely recommend this as a gift or a regular subscription.
Field Trip Zoom
Field Trip Zoom is a membership site that provides virtual field trip and learning experiences. The classes are live and interactive, so your students can ask questions throughout the class. We did a free trial earlier this year and every class we signed up for was excellent and engaging. My kids really enjoyed them and learned a lot from them. It is definitely a program I am thinking about using next year.