August 24, 2018

Friday Favorites: Favorite Homeschooling Essentials {5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement}

FAvorite Homeschooling Essentials
If you talk to any homeschooler about their homeschooling experience, they will always have their FAVORITES to rave about. It may be a favorite curriculum, favorite website, or favorite school supply. So it’s my turn! Today I am going to give you three of my favorites in each of those categories—will one of YOUR favorites be on the list? Join me as I share with you some of my Favorite Homeschooling Essentials for Friday Favorites as we conclude our 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement Blog Hop this week!
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Favorite Curriculum

This is the one that I am asked about ALLLLLLLL the time. I have soooo many favorites, but I will share three of the ones that I bring up time and time again in curriculum discussions.

I have tried several different grammar programs, but I have ALWAYS come back to Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). This program trains you how to identify grammar mistakes a few sentences at a time. The program teaches you how to find the different parts of the sentence—from the basics to the more complex—and teaches your child how to fix sentences so they are grammatically correct. Along the way, your child picks up a new vocabulary word each day. The method is very similar to what my own teachers did back in elementary school with our “daily sentence” that we had to correct. The bonus is that each book in the program is actually a STORY. So when all the sentences are put together, they’ve told a fairy tale. This is an added bonus! You can read more about Fix It! Grammar and what it looks like in action in the following reviews that I did with my boys.

As of the 2018-2019 school year, we will be doing Fix It! Grammar Book 1 with my youngest (3rd grade) and finishing Fix It! Grammar Book 3: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts (Grades 6-12)and starting Fix It! Grammar Student Book 4: Little Mermaid (Grades 6-12) with my oldest (7th grade).

I am putting both of these into one set of favorites, because I highly recommend BOTH of them for spelling. They are actually very different, and each is geared to a certain style of learner. All About Spelling is a GREAT option for your visual/kinesthetic learner. It involves magnetic tiles that can be moved around and used to teach the lessons and for the spelling practice, as well as flashcards for review. My youngest son has done GREAT with this program, because this is his learning style. He really really loves the tiles. We will be using All About Spelling Level 3 this year—moving into Level 4, if he finishes.

My oldest son, however, does the best with Phonetic Zoo—the spelling program from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). He is an auditory learner, and this program is set up much in the style of the Spelling Bee. He is taught a rule and is allowed to look at the words for the rule (lesson). Then he is given the words (15 of them) with sentences and he writes them down. As soon as he writes them down, we go through the list and the word is given again with the spelling down out loud and he writes the correct spelling next to each word. If he has it written wrong, he writes it correctly again. He has the same list of words every day until he gets two 100%’s in a row. This teaches mastery of the words. There are three levels included in Phonetic Zoo—but I wouldn’t start the first level until your child is in upper elementary and has SOME basic spelling under their belt. In fact, IEW has children start in All About Spelling and then transition to Phonetic Zoo after Level 3 (I think). But there is a placement that can be taken to determine what level of Phonetic Zoo your child should start in.

We will be using Phonetic Zoo A/B (I mix the two levels according to how he does) for our school year this year for my oldest.

I have tried many science curriculums, but I have always come back home to Apologia Science. Our family just loves the style of the Young Explorers Series because both boys can learn side-by-side with it. It is so convenient to have the science kits available for purchase to take their learning into the lab/experiment side of things. We have used several of the Young Explorers Series, and I recently reviewed one of the high school level courses Marine Biology.

Christian Book Distributors is having an Apologia Sale
You can read my reviews on the different Apologia science curriculum we have used here in our homeschool:

*Looking to the Skies with Apologia Astronomy
*Exploring the Human Anatomy and Physiology with Apologia
*Exploring Creation with Marine Biology from Apologia

We will be using Apologia for science for this upcoming year. We will be using the Human Anatomy and Physiology curriculum with the coordinating science kit. If we finish it, we will move to the Chemistry and Physics curriculum. I just love this series because it is presented in a narrative form, full of real life photos and easy to do experiements. I also like that there are grade appropriate workbooks for each of my boys--but still using the same core curriculum.

There are so many other things that I could recommend as favorites in curriculum, but I'm going to stick with these three, because they come up the most AND I will be using them all this coming school year.

Favorite Websites

1. Reading Eggs

I was one of the skeptics about Reading Eggs. I heard people recommend it over and over as being a top-notch reading program, but I didn't think it was THAT good--was it? We were fortunately given a subscription for free to review and I quickly learned--yes. It really is THAT good.

Strengthen Reading Skills with Reading Eggs {a Review}

My youngest took to it like a duck to water and rapidly improved his reading skills. It is a FULL reading program, especially now that they have new Reading Eggs Workbooks that coordinate with the online program. I will be sharing my review of the 3rd grade level workbook in a couple weeks, so stay tuned! I appreciate that the Reading Eggs program goes from PreK-5th grade--and as your child finishes a level, they just move into the next. My youngest is currently about half way through Reading Eggspress--the upper elementary level program. He really enjoys the interactive aspects of the program and I appreciate the way it reports his Lexile scores and reading levels. It also lets him go as fast or slow as he needs. We will be using it this upcoming year as his reading program.

Would you like to give it a try yourself? Click the image below to snag 4 weeks free trial! :)

2. K5 Learning

There are times that you'd like to know where your child has holes in their reading and math skills. This allows you to do some focused attention on these areas to try to help keep them from having gaps that could be easily filled. But if you are a homeschooler that doesn't have to do any testing, it can be hard to find these. This is where K5 Learning really comes into play. With K5 Learning, you can have your children take assessments in reading and math and it will show you how they are doing! Did I mention the assessments are FREE?  We reviewed K5 Learning awhile back and I really appreciated being able to find out areas where my boys were excelling and where they needed some review. It was more for just curiosity than anything else, but I did find it very useful. Once we completed the assessments, we then used the K5 Learning program itself to help them fill the gaps. The program uses the assessments to place them where they need to be. I highly recommend it!
Click the banner for your free trial and assessments!
3. and

The next two sites that I highly recommend are Christian HomeSchool Hub and These are my go-to websites for finding materials that coordinate with what we are learning. CHSH-Teach has FULL curriculum available for use while NotebookingPages has endless notebooking and copywork pages which can used to record ANYTHING your child needs for school. I absolutely LOVE the Character Study curriculum that CHSH-Teach offers and their collection of 100+ pages for grade level daily worksheets for early elementary. I love the various copywork pages, book reports, and other information recording pages the NotebookingPages has. Both of these sites do have a subscription, but the value for the money is fantastic! There are also free versions of each site which are available.

I encourage you to read my reviews of both of these fantastic websites:

* The Homeschooling Product I didn't Know I Needed (a Review)
*CHSH-Teach: The Christian HomeSchool Hub for Educational Materials (a Review)


I am adding a fourth favorite in this category. I will encourage you to read my blog posts about this amazing K-12 homeschool curriculum site. There is so much I could say about it, but I'll just let you explore it for yourself!

* A Homeschooling Treasure
*Dive Into Savings with the SchoolhouseTeachers BOGO Event!
Click Graphic for More Information about this KILLER deal!
I hope that these websites will be helpful for you--maybe some of them are even new to you! I hope that they will be helpful one way or another, because we use them all the time!

Favorite Supplies

There are so many things that could share with you in this category, so I'm going to link up previous posts that I have shared about some of my favorite homeschooling supplies!

* Homeschooling Essential: My Laminator
* Homeschooling Essential: My Printer
Since this post, I have changed printers to this lovely printer that has nearly all the same functions as the one in my blog post--just a front loader, wireless, and mobile printing compatible.
* Homeschooling Essential: Planner
~The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (Review)
~HOmeschool Planet~ An Online Planner for Your Home and Homeschool (Review)
And finally, the Facebook video review I did of several different planners, including the one I purchased last year, and then again this year.

Well I hope that you enjoyed this post of homeschooling favorites, and maybe it gave you some ideas to check out for your own homeschooling experience. Have you ever used any of these yourself? What would YOU pick as a favorite? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment below!

This week has been a great week! The theme has been 5 Days of Homeschool Encouragement and I've enjoyed sharing with you five days of blog posts to help you in your homeschooling adventure. As always you can follow me over on Facebook and never miss new post! You can find a complete list of my posts this week on my introductory post for the blog hop!

Want to visit some other bloggers participating this week?
Nicole @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
Patti @ Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining
Rodna @ Training Children up for Christ
Stacy @ A Homemakers Heart
Tess @ Circling Through This Life
Wendy @ Life at Rossmont
Yvie @ Gypsy Road

Want to see more Friday Favorites? Or maybe YOU'VE blogged about some homeschooling favorites? Check out the links here and then add yours to the list for us to look at!

I really do hope that this week has been helpful to you and that you've enjoyed checking in each day. Make sure you pop over to some of the other bloggers and show them some support! We love comments, so I hope you will leave a little hello!

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