Resource Reviews

homeschool curriculum resource review

With all the resources available to homeschool families, finding the ones that best fit our gifted and 2e kids can be daunting. Who better to help than families who have tried, tested, and reviewed the actual resources with their own kids? GHF has put together a list of reviews from real gifted and 2e families, so that you can find the resources that work for you.

Keep coming back, as we continue to add new reviews weekly. Visit our Favorite Things for a comprehensive collection of  resources and websites.

 

Resources for Learning:

  • A Review of Khan Academy: Math All in all, Mad Natter has made incredible strides in using Khan Academy. I'm uncertain how much is due to the format, how much is due to the single task at a time nature, and how much is due to being able to keep him focused on the task better, but he's gone from mid-second grade to mid fourth grade inside of a month. And he's still going.
  • All About Spelling!  I completely credit All About Spelling. Mad Natter, who absolutely hates review, will ask me if we can do spelling work. Mad Natter, whose handwriting is years behind his mind, will ask me to do spelling.  This is astounding to me.
  • Amazing Creative Writing Prompts: The Mysteries of Harris Burdick  In The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Van Allsburg does not disappoint. His illustrations are fascinating, as always. Let me share a couple of our favorites to give you an idea of the book’s awesomeness.
  • Amazing Music Appreciate Books for Families This is a list of our family’s favorite music audiobooks. These books would make a great addition to your  homeschool, classroom, or your family’s library.
  • Amazing Poetry Books for Families When I was a little girl, I lovedpoetry. Somewhere along the path to adulthood, I became disconnected from poetry… until I had children. Poetry is a wonderful way to capture the imagination and tap into various emotions. And, because poetry is meant to be heard and not just read, I’ve included several books that have amazing accompanying audio CDs.
  • “Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!”is Great for Gamers and Non-Gamers Alike When I first heard about this new book, I pegged it as being strictly for kids. Boy, I was wrong. What I love about the collaboration between this particular author and illustrator is how helpful it is for those us who are non-gamers (read: parents of a certain age).
  • Australia to Zimbabwe: A Romping Review  In her new book, Ruth Fitts takes readers on a fact-filled adventure around the globe. Working her way through the alphabet, Fitts explores the geography, culture, and language of 24 countries (“W” is for the world, and “X” marks the spot!).
  • Bees on the Roof: Robbie Shell has provided a context for information and an emotional connection for learning with her new book, creating a compelling story that also does a wonderful job of educating us about an important environmental issue: our diminishing number of honeybees.
  • The Capture (from The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series),  by Kathryn Lasky If you like suspense, owls, and adventure you will definitely love The Capture by Kathryn Lasky!  I loved it so much I read it in two days and I can’t wait to read the next one!
  • Catherine's Pascha, by Charlotte Riggle. We recently read the book Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle, illustrated by R. J. Hughes. Catherine’s Pascha is a beautiful story about the Orthodox Church celebration of Pascha, as told through the eyes of 6-year-old Catherine.
  • Critical Thinking Math Curriculum The Critical Thinking company approaches math concepts beyond the typical practice drill. It approaches math through the why and helps children understand why they are doing a math problem.
  • Compose Yourself, a last minute gift review, by Jen Merrill. This is a great intro to composition for younger kids, maybe 6-11 or so.
  • Dabble in Elementary Algebra and Physics with ThinkFun's 'Balance Beans' Caitlin Curley writes about one of her favorite strategies for stealth learning: games.
  • Eight Great (and Affordable) Resources for Kids who Love Art These are some of our favorite books and supplies for endless art, as well as a few extra recommendations from GHFO’s art teacher, Lisa Lauffer.
  • Homeschool a Foreign Language or Two with FluentU by Carissa Leventis-Cox. Because what use is learning a foreign language if you can’t speak it naturally?
  • Geography Resources: For all ages Books and games are a fantastic way to introduce geography and maps to your kiddos, and you’ll discover a huge variety to choose from. Here are some of our family’s favorite geography books and games to get you started.
  • The Ghost Leopard: A Kids’ Magic Fantasy, by Lars Guignard. When you were a child did you read adventure stories about other children going off on adventures, wandering through caves and solving mysteries? I remember reading some and as I read them to my children I think, how do I explain the incredible freedom the children had compared to today’s children, and how could an author today write a book about children on an adventure and somehow explain what it is the children are doing outside of adult supervision?
  • Learning languages: Getting Started with Greek When we use Song School Greek, I basically put the CD in and we sing the songs together for about 15 minutes. My daughter likes to get out her Hello Kitty microphone and sing along.
  • Living Books: A Fun Introduction to Grammar When my son was in second grade, I discovered some living grammar books at my local library.   As a first grader he was introduced to grammatical terms through Mad Libs which was very much enjoyed.  These books were an excellent tool that allowed me to further introduce him to grammar in a visually-pleasing way.  The fun books are full of colorful pictures and interesting text.  I find that living books tend make subjects more interesting and fun.
  • "Lucky Phoo" Review  I would, actually, recommend Lucky Phoo as a summertime read for its marketed audience–roughly grades 3-8.
  • Michael Clay Thompson grammar and vocabulary series requires both of us to learn more.  I’m really pleased with it, as I was with the first level. It introduces a level of grammatical analysis that goes way beyond what I ever learned in school, and now that he’s able to read through sections and do the work himself the thing I find challenging is simply making the time for me to study the work as well for fear I’ll be left miles behind.
  • No Stress Chess  I got a No Stress Chess set from my Grandpa for Christmas and I played it this morning with my mom. No Stress Chess is for people to learn how to play chess. I already know how to play chess so I used the game to try to teach my mom.
  • The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. In the story, Robert meets the number devil and the number devil teaches him about how much fun math can be. It’s an exciting book because the number devil is in twelve of his dreams and they go on adventures together. At the end of the book, Robert is very good at math.
  • Our Board Game Challenge Reviews of a variety of board games for homeschooling.
  • One-Player Games That Kids Love We’ve been playing multi-player games for our challenge but we also adore one-player games, in addition to other activities that can keep children happy, engaged, learning, and -often- quiet.
  • The Percy Jackson Series, by Rick Riordan.  I would give this book series 5 stars *****!!! It will be hard for you to stop reading these books. They are almost as good as Harry Potter.  Next, I’m going to read The Heroes of Olympus Three-Book Set by Rick Riordan. I’ll let you know how it is when I finish.
  • Picture books about hobbies and collections What can you do with a collection? Does it just take up space or can it lead to something more?  Over the past week or so I’ve been reading with my children a number of books about children with collections or passions. Each of these books impressed me in some way.
  • The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game My mom thinks that the colors in this game are very pretty and she liked that all of us could play together. Sometimes my brother has trouble with games because he’s three. She also liked that you learn important preschool skills like colors, taking turns, and fine motor skills.
  • Stampy Longnose Stampy is, quite honestly, unique. He fills a niche many people wouldn't figure exist. I read an article not long ago that referred to him as "The Mister Rogers of Minecraft," and I absolutely agree.
  • ThinkFun Maker Studio Winches Review The ThinkFun Maker Studio Winches Set includes materials and instructions for your child to make a jeep, a crane, a well, and tow truck, in addition to any creations that your budding engineer dreams up. The possibilities are endless, folks!
  • ThinkFun Rush Hour Shift Review Folks, I didn’t think that Rush Hour could get any better, until I got my hands on Rush Hour Shift.
  • Tools to Tame the Rule Monster: A Review of Fluxx You see, the game lets each player change the rules - from simple rule changes like drawing or playing more cards, to random plays, card limits in your hands, through to rules that only apply to grandparents or on special occasions....  But as fun as it is, one of the things that make it a powerful addition to our home education setup is that it gives my son the opportunity to deal with chance and disruption in a controlled, non-threatening way.
  • Top Ten Online Space Resources: For all Space Enthusiasts Now Little Man wanted to know about Pirates too, that is how that pirates could surf past a super nova and travel to distant galaxies…at least in his imagination. Sure, we read Treasure Island and learned everything we could about real pirates but the big interest was still space.
  • We Are a Nintendo Family... Now that it's been a month, the shine has mostly worn off, but he still loves his GameBoy. Granted, he still has trouble remembering that he has more than one game, but hey. He'll get there.  So far, while this isn't the most educational of toys, Mad Natter's cognitive age has pushed him right out of the ability to enjoy traditional edutainment. So now, his games work on things like practicing to get better, not winning the first time every time, and how to not be a poor loser.  I can do nothing but approve of this.

Resources for Adults:

  • A Parent's Guide to Gifted Childrenby James T. Webb, Janet L. Gore, Edward R. Amend, Arlene R. DeVries. A valuable tool to have in your back pocket. It has many anecdotes for illustration, tips and tricks, and is remarkably good at keeping things low key.
  • Educating Your Gifted Child: How One Public School Teacher Embraced Homeschooling, by Celi Trépanier. I'm going to open this by saying that yet again, GHF has knocked it out of the park. They've chosen a wonderful author and turned her loose on spectacular subject matter. Now, let's get into why I say that.
  • The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Gifted Child, by Sarah Robbins. There is, quite literally, a chapter about nearly everything. Mostly what seems to be missing is a camera in my living room.  Everything else is there. How giftedness is different for girls than boys? That's in there. The signs of giftedness in the preschool set? Yep, that's there, too. What is 'normal' for parents of gifted kids - oh, the commiseration is wonderful. The validation that it's not only not just me, but also that I'm not (entirely) crazy?  Priceless. Ranging from discipline to perfectionism, Dabrowski to planning and everything in between, it's actually all in there.  It's not an in-depth psychology textbook, it's not a step-by-step guide.  It's one of the very, very few "The Whatever Guide to" books that has actually been helpful to me. It is a spectacular place to start, covering all the basics and then some - without overwhelming the reader.
  • How to Work and Homeschool, by Pamela Price. The suggestions were good ones, concrete and very realistic - none of that "change everything you've ever done right away!" stuff that so often comes in the how-to genre. It was actually a relief to see that this is something that can be managed - nothing sugar coating it, saying an endeavor like working and homeschooling simultaneously would be really easy, or everything would be sunshine and roses, but it was actually encouraging without being overwhelming.
  • HP Officejet Pro 8610: The Newest Love of My (Homeschool) Life. I love this printer. More than any other homeschool "accessory," I love this printer.
  • If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional,  by Jen Merrill. As I'm realizing more and more as I meet new and different children who are gifted or twice-exceptional, every last one of them is different. There will never be a manual because the only generalization you can truthfully make about these children is that they are extremely difficult to generalize. Rather than being a step-by-step guide, this book is the kind of relaxing read that reminds you it's okay to have a bad day, and tomorrow will be a new start. It reminds you that you truly are not alone, and that others out there do have your back, even if you have to hunt them down.
  • Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn't Fit Your Atypical Child, by Corin Goodwin and Mika Gustavson, MFT.  If you're looking for a practical, common sense guide to getting started, making the decision, and how to proceed from there?  This is, without a doubt, a must read.  There is something in there for everyone, even if you've been homeschooling for the last twenty years - granted, it might just be a sense of camaraderie at that point, but still. This book is absolutely worth every moment you spend with it... and I strongly suspect there will be many more readings in my future.
  • Rise: A Refreshing Dose of Gifted Reality In this age of reality shows, many of which I believe to be potentially damaging to our nation’s youth, RISE was a refreshing dose of genuine reality. In this film you will not find exploitation,continuation of long-held stereotypes, voyeuristic competition- none of that. Rise is real, folks.

-------

Check out GHF's Favorite Things or New from Nikki! pages for even more resources!   Nikki resources

Comments are closed.