Someone asked me the other day what my favorite home school resources are. A friend wants to come over and discuss curricula since I've done such a great job all these years. Whether I've done a great job or most of my children are pretty dang smart, thanks to their dad, is debateable! But for those who are interested, here is a bit of a rundown of things I've used.
This may well be a multi-part post since I don't have a lot of time!
Due to my independent nature (and really, aren't most homeschoolers independent types?), I rarely have used an entire curriculum as written. Please bear in mind, also, that I'm not a Teacher with a degree in education. I'm simply a mom who teaches her children (which is a whole different ballgame than a classroom of someone else's kids), and has strong opinions which are not necessarily right, just mine.
My fave over the years has been Mother of Divine Grace, written by Laura Berquist.
I loooove the poetry memorization that she requires. I've dropped it of late with these last two children, but we're going to start it again. A couple of my older children have acknowledged how helpful is has been----both the skill of memorizing and knowing those particular poems or Shakespearean soliloquys.
I don't particularly care for the Apologia science series that she uses. (And bear in mind that I have not bought one of her syllabi for many years, so some things may have changed!) The texts for middle school are a bit better, and really well done for homeschooling mothers, but I didn't think they were rigorous enough. In the younger grades, each year focusses on one subject. We've only used Botany and Astronomy. When it came to the Astronomy text, I got really tired of explaining that the author believes in strict Creationism where the earth is only 10,000 years old and dinosaurs didn't exist. Well, that's not my world-view, and I don't think (without checking) that it's the Catholic view either, so I don't think it's a great idea to recommend that text to Catholics.
We used Saxon math for many years, although MODG recommended (and still does?) Abeka math in the first few years. I have many friends who use Abeka and love the approach it teaches and their kids learn math. Great, but Abeka also slips in anti-Catholic teaching in their textbooks. All subjects, even math. Even if "I stop using it before 3rd grade when the anti-Catholic stuff starts" (which is what I have heard over the years), I personally have absolutely no desire to give money to organizations that bash my Catholic faith, or just plain spread more misinformation about the Church. I lived with that misinformation most of my life and when I learned the truth I had to overcome a lot of prejudice for myself and face it in others when I decided to convert. Sorry, I'm not giving them my money. Other resources that fall into this category are: Bob Jones University and....oh, can't remember the name of the Amish or Mennonite group that publishes some books we used at the very first, before I got outraged by this stuff. I'm sure there are more that I've forgotten or am not aware of.
Edited to add: Now we use the secular Harcourt Science curricula recommended by Kolbe Academy. These happen to be the same books that my kids would be using in our local public elementary. I really like these texts and the workbooks that go with them. From what I've seen, where there are differences of scientific opinion (the strict Creationism above vs. Dinosaurs) they mention both beliefs in a non-judgemental way. The only problem I've found is that it is very difficult to find a teacher's manual. Kolbe publishes their own answer keys, but the drawback to those (besides price) is that they are incomplete; they only have answers to questions Kolbe thinks are important, and our opinions differ slightly there. I'd just like all the answers. Thanks.
It looks like that's going to be all for today! Time's up. Tell me what you think of these resources!