Cool New Tools for the Homeschooler

Below is something of a potpourri of tools and books and systems that I have picked up and hope will be useful to the homeschoolers out there!

The Riot and the Dance Curriculum by Dr. Gordon Wilson: useful for foundational science. (I’m pushing for the dance, myself!)

Freckle by Renaissance: the main focus of this platform is “differentiation”:

Every classroom is made up of unique students who are all at different levels. Freckle’s differentiation platform makes it easy for teachers to reach each student at their own individual level—without having to spend extra time preparing many different lessons every day.

If Freckle helps the teacher to really understand how her students differ, and how to reach them at their levels, then it’s paying its way.

Tiny Theologians could be quite useful, for parents who are uncertain how to guide their children in the faith. Note that the family that runs this site are “non-denominational, leaning Reformed Orthodox Christians”, based on their own description.

The Daily Grace Co. provide mainly Bible studies (and assorted paraphernalia) to its targeted audience of Christian women. Frankly, it reminds me of the long-gone Christian bookstores of yore. It’s not for me, but it might be for someone you know…

Gather Round Homeschool is a woman’s artisan homebrew that strives to encourage curiosity and connections between subjects. As you know, I’m more into the academic rigor of the Ron Paul Curriculum: but while important in shaping the culture, academic rigor far from the only thing in life.

Sometimes, you should sharply divide things up into tidy compartments. But sometimes, you should follow the hazy web of links, tying things together. The world has room for both philosophies, each in it’s proper place as determined by God.

My Father’s World is based on the ideas of Charlotte Mason, a notable English education reformer of the 19th/early 20th centuries. Unfortunately, this curriculum is tied to “Classical Christian Education”, an attempt to re-clothe the demonic, prideful cultures of Greece and Rome with sprinkled Christian verbiage.

(See: Classical Christian Education: The Real Deal, The Trivium: Pagan vs. Christian, and Why Classical Education Is Statist Education for more.)

Singapore Math is a demanding curriculum that provides a strong grounding and mastery in math. It’s worth looking into.

Answers Bible Curriculum looks to be a good Bible Curriculum, for all ages that covers the entire Bible in four years. There are quite a bit more educational resources on the site as well.

Saxon Math, Ray’s Arithmetic, and Ron Paul

If you are going to use Saxon Math, a good comparison between editions is available here.

But frankly, I prefer Ray’s series of mathematical books to Saxon Math, which breaks up rote memorization and is rather weak on application. (One critical review to read.)

But on to something I feel is better:

The textbook we’ll be using is Ray’s New Intellectual Arithmetic, the second volume in the Ray’s Arithmetic series.

If you are unfamiliar with Ray’s Arithmetics, these were widely used as a companion series to the McGuffey Readers in mid-19th- to early 20th-century America. Generations of children — and adults — learned math from them. This means generations of scientists, engineers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, statesmen and homemakers learned from them. The books remained popular and in widespread use until the 1920s when “progressive” education theories began to replace them and the methods taught in Ray’s. They continue to be popular in the home-schooling community.

Ray’s Intellectual math is just that. It stresses mental (“intellectual”) math. Whereas the Primary Arithmetic — grades 1 and 2 — taught the basics of numbers and math using both visual and “concrete” means, Intellectual Arithmetic helps the student to advance to the next level of his understanding of math using drill and practice at solving problems mentally as well as on paper.

Through the use of drill and “story problems,” math concepts are learned gradually. Your child will find that the story problems seem more like riddles and mysteries to be solved rather than math problems. Repetition is used throughout.

“Over-learning” is the key to mastery.

Mathematics 3
Paul Ramirez, Ron Paul Curriculum

Christians must know their math and their logic, if they wish to lead the world.

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