Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

As this homeschool year comes to a close, many homeschoolers are searching for curriculum to use next year. I wanted to gather all of our curriculum choices posts for you in one place, as well as all of our specific individual curriculum and educational toy reviews. I hope this post helps you browse around and gather ideas.

Homeschool Curriculum Reviews and Choices

First, here are direct links to all of our curriculum choices posts. You’ll see a year-end review post for the past couple of years. My kids are currently finishing up 2nd, 5th, and 9th so those will be coming soon. I am also planning to do some individual curriculum reviews for some of the subjects we had this year. If you would like to request a review of a particular curriculum we have used, please comment and let me know.

Learning with Ladybug Preschool Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year End Review 2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Wrap Up 3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review 5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year End Review 8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 8th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review 9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review 

Homeschool Curriculum Homeschool Curriculum Choices


Reviews

Over the years I have done many individual reviews, some for sponsors, and some just on my own. I organized these into categories below so you can easily browse around! Many of these posts have video reviews included, if you prefer to see all video reviews, here is our playlist containing product reviews!

Math

Literacy

Science

Geography

Bible

Art and Music

Foreign Language

Technology

Educational Toys

It’s quite possible I missed a review I have done, but I did my best to gather them all here! If there is a specific curriculum you see we have used that you would like a more in depth review of, please comment and let me know. I will be sharing our year-end grade level reviews as my children finish up for the year!



Dog’s Colorful Day Unit Study with Ivy Kids

Dog's Colorful Day Ivy Kids Kit Review

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

Our love for Ivy Kids Kits continues! These continue to be the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent Dog’s Colorful Day for this review.

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Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

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    • The book Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd, a messy story about colors and counting. 
    • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
    • Your Own Colorful Dog: A soft and cuddly dog to color and use for story-retelling.
    • Paint by Number: Roll the die, select the corresponding color paint dauber, and paint a space with the number that was rolled.
    • My Dog’s Colorful Adventure: After reading the story Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd, create your own story about a messy dog.
    • Colorful Dog Puppet: Create a dog puppet with 10 colorful spots and re-tell the story Dog’s Colorful Day.
    • Roll-a-Spot: Roll the die and cover the matching spot on your board with a colored chip. Be the first player to cover all the spots on your board to win the game.
    • Letter Match: Cover each letter space on the board with the matching letter sticker. Can you find and cover all the hidden letters on the picture?
    • Create a Colorful Sun-catcher with Wet Glue Painting: Add different drops of coloring onto wet glue and use a stick to create a colorful design in the glue. Once the glue is dry, hang in a sunny window and enjoy!
    • Dog Race: Roll and Dot! Roll the dice and use the paint daubers to stamp a dot in the column displaying the number rolled. Continue rolling and stamping until the paint dots reach the top of at least one dog column. Which dog column will win the race? 
    • Story Re-telling Cards: After reading Dog’s Colorful Day, use the cards to retell the story. Your child can sequence the cards in the same order as they appeared in the story. 
    • Mixing Colors in Water: Explore color mixing by adding different colors to water. Then record your findings on a observation sheet. 
    • Patterns on Bones: Use the colored chips to continue the pattern on each bone. Can you make your own pattern?
    • How many spots do I have?: Create your own number stories about Dog and his colored spots.
      She was SO excited to open our box and see a stuffed dog! She loves stuffed animals and dogs!

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Activities From Our Box…

After reading the book, she immediately begged to begin decorating her stuffed dog!

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We usually spread our activities out over a few weeks. often doing a “box” activity after we have finished her regular schoolwork. Although some of these activities are below her school level, she still enjoys them and loves to share them with you through pictures.  She knows I blog about these kits and loves to help me share with other families.

Below you can see us sequencing the story together…

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The more crafts the better for her! She loved the dog puppet craft!

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She grabbed the sticker matching activity one day and said, “I know I already know my letters and numbers, but this is fun!”

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Her brother joined in on this day, and we made the sun-catchers together!

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We also did the color-mixing activity together. They both loved these activities!!

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She loves the printable games included, and often plays with me and then again by herself!  Below we were playing Dog Race: Roll and Dot.

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I love that she still has fun with activities like this although she is a bit old for them. Below she was painting by number.

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Patterns on the dog bones!

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She asked me recently if she could keep doing these boxes. She said, “I know I am getting old for them but they are just so fun, I love them!” You can buy this kit here!

We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, Penguin & Pinecone kit, Gotta Go! Gotta Go! kit, Over in the Ocean and Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats!

A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w[2] Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie[1] Over-in-the-Ocean-Unit-Study-with-Iv[2]  Mrs.-McTats-and-Her-Houseful-of-Cats[1]

 

20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

Use code: IVY20

A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!



Zoey and Sassafras Book Review and Printables

Zoey and Sassafras -

{disclaimer ~ we were sent these books to review and affiliate links are used in this post}

Oh my word. I can’t say enough about Zoey and Sassafras!. When my blog friend Asia asked if I would like to review her new chapter book series, I took a look, saw a dragon and a cat and said YES! I figured with two of my daughter’s VERY favorites on the cover, it was likely she would enjoy them. Plus she LOVES to read. The photo above shows moments after she opened the package that Asia sent us with the first book, her smile says it all.

She sat down to read it after we came inside from playing that day and she finished it all at once!

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I just happened to be sitting near her as I noticed her on the last page so I started filming so I could get her live and authentic reaction. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

A post shared by Carisa (@1plus1plus1) on

 

 

About the Series…

Zoey is a smart and sweet little girl with an adorable pet cat, Sassafras. Science, adventure and fantasy are woven together in the delightful tales. The books are funny, educational, and just simply enjoyable. I HIGHLY recommend them!

There are 3 books in the series {we are really hoping Asia will write more}, and they all feature larger font size, and black and white illustrations on many pages. The books are written at a 2nd grade independent reading level, but would make a great read aloud for a younger child. Honestly the stories are so well written that older kids will enjoy them too. The recommended age is 4-10, my daughter is almost 8 and these are perfect!

 

The Printables…

She also loves to color and asked me if I had any Zoey and Sassafras coloring pages! Thankfully we were given permission from the fabulous illustrator, Marion Lindsay, to use her images to create some printables! I first put together some simple coloring pages for her, which she also used as tracing sheets. She loves to practice her drawing skills.

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She is in 2nd grade, and I wanted to create a couple of activities to work on some skills also. First, I made a sheet for her to draw and write about her own magical animal. She loved this and I just love her creativity. After this she asked me if she could use one of her small notebooks to be her magical animal book. She has since written about several made-up magical animals all on her own!

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I also created a printable activity to work on some grammar skills. We came up with verbs and adjectives to describe Zoey and Sassafras!

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The words she chose to describe Zoey give a good picture into the type of main character this little girl is ~ creative, smart, and helpful. All traits I love to see in my own kids! Zoey likes to ~ investigate, explore, and play!

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She is BEGGING Asia to write more books, but she said she will reread these for now, she loves them so much!

 

You can download the free Zoey and Sassafras coloring pages and printables here!

Zoey and Sassafras Coloring Pages and Printables

 

Grab the books here on Amazon!



Mid Year Review of Teaching Textbooks Math 3

Teaching Textbooks Math 3 Review

 

{disclaimer ~ TT is a sponsor. We used TT long before they ever became a sponsor, we are grateful for our new partnership!}

I am simply in love with Teaching Textbooks. Using level 3 with my daughter this year has only solidified that love. My boys have been using TT for 3 years now, but this is her first year and my first year seeing it from the beginning. Now that Ladybug is over half way through I wanted to do a review and answer some questions I have gotten this year!

First, I want to take a minute and explain a bit about what makes TT different from other homeschool math programs.

Teaching Textbooks were designed specifically for independent learners. Each Teaching Textbook has approximately 700 pages of text and 120 – 160 hours of teacher instruction on CD-ROM, and is both a teacher and a textbook combined into one. There are audiovisual step-by-step explanations for every single one of the almost 3,500 problems in the book. Using a Teaching Textbook is like having a tutor available at the push of a button, which means I do NOT have to know it all!

I made a video to explain and show a few things and want to share that first. I expand on some of it in the post below, but in this video you can see a peek at the program on the computer, some ways I help her} my sticky note method}, inside of the book itself, and some of my rambling thoughts about this awesome program.

 

 

Table of Contents

You can download a PDF of the table of contents here to see it in full. Look for this graphic, you’ll also see the link for the TT 3 placement test there too!

TT3 TOC and Placement

 

Our Lesson Checklist

In the video I show our personal checklist and you can download a copy here if you’d like to use it.

TT3 Plan

 

Does she work independently?

She works by herself most of the time but I am always nearby. Sometimes she uses her headphones and just pauses if she needs me. Other times she leaves the sound so I can hear and I follow along and help as needed. Honestly after about a month she was mostly independent.

2nd Grade -8172

 

How is the review?

I am a BIG fan of cyclical review in math, kids can’t be forgetting things! Teaching Textbooks does a great job of this in my opinion. The review is scattered in but not overwhelming.

 

How are the multiplication lessons presented?

Multiplication is introduced in level 3 and you can see the order of the lessons in the screenshot below. I talk about this a bit more in the video if you haven’t watched it yet.

TT3 TOC Multiplication Lessons

 

Do we supplement at all?

Yes! I am still a big fan of hands-on learning especially in the early math years. Adding in some fun is important to me. We mainly use Spielgaben for this, you can see our monthly posts here. We also play math games, like our printable multiplication games here. If I see her struggling to understand at all, I will pull together a hands-on lesson to reinforce and teach differently. Below you can see a photo I shared on Instagram here, showing us playing the Winter Multiplication Games and using the Skip Counting Charts from Homeschool Creations.

1.12.17 Teaching Textbooks (9)

 

How is this compared to other 2nd grade math programs we used?

We  used a more traditional homeschool math program for PacMan and for Krash we used Singapore. I have never really loved the traditional math programs, but I did really love Singapore. The problem for me was the amount of teacher involvement needed. I simply did not have that kind of time and began looking elsewhere when I finally realized Singapore wouldn’t be a good fit for our family long term. About that time PacMan was moving into Pre Algebra and I was getting a bit nervous. We started Teaching Textbooks then with him and since he was going to be using it, I decided to give Math 4 a try for Krash who was in 3rd grade at the time. We haven’t looked back! Krash is now using Math 6, and PacMan is using Geometry. We plan to use Teaching Textbooks all the way through high school!

 

 

What level should my child begin with?

Teaching Textbooks is often different than your child’s actual grade level. My daughter is in 2nd grade and using level 3 right now, it’s a perfect fit. You’ll notice when my boys used each level so far in the list below…

For Krash ~

  • Math 4 for 3rd grade
  • Math 5 in 4th Grade
  • Math 6 for 5th grade this year

For PacMan ~

  • Pre Algebra for 7th Grade
  • Algebra 1 for 8th Grade
  • Geometry for 9th grade this year

If you are curious about Teaching Textbooks and thinking of making the switch, they have placement tests for you to use to make the process easier!

Teaching Textbooks Placement Tests

See another post about Teaching Textbooks here.

We Love Teaching Textbooks Math



Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits!

Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

Our love for Ivy Kids Kits continues! These continue to be the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

Ivy Kids-

  • The humorous and heartwarming book Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. 
  • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
  • Houseful of Cats: Paint the beautiful wooden house and use it along with the cat figures to retell the story
  • Story Re-telling: Use the board and cat figures to retell the story of Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats that have names from A to Z. 
  • Cat Puppet: Create your own cat puppet with a personalized name collar 
  • Cat Bingo: Learn about the different cat species while playing bingo. The person to get 3 cats in a row gets bingo.
  • Houseful of Pets – Roll and Stick: Roll the dice, find the number rolled, and cover the number with a colorful cat or dog sticker. Keep rolling the dice until you have found all the hidden numbers and your house is full of pets!
  • Find Your Way Home Board Game: Players take turns moving the cat pawns along the alphabetical path until each cat has reached the house at the end of the board
  • Kitty Bank: Use the paints to decorate your own cute and functional kitty bank.
  • Cat Fact Boards and Trivia: Learn fun and interesting facts about cats and solve the trivia questions
  • Cat Race – Roll and Stamp: Choose from 3 different racing sheets! Player counts the number rolled and then stamps the column displaying that numerical symbol. Continue rolling until the cats reach the top of at least one column. Whichever column has the most cats wins the race.
  • 100 Cats: What does 100 cats look like? Find out by stamping 100 cats onto the hundreds board.
  • Word Families: The first player to collect all the word cards that belong to his or her word family wins the game.  
  • Cat Alphabet: Color these uniquely formed letters. For silly fun, try to use your own body to make the different letter shapes.
    She was SO excited to open our box and see CATS! She loves cats!
    Ivy Kids Kit -0236

She immediately asked to go read the book and she loved it! Not so sure the dog loved a book all about cats!

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    Ivy Kids Kit -0269

       

      Activities From Our Box…

      She chose to do the story-retelling activity first and loved all of the little kitties!

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      She always loves the games that are included, I think spending more time with me and playing together is a highlight!

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      She is a craft-loving girl and this one was a favorite!

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      She loved the Cat Facts game, the pictures were awesome!

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      She is a bit too old for rhyming so we just peeked at it quickly.

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      We played BINGO a few times, which she loved!

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      She loved playing “A Houseful of Cats,” and so did I! I loved that there were varying levels included, we played a few different ways.

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      Her very favorite was the kitty bank craft! She also loved the little cat house!

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      We continue to just LOVE Ivy Kids and are thankful to have these boxes! You can buy this kit here!

      We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, Penguin & Pinecone kit, Gotta Go! Gotta Go! kit and Over in the Ocean!

      A-House-for-Hermit-Crab-Unit-Study-w[1] Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with[1] 

      Gotta-Go-Gotta-Go-Ivy-Kids-Kit-Revie Over in the Ocean Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits[4]

       

      20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

      Use code: IVY20

      A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

      When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!