Home Ed Resources

I always feel I should apologise immediately because we are not an autonomous home educating family and I do ‘make my children work’ as opposed to the (tiresomely misunderstood) notion that most home ed children are left to do it themselves with no resources or input.

This is of course wrong on all sorts of levels. For one thing, even families who would classify themselves as autonomous have, as a rule, just as much interesting/educational stuff/clutter in their houses as we do, so ‘resources’ are not the sole stamping ground of the non-autonomous. For a second, I’ve yet to meet an autonomous home educator who, if asked to provide a maths course by the child, would say “No! I refuse! You are autonomous and will do without resources!” Thirdly, my children like and respond to having ‘work’ to do – that is how they are – and I don’t actually have any trouble getting them to do it. Whether because I’m made them so or because they are that way is almost irrelevant; this is how it has panned out here and we are all quite happy with it!

Below is a list of some of the things we’ve used. For the most part I have linked to company websites and occasionally to something of theirs on Amazon as well. If you did decide to buy things from Amazon, a little bit of money would go to me if you clicked that link. I spend it all on resources! You can use the box below to search for things and send us a few pennies if you want :)

I’d also say that the list below more than covers 4 girls, most of it is non consumable so we only buy it once and if I had to give up all but one publisher, I’d keep Galore Park!

Online

Education City – an online Maths/English/Science/French set of games, graded according to year group in a fun cartoon environment. It is very thorough and suited my lot for a long time. Josie still uses it, Amelie is taking a break and the older two have moved on now. Suitable for age 5-12ish.

Mathletics – a focused maths course for age 5-18. All my girls currently use it, there is a huge amount of help built in to the games. I’ve learned from it, which is ideal now Fran is on to stuff I never quite ‘got’. There is a home educators discount so ring them up!

BBC Bitesize – well worth investigating. Has plenty of useful info, with added games, for most Key Stage Levels (yawn) which my kids pick and choose between. They often use it with Max and fed into our tv from a laptop, it is known as ”telly maths’.

MoshiMonsters – now quite a phenomena, this site has ordinary online fun alongside numeracy, literacy and logic games. You can play free or have added features if you pay. Free is really fine.

For fun stuff, here is an older page of links the girls liked – and Josie has done a fair bit of accidental learning to read on Club Penguin too.

Real Life Resources

Of all the things I could mention, my highest rating goes to Galore Park, which we use for most subjects these days. It is all of exceptionally high quality and the kids love it all. I like to support them direct but bargains can be had at Galore Park on Amazon
and also on eBay.

Other workbook series’ which we use at times include

Schofield and Sims

CGP

Bond Workbooks

Maths

Over the years we’ve used quite a few different things for this. We tried Miquon, spent a long time with Singapore, CIMT and have finally settled on Galore Park. For individual areas we occasionally dip into Schofield & Sims. One thing I do NOT find useful is the type of workbook commonly around in shops for schooled kids. They have always been distractingly jazzy and have no teaching or consolidation in them. They are really just revision books.

We put a lot of store by learned times tables and number bonds. I honestly think kids just need these skills to move on at any pace.

English

My kids are just a bit reluctant about written English but Galore Park is tolerable for them. It has good quality reading suggestions, interesting subject matter and covers grammar in a brisk but thorough way.

We’ve used Schofield and Sims for some general grammar and written skills work.
1001 Brilliant Writing Ideas: Teaching Inspirational Story-writing for All Ages
is useful for creative writing ideas.

NaNoWriMo was a brilliant inspiration to the older girls.

Learning to Read

All of them have learned to read using StudyDog (no longer free but worth it if you have budget), Peter and Jane books and Oxford Reading Tree books.

For spelling I either print off spelling lists, which helps with handwriting, spelling and expands vocabulary. Some of them have particularly liked Andrew Brodie Spelling Books

We’ve used Explode the Code extensively. It has its issues, the American words being one of them, but has a good solid sounding out base. I’ve linked to Ichthus there because although the website is a bit clunky (sorry!) and payment involves a little too-ing and fro-ing, it is a small family business, I’ve met them and they give great service.

In the past I bought some American style handwriting courses. I’d say they were a uniform waste of money. My experience has been that kids who read a lot develop a good range of vocab and absorb masses of punctuation and spelling. When they are ready to write (we’ve let ours type on laptops a lot) they are not focused on trying to spell and punctuate correctly, as it is already an acquired skill, and the handwriting improves quickly. None of ours are very neat writers, but neither are Max and I, but they are legible and improving.

Science

Usborne
has wonderful books which have so much information and so many easy experiments to do.

Galore Park is ideal at Junior and Senior level.

There are a number of GCSE and KS3 books available too, mainly on Amazon. We have several and dip in and out of them as resource books.

Currently we are using Real Science 4 Kids as part of a group. Free to read online, it is really excellent.

History

This is my passion and we could probably live without a course as we talk about history all the time, linked in to current affairs, famous people and places. However, I highly recommend in indulging in both the books and tv series of Horrible Histories.

We also use Galore Park at both levels and the Story of the World
series from time to time.

Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls, from the Romans to Queen Victoria
was a favourite for a while but I now find the overt Christian themes too difficult to stomach. I think I’m an Ancient Briton at heart – I don’t like the marauding hordes coming and taking us over!

Geography

Again, this occurs very naturally through reading, television and daily conversation.

We do enjoy Galore Park, although Fran finds it a little drier than others in that series.

Religion & Culture

We are not a religious household so do no ‘religious instruction’ in the way some families do. However, we have lots of books on faiths and the history of religion on the shelves. I don’t think any stand out apart from

What I Believe: A Young Person’s Guide to the Religions of the World

How I Celebrate

A Calendar of Festivals

The Usborne Book of World Religions

Peoples of the World (Usborne Internet-linked Reference)

Currently Fran has an interest in ethics so we’ve been discussing topics in more depth as they come up. We use a LOT of Barefoot Books for  exploring stories from cultures and religions as well as several from the Usborne range.

Languages

We use Galore Park French together; the cd and book work well. I have Encore Tricolore 1 Nouvelle Edition: Students’ Book Stage 1
to back me up, as it is familiar to me from school but doesn’t really work as a teaching tool without the (highly expensive) cds.

We use Minimus Pupil’s Book: Starting out in Latin
and Galore Park Latin as often as any child wants to (Minimus as part of a wider group but Fran works independently too with GP.)

We have just started using Skoldo
for French. The girls seem to really like it.

Art & Craft

We’ve recently started to explore art and art history in more depth.

We use Usborne Art Books

Art Projects for Kids

Music

We have a music teacher who comes to our home. In addition we do music theory in a group and also use
Music Theory in Practice: Grade 1 (New ed.)

My First Theory Book

Charlotte Mason & other Curricula

In the past we stuck firmly, but not exclusively to Ambleside Online and also used various books from the Tanglewood curriculum. Although I can’t find anything to recommend bought curricula which claim to make HE easier on the parent, I do think Charlotte Mason reading lists have much to recommend them if you pick and choose interesting or unusual books. It is worth discussing or considering their relevance to today’s world as part of that.

Sonlight does provide a curriculum. We have tried it and didn’t really enjoy the structure but it has been a great place to get unusual book ideas from in the past.

  4 comments for “Home Ed Resources

  1. Steph Cleaver
    October 3, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Hello,

    I??m a mum of Kirsty 4 and Sammy 21 months. Have been reading Tom Hodgkinson??s ??The Idle Parent?? and have for a long time been seriously questioning the state school system for my children. My daughter has just started Reception and although this year is a good one in terms of letting the little ones ??play?? I know that there is a gloomy future ahead as the children are subjected to more and more formality. The Steiner way of doing things appeals very much but there are no Steiner schools in the local area and we were hoping to stay here for the next few years. I am concerned at the lack of flexibility and diversity that the state system offers and need advice. I have been a primary teacher for 20 years and know what??s coming which is why I so worried!

    I would love my children to develop without being institutionalised in more free way but am very worried that I may not be able to cope with them at home or do the job properly if I withdrew them from school. Can you help me understand more about HE? Your website has been very encouraging and is helping me by showing me how you are going about it? As with all these ??alternative?? ways of doing things I will be on my own or in a very small minority if I were to do it. That would be very hard. How can I take the first step (and of course present this as a better way to go to my more traditional husband!) towards doing the right thing for my children?

    Thanks for listening.

    Steph Cleaver

  2. January 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks for this blog – I am seriously considering home ed for my nearly 9 year old for many reasons and this has given me some great insights into the resources available. Think I will be snooping about for a while yet…

  3. Jo Woodward
    February 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Thank You!! loads of ideas and information with links, just what i’ve been looking for. I wasn’t sure where to start. x

  4. Emmanuela
    March 9, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I am considering home education for my 11 year old . This information is very helpful!
    Thanks for your effort and well done with your girls too!

I'd love to hear what you think :)