WFMW–Homeschool Faves

WFMW School is back in session so what better topic for this week’s Works for Me Wednesday than a collection of a few of our favorite homeschooling books, programs, and curricula.

Homeschooling Tried and True Favorites

Horizons Math — this is a math that we have loved and used it for years with all of the children. It’s colorful, advanced paced, and published by a Christian company.

Start Write — this is a great handwriting computer program that lets you create custom handwriting sheets using a wide variety of styles including cursive, manuscript, Italic, D’Nealian, Handwriting Without Tears, Palmer, New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD), and Victorian (VIC). I use this for thank you notes, letters, general practice sheets, and more.

dear daddy...

A six year old’s letter is more colorful than your average note.

Sonlight — Sonlight has been the core of our homeschooling curriculum for seven years. It is a literature based program that brings history to life and makes learning a true adventure. Sonlight’s packages include all the books needed for a year’s worth of history, Bible and literature, as well as detailed instruction guides. We are very loyal Sonlight fans.

CQLA — Character Quality Language Arts is a relatively new homeschooling discovery. We have used many different language arts programs over the years. This is the first one that we have found that integrates copying, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, composition, creative writing, poetry, and dictation all in one consumable workbook. I love the way each week’s study centers around a godly character trait.

art time

Art AND letter recognition!

Rainbow Science — this is a serious, two-year, total science curriculum for junior high students. Joshua loves the conversational tone and humor that are interspersed among the science lessons. As he said to me today, “It’s not every science book that opens up with the word ‘Yowie!’” The first year covers physics and chemistry, and the second year covers biology and applications of science. The curriculum and the Home Laboratories are completely self-contained. It has been an excellent fit for Joshua.

Math U See — I have found, over the years, that there occasionally comes a time in children’s education when they need a different approach in their math studies. Perhaps they are stuck on a difficult concept or frustrated and bored with the current curriculum. At that point it has been tremendously helpful to take a break from Horizons math and try something new. Most often this has meant spending some time using Math U See. This hands on, manipulative based curriculum, complete with DVD teaching, is wonderful. The three older children have all worked through various Math U See levels, brushing up on old concepts, polishing existing skills and learning new strategies for understanding math concepts.. Even Sarah and David enjoy playing with the manipulatives (we don’t tell them they’re doing school). :)

Teaching Textbooks — Horizons math is an elementary program (meaning it ends after the 6th grade – sniff, sniff) so at that point it’s necessary we select another math curriculum. I have decided on Teaching Textbooks for the more advanced math levels. Joshua worked his way rapidly through pre-Algebra and is now part-way through Algebra 1. The lectures are featured in the textbook as well as on DVD. The wonderful part about Teaching Textbooks is that every single problem is worked out on DVD (step by step).

school cubbies

These school cubbies hold some of our current workbooks. It’s taking me a while to finish kindergarten but I hope to be done soon.:)

Explode the Code — these are HUGE favorites in our family. They are simple phonics workbooks containing exercises on reading, writing, matching and copying. My children love them and are always sad when they come to the end of the series.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of our homeschooling favorites. I didn’t see the note about this week’s Works for Me Wednesday theme being “Brand Loyalty” until 9 pm this evening. Up until that point I was working on a great WFMW blog on marriage and some specific ways to show respect to your husband. You’ll have to come back next week for that helpful post. :)

Hopefully I will have time to write further about the different Bible study and devotional books we have devoured over the years as well as reading programs, geography studies, art and more that have been family treasures.

Please leave a comment and share your favorite homeschooling programs or books. I LOVE hearing what other families are using and enjoying.

Project 365 – Day 247

Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for further Works for Me Wednesday links.

Some other Duckabush WFMW Posts

Laundry Organizer
Giant Whiteboard
Travel Outfits

Join us for our Tuesday Tips for Parenting

Calling Your Child
Creative Use for the Timer
First Time Obedience
Sermon Notes
Thorough Job

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27 thoughts on “WFMW–Homeschool Faves”

  1. I’m glad you posted your homeschool faves. I’d love to hear about your bible study and devotional book picks.

    We have just started our school year, but do not have a science curriculum per se, just a book of science experiments. My son is not as into reading as I was at his age and I think he might be overwhelmed by a lot of text. What do you think about the two science programs you mentioned, would either one of those work for him?

    This was a great post!

  2. Corrie – how old is your son? I always struggle with science. With every core Sonlight level I buy, I also purchase the science program but I NEVER seem to finish them. They come with great books and easy experiments. For some reason science is continually shoved to the bottom of our schedule and then abandoned.

    We used some neat science workbooks last year that were colorful and easy for the children (3rd and 4th grade at the time) to work through on their own. I believe they were put out by Singapore.

    Hopefully some other readers will share some more great homeschooling finds. Speaking of which, Corrie, you didn’t mention what you have enjoyed over the years as a homeschooler. Come back and share!! :)

  3. Thanks Kathy! I’m bookmarking this one! I’m starting home school with my first kiddo next fall and this will be great to go over before the local curriculum fair that I’m planning on attending in the spring. So far, we’ve worked our way through the hands-on home school preschool curriculum and we’ve really enjoyed it. Hearing other people’s favorites really helps!

  4. There ARE no homeschool favorites when you’re up at 5:30 trying to plan how to SOMEHOW get through it all today … I’m searching my calendar trying to figure out when is the next holiday from school – now THAT would be a favorite!
    What we’ve used the most the past year is small dry-erase boards (though we go through dry-erase markers like there’s no tomorrow). We use these for making comparison charts, doing math example problems, Mom taking notes on what she’s supposed to do next, practicing writing… Our other favorite thing is historical Dover coloring books. They can keep four boys quiet for minutes at a time, which is worth its weight in gold. We’re studying WAR in co-op this year so there are many options for us – and boys for some reason romanticize the sight of blood & guns; I guess so long as we don’t have the actual fighting in the living room, all is well.

  5. We enjoy many of the same things you do. We’ve always used Saxon for our math program, but we are giving MUS a try this year.

    I’ve never used CQLA, but it sure sounds interesting! I love that all of those things listed are in ONE curriculum!

    This year our co-op is switching to Rainbow instead of Apologia for Jr High science and I’m so excited! I won’t have anyone in the class, but I’m still excited because we sure enjoyed it more than Apologia at that age.

  6. Hi Kathy -
    I am on SHS with you. I love your blog!

    We also use CQLA and love it. One new thing we have “discovered” is A Child’s Geography. It is really an Earth Science curriculum and we are enjoying it tremendously. We also use several of the Jeannie Fulbright Exploring Creation books – Astronomy, Zoology and Botany. We have done the Zoology straight through “as written” and are using the other 2 piece by piece as they fit in with our other studies.

    As for other curriculum, we use and love MUS and have used in the past (with great success) My Father’s World – Exploring Countries and Cultures. That was, in fact, one of our favorite years ever!!

    Laura in MO

  7. Some good ideas here; I’m especially interested in the Start Write program. The school doesn’t require the D’nealian writing tablets anymore (thank goodness! They were hard to find!). Jacob can always use some extra practice writing!

    There is a new Math curriculum this year in the county that I really like alot! Every week there is a parent’s letter home that explains the concept that week – so very helpful when they change the way things are taught! Sounds alot like your stuff….

    Thanks for the tips!

  8. I loved reading your reviews. We are starting out using CQLA & MUS this year for the first time as well as Explode the Code books with my six year old. Glad to see the positive review! I actually almost started a post last night about what we will be using but I was tired after getting it caught up from the last week. That’s on my “to do” list for today. I also love A Child’s Geography that was mentioned by Laura. I found that last year & really, really love it! We’ll be using the 2nd book – Exploring the Holy Lands – sometime this year. :-)

  9. Kathy,
    I would love to hear more about what you think of Teaching Textbooks..that’s what I’m looking into for B when she’s done with her Saxon.

    How would you compare LLATL and CQLA? Have you used LLATL? I already ordered the LLATL so we’re set for the year, but would like to hear a comparison if you have time.

  10. Great reviews! This is our first year homeschooling our 7 year old dd and we are using: Horizons Math, Sonlight, Explode the Code, Writing without Tears (both printing and cursive), and Flash Kids Language Arts from Barnes and Noble. I am especially interested in CQLA and Start Write so I will be checking them out.

    Thanks again for the list of materials you are using with your kids. BTW, I love your blog! I found it via SHS as I am a member there.


  11. We’ve been using Singapore Math and are getting ready to swith to Math U See. So glad to hear it’s a good one. Getting ready to start Explode The Code with my two younger kids too! CQLA sounds interesting. We’ve been using LLATL and so far it’s the best I’ve used in 12 years but I didn’t know about CQLA. And Sonlight…..that’s one of our fave’s too. I just love getting that box-o-books every year. It’s almost like Christmas!

  12. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll have to send my sis-in-law over here — she homeschools her children and would definitely find your post interesting. My girls are too young . . . one is 23 months and the other is 8 months. But soon, I’ll be in your shoes. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for visiting me today. I’ve been thinking of homeschooling my younger children possibly my teenager. I’ll bookmark these for future use.

    I just love your blog! My husband lived by Mt. Rainer for about 3 or 4 years before moving here to Arizona. He tells me how beautiful it is, and how he’d love to move back.

    Your children are adorable.

    Thanks again for putting this great list together.

  14. We’re Sonlighters with many of the same favorites–Explode the Code, Horizons, MUS, Teaching Textbooks. Nice to know about Start Write! We use Italic and worksheets are not so readily available as other styles.


  15. Liz – dear girl, what are you doing up at 5:30 in the morning? That is a time meant for slumber not study. Ugh. I am NOT a morning person. Give me a few more hours and I’m happy.

    I love the whiteboard suggestion. We use our big one all the time. I think small ones would be great. Thanks for mentioning it. We are BIG fans of the Dover coloring books. They are wonderful! The kids are allowed to color while I’m reading (if they can pay attention). The illustrations are amazing.

  16. Laura – thanks for writing and sharing all those great tips (complete with urls). Yay!! I have the Astronomy book but didn’t finish it. That would be a great thing to add in to my schedule. We have all sorts of science bits and pieces that could come together and be a great unique program.

    I’ll have to check out the Child’s Geography. I love learning what other families are using.

  17. I think Start Write is an absolute treasure – it’s hard to find additional work books that feature the Italics style of handwriting (which we use). I have probably used the program most to help the children with their Bible memorization. Nothing like copying verses over and over (in beautiful handwriting, of course!) to help the learning process. It’s reasonably priced as well. Enjoy!

  18. I still have not made it to the store to get my new magic eraser to clean my tub. I will certainly let you know if it works. Looks like you had a full blast day whether you did school or not!!


  19. Thank you so much for sharing what works for your family. I homeschool 4 and also use Horizons. It was interesting to hear that you switch to Math-U-See every once in a while.

    I’ll have to check out Rainbow Science when my oldest gets to that stage.

    Now what about sharing those Bible resources?

  20. ALWAYS enjoy hearing others’ choices! I am so excited about Rainbow. I ordered it last week for Holly after considering it for many months. While I’ve heard such wonderful things about Apologia, I’ve been DREADing it for several years, I just have never thought it would be a good fit for her, at least for jr. high . . .

  21. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. (I know this post is older than the one you commented on, but I wanted to see the info you have here.) I have been seriously considering homeschool, or better yet considering the thought of considering it. I live in California though, and I’ve heard that California is not the easiest place to become a homeschooling parent. I have 4 children, going on 5 and think I might like to start with the one that’s in Kindergarten now and go from there to the baby and then the newest one once it’s born and is old enough. This information is very helpful, because that is one of my biggest fears- that I won’t know what to use to teach the kids. Blessings to you!

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