Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Homeschool Curriculum

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Today, with the smell of fresh, new crayons and newly-sharpened pencils in the air and visions of new school books dancing in my head, I thought I’d share my top ten all-time favorite homeschool curriculum.  These are those pieces of curriculum that I would recommend to just about anyone, without reservation.

1.  Horizons math.  We’ve used Horizons since we switched Brianna to it from Saxon way back in third grade.  My only beef with Horizon is that it only goes through 6th grade.  We tried Teaching Textbooks for the first time last year when Brianna used it for Pre-Algebra.  I’ve decided to try Teaching Textbooks with Josh and Megan this year, for a variety of reasons, but I can’t tell you that it’s completely without trepidation.  I confess to having the next set of Horizon workbooks ready for them if Teaching Textbooks turn out not to be a good fit.

2.  Bible Study Guide for All Ages.  We’re going into our fifth or sixth year with Bible Study Guide for All Ages and I love it.  My favorite two things about it are: a) I can use it with all the kids, giving them each age-appropriate activity sheets all based on the same lesson and b) I love that it covers entire chapters, sections, and even book of the Bible, rather than just hitting a few well-known Bible stories.

3.  Easy Grammar/Daily Grams.  We used Easy Grammar and Daily Grams since Brianna was in third grade, as well.  I love the systematic, cyclical approach to learning grammar.  I also love that all my kids actually enjoy grammar.

4.  Story of the World.  These great little history books walk young children through history via a text that reads like a storybook.  I’ve learned as much as the kids have about history through our years of using Story of the World.

5. Explode the Code.  I like that the kids have always been able to do Explode the Code fairly independently and I’ve found that it makes a great supplement to a variety of reading programs.  It is also wonderful for reinforcing what the kids are learning in my next favorite…

6.  All About Spelling.  All About Spelling is the best, most logically ordered spelling program we’ve ever used.  I can actually see the improvements in my kids’ overall spelling as they learn and practice the rules they’re learning in their spelling lesson.  “Well, isn’t that the point?” you may ask.  Why, yes, it is, but you don’t always see that with list-based spelling programs.  AAS is a concept and mastery-based program that, in my house at least, really works.

7.  Homeschool in the Woods time line figures.  These timeline figures are awesome.  Several years ago, my dad and step-mom blessed us by funding the purchase of the complete set on CD-Rom.  We’ve had very few instances where we needed a figure for a certain event or person in history that we’ve not been able to find something suitable.  The list of figures is extensive and beautifully drawn.

8.  First Language Lessons Vol. 1/2.  First Language Lessons is actually one piece of curriculum that I miss using.  It was the perfect, gentle-but-thorough introduction to grammar for my younger two.  I wish it’d been available when Brianna was their age.

9.  Christian Kids Explore science series.  Another set that we’ve used forever, the Christian Kids Explore set is a nice introduction to science.  They’re a little light on experiments and hands-on learning and, in my opinion, need to be beefed up a bit with library books, but they make a great spine book for an elementary science study.

10.  Handbook of Nature Study Blog.  Barb does an incredible job with her blog.  If you want to learn how to enjoy studying nature, all you have to do is visit Barb.  Her weekly nature challenges do the majority of the work for you.  All you have to do is get out there and enjoy the challenges.  I can’t wait to get our crew back to nature study.  We loved it while we were doing it, but we got off track last winter — we’re wimps about the cold…and about extreme heat, too, if you want to know the truth.  Wait till fall, though!  Then, you’ll find us eagerly enjoy nature study again.

Those are my top ten favorites; what are some of yours?

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. We too love Horizons Math and used it for two years. This year I put together my own math curriculum through free worksheets from the internet. I will add the next Life of Fred book toward the end of the year. We also use the Nature Study Blog and Easy Grammar. Easy Grammar is incredible and I would recommend to anyone, my daughter has learned so much from it.

  2. Thanks for your words on Horizons and for the feedback! We really appreciate it.

    Ryan from Alpha Omega Publications

  3. Thanks, Ryan. If Horizons went through high school level math, you'd have a customer for life (well, through high school, anyway). We absolutely love Horizons. We start school tomorrow and last night I was still asking my husband if he thought we were doing the right thing switching Josh and Megan — the whole, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" thing. And, I was still praying about it this morning. We'll see how it goes.

  4. If you are looking for great high school math curriculum, I highly recommend my company, Thinkwell. While I am biased as an employee, as someone who has watched the video portions of the classes to talk about them, they are really good. Our math professor, Edward Burger is incredible and has a great, fun style of teaching that kids seem to really like.
    Check out our site (, I know there are demos in the homeschool section so you can see what the classes are like. We also post free videos on our blog and YouTube.
    I can say, however, that I have heard good things about all the other curriculum you have listed. This has got to be really helpful for other homeschoolers trying to make the right decisions for their kids!!

  5. This is my first time visiting your blog (came over from Top Ten Tuesday, where I also posted about homeschooling! LOL). Thanks for the curriculum tips. I am looking into something new for grammar for my 7th grader, so I'll look into Easy Grammar. As for math, we've been using Teaching Textbooks for two years and my oldest son loves it! My second gets to start TT3 this year and he is so excited to get to do "computer math" too!

  6. Thanks Kris….Top Ten….I appreciate your kind words and I look forward to seeing you around the OHCs this fall. 🙂

  7. I've been trying to keep my eye out to learn of new curric. and I haven't heard of any of these but I like the idea of them.

  8. Great list! Very helpful for someone like me who is just starting out and trying to get a handle on where we are headed and how! Thanks!

  9. I'm brand new to homeschooling, and we just started with Horizons Math today. DD is 5 and loves it so far. Thanks so much for posting this list! We're still figuring out what will work for us. 🙂

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