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Elementary Pack - Dover Publications and Education.com

It’s nearly August, already!  Are you starting back to homeschool this month?  Or are you, like we often were, planning to start in September, with kids beginning to get bored with summer activities?  At BJ’s Homeschool, we didn’t start back until late August or early September.  We liked to take a family vacation at the end of summer.  And this gave us more time for family, and sometimes, we were awaiting our next year’s curriculum to arrive.

During those hot days of late July and August, we often needed to spend the days inside.  When my daughter began to run out things to do and I needed to finish a project, I would look in my homeschool closet and pull out a workbook or two, like these Dover Workbooks for PreK – Grade 3.

~Don’t miss the discount code plus the giveaway at the end!!

Dover and Education logosThe Dover Early Elementary package includes the following workbooks

1.  Nursery Rhymes and More

2.  Count It

3.  All That Math

4.  History & Me

Each of these workbooks are set up to be used independently. For the littlest ones, an older sibling might lend a hand too.

dover 1

Nursery Rhymes and More – is for kindergarten and focuses on:

1. Handwriting – with letter tracing, and letter recognition activities

2. Nursery Rhymes – written in large print

…and more.  I especially liked their nursery rhymes, which include more than twenty of them. There are colorful illustrations and fun puzzles or questions to answer afterwards. Great for snuggling on the couch and reading along on a hot afternoon.

dover 3

Count It – is for ages 6 and 7 and is full of:

1.  Colorful patterns, to teach patterning and visual discrimination

2.  Counting activities

3.  Simple addition and other number activities

…and more.  This book is full of creative patterning activities which could be used with small toys, buttons, or the like, for hands-on fun.

dover 2

All That Math – for 3rd grade, includes:

1.  Addition and subtraction

2.  Factoring skills and graphing

3.  Multiplication and division

4.  Place value activities

There are fun themes to learn about throughout the workbook, including sports, food, underwater activities, and more.

dover 4

History & Me – This book is listed for 2nd grade but has historical concepts and information of interest to all ages. The workbook teaches:

1.  Composition

2.  Critical Thinking

3.  Research Skills

4.  Spelling

5.  Vocabulary Building

This workbook is full of short biographies of historical figures, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, and so many more.  Each of these short summaries include the main points in the lives of important historical figures with comprehension questions to answer.

This could be also be used as a family read aloud and quiz game. Each biography is followed by questions, which could be turned into a quiz game, for fun.  There is also a Tracing Your Roots section, which is all about researching your family’s own history.

Curriculum Choice Website AdWhere can you find these Workbooks for Elementary Students? Special Discount!

Find each of the titles at the Dover Publications website. Plus for a limited time, you can get 25% off your order. Just use code WHBA through 9/01/15. There are just SO many resources for your homeschool. Be sure to visit Dover Publications and browse their teacher resources section.

Now for the giveaway!

Dover Publications is offering the winner’s choice of resources to one Curriculum Choice reader. The set includes four (4) workbooks.

Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter widget below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Betsy received these Dover Publications resources and compensation in exchange for an honest review. Please see our disclosure policy.

Betsy graduated her daughter last year, whom she loved homeschooling from day one.  She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool, sharing the early years,  high school, and her blog series, our Steps to Collegetoo.  Betsy also offers homeschool help to families.


ABC Bible Memory with Moore Family Films

One of the strongest rhythms in our homeschool is work out of our Morning Time Basket.  The basket holds our history spine, a poetry anthology, songbooks, and our Bible memory work.  We spend time reading aloud everyday.  This shared learning simplifies our schedule, and builds our family culture as we share good words together.

ABC Bible Memory with Moore Family Films

~ Don’t miss the discount code and giveaway at the end!

We subscribe to the not-word-perfect school of memory work.  We aim for exposure instead of perfect recitation.  In our family we’ve got some learners who are very verbal and pick up memorization quickly, and there are others who are quieter and have a harder time memorizing.  Because we focus on exposure, it helps keep competition at bay.

For this next school year, we’ll be reciting A-B-C Bible verses.  You can find many, many collections on Pinterest.  We have written our verses on 3×5 cards that we decorated with drawings and paintings during the Index Card a Day Challenge.

Because we were already planning on memorizing A-B-C verses, I was excited to receive a review copy of ABC Say It With Me from Moore Family Films.  It’s a delightful collection of vignettes starring real kids in a family.  My children loved watching the brothers and sisters interact, especially when they speed clean the messy living room in fast motion!  They also love the baby goats and kittens.  The Moore family plays and works and bakes and cleans with love and joy.  We loved

  • how the music accompanying the video added interest without distracting
  • hearing Scripture in the voices of children–lisps and all.  The variety of voices was a neat reminder that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and we each bring glory to God in our unique way.
  • that the Scripture verses use the King James version

On the Moore Family Films website you can download a printable list of all the verses for reference, and there is a link to a free coloring sheet featuring farm animals and the the verse for the letter O from Psalm 104:24.

O Lord, how manifold are thy works!

In wisdom thou hast made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Tricia and her family enjoyed the film called More Than Making Maple Syrup! So if you’re looking for a wonderful way to supplement your studies, Moore Family Films may be just what you’re looking for!

Special Discount Code for The Curriculum Choice Readers

The Moore family is offering a generous discount for Curriculum Choice readers! Simply use code JULYCHOICE25 for a 25% discount on any order placed at Moore Family Films website through July 31, 2015. And be sure to keep up with Moore Family Films by signing up for their newsletter and visiting their Facebook page.

Now for the giveaway!

The Moore family is giving away a copy of ABC Say it With Me DVD to two (2) winners. Simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter widget below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kortney Garrison lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.  Her days are filled with stories and poems, nature walks, drawing, and pots of tea.  She writes about homeschooling through the church year at kortneygarrison.com.  


Peaceful Ponds Science & Nature Study {Review}

Peaceful Ponds Science & Nature Study {Review} @TheCurriculumChoice

Do you know the difference between a pond and a lake? I’m embarrassed to admit that until our family studied ponds, I didn’t definitively know the answer to that question.

FYI – A pond is generally smaller and shallower than a lake. This allows sunlight to penetrate the bottom, which gives plants the opportunity to root and grow.

For our lessons about ponds, we used Peaceful Ponds, one of the many quality, hands-on science unit studies available from Cindy West at NaturExplorers. I often rely on these downloadable resources when I want to get my kids outside to focus on nature.

We’ve used 100+ Creative Nature Walks, Wonderful Wildflowers, and Butterflies Flutter By.

Peaceful Ponds Includes:

  • Hands-on activities
  • Helpful book titles and websites
  • Lesson ideas
  • Notebooking pages
  • Writing and research ideas
  • and lots more!

Peaceful Ponds Science & Nature Study {Review}

By going through the included exercises, your student will learn all about ponds, how they’re created, their seasonal variations, and what makes its home in a pond.

With this unit study, they’ll not only be studying science, but they will also touch on math, art, mapping, language arts, etc.

Make it challenging for Teens

These lessons aren’t just for elementary students. Cindy has incorporated extension ideas, guaranteed to engage older kids.

Things like:

  • Plant dissection
  • Making microscopic slides
  • Tracking the pond’s inhabitants
  • Studying the tiniest pond dwellers

Middle School students can also turn their nature treks into writing projects. They’ll certainly have plenty of subject matter to choose from. They can write an opinion piece, a poem, a research paper, or use the enclosed notebooking pages to record their thoughts.

Three of our Favorite Activities

  1. Using a small net, we captured a sample of what was living in the pond in order to take a closer look. Personally, I loved the suggestion of adding the creatures to our nature journals before returning them to the water.
  2. Since we have a lot of shrinking bodies of water around us, my girls liked the idea of pretending to be archaeologists by digging along the sides to see what fossils they could find. The next time we come across a completely dried up pond, I’m going to use the lesson extension idea and let them map out the pond to complete their archaeological dig while using a grid.
  3. As we collected creatures to study, we made sure to grab some tadpoles. It was easy to set up a habitat at our house so we could watch them turn into frogs. It was amazing!

Peaceful Ponds Science & Nature Study {Review} TheCurriculumChoice

After you complete a few of the included projects, if you see that your child has a passion for this subject, use the ideas found inside Peaceful Ponds to go further.

  • Thoroughly research plants and animals that rely on ponds
  • Learn what makes a pond healthy and how you can make a difference
  • Compare various bodies of water and determine what makes them unique
  • Dive into the vast subject of algae

At first glance, ponds seem quite simple. However, once you take the time to investigate, you’ll you realize how complex they actually are.

Shining Dawn Books has a large number of nature studies available for homeschooling families to use. They’re fun, easy, and full of ideas to help you teach science like a pro. Plus, they won’t break your curriculum budget!

Give them a try. You won’t regret it.

Have ponds ever been a part of your nature studies?


Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices @TheCurriculumChoice

It’s that time of year when we, as homeschoolers, begin to think about our curriculum choices for the next school year. You are likely getting catalogs daily from curriculum companies, browsing the web, reading reviews, and making a shopping list.

Choosing curriculum can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming. The writers here at The Curriculum Choice would like to help ease that burden. We’ve thereby compiled the posts detailing our own curriculum choices at each grade level. You’ll sure to find suggestions and tips to ease the burden of choosing the homeschool curriculum that is best for you and your children.

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices @TheCurriculumChoice

From The Curriculum Choice Archives

Be sure to browse the tabs above to find curriculum reviews to help you with your homeschool curriculum choices. You might also enjoy these that we’ve selected from our archives.

Homeschool Curriculum Choices From Curriculum Choice Authors

The Curriculum Choice authors have active blogs where they regularly offer ideas and experiences about their homeschool adventures.  Below are their curriculum choices for their homeschools – for each age/grade level.


Eva at EvaVarga.net 

I can hardly believe we have nine years of homeschooling behind us! This fall, we will begin our 10th year. We first began homeschooling in Oregon, spent four years in California, and are now returning to Oregon!

While the biggest challenges we’ve faced are settling in with new communities and making new connections, I have been blessed to know I made the right choices in regards to curriculum from the beginning. With the exception of language arts – where I continue to try new approaches and materials, our choices have been consistent.

I recently shared a post describing Our Curriculum Choices for Middle School. As middle schoolers, they are both more independent and their skills have grown enough that I know I can pull back a little and allow them to take more of a lead. As their interests and passions evolve, so do our curriculum choices. In my post, Independent Study Projects, I describe how giving students time to learn what they want to learn allows them a chance to experience what adults are expected to do every day at the workplace or at home.

When my children were in elementary school, we did a lot more unit studies than we do now. I kept a digital scrapbook of sorts on Squidoo (now HubPages). You can browse a list of our unit studies and our favorite read alouds here, Our Curriculum Scrapbook. From trolls, to Shakespeare, and the Iditarod – to name just a few – our thematic studies kept us busy in those early years.

curr choices

Betsy at BJ’s Homeschool

This year, my always homeschooled daughter will be a sophomore in college!  It has been such a joy a to homeschool her all the way…..and then watch her take on college, too.  I was nervous for her first year there, but she has had a great time, making lots of friends, and finding her life goal, of becoming a leader.  She wants to help children who have been bullied, and we are excited to see where that will lead her.

Planning for the next year, was always one of my favorite times in our homeschooling journey. Each year, we kept our favorites choices, then added a new one of two, as it fit my daughter’s needs.  Sometimes we dropped a curriculum that was not working, and chose another, and that was an important step, as well.

In preschool and kindergarden, we loved using hands-on, play oriented approaches, especially for math play.  I wanted my daughter to get the basics, while keeping it fun.  Here’s our  Top Picks (and Tips) for Preschool/Kindergarden.

During the elementary years, we loved using Oak Meadow curriculum, especially for history and english, which is integrated together.

Oak Meadow – First Grade Curriculum –  “A gentle introduction to the three R’s for your little ones, full of hands on activities, including lots of creative hand arts, drawing, painting and more, mixed right in with ABC’s, math…”

Oak Meadow – Fifth Grade Curriculum – “Oak Meadow strives to reach the child…head, hands and heart, with it’s creative, project-oriented approach, with solid history lessons which speak to the child.”

And here’s  our favorites for homeschooling high school, which gave my daughter a solid high school education, with lots of time for homemade elective courses, too.  These choices can be used as college prep, but also fit well for kids who are headed directly into a vocation, as well.

I also wrote a series, called Our Steps to College, which includes, how we researched the colleges, their entrance requirements, etc, and how we made our curriculum choices for my college bound kid.  Feel free to browse my page on High School for more ideas as well.


Top curriculum choices from Cindy West, veteran eclectially Charlotte Mason homeschool mom

Cindy at Our Journey Westward

Over the years, I have used a lot of curriculum, but some have risen to the top time and time again with multiple children.  Thinking about these favorites led me to write a series of posts highlighting my top picks.  I hope you find some tried and true gems yourself!

Early Elementary Curriculum Favorites (K-2)

Upper Elementary Curriculum Favorites (3-5)

Middle School Curriculum Favorites (6-8)

High School Curriculum Favorites (9-12)

Tools for Homeschooling Middle School - Education Possible

Susan & Megan at Education Possible

At Education Possible we don’t use a lot of “traditional” curriculum to teach our middle school kids. Instead, we utilize a variety of unique resources.

Through a series of “Back to Homeschool” posts we share tools you can use to homeschool your 5th – 9th graders. These resources will engage your children, helping them connect with the material they’re studying.  Through these lists, you’ll also get a glimpse into our lives. You’ll see that we use a lot of living books, technology, and activities in our home schools.

Among our Tools for Homeschooling Middle School you will find resources for teaching Life Skills, Geography, writing for reluctant writers, History, and more!

Enjoy your planning time!

Annie Kate at Tea Time with Annie Kate

We have grandiose plans for our homeschool each fall, as exciting as the smell of new crayons and the crispness of new scribblers.  However, there have been years—and this was one of them—when illness or other life circumstances completely changed all of our plans and, indeed, our goals.  That is fine; God’s plans are always best and ultimately he is in charge of our children’s education.  On the other hand, while being flexible to such changes, we also need to be responsible and plan carefully.

You might find some inspiration in our detailed curriculum plans, with at least one complete curriculum plan listed for each grade.

As a mom of teens, I try to remember these things while making curriculum choices:

  1. I am my kids’ guidance counsellor and need to help them choose the courses that will equip them for the future.
  2. We will undoubtedly miss things, but it is possible to minimize blind spots in our planning.
  3. Homeschooled teens need a chance to compare themselves to peers, and competitions are a valuable way of making this happen.
  4. I may have great ideas, but sometimes trying to do a perfect job is more harmful than helpful. That is why I’ve learned that, when planning our curriculum, I need to ‘Aim to be a Zero.’
  5. Breaks from regular curriculum can be refreshing as well as educational. Our Reading Week and the world-wide novel writing frenzy NaNoWriMo are some options we have used.

Homeschooling-at-Hodgepodge-www.hodgepodge.me_-580x386Tricia at Hodgepodge

Would it surprise you to know that our methods truly are a hodgepodge? One ingredient added. Another sifted in. Mixing slowly. Seasoning to taste. The roots of our method are classical. There’s a healthy dose of Charlotte Mason enrichment. Plus, the unit studies help us all learn together. And the whole-hearted approach speaks of each child’s relationship with the Lord.

Follow Curriculum Choice’s board Choosing Curriculum on Pinterest.

The Curriculum Choice Review Team Features

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss any reviews from our team of veteran homeschoolers. Plus you will receive both our Ultimate Guide to Choosing Homeschool Curriculum and our Ultimate Homeschool Planning ebooks for free!

~ Hosted by Eva, EvaVarga.net



Unit Studies with Bing in the Classroom

I am always pleased when I find free, quality homeschooling resources and this is a great one. Are you looking for a place where you can find lessons in Biology, Chemistry, History, Computer Science, Music, Math and more for absolutely free? You don’t even have to sign up – of course, you can sign up to gain access to even more helpful tools.Bing in the Classroom - Review at The Curriculum Choice

If you have ever visited Bing.com, you have seen the amazing photos they post on their homepage every day. Did you know there is a lesson plan to go along with each photo? If you click on the “Info” link at the bottom of the page, it will direct you to a Bing search page with more information about the photo. Then, click the “Lesson plans” link and you will find hundreds of lesson plans. Click on the “Map it” link and you get a quick geography lesson. Bing offers a free program called Bing in the Classroom; they offer a mini unit study about each homepage photo from the last five years.

What we Love about Bing in the Classroom

  • You never know where Bing will take you next, a new photo and destination awaits you every day.
  • Each photo offers lessons on a variety of subjects. One day you may be studying geography and technology at Mt. Datun in Taiwan and the next you may find yourself studying math and technology at New Zealand’s Frying Pan Lake.
  • You can search the lesson plans by keyword, subject, or age level or just browse by date, popularity, or relevance to your keyword.
  • Each day offers a lesson plan in a Microsoft Office format (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) so you can print them, save them for later, or edit them as needed.
  • The lesson plans include a variety of activities and resources to consider while learning about a particular topic.
  • One of my favorite things to do is browse the Bing Homepage photo gallery.

018Lesson plan specifics

The top of the printable lesson plan has the high-quality photo that is/was featured on the Bing homepage that particular day. The study begins with a central question/idea for the unit study, followed by research activities and discussion questions without links so you can use your family’s favorite resources for research. Don’t worry though; the lesson plans also include answer links to help you out.

Things to be aware of

As with any online resource, you will want to review the appropriateness of the content for your children. You may find the occasional evolution reference and given that it is designed for public school students, it is Common Core aligned (I just ignore that part). I am a creationist and have not found anything blatant or offensive. Besides, with the lesson plans being completely editable in Word I just delete the things I do not want my children reading, or for my older children, use it as an opportunity to teach apologetics.

Final thoughts

You can’t beat the price for this constantly growing, incredible collection of mini unit studies. It is an excellent way to easily offer a variety of different topics to your students and learn more about what piques their interests.

There are currently over 1500 lesson plans available. Bing does not post new lesson plans in the summer but usually begins posting in August and continues to post throughout the school year.

Written by Heidi S.