- One of the areas that students often do not perform as well in is writing. A strong writing program is very important. Students need to have strong writing skills before high school. By grade 4 students should be using something for formal writing instruction.
- Writing Strands (
http://www.writing-strands.com/home.asp) has been a popular resource for years.
- Institute for Excellence in Writing (
http://www.writing-edu.com/writing/)materials are popular because of the DVD component and the strong writing instruction.
- An easy program to use for the primary grades is Just Write (
http://www.epsbooks.com/dynamic/catalog/series.asp?seriesonly=2625M) from EPS; this is the one included in our resource packages:
- If a student is in grade 7, 8, or 9 and needs help with writing use Put That in Writing (
- My personal favourite is Classical Writing (
http://www.classicalwriting.com). The FAQs tell a lot about the program. It does take a lot of parental time and it’s different from modern writing programs.
- If a student is using Abeka they are probably getting enough writing instruction in their language arts. Some people recommend using a formal program (like one of the above) in order to get a better quality of instruction – this wouldn’t be an issue until grade 6 or 7. You may want to encourage students to apply what they’ve learned about writing to other areas of study so that they are producing more writing on a regular basis
- If a student is using Rod & Staff they are getting quality writing instruction. Now they just need encouragement to use their skills in other areas of study so that they are writing on a regular basis.
There are many, many good resources on the market.
- Easy Grammar
- Winston Grammar
- Analytical Grammar (
http://www.analyticalgrammar.com) (for grades 6 and up)
- Abeka and Rod & Staff are both very solid grammar programs (these two are not available from Cornerstone).
- Spelling Workout is probably the most popular spelling resource. It is often not a good fit for those who struggle with spelling.
- Sequential Spelling (
http://www.avko.org/sequentialspelling.html) is a good option for students who struggle with spelling.
- Spell to Write and Read (
http://www.bhibooks.net/swr.html) – quickly becoming a popular choice for teaching reading, spelling, and early writing. This approach has helped students who struggle with spelling as well as those who struggle with reading. It is a multi-grade resource taking a student from beginning reading skills to high school level spelling. It requires a lot of parental time compared with other programs.
- Teaching the Classics (http://www.centerforlit.com/). With this program you would never need to buy another “novel study”. It teaches you through a set of DVDs and a workbook. It teaches literary analysis from kindergarten through high school. This approach relies on heavy interaction between the student and teacher.
- Progeny Press (http://www.progenypress.com) – probably the best Christian novel studies on the market. They actually get kids looking up scripture and applying Biblical wisdom to the books. There are a lot of thinking questions in these studies.
- If you have a student using an “all-in-one” type of language arts program I highly recommend adding one of the above resources.
- Story of the World (http://www.peacehillpress.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=2) – Learn world history chronologically with this lively narrative. The series is written for elementary grades but is also a great overview for older students. With assignments and extra reading tailored to an appropriate grade level the SOTW series can be a great resource for grades 7 and 8 students to use.
- Mystery of History (http://www.themysteryofhistory.com/) is what I recommend for grades 7 and 8. It is designed to be used by these grades without modification. This program comes from a strong Christian perspective. The reading is included and there are also assignments for each week.
- Donna Ward (http://www.donnaward.ca/index.asp) has some great resources for studying Canada
- Kids Can Press also carries great books, I particularly like The Kids’ Book of Canadian Exploration.
- Tapestry of Grace (http://www.tapestryofgrace.com) is an excellent resource for studying history, geography, literature, philosophy, art, church history and Bible. It’s a multi-grade resource. There is a lot of US content after level 1 but that can be modified by substituting Canadian content. This curriculum has four levels to move through from Ancient History to modern day.
- Sonlight (http://www.sonlight.com) is a literature based program that integrates history, literature, and Bible. They also carry great science materials.
- The Canadian History Booklist (http://www.onlineschool.ca/downloads/Canadian_History_Book_List_by_Topic.pdf) includes core resources and novels that could be used for a chronological study of Canadian history. You may also want to use this list to target a certain time frame in our history and find book suggestions at many different reading levels. This list would also be a great asset for those who want to combine Canadian history with a variety of world history curriculums.
- I think every teacher and parent should have a copy of Hold on to Your Kids (
- The Maxwells (
) carry a number of resources on how to manage a household how to handle chores, and how to parent.
- Parents and teachers will benefit from Teresa Moon’s book, Evaluating for Excellence, which includes a CD to print off the many forms in the book.
- Creative Homeschooling for Smart Families (
) is probably the best resource on the market for homeschooling a gifted child.
- Debra Bell’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling is an excellent book for new homeschoolers or for teachers who are new to homeschooling.