Every year, the Homeschool Review Crew asks for votes on favorite reviews. I didn’t manage to get my votes in this year, but when I looked over the list of reviews we did this year, I realized this was our best year yet! I wrote 20 reviews, and 9 of them were for products that I liked well enough to continue using or use again. The Crew just posted their list of Blue Ribbon Awards, and I noticed that several of the winners were also among our favorites!
I have been pulling Superstar Spelling out periodically to help Mr. Imagination practice spelling. I like that I can make up my own spelling lists for him with it, using words that he misspells in his regular work. When he’s using Superstar Spelling, he’s definitely more careful with writing his answers!
Teaching Textbooks turned out to be a perfect fit for Mr. Diligence for this, likely his last, year of high school. He did Geometry, and the video lectures worked well for him. By the end of the year, it was taking him two hours to work through one lesson, but he maintained a 92% average all year. I remember struggling with Geometry, even though math, in general, was easy for me, so I was very glad to have a course that worked so well for him. Teaching Textbooks is a math course that I will be happy to pay for in the future, for high school math. Teaching Textbooks was voted the favorite Middle School resource this year by the Crew.
My younger children loved One More Story. They spent a lot of time for awhile listening to books on it, and Little Miss was asking if she could use it again a few days ago. I like the selection of older, wonderful picture books on this site.
We’re still working our way through Sparkling Bits of Writing, from Creative Word Studio. I really like this creative writing course! Lessons don’t take very long, and they are quite varied. Each one is fresh and new, and requires creative thinking! We’re doing a lesson, on average, once a week.
We’re also still working through Project Passport: Ancient Egypt from Home School in The Woods. We started using this course in June, and are up to Stop 13 by now. We’re doing a stop about once every two weeks at the moment, which seems to be about right for us. I am liking the variety of activities that are used to teach about different aspects of Egyptian life, history and culture. Home School in the Woods was voted the favorite history/social studies resource by the Crew.
The Fallacy Detective is a very good book. We haven’t quite finished it; the goal was to read one lesson each evening, but after I got the review written we let life get in the way. We read one this week, though! It has made a difference in the way several of us think. We were talking to a friend a month or so ago, and twice during the conversation, as she was relating things other people had said, we identified fallacies. We also, now, more easily notice and identify fallacies in things we hear in the newspaper and from the government. This book is the favorite elective with the Crew.
Little Miss is still enjoying Beginning Thinking Skills from The Critical Thinking Company. We’re almost to the end of it now. She most enjoys the pages we can do on the computer; the ones that I print out for her to do something with are less popular, because they require work. She likes figuring out the puzzles.
I’m planning to use the Wagon Wheels Progeny Press guide again when Miss Joy is old enough. The trick will be remembering we have it! I really like that kind of study. Progeny Press was voted the favorite literature resource of the year by the Crew.
MathRider will continue to be used as extra practice for math facts, too. Even the speed drills and flashcard practice built into our regular math program isn’t enough to really get my children fast with their math, so I’m hoping MathRider will be a help. This was the favorite math supplement with the Crew this year.
From other years, there are a few review products that really stand out. We reviewed Let’s Go Geography twice, in 2017 and 2020. We’re still working our way through that course, a lesson every couple of weeks. We’re using Page a Day Math here during our summer break, for more practice with basic facts. As a family, we’re working our way through Experience Astronomy from Journey Homeschooling—we only have a few lessons left. I think everyone is finding it very interesting! We just finished going through Bible Unearthed from Drive Through History. When we first did the review, those of us who are at home every day went through most of the lessons; later, we started watching them in the evening so Gayle and the older boys could see them. Grammar Planet was also a winner. Elijah and Mr. Diligence both made it through the entire program, and I’m planning to buy it for Mr. Sweetie next year.
I’ve always had trouble fitting in “extras” like history and geography. A couple of months ago I changed tactics and, instead of trying to fit them all in every week, we’re rotating through them. We’re using Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for science right now; it has 14 lessons, which are each a chapter of the book. We spend several days or a week working through one of those chapters, then do a writing lesson from Sparkling Bits of Writing. Then, we spend three days doing a geography lesson from Let’s Go Geography, then another writing lesson. Next, we spend a few days or a week doing a lesson about Ancient Egypt, and then another writing lesson. Then, the cycle starts over. So far, this is working well. We get in all the extras I want to do, and are able to focus on each subject for an entire lesson, but don’t get burned out on one subject. I don’t know if it would have worked with my older children, but with the three I’m teaching right now, it’s fairly popular!
To see what other programs or products won the Blue Ribbon Awards, check out this post. Also, if you have a blog, public Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Instagram page, and want to join the Homeschool Review Crew, fill out the application here. New members are always needed as families age out!