20 Best Tips

Top Picks 2015 Homeschool Curriculum Guide

Are you swimming in a sea of homeschool curriculum catalogs?

Having problems deciding which curriculum is best for your child?

Let us help!


Welcome to the Top Picks 2015 Homeschool Curriculum Guide: Decisions Made Simple. 

Look around the different categories below, visit some companies that may be new to you, and ask questions too! Homeschool curriculum choices can be overwhelming (nevermind exhausting!). You may find something new to you that would be a great fit for the upcoming year!

Click on the subject headings below and get started!

Art and Music Bible and Religion Character Development
Computer Science Critical Thinking English and Literature

Foreign Language History Planning Resources

Math Spelling Science

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Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List: Free Printable

free Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List

Every year I have a list. Or two. Or three. Sticky notes and crossed out lists of the curriculum we need with prices highlighted so I know if I’m getting the best price – especially if I happen to hit a great used curriculum sale. This year I had enough of the multiple lists and consolidated it all into one simple list that I can carry around with me to convention. (p.s. If you are ever curious to see our homeschool curriculum choices, you can always find them HERE.)

A Curriculum Snapshot

curriculum shopping list example

While I typically have my phone with me to do a quick price check, it’s great to know if a special a vendor is offering is worth grabbing right then – and it’s always helpful to know if I already own an item (not that I’ve ever purchased something twice – cough).

The literature list for each grade level is something that can quickly overwhelm me, so I made a special area for tracking what books we need to purchase as well. The overall list is a great snapshot to see what areas we may need to beef up a little academically.

Color-coded lists

You may notice there are four different colored lists. Maybe you remember that we color code our kids (don’t judge – please). It really does help me visualize which child needs what curriculum, so the four colors you see are to help me remember who the curriculum is for. It’s something silly and simple, but it works for me. (grins)

If you think this would help you out too, just click below to download a copy for yourself – and please feel free to pass along the link and let your friends know too!

—-> Download the Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List HERE <—–

Attend a Homeschool Convention

Each June, I look forward to the annual Home Educators Association of Virginia homeschool convention. Aside from the amazing used curriculum sale and extensive vendor hall, they have a lineup of fabulous speakers. It’s the perfect pace for learning, browsing, and being refreshed for the upcoming year.

If you live anywhere close to Richmond, VA (even if it is hours away!) – make plans to attend this year’s convention. This is one weekend that is automatically grayed out on my calendar each year. My husband has attended with me in the past and loved it, but otherwise a few friends and I travel together and just wander, listen, and learn. It is SUCH an amazing weekend.

Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention

Attending a homeschool convention can be a HUGE help and boost to your homeschool year. Workshops provide teaching and encouragement for families while vendor halls and tables provide an up close and personal look at resources you may need for your children’s education. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my tips for attending a homeschool convention, print off a copy of the Homeschool Curriculum Shopping List – and get ready to have some fun!

Raising Rock Stars Curriculum ~ Teaching God’s Word

  This post is a part of my 10 Day of Teaching God’s Word series

One of the ladies that I am blessed to call a friend is Carisa from 1+1+1=1. She put together two fabulous programs based on Scripture to use with preschool and kindergarten children called Raising Rock Stars.


RRSP150x150 RRSK Button


What is the Raising Rock Stars Program?

Raising Rock Stars is a preschool and kindergarten foundational program based on God’s Word. Using the book My ABC Bible Verses as a starting point, Carisa created Raising Rock Stars: Preschool, a 26 week program that includes 26 printable units, an editable lesson plan sheet, 4 review units, assessment guides, popsicle stick props and letter tracing cards ~ all focused on Bible verses from A to Z!! {View a sample lesson here}.

RRSP Bundle Collage

When Carisa’s son moved onto the next grade, she extended the preschool program by adding Raising Rock Stars: Kindergarten. This level includes Bible verse tracers, sight words, sentence order {related to the verses}, vocabulary work, phonics, following directions and more.

In addition to the preschool and kindergarten programs, she also created PowerPoint shows that go along with each lesson, giving you a little extra fun to go along with the lesson. Carisa also posts weekly sharing how they are using the program in their school time, so you can get extra ‘helps’. Here’s a peek at one of the Powerpoint shows:


Other Posts in the 10 Days of Teaching God’s Word Series

The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network. You’ll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!


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Laminating Just Got Cheaper….

Best Laminator

You all might be aware that I have a laminating…umm…problem. The fact that I have TWO Scotch Thermal laminators should be setting off warning bells for all to hear.

Really, I do. It truly has been a wonderful laminator and the second is just as a ‘back-up’, although I’ve never had a problem with the initial one I purchased {just can’t imagine NOT having it handy!}.

But I have a confession. Until recently, I was a laminating pouch snob. Maybe not so much a snob as a big ol’ chicken to try something different unless someone else convinces me. So I let a friend try out another brand first and then she convinced me that not only do they work great, these laminating pouches are WAY cheaper.


I ordered a pack of 100 {the Universal Clear brand laminating pouches are just under $10 for 100, compared to the Scotch brand laminating pouches that are a little over $12 for 50}.

Meaning I can laminate even more.

Not that I will {ahem}. But I CAN if I want to.

And I probably will.

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Poem Printables for First Language Lessons 4

clip_image001Although we haven’t started on First Language Lessons Level 4 yet, I already have the book. Each book in the First Language Lessons series by Jessie Wise includes six poems for children to memorization throughout the school year. I put together some simple printables for our children to hang on the wall while we were learning the poems and then refer back to throughout the year.

These have been helpful to use for copywork exercises during our school time. Poems for FLL Year 4 include:

~ “Afternoon on a Hill” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

~ “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

~ “How Doth…” by Lewis Carroll

~ “Learning to Read” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

~ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats

~ “The Height of the Ridiculous” by Oliver Wendell Holmes

First Language Lessons Year 4 Collage 

If you’d like to download your own copies of the poems to use, just click on the thumbnail image above and you’ll be redirected to the Language Resources page on my website where you can download both the poem printables for Level 4. If you plan to use any of the earlier levels of First Language Lessons, I also have created poem printables for First Language Lesson Levels 1 & 2 as well as First Language Lessons Level 3 also.

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Poem Printables for First Language Lessons 3

image The girls will be working through First Language Lessons Level 3 this year, so I’m trying to get ahead of myself and have things ready before we start our school year. There are several poems that they will work on memorizing during the year and it helps us out to have an 8 1/2 x 11 print-out of the poem hanging on our wall while we are learning it.

After we’ve memorized a poem, each girl stores a printable in their poem folder for review later in the year.

The poems included in First Language Lessons Level 3 are:

~ “The Land of Nod” by Robert Louis Stevenson

~ “A Tragic Story” by William Makepeace Thackery

~ “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth

~ “A Time to Talk” by Robert Frost

~ “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe

~ “A Slash of Blue” by Emily Dickinson

First Language Lessons 3 Poem PrintablesFirst Language Lessons 4 Poem Printables

If you’d like to download your own copies of the poems to use, just click on the thumbnail image above and you’ll be redirected to the Language Resources page on my website where you can download both the poem printables for Level 3 and also the printables for the First Language Lessons Level 1 and 2 books.