All About Reading
Featured , Reading / May 26, 2017

All About Reading Content: Reading Grade(s): PreK – 3rd Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement:Essential Cost: $$ || ? Pages: 201 Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: www.allaboutlearningpress.com From All About Reading’s website: All About Reading is a scripted, open-and-go program developed for busy parents, teachers, and tutors who want to teach reading in the most effective way possible. This program doesn’t require long periods of study, you don’t have to develop your own lesson plans, and you don’t have to stress over what to teach next—because everything is laid out for you, step by step. You’ll get solid grounding in how to teach reading without being overwhelmed. Your student will be actively involved in the learning process. This is a truly multisensory program; your student will learn through sight, sound, and touch. Everything is taught in context, and your student will apply what he has learned right away. Your student will be engaged in thinking, processing, comparing, and learning. Pre-Reading Program Designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners It feels like play, but your child will actually be learning essential pre-reading skills Level 1 Covers letter sounds for A– Z, plus consonant teams TH, SH, CH, CK, NG, and…

Global Village School
Full Curriculum / December 2, 2016

  Global Village School Content: Curricular Guide Grade(s): K-12 Religious Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Extensive Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 90+ Publication Date: 2009 Publisher: www.globalvillageschool.org Date of Review: July 6, 2016 Common Core Aligned: No Review of Global Village School Recently, a friend asked me if I had ever heard of the Global Village School homeschool curriculum. She knew I had unschooled my kids in the early years and she knew I was Quaker, with a strong belief in community service and civic responsibility. When my friend stumbled onto GVS, she thought of me and wondered what I thought of it. I had never heard of Global Village School, but the website did, indeed, look like something that would have caught my attention back in the day. My friend wound up buying both the 3rd and 4th grade curriculum to use with her kids. Within days, she called me up and said, “You’ve got to take a look at this!” So, I made a cup of tea, sat down, and started looking at Whole Child, Healthy Planet. Then, I looked again. I even came back another day to look one more time because I was convinced…

Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story
Featured , Grammar , Writing / August 26, 2016

Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story Content: Creative Writing Grade(s): 7th and up Religious Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: None Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$ || ?? Pages: 328 Publication Date: 2016 Publisher: Wondertale Date of Review: August 26, 2016 Common Core Aligned: No Review of A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story: A Creative Writing Curriculum Not often will you get the advice to start reading a book on page 322, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you to do with A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story. There, you will find a Note from the Publisher, where parents get the straightforward scoop about this curriculum. I’m going to emphasize 2 points: Students will work hard to finish this course. Parents should expect to be part of the creative writing process. A Pirate’s Guide t’ th’ Grammar of Story is a workbook written for students. Switching between the narrative voice of the treasure-hunting Captain Yogger LeFossa and the objective voice of the curriculum instructor, A Pirate’s Guide jumps right into its pirate premise. Students are introduced to their role as Scurvy Spat, Captain Le Fossa’s new junior pirate. [If you’ve never read…

Beast Academy
Featured , Math / May 28, 2015

Beast Academy Content: Math Grade(s): 2nd – 5th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Solutions Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Essential Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 100+ each Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: beastacademy.com Common Core Aligned: Yes Updated Review: May 26, 2015 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. Let every math-loving family delight! The mathematicians behind the Art of Problem Solving are in the process of developing an elementary math curriculum. And, boy, are they on to something good! First, Beast Academy is primarily taught through a bright, colorful, comic-book style Guide Book. And being a comic book about math, it’s full of smarty-pants type humor. Even though you’ll be giggling, the math is no laughing matter. You get thoughtful dialogue that really delivers age-appropriate instruction in advanced math topics. Topics Covered 3A Shapes Skip Counting Perimeter & Area 3B Multiplication Perfect Squares Distributive Property 3C Variables Division Measurement 3D Fractions Estimation Area 4A Shapes Multiplication Exponents 4B Counting Division Logic 4C Factors Fractions Integers 4D Fractions Decimals Probability On the surface, the topics look like a typical elementary math progression using a mastery approach, but don’t be fooled. The Practice workbooks are full of thoughtful and well developed problems and puzzles that…

Kumon Math
Math / March 30, 2015

Content: Math Grade(s): K – 12 Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Involvement: Yes Cost: $ || ? Publication Date: 2005-08 Page: 96 Publisher: www.kumon.com ** From the Publisher’s Website: ** From counting to calculus and beyond, the Kumon Math Worksheets enable students to progress all the way up through high school-level math. Kumon’s assignments progress in small steps to build all of the critical skills needed to study high school-level calculus. Each worksheet not only covers specific concepts, but also helps students develop mental calculation and reasoning skills and improve their problem-solving techniques. The Kumon Worksheets are designed to guide students to figure out new concepts on their own by following examples and developing their self-learning ability from the start. Students advance at their own pace and develop strong skills, better study habits, and confidence that can help in the classroom and beyond. Students do daily assignments that take about 30 minutes per subject. About the Author: Kumon began with a parent’s love. Determined to help his eight-year-old son, a math teacher named Toru Kumon developed the materials and guiding principles of the Kumon Method. Today, Kumon is used in 48 countries and regions on six continents throughout the…

Animo: Once A Week Spanish Class
Foreign Language / May 20, 2014

Animo Spanish Content: Foreign Language – Spanish Grade(s): 3rd – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: Yes Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $ || ? Pages: 263 Publication Date: 2012 Publisher: Lulu Date of Review: May 16, 2014 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener Animo is an elementary-level, introductory Spanish course. Like many foreign language classes for children, the focus is on helping students begin to speak about topics relevant to kids. The book is intended to be completed over two 12-week periods. By the time you finish, you’ll have learned over 300 Spanish vocabulary words and short phrases and be able to use them in the present tense. Parents with little or no Spanish background may be able to use this curriculum, if they’re willing to learn a new language along with their kids. Previewing the book will be helpful for novice adult Spanish learners so you can highlight important pronunciation notes, as they are sprinkled throughout the book. For example, notes for handling tilde and accent marks are introduced in Chapter 2. Students learn how to properly pronounce the Spanish alphabet in Chapter 9. And, chapter 10 discusses stressed syllables. What may seem like an odd approach to teaching…

Math Doesn’t Suck
Math / April 24, 2014

Math Doesn’t Suck Content: Math Grade(s): 3rd – 7th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: No Parent Involvement: Moderate Cost: $ || ? Pages: 320 Publication Date: 2008 Publisher: Plume Date of Review: 04/24/2014 Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keeener, M.Ed. This isn’t your father’s math textbook. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to call it a math curriculum. But, if you’ve got a math-phobic kid who likes all things girly and is into pop culture then this might just be the book you need to get the learning done. Add in your own extra daily practice, like Key To workbooks, and, viola, you should be able to get that math credit onto your transcript, after all. An essential component of any good math curriculum is one that relates the lesson to a real life application. Author, Danica McKellar does just that in one of the most accessible ways we’ve seen in reaching girls who don’t have a natural love for math. Don’t let the talk about lipstick and boyfriends fool you, though. In some cases, they’re cleverly disguised mnemonic devices to help readers remember a certain math process. Work through this book and you will learn solid math while also getting…

Youth Digital Online Computer Science Classes
Computer Science / April 17, 2014

Content: Computer Science Grade(s): 3rd – 9th Perspective: Secular Parent Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$$ || ? info Publisher: youthdigital.com Updated Review: 05/17/2014 From Youth Digital’s website: The software programs that we teach are stepping-stones towards professional-level tools. We select programs that are neither oversimplified nor overly complex. This allows students to quickly grasp the software and experience digital design before spending thousands on software. By choosing stepping stone software, we equip our students with the prerequisite knowledge and skills that will best poise them to pursue their passions at a professional level. Students will login and work through 12 consecutive modules. Each module begins with engaging videos introducing the topic, and explaining the concept. During each video lesson students will be prompted to work on their own game and then return to the video for more instruction. After completing a lesson, students will answer questions meant to reinforce what they have learned. After completing all the lessons in a module students will take a final quiz, and then tackle the programming troubleshooting challenge before moving on to the next module! In the first module, they will begin with a blank screen, and upon finishing the course they will have made…

BraveWriter KidsWrite
Grammar , Writing / March 18, 2014

Brave Writer KidsWrite Content: Writing Grade(s): Basic (5th – 8th); Intermediate (8th – 10th) Perspective: Secular Parent Prep Time: Moderate Teacher Manual: Available Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $$$$ || ? Pages: 166 Publication Date: Publisher: bravewriter.com Updated Review: 03/18/2014 From BraveWriter’s website: Kidswrite Basic covers the first 9 chapters of The Writer’s Jungle. It is a supported environment for completing those exercises and experiencing models of quality feedback (the type and content) from an instructor. This course covers the following skills: Communication (We use a game to get you started! Fun!) Freewriting (The breakthrough tool that has unleashed thousands of blocked writers) Keen observation (The skill needed to dig out the rich vocabulary lurking inside your child) Revising (We give you tools and permission to get in there with your kids and help!) Editing (The mechanics mop up!) Publishing (Share that great writing with the world!) KidsWrite Intermediate is the natural follow-up to Kidswrite Basic, particularly for 8th to 10th graders or high school students who’ve had little experience with writing. KWB is not a necessary prerequisite, however. This course enables students to develop their writing voices while it teaches them how to think rhetorically. We use a variety of…

Philosophy for Kids
Social Studies / January 2, 2014

Philosophy for Kids Content: Philosophy Grade(s): 4th – 8th Perspective: Secular Prep Time: Minimal Teacher Manual: None Teacher Involvement: Moderate Cost: $ || ? Pages: 216 Publication Date: 2001 Publisher: prufrock.com Updated Review: 01/02/2014 Reviewer: Sarah Butler MacLeod Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder About Everything, written by David A. White, is aimed at children 10 and up but could easily be used with somewhat younger gifted children, depending on verbal skills and their ability to think abstractly. The book is broken down into four sections: 1- Values (ethics) 2- Knowledge (epistemology) 3- Reality (metaphysics) 4- Critical thinking (logic) Each section is then divided into 10 questions. You have the option of reading through the chapters in order or jumping around through the book, following the kids’ interest, as the author suggests. Most chapters end with a reference to another question in the book, which could also guide your way through the book. Each chapter begins with a brief discussion of the question and (for the first 29 questions) a short introduction to the philosopher whose viewpoint is under examination for the lesson. Midway through the discussion, the reader/listener does a brief exercise designed to deepen…