Reviews from the Summer 2013 Homeschool Catalog

    I've always been a big fan of the Saxon Math teaching method, which facilitates the learning process through long-term repetition. My six children, with a wide range of learning styles, have all benefited from this approach. So we were thrilled when we found a writing and grammar course that utilized the same principles.

    Hake's Grammar and Writing presents a new grammar or writing concept every day with review exercises that allow the student to continue practicing concepts previously learned. The detailed lesson presentation encourages students to be self-guided throughout, with very little intervention by the parent/teacher. My three boys have all acquired excellent writing and grammar skills through the use of this program.

    Kits include student text and workbook with 107 to 112 lessons; and teacher's packet with test masters and answer keys. Grade 4 to 8. From Saxon.

    Cherrié, Summer 2013

    From the first time I saw Wes Olson teaching, I was impressed with his ability to present complex science concepts in simple terms. Although these are high school courses, Wes uses analogies and simple, everyday examples that make it easy for even younger children to understand. The video presentations are interesting enough to draw in young students, but still intelligent so older students won't feel they are being talked down to. My three boys, all with very different learning styles, love Wes's teaching and the easy-to-follow printable course book, which is provided to guide students through the required coursework needed to earn high school credit.

    The 9-lesson survey for biology covers life classification, plants, aquatic creatures, birds, land animals, mankind, and a brief history of genetics. Four DVDs, approx. 4.5 hours total.

    The 19-segment curriculum on chemistry includes the periodic table of elements. Four DVDs, approx.11 hours total.

    -Cherrie, Summer 2013

      I've always hated algebra. My brain was never able to grasp many of the algebraic concepts by simply reading though a lesson. But one day, while previewing Saxon Teacher's Algebra 1, I was able to understand and master quite a few principles that had eluded me before.

      Great for both visual and auditory learners, the lessons concisely explain the questions while a digital white board illustrates the solutions. Seeing the same problems as are shown in the Saxon Math textbooks, the student is able to select any areas where they need additional help, whether it's an example from the lesson, practice exercise, workbook assignment, or even a test. Also included are helpful hints and strategies for each concept.

      This is a wonderful resource for students struggling in algebra and should help them accomplish what they need to succeed.

      Includes five "lesson" CD-ROMs and one test solution CD-ROM. 128MB RAM; Windows 98/00/ME/XP/Vista/7/8, Macintosh 10.2 or higher.

      -Rebekah, Summer 2013

      Using classic literature to teach language arts is an ingenious idea. Who better to learn reading comprehension, vocabulary, and essay writing from than the best of the best writers?

      Because this is designed as a teacher-driven course, you will only need the one book, which includes all of the student and teacher information, as well as the answers to the discussion questions. It can be used at any time during high school, with a choice of American literature or British literature. Both of them feature units on novels, essays, and poetry, but American Lit has a short story unit and British Lit has a book review unit. Each one has a list of required reading titles, which are available separately.

      This well-rounded course will help your high school students read and understand classic literature and use it for college preparation. Approx. 200 pages, softcover.

      Rebekah, Summer 2013

        I've always been fascinated with the universe. So, when I was given the opportunity to write reviews for CBD, I chose this astronomy book without hesitation. With an easy-to-understand text, colorful illustrations, and actual photos of cosmic bodies, this curriculum is tons of fun for the whole family!

        The elementary level is designed for kindergarten through grade 6, and some of the activities also offer different versions for younger or older students so you can customize it for your child. There are notebooking journals available that include all the questions from the textbook and additional exercises, such as crossword puzzles, to reinforce the lessons. We used the notebooking journal, as well as a junior notebooking journal for younger students not as proficient in reading and writing.

        My favorite part of this book is the experiments and hands-on activities. Who wouldn't love to build a rocket or create a cloud? (And we're talking a real cloud, not a cotton ball cloud!) It even includes the classic "burn a leaf with a magnifying glass" activity. All three of my younger brothers used this book, and when I asked them about it, they responded, "It was awesome!" All in all, a wonderful and informative textbook! 176 pages, hardcover from Apologia.

        -Rebekah, Summer 2013

        When I was homeshooling my children, I read aloud to them daily. We took a history-based approach to our reading time, using literature to tell the stories of our past. One series we pulled from regularly was Christian Heroes: Then & Now. This series not only told fascinating biographies of brave men and woman, it also exposed us to new countries and cultures.

        There are hidden treasures in these books about our Christian ancestors. They tell tales that build our faith by revealing God at work in the lives of people who placed their trust in him! They are testimonies to how God will work through both ordinary and extraordinary people alike. They celebrate the type of courageous, dedicated, and godly heroes we want our children to admire.

        Little pieces of the stories bring back the fondest memories of our homeschool days. I found these books personally faith-building, and I know they have helped shape my children's faith as well. Approx. 200 pages each, softcovers from YWAM.

        Lynette, Summer 2013

          Using Editor in Chief is a fun way for students to flex their grammatical muscles. It’s an effective supplement to any grammar or writing program—students are asked to find the usage, punctuation, and spelling errors in the text of a story, so learning becomes a game as they search. The workbooks help the student put grammar rules to work in a practical way and help develop critical-thinking skills, too.

          My daughter used Editor in Chief beginning in the fourth grade and really enjoyed the workbooks (which may have influenced her choice of English as her major in college). Levels A1 and A2 are recommended for grades 4 and 5, levels B1 and B2 for grades 6 to 8, and levels C1 and C2 for grades 9 to 12. The exercises are a challenge, and become even more challenging as the student progresses.

          During high school, my children had the benefit of editing in a group setting. They would peer edit other students' work and would, in turn, have their work reviewed by others. Both of my children became excellent writers, and I feel the exercise of editing, learned at an early age, was a large part of their success. Editor in Chief is a fun and effective way to begin learning this valuable skill!

          Each workbook includes a "style" guide, an editing checklist, and an answer key. Approx. 60 reproducible pages each, softcovers.

          Lynette, Summer 2013

          Early elementary school is the best time to introduce facts that will become the foundation of future learning, because, until about fourth grade, kids have an amazing capacity for memorization! Early instruction filled with numbers, times tables, spelling words, letters, and sounds stays with them throughout their schooling.

          Using music as a tool to memory learning is both easy and fun. Somehow putting information to quirky tunes really helps with recall. I used Grammar Songs with my kids to study parts of speech and punctuation rules. There are activities and exercises throughout the book to reinforce the concepts in each song.

          From this same series, we used Geography Songs for continents, oceans, and countries, as well as the solar system. We had a blast learning about Africa, the most challenging continent, with 57 countries in one song! States and Capitals Songs covered all 50 states and their capitals.

          The songs themselves won't win any music awards, but when information is put to music, the process of memorization becomes much easier. Vast amounts of knowledge can be accessed by recalling the tune to a song. My children still remember some of the songs we learned, and they are adults now!

          Tip: We used the CD's in the car to make better use of our driving time.

          Kit includes audio CD with 16 songs, 68-page student workbook featuring song lyrics and written exercises, teacher's guide with activity suggestions, and answer key.

          Lynette, Summer 2013

            I like that this course features selections from all literary genres. Each grade level covers plays, short stories, poems, and novels, so my children were exposed to different authors and classic pieces within each themed level. They were challenged to learn literary terms, and encouraged to analyze the material to apply it to their own lives. The very thorough teacher's guide-with its easy-to-follow lesson plans-provided me with background information, explanations of the material, answers to all the work, and additional activities for my children if needed. It made teaching this program a breeze! It also allowed me to have all the information needed in one place with very little prep time. The separate test book helps you gauge your student's comprehension of the material. My children and I enjoyed this easy-to-use and interesting literature course throughout their middle and high school years.

            Student texts include brief introductions to each section; questions; and biographical sketches of authors. Teacher's editions include full-sized student pages, materials for biblical analysis and application, discussion questions, writing activities, and answer keys.

            Cindy, Summer 2013

            One of my children struggled with reading and spelling. Sequential Spelling's multilevel and multi-grade approach allowed my daughter to improve her skills faster than a standard program by using word families. Starting with the root word, she was tested daily. By the end of the week, she progressed to a more complex word. She improved her reading skills too because the words are broken down phonetically. She surpassed a few grade levels within the year at a very relaxed pace.

            Even though the student is given a spelling test every day as part of the curriculum, this test requires no prep or studying ahead for the student or parent. It allows practice with the building of the root words with no pressure of a grade. I wish I had known about this easy-to-use spelling program for my older children! Two softcovers each, from Wave 3 Learning.

            Cindy, Summer 2013

              This history and geography course for grades 5 to 8 covers America from its beginnings to the present. My children and I learned a great deal about America’s landmarks, natural resources, and our past and present leaders, but this course really came to life for us through the accompanying book, We the People. Based on personal journals and real accounts from people in the past, it includes famous speeches and documents for us to review and study. This was a fun way for my kids to learn about America past and present. Includes two softcover student textbooks, book of primary resources, timeline book, maps, and answer key. From Notgrass.

              -Cindy, Summer 2013

              P.S. This curriculum also offers two workbooks that are sold separately. The Lesson Review provides review materials to help the student retain the information. The Student Workbook includes fill-in-the-blank drawing, timeline, and mapping exercises.