Saturday, March 04, 2017

Homeschooling Early Elementary: My Current Product Recommendations

Here is my truth: with four young children at home, I canNOT homeschool them one-on-one. Everyone homeschools in different ways. Our current plan is this. We attend our homeschool co-op on Mondays. The other five days of the week (we also homeschool on Saturday), we do between 2-4 hours a day of independent learning.

Don't get me wrong. I am there, and still answering a LOT of questions and guiding. But I am moving inbetween all the kiddos, and they are getting on their computer or iPad and leading the way.

We DO also do about 30-60 minutes of day of non-computer work. This usually includes reading/writing/workbooks. But the other part of our work is done with amazing online products.

This may not be for everyone, but I have had many people asking me the top products I recommend. Here they are!


Okay folks. Hang on to your hats. I have found you the most INCREDIBLE math program EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! (Is that enough exclamation points?!) We have absolutely LOVED ... and I mean absolutely and whole-heartedly LOVED utilizing the Homeschool Membership from CTCMath. There is no doubt that we plan to keep this in our curriculum for the foreseeable future. And I can honestly see using this with all four of my kids throughout their entire school-aged years. This is a math program for kids starting in pre-kindergarten but you can stay with it through high school. It is completely online and requires very little parental needs. The kids watch a short lesson and then answer questions about the lesson.

This is an awesomely fun way to learn your multiplication facts. This product is very similar to the one below, however, this one doesn't cover the "easy" facts like zero, one, and five. it is probably a bit more refined than the product below but both are excellent.) I actually let my pre-kindergarten daughter use this, but I'd recommend it starting at about 1st or 2nd grade.

This is the same idea as the Times Tales product listed above. However, this one covers ALL facts (including the "easy" ones.) Perfect for kiddos in first or second grade.

And then there is REFLEX MATH. Here is a link to this one! This has been one of the BEST thing we have done Math-wise. It says it is for grades 2-8 but I totally disagree and think you can start it with K or probably 1st grade. It basically provides games to DRILL math facts. It is set up for kids to get on and do themselves for 15 minutes each day. It gives them a green light when they are done for the day. You can do a 14 day trial. After that it is $35 for a year. This program has brought my children's math facts to a great place. (There is an add/subtraction option and then multiply/divide) option.

This is a fantastic program that combines reading, writing and typing. To understand the vision behind this program, I encourage you to read the biography of the developer of this program, Neuropsychologist Jeannine Herron. Seeing the alarming reports that reading instruction in our country was failing an alarming number of students, Dr. Herron took her belief that children needed phonics as well as whole language to master reading skills to a new level. Pre-kindergarten through early elementary can benefit from this product.

This product is by the makers of Talking Fingers above, but is designed for younger children: those just learning their letters. 
I have been waiting for this company to do an additional product, but right now, they only have one on the rainforest. This is an awesome online science program. 
The main thing we are doing for science right now is this monthly delivery service from the Magic School Bus. (We also watch the DVD's.) An excellent product and totally worth the money!

This is an online art program that walks children step-by-step through art products. Really fun!

I cannot recommend this Bible program enough. My children LOVE LOVE LOVE it, and it continues to be the least complained about thing we do every day. The only downside is that it is is pricey. But it is completely done online with very little need for parental help. This is really good beginning when your child is an independent reader, but you could do it younger if you helped and walked through it with them.

General Knowledge: 
This program is FANTASTIC! It is completely online, and allows your child to answer questions on various topics like geography, science, math, etc. This is a completely independent product, and I am able to use it from pre-kindergarten on. Really great!

This is a great online reading program that allows kids to read books and answer questions. If you are interested in trying this product, please let me know via email: as I might be able to get you a free use through a friend.
If you are looking for an online writing program, this is a good one. This will require you to help guide your students and is not completely independent. But it offers a "classroom" setting for your child. Good from about 1st grade on.

Online Apps:
Man do my kiddos LOVE this online app! You have to invent "ways" to get out of boards using products. Excellent thinking game!

And my last all-time favorite is Stack the States (or the follow-up Stack the Countries.) I cannot begin to say enough about this game and what it has done for my kids geography. They love it and have learned SO much. We have also used this site online with great success. This one is also very cheap -- and you can buy a lite version to try it for free. Your children do need to be able to read to do this one.

The first is LEARN WITH HOMER. It is my FAVORITE! You can try it for one month for FREE so I suggest that even if the $8 a month isn't in your budget, you try it for free! It has won all kinds of awards and is perfect for ages 4-6. You can also do this one right on the computer. This has two major "sections." The first is one for learning to read. The second is for learning great subject matters (the incas, health, different animals, etc.)

The second is Teachme. Here is the link to the second grade one but you can start with toddler, preschool, K, 1, etc. This one is very cheap ($2 per grade) and you can have multiple kids on each grade level. We do this every day for 15 minutes to refine skills when I just need a break from direct teaching. This app does a little bit of math, reading, and writing and is definitely worth the money.

My boys are obsessed with this Bible. A strong recommend from us on this one!

My favorite preschool Bible recommendation!

Board Games/Toys:
Sequence for Kids
I love finding games that the entire family can play together. This is one of our favorites!
Another whole family recommendation.

Best toy ever. Not cheap. But totally awesome!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great recommendations! We use several of these already, and I will definitely look into the others as well. My kids are 9, 5, 4, 3 and I have really enjoyed hearing about how you homeschool. We homeschool as well but most of the people I know IRL don't use the computer at all to homeschool. I think we need to monitor technology, of course, but also believe that technology can be very helpful and enhance homeschooling. Thank you for showing that perspective! We also utilize a few other resources I think are good:
1. A free math drill program we start our day with almost everyday.
2. A free art site that now has a subscription option. It is something my two oldest often do while the youngest two nap.
3. A free daily broadcast of Adventures in Odyssey. This is something my oldest listens to (sometimes everyone) while we do daily chores.
4. All four kids use this now and they have recently updated things on the older end of their program so my oldest does spelling and some reading comprehension things, as well as educational games. The youngest three use it much like we use Homer.

Thanks again for all your great homeschooling content, and the recommendations you provide!

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Thank you for these suggestions!