Recommendations

Even though I create educational resources, I also use some that are already out there on the market. Here are a few of my all-time favorite resources. These are items I have actually used and deem to be superior enough to merit my recommendation. (Not many products make it onto my recommendation list.) (And I don't get any kickback for recommending them.)

Lapbooking

Here is a very comprehensive site that covers not only how to do lapbooks but many free printables and other resources as well. (Some of my things are listed in their resources.) www.squidoo.com/lapbooking

General science resources

TOPS Learning Systems: www.topscience.org

If you are looking for experimental science resources, you'll want to check out TOPS. This is the height of high-quality, hands-on science on a shoe-string budget. Fantastic stuff. Only drawback is that they don't come with text, just experiments.

Math

"The Skip Count Kidskipcountkid.com

Math songs to help you learn to "skip count." There is a song for each type of "skip counting" (by 2's, by 3's, by 4's, etc.). The songs are very catchy and singable. I don't like educational songs that aren't singable. If I don't have the song humming in my head after listening a few times, it's pointless. These songs are very well done and you'll find yourself singing them at odd times during the day-- which is exactly what is supposed to happen. One of my children is an audio learner, and this tape was a life-saver for her when trying to learn the times tables. I highly recommend it.

History/Economics:

For middle/high school age: Richard Maybury has a whole series of books that explain economics and how it affects world history. If you are like me and had a mediocre public education, you need to read his books! I can't recommend them highly enough. His most popular books are:

  • Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
  • Whatever Happened to Justice?
  • Ancient Rome and How it Affects You Today
  • The Thousand Year War (about the Middle East crisis)

If you can't find them on amazon.com, try his own publishing site: bluestockingpress.com

Learning Greek or Latin

My homeschool co-op classes LOVED this exciting introduction to the Greek alphabet. "The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker" from Classical Academic Press (classicalacademicpress.com) You must use the Greek alphabet to solve the mystery of the stolen urn of Achilles. Find out who the theif is then track him to his secret hiding place! Really catches the interest of kids ages 8-12.

They also have Latin resources.  The Latin materials are for students who are pretty serious about learning Latin (as opposed to just dabbling in order to learn word roots), but it is aimed at elementary/middle school level.

Foreign language

I know Rosetta Stone has just about taken over the market with their all-out advertising campaign, but if you want to improve speaking and listen skills better and faster than Rosetta Stone, try Pimsleur.  I downloaded digital Arabic lessons that I can listen to while on the go.  Pimsleur lessons are designed to repeat information at exactly at the pace your brain can process and retain it.  It's designed for high school or adult learners but you could use it with younger if they don't mind saying things like "I want to drink coffee at the restaurant." (They sell a "Mini-PIm" but I have not tried this product as my kids are older now.)  If Rosetta Stone is the magic ticket for you, that's great.  If not, why not give Pimsleur a try?  You can download just a few lessons to try it out.   http://www.pimsleurmethod.com/index.html

For French, in particular  I love "French in Action," a delightful series of video lessons You can also get accompanying workbooks, but you can use the DVDS by themselves, too.  It's all in French.  But the professor is delightful and easy to understand and they use lots of examples to give hints about the meanings of words, so not using English really isn't much of a problem.  This curriculum is especially good for high school but might be usable with middle schoolers.. (Late-breaking news:  My son tells me he's accessed "French in Action" via YouTube.)